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Year 7, Issue 3

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*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Matt Medler
*  Mr. Medler's Personal Chauffeur:  Pete Hosner
*  Copy Editor:  Susan Barnett
*  Coach:  Matt Williams
*  Waxwing Poetic:  Eric Banford

     What is the best type of birdwatching?  Does the David Cup 
champion, by virtue of having seen the most birds in one year, have a 
claim to being the richest birder?  Or is he the poorest, since in the 
pursuit of the almighty total, he has not stopped to really look at the 
birds he has seen?  Does the person who pauses and takes extra time to 
watch a Black-capped Chickadee practice a morally superior form of 
birdwatching?  Or is that person missing out, by not seeing the 
splendors that other birds have to offer?  Questions like these have 
been floating in the air recently, and reminded me of a classic 
caffeine-inspired essay written by the great David L. Ross, Jr. in 
1997.  This piece, I believe, will provide some answers to the above 
questions.  On second thought, it might leave some readers asking even 
more questions, but for me, at least, it makes everything perfectly 

On Aesthetics and Listing:  My Two Cents
By Dave Ross

     Aesthetics and listing?  The thrill, fun, challenge, game, sport, 
endeavor, maybe, but the aesthetics of listing?  One might view listing 
as an advanced stage of that at-times debilitating affliction known as 
birding--yet another symptom, along with compulsive book buying 
("Should I get that copy of the Birds of New Guinea?") and the neurotic 
freaking out mid-conversation with the unafflicted as a bird flies by 
in the distance, and the seemingly psychotic chasing of birds with 
binoculars for 24 hours in New Jersey, armed with little more than a 
pad and pencil.  What about standing outside in the winter for 
countless hours waiting for waxwings to return for a photo, or 
crouching near a particular curving vine in a tropical rainforest 
waiting for something called, of all things, a "manakin"--oh wait, 
maybe that counts as work!  I've a close friend who, along with his 
total life list, has a list for any state he has been in.  Typical of 
the breed, he knows off the top of his head when and where a bird is 
new to each of the respective lists.  He has a television list which 
includes all and any species not seen on a nature documentary, and a 
mute list--yes, and a list of those species he's seen defecate!  This 
same individual who casually reduced his first and only look at Ruddy 
Crake somewhere roadside in Mexico as bird number 1000 before we even 
got back into the truck, can romanticize about a Merlin or even a 
Sharpie playing the winds in an October sky. This is after serving as 
the "counter" at Cape May Point.  Should we call this birder's birding 
poorer or richer than those who do not bother with numbers?  While such 
emphasis on numbers might appear cumbersome or distracting to some of 
us, so might chasing birds with microphones and lenses to others.  Come 
to think of it, perhaps my friend enjoyed his lifer Ruddy Crake even 
more than I did mine.
     Personally, I've a mental list of any coffee mug I've used in the 
Lab of Ornithology kitchen.  While I do not have the exact mug total 
etched in my memory (it would be easier if there was a checklist), I 
know darn well when there's a new mug to have a cup out of! I figure I 
enjoy my coffee as much as the next person--come to think of it, 
perhaps just a little more when it's a new mug.
     Could this listing behavior be merely an extension of a repressed 
nature in the hunter-gatherer turned 9-5 office-human?  The office-
humans' way of bringing the kill home to the tribe and parading it 
around for the hungry to admire?  And perhaps admire we should.  Fess 
up:  how many of us wish we'd been the one to bring that carcass (in 
this case rare bird sighting) back to the communal fire.
     Which brings us back to the aesthetics of listing and perhaps the 
concept of cyber-carcasses.  The birder's list then perhaps should not 
be viewed so cynically by the less infected as something synthetic and 
far removed from the organisms themselves, but more along the odor on a 
dog that rubs its neck and face in something ripe and then struts it 
back to the pack as a way of conveying information or a story.  What 
could be more aesthetic than that?  And those of you that cannot 
appreciate that fine smell, simply are not dogs and probably will never 

(Dave Ross is a sound recordist, artist, and genius.  He is currently 
teaching physical science (and other wisdom) to eighth graders in 
Durham, North Carolina.)

   @   @    @    @    @     @
     NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
@   @    @    @     @     @

WELCOME TO THE CUP CLAN:  As promised last month, we're rolling out the 
red carpet for a complete introduction to the newest, youngest, and 
cutest (sorry, Allison) member of the Cupper family, Rachel Rosenberg.  
Here's what mom Anne James-Rosenberg shared with us:

Rachel Hannah Rosenberg is in 1st grade at Dryden Elementary.  She has 
been getting more and more into watching the birds at our feeders and 
in the yard, and recently decided she would join me in keeping a Basin 
year list.  Her favorite birds this year have been the Bohemian 
Waxwings and the spectacular flock of Snow Geese we saw on the west 
side of Cayuga Lake in early March.  She likes going for family bird 
walks--or drives, as we did last Sunday with Ken taking us on a tour of 
the best spots in the Dryden area.  Her favorite places to look at 
birds are Dryden Lake (has a playground and nice walking path) and 
Montezuma.  Rachel is an avid artist, drawing something most of her 
spare time.  After (or during) a bird trip she enjoys drawing the birds 
she has seen, sometimes using Sibley to fill in the details.

Welcome Rachel, and welcome back, Anne.  It's great to have you joining 
the Cup fun!

These two stories just in from Cup intern Allison Wells:

Cup Gets "Scooped" Again:  At a recent event at New York City's 
Waldorf-Astoria hotel, movie giant Mel Gibson was honored by the 
Association of Moving Images.  Among his many awards (including a 
movie-screen size image of the actor's graffiti-covered face):  
Gibson's costar in the semi-flop Ransom, Gary Sinise, presented Gibson 
with "the cup"--hardly the elegant chunk of wood of our own beloved 
Cup, but rather the athletic kind presented a few years back by the 
tasteless Bill Evans to then-Cup editor Allison Wells (who could 
possibly have guessed that Bill Evans could be a trend-setter?).  The 
report said that Sinise's presentation brought a tear to Gibson's eye 
as he mumbled with shame and regret, "Damn, I forgot to turn in my 
David Cup totals again."  Matt, please remember to add Mel to your e-
mail reminder list.

Ostrich Burgers Are Out:  You can all rest easy again.  According to 
the best magazine in the birding business, Entertainment Weekly, 
Ostrich burgers are out.  Those of you hoping to eat one of these onto 
your Basin list are out of luck.


"The Earth has music for those who listen." - William Shakespeare

Welcome to the second addition of Waxwing Poetic. This month we feature 
Anne Marie Johnson, who works at the Lab of Ornithology on Project 
Feeder Watch. For as long as she can remember, Anne Marie has enjoyed 
trudging around in the woods looking for interesting plants, reptiles, 
insects, and birds. And for nearly as long, she's been writing poems 
(she had to learn how to write first!). In addition to one of her poems 
appearing in a prior issue of this highly respected publication, some 
of her poems have also been published in Avocet, a nature journal in 

To contribute to this column, please send your submissions to


Pine Siskins' Winter Blessing
by Anne Marie Johnson

Every morning they come,
a dozen or two,
tiny creatures,
impeccably dressed
in tidy brown streaks,
the men accessorized in yellow.

calmly eating,
other times
ferociously fighting for perches,
flashing yellow splashes
beneath their wings.

This year, this winter
these tiny, simple birds,
with their buzz-accented chatter,
chose to visit these pines,
this feeder,
each day
bringing with them
a blessing for those
on the other side
of the glass.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

March 2002 David Cup Totals

121 Pete Hosner
119 Jay McGowan
117 Kevin McGowan
107 Mike Andersen
106 Jesse Ellis
104 Meena Haribal
103 Tim Lenz
103 Ken Rosenberg
102 Jeff Gerbracht
 98 Matt Medler
 95 Steve Kelling
 94 Eric Banford
 93 Bruce Tracey
 92 Anne Marie Johnson
 88 Tim Johnson
 81 Allison Wells
 77 Jeff Wells
 76 Dan Lebbin
 67 Anne James-Rosenberg
 56 Jon Kloppel
 52 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
 45 Rachel Rosenberg
 30 Martin (the Cat) McGowan
 14 Matt Williams

Jeff Gerbrachts's 100th Bird:  Bonaparte's Gull

Ken Rosenberg's 100th Bird:  A Foxey Fox Sparrow

March 2002 McIlroy Award Totals

81 Jai Balakrishnan
78 Jay McGowan
78 Kevin McGowan
76 Tim Lenz
73 Pete Hosner
61 Ken Rosenberg
57 Matt Medler
37 Allison Wells
13 Matt Williams
 0 Jeff Wells

March 2002 Evans Trophy Totals

98 Jay McGowan
97 Kevin McGowan
88 Ken Rosenberg
83 Pete Hosner

March 2002 Yard Totals

57 McGowan/Kline Family
54 Rosenberg Family
45 Nancy Dickinson
28 Anne Marie and Tim Johnson

Tompkins County Life Lists

268 Kevin McGowan
266 Ken Rosenberg
258 Jay McGowan
248 Matt Medler
213 Pete Hosner
209 Jai Balakrishnan

!                       KICKIN' TAIL!                      !

This month we welcome first-time Cup leader Pete Hosner to the Kickin' 
Tail hot seat.  In addition to being voted most likely to win the 2002 
David Cup, Pete now has the added claim to fame of being the 
recordholder for the all-time high March David Cup total.  [A 
collective "Ooooh!" is in order here.]

THE CUP:  It's about time you got here.  What took you so long?

PETE:  Well, it’s a year-long competition.  Since I didn’t try for the 
January big month, I didn’t have much incentive to track down birds 
like Swamp Sparrow during the winter.

THE CUP:  Was that your idea of a Kickin' Tail jab?  You'll have to do 
better than that, little rookie.

THE CUP:  Now that you're at the top of the David Cup mountain, do you 
have any intentions of relinquishing the lead, or should we plan on ten 
riveting interviews between the two of us?

PETE:  We shall see.  Last year was proof that anyone can be in the 
lead for April--all you have to do is get a bunch of good migrants on 
the 30th.  I really think the David Cup race is very close this year.  
There are many lurkers who have seen a lot of good birds but don’t have 
a high total because they didn’t tick off, say...White-throated Sparrow 
or Ruddy Duck until this month.

THE CUP:  Hmm.  Who could be missing those species?

THE CUP:  As those guests who enjoyed your scrumptious fondue at the 
Cupper Supper might be able to attest, you fancy yourself to be a bit 
of a cook/chef.  What has been your recipe for David Cup success so far 
this year?  Not only are you Kickin' Tail after three months, but you 
are now the holder of the all-time record total for March.  I'm sure 
that feat will be appreciated by your fellow Cuppers for a good day or 

PETE:  The only way to win the David Cup is to get out and bird as much 
as possible.  My class schedule this year has been quite "relaxed," 
which has allowed me to get out and put in the time needed to see some 
good birds.

THE CUP:  There's been some commentary recently about the high levels 
of testosterone found in certain birding circles here in Ithaca.  
You're a rather manly man.  Can you think of any activity that could be 
more masculine or testosterone-driven than "hard core" birding?  The 
"World's Strongest Man" competition on ESPN came to mind at first.  But 
at least in my mind, those guys look like the original 98-pound 
weaklings compared with hulking Ithaca birders like Mike Andersen, Ken 
Rosenberg, and yours truly.

PETE:  I don’t know.  Some of those butterflywatchers and wildflower 
guys are pretty tough.  I saw some in Mundy the other day chewing on 
glass shards for kicks.

THE CUP:  I know what you mean.  You should have seen Sarver and 
Williams when they were really on top of their butterflies and 
wildflowers.  They looked like Hans and Franz.

THE CUP:  While we're on the topic of manly birders, I have a question 
for you.  You don't actually *enjoy* any of the birds that you see or 
hear, do you?  The trumpeting calls of Sandhill Cranes, the aerial 
acrobatics of Peregrine Falcons, the subtly beautiful plumage of an 
American Bittern, the sky dance of American Woodcock, and, of course, 
the unmistakable song of a Veery--none of these things actually mean 
anything to you, do they?  You just tick them off and move onto the 
next bird, right?  I hope so, because otherwise, I'm afraid that we 
would have to refuse you admission into the elite group of fanatical, 
hard-core male birders.

PETE:  Of course not.  I don’t watch birds because I enjoy them; I 
watch them because I can brag about them to my friends.  You should 
have seen how much respect I got in middle school for seeing more birds 
than anyone else.

THE CUP:  Darn!  So that's what I should have done to be cool in high 
school.  If only I'd known...

THE CUP:  Theoretically speaking, of course, if you were to truly 
appreciate any of the birds you've seen so far this year, what would be 
some of your favorites?

PETE:  The three Golden Eagle day at Mt Pleasant were amazing.  It was 
great to finally see Sandhill Crane in the Basin--I miss those guys.  
They breed in the marsh behind my house every year; I certainly took 
that for granted.  It's been about three years since I’ve seen a White-
front, and in Feb/March I saw five.  The Saw-whets at Geo’s provided 
great looks for the second year in a row.  Of course, I have to mention 
the Bohemians even though most of them showed up in April (they are 
easy to pick out in flight after all, right Kevin?), and we can’t 
forget about the Pine Grosbeaks already.

THE CUP:  Are there any birds in particular that you're really hoping 
to find in the Basin during the rest of the year?  I know that you've 
mentioned checking Myers Point, the Hawthorn Orchard, and every other 
southern Basin hotspot during the month of May.  How about turning up a 
beautiful breeding-plumaged Red Knot at Myers?

PETE:  There are quite a few.  I would love to find a rare shorebird--a 
Knot, or a Willet, or even a Ruff (it would be a lifer for me--or 
songbird this fall.  What could be better that Scissor-tailed 
Flycatcher on Rafferty Road?  A rare bird on territory this summer like 
a Kentucky Warbler or a chat would be great too.  With all the time I 
will be spending out and about, I’ll just have to keep my fingers 

THE CUP:  Can you tell us a little about your recent spring break trip 
to Costa Rica?  What did you think of being in the Neotropics for the 
first time?  What did you see?

PETE:  Costa Rica was great.  It only took me one trip for me to 
realize that I need to do tropical ornithology in grad school.  
Probably our best bird was actually getting to see Spectacled 
Antipitta.  It seems that everyone I have talked to has been to the 
tropics several times and never been able to see an antpitta.

THE CUP:  Yes, I didn't quite manage to see any antpittas while I was 
in Brazil last year.  But that's the type of bird where *hearing* it is 
the key part of the experience.

PETE:  We saw some great Costa Rican/Panamanian endemics in Carrara 
like Baird’s Trogon, Orange-collared Manakin, Fire-billed Araçari, and 
Blue-throated Goldentail.  Of course, seeing all the postcard birds 
like oucans, Scarlet Macaw, Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled 
Bellbird, Black-and-white Owl, Long-tailed Manakin, and Violet 
Sabrewing was neat.  I actually got a job offer to guide at Carrara 
during the summer, so in 2003 after I graduate hopefully some Cuppers 
can come down and visit me.

THE CUP:  That could probably be arranged.

THE CUP:  Now it's on to the obligatory first-time leader questions.  I 
know that obligatory is a big word for you, as a mere Cornell 
undergrad, and a Natural Resources major at that.  It just means that I 
have to ask these questions.  What is your favorite color?

PETE:  Blue or green, although on a bird I like purple because there 
are so few birds with purple in the plumage.

THE CUP:  What is in your CD changer at the moment?  Any non-bird CDs?

PETE:  In my car I have the Stokes’ CD for brushing up on songs of 
arriving migrants.  In my stereo I have the 3-disc Springsteen Live 
album.  No one rocks like the Boss!

THE CUP:  Reply-to-all or reply-to-sender?

Subject:  Re: Weekend Birds

Well Matt, do you want to go birding next weekend?  I think we need to 
hit Seneca Falls for Upland Sandpipers.  Don’t you love Upland 
Sandpipers?  Last year we got to see them sit on the posts and hear 
them sing.  Pete’s Treats is open now, we could go there afterwards.  
Thanks for having us all over for slides the other night.  I like your 
new place.  Is the woman situation getting any better for you, or are 
you still content with sitting under a hemlock on the Ag Quad looking 
at freshman girls?  Don’t worry, you’ll find the right woman.  Then 
again, you could always "shift gears" and head over to Renwick some 

Subject:  Re: Weekend Birds

Oops, I’m sorry I sent that to the whole list.  Sorry I posted all that 
embarrassing personal stuff Matt!

THE CUP:  I'll chalk that up as a vote for "Reply-to-sender."  As for 
girls on the Ag Quad, I don't know what you were looking at, but the 
women that I saw were *at least* juniors.

THE CUP:  OK, we've wasted enough birding time on this enthralling 
interview.  See you again next month?

PETE:  That should be easy to answer.  There is no way you're getting 
this issue out before the end of the month, so why don’t you look at 
the April totals?

THE CUP:  I'll be sure to look at the April totals *after* this issue 
comes out.  And if you somehow manage to still be in the lead, remind 
me to run that "Waggin' Tail" interview with Tringa McGowan that I've 
been considering.  Maybe then I'll get some intelligent responses to my 



On the eve of April Fool's Day, Cuppers and non-Cuppers together had 
combined to detect 143 species of "avians" (as the Ithaca Journal 
refers to them) in the Cayuga Lake Basin.  Here's the list:

R-t Loon, Common Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, 
D-c Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, 
Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Greater W-f Goose, Snow Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, 
Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, G-w Teal, American Black Duck, Mallard, 
N Pintail, B-w Teal, N Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Canvasback, 
Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Surf Scoter, 
W-w Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common 
Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, Bald Eagle, N Harrier, S-
s Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, N Goshawk, R-s Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, Golden 
Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed 
Grouse, Wild Turkey, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, G 
Yellowlegs, L Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, 
Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser B-b 
Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, SLATY-BACKED GULL, Rock Dove, 
Mourning Dove, E Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-
e Owl, N Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, E Phoebe, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b 
Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N Flicker, Pileated 
Woodpecker, N Shrike, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, 
Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, B-c Chickadee, Tufted 
Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, 
Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, G-c Kinglet, E Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, 
American Robin, Gray Catbird, N Mockingbird, European Starling, 
American Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, Y-r Warbler, Pine 
Warbler, E Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah 
Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c 
Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, N Cardinal, R-w 
Blackbird, E Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle, B-h Cowbird, 
Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, Common 
Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House 


We're not sure what Pete was doing in March, because he somehow managed 
to miss 22 species found by other birders by the end of the month:

Red-throated Loon, American Bittern, Brant, Ruffed Grouse, Sandhill 
Crane, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Snipe, Bonaparte's Gull, Slaty-backed 
Gull, Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Barn 
Swallow, Marsh Wren, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Yellow-rumped 
Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned 
Sparrow, Lapland Longspur.


 <  COACH'S CORNER      <
<           <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
<           <
 <         <
  < < < <

After two-months of low-budget advice from the Editor-in-Chief, we've 
finally gotten serious about Coach's Corner this month, turning to 2001 
David Cup co-champion Matt Williams.

Coach's Corner - Cupper Strategies for April & early May 2002
By Matt Williams

     Even as I write this in mid-April, spring migration is definitely 
underway and the warblers, spring shorebirds and other migrants will be 
coming through in full force very shortly.  In addition, a springtime 
rarity is definitely possible and should never be ruled out, especially 
with the coverage that the Basin is getting this year.  Think along the 
lines of Ruff, Wigeon, Whimbrel, Kentucky Warbler, and Western 
Meadowlark sightings of recent years.
     However, before I get started on those birds that are yet to 
arrive, I would suggest that you be sure that you've seen everything 
that's about to leave.  It may be getting late but try to find 
lingering redpolls, siskins, and grosbeaks if you haven't done so 
already.  You certainly can't count on them for next winter.  Shrikes 
are unreliable so your best bet is to see one to take some pressure off 
next fall.  If the Eared Grebe hasn't left Aurora, go visit the Wells 
College Boathouse a few times until you find it.  It might not be back.
        A birder's performance in the spring can make or break his or 
her David Cup chances.  Spring is when the transient Cape Mays, 
Tennessees,  Blackpolls, Bay-breasteds and Philly Vireos move through.  
Check Mundy Wildflower Garden, Green Hills and Ithaca City cemeteries, 
the Hawthorn Orchard (Chris Hymes's not-so-secret spot) and other good 
migrant traps.  While these species and others come back through in the 
fall, they're not as pretty and they aren't as noisy.  So, regardless 
of your busy schedule and/or late-night partying, get yourselves out of 
bed, Cuppers!!!  It's worth it.  The only excuse for not getting up 
early is listening to a late-night thrush flight to tick off Swainson's 
and Gray-cheekeds.
     A 'round-the-lake trip is never a bad idea in the spring (or any 
time, for that matter).  Migrant waterfowl and shorebirds have a 
tendency to show up at places like Myers, Long Point, and Montezuma.  
Howland Island has the potential for Red-headed Woodpecker and who 
knows what else.
     And last, but definitely not least is the Dryden Lake effect.  If 
any of the local Drydenites post a Red-necked Grebe or a flock of 
scoters, get over there ASAP.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do 
not go to class or to work or to bed.  Go to Dryden Lake that day or 
your chances of seeing those birds are severely diminished...unless you 
want to drive around the big lake every day during migration.
     Finally, just for those who want a more species-specific approach, 
here's a list of challenging spring species to be on the lookout for:

Western Grebe - OK, this may be a stretch but there's currently one at 
Plum Island, MA and there was one off of Staten Island, NY this 
year...they're bound to head west sometime so keep an eye out.

Black Vulture - Observe range expansion as it happens and find a short-
tailed, black-headed vulture among all those the Turkeys at Myers. And, 
no, I'm not talking about the fishermen or the hunters.

Sora - Check the airport ponds or the Ellis Hollow Marsh where they 
were heard last year.  Brush up on your frog sounds too, they can be 
confusing (and interesting in their own right).

Wilson's Phalarope - Mid to late May is the time to hit Montezuma for 
this species.  Flooded fields, Benning or "The New" marsh up at 
Montezuma may be good.  Never assume they're all yellowlegs!

Little Gull - When the Bonaparte's move through, be sure to check 
through for this species.  Stewart Park, Myers, and Montezuma have been 
good in past years.

Common & Forster's Tern - Stewart Park, Myers and Dryden Lake are all 
good, close places to check for these guys.  If a few Commons hang 
around MNWR and possibly breed, that's great but if not, you've got to 
keep an eye out for both.  And, heck, why not brush up on the tern ID 
skills so you can pick out an Arctic.

Whip-poor-will- Cayuga Heights seems to attract this species during 
migration every spring.  It also could be worthwhile to do an owl/Whip 
prowl up the east side of the lake on a few evenings.  Now is the time.

Loggerhead Shrike- A former Basin breeder that occasionally comes back 
to visit.  Check those telephone wires.

Prothonotary Warbler- Used to be pretty reliable along Armitage and 
probably breeds somewhere in the North Basin.  Canoe trips may be a 
good idea if you want to find this species.

Clay-colored Sparrow- there were a few that were amazingly close to the 
Basin last year.  Finger Lakes National Forest and Rafferty Rd. might 
be good spots.

(Matt Williams currently resides in Sunderland, Massachusetts, although 
his heart is obviously still somewhere in the Cayuga Lake Basin.  Come 
May, he will be teaching Matt Sarver the finer points of power-line cut 
birding in western Massachusetts.)

:>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>


     March highlights...hmm...does anybody remember March?  Any 
highlights come to mind?  The Seneca Falls landfill was undoubtedly 
*the* place to be in February, with the all-too-brief sighting of the 
Slaty-backed Gull there, along with Glaucous, Iceland, and Lesser 
Black-backed Gulls.  But, at the start of March, the action shifted to 
another part of the Town of Seneca Falls--the lakeshore just north of 
Canoga.  There, Cuppers were witness to an amazing congregation of Snow 
Geese along the water's edge, with one birder making a conservative 
estimate of 10,000 geese.  Of course, with that many Snow Geese 
gathered in one spot, there just *had* to be a Ross's Goose in their 
midst, and sure enough, there was one...and another one...and maybe 
even another one (or was it a hybrid?).  And, to add even more species 
diversity to the group, a Greater White-fronted Goose put in at least a 
one-day appearance with the massive flock of Snows.  Elsewhere on the 
lake, Bruce Tracey hit the "Podiceps trifecta" on March 7 at the Aurora 
Boathouse, where he saw one Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena), one 
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), and three or four Horned Grebes 
(Podiceps auritus).  Not bad, Bruce, but could you work on Great 
Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)?  Later in the month, Pete Hosner 
and Mike Andersen spotted not one, but *two* Eared Grebes from the same 
lookout.  Also seen from Aurora throughout March were three White-
winged Scoters, which must have wintered at this spot.
     While Cayuga Lake remained an extremely productive spot throughout 
the month, with a plethora of waterbirds seen on its waters, Cuppers' 
attentions turned next to Mt. Pleasant.  Over a two-day span there 
(March 8-9), birders were treated to up-close looks of five different 
Golden Eagles, an adult Bald Eagle, and some of the first migrant Red-
shouldered Hawks of the season.  Later in the month, a few Cuppers 
would also be lucky enough to spot Northern Goshawks from the windswept 
"peak" of Mt. Pleasant.  Other localities in the Town of Dryden 
provided more material for the highlight reel.  At the base of Hammond 
Hill State Forest, Marie McRae's feeders played host to upwards of 
eight Fox Sparrows, along with a flock of Evening Grosbeaks (some of 
the only birds of the season).  Pine Grosbeaks were reported at Keith 
Lane into mid-March, and reports of feeder Pine Siskins and Common 
Redpolls (from Dryden and elsewhere) trickled in throughout the month.  
Providing definitive proof of global warming, the famed Dryden Lake 
effect took place early this year, with Long-tailed Ducks taking brief 
respites there on the 16th and 25th.  Jay McGowan added a new chapter 
to the Dryden tradition of quality yard-birding by detecting four high-
flying Sandhill Cranes over Beam Hill on March 29.  Finally, there were 
two other noteworthy sightings from the end of March-- on the 27th, 
Jesse Ellis picked out a Bohemian Waxwing from a flock of Cedar 
Waxwings along the East Ithaca Recreation Way, and on the very last day 
of the month, Fred Bertram also spied a Bohemian, this time at the 
north end of Cayuga Lake.  Could this possibly be a sign of things to 


WHAT are "Northern Shoeless"?  Are we talking about Northern Shovelers, 
or maybe Boobies who've lost their blue boots?
- Caissa Willmer

Yeah, yeah, I'm an idiot.
- Pete Hosner

I had a very birdy 20 minute stop at Robert Treman State Park this 
morning....  EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were checking out nest boxes, JUNCOS 
were trilling and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was pretty close to singing 
a White-throated Sparrow song.
- Mike Powers

What a glorious morning to walk the hillside.  The White-throats are 
back to singing about Sam Peabody.  Heck, all the birds are singing 
about something...
- Nancy Dickinson

We just had 3 GOLDEN EAGLES at Mt. Pleasant.  The first was at about 
12:30 (5 minutes after Laura left), the next at 12:50, and then one at 
1:00.  Also seen were1 RED-SHOULDERED HAWK,  1 Cooper's Hawk, several 
Red-tailed Hawks, and a Rough-legged Hawk or two.  The local Red-tails 
were displaying due south of the observatory, and a Northern Harrier 
was working the fields to the northeast.

A pretty nice lunch hour!
- Kevin McGowan

At around 12:40, Jesse Ellis showed up and we taunted him about the 
eagle that we had seen earlier and told him that as the winds had 
picked up it is unlikely that he'll find another eagle. Not dissuaded 
by our words he decided to stick around for a while. When Meena and 
myself decided to leave, Jesse found an adult GOLDEN EAGLE flying low 
and very close to the observatory.
- Jai Balakrishnan

We went back into Renwick to look at the Great Horned Owl tuft sticking 
out of the nest...
- Pete Hosner

I may even go out on a limb and say there could be upwards of a half 
million [black]birds gathering at the refuge at dusk.  Maybe a full 
million..... who really knows?..... it's A LOT!
- Mike Andersen

Today at Benning Marsh at MNWR my parents and I had the pleasure of 
watching an immature Peregrine Falcon attack an American Wideon.  The 
Peregrine grabbed the left wing of the Wigeon while in flight, and they 
both plowed into the marsh.  The wigeon was stunned, and before the 
Peregrine could finish it off it made it into a small pool connected to 
the main pool in the marsh by a small channel.  The Peregrine sat on 
the mud next to the channel to block its escape, several times it flew 
up and hovered above the wigeon, but the wigeon kept on flapping its 
wings, so that the Peregrine couldn't get another blow.  Eventually the 
Wigeon made it to safety in the large pool in benning marsh, after a 
stand off of about 15 minutes.  The wigeon could still fly, although 
the white wing patch was covered in red.  Amazing behavior!
- Pete Hosner

Rachel and I experienced a slow ziggy-zaggy flyover Raven today at 
about 1:00 at the corner of Case Road and Seneca Road on the Northern 
fringe of the Hector National Forest.  It crooned out a nice "croak" 
for us too.
 - Jon Kloppel

Where associated Turkey Vultures make no flaps for minutes on end, 
Black Vultures can't seem to not flap for more than 20-30 seconds or 

Keep looking up.
- Kevin McGowan

We had five or six [Fox Sparrows] under the feeders this morning 
franticly doing the sparrow shuffle, chest deep in little craters in 
the snow.
- Tom Fredericks

But, I find that no one is ever so certain of their identification as a 
- Kevin McGowan

Subject: Re: Debate is good for us...
I agree wholeheartedly, as long as you all understand that I am right 
and you are wrong.
- Martha Fischer

I just wanted to thank Dave N., Matt W., Karen A.C., Kevin M., and Matt 
M. for their kindness, patience, knowledge, and restraint in replying 
to Dick Wood's recent postings about biologists, "messed up weather", 
and "Richard's Veery". I was thinking that a paper bag, straight jacket 
or a net were in order.

I think I'm old enough to be your grandfather, Dick. We share a lot in 
common besides our nickname. We both love birding; we have, I think, a 
similar academic beginning in the physical sciences; and our spouse's 
nicknames even rhyme...Lil and Jill.

I like all scientists, but biologists are my favorites, for they are 
able to, more than the rest of us scientists, say "I just don't know, 
we may never know."

Dick, I don't think that your "messed up weather" is anything unusual 
this year in the northeast. Dick, where are you from? Hawaii? The 
northwest coast? Perhaps the west coast of Europe? It's gotta be 
somewhere where the weather doesn't change much. The only thing normal 
about the weather here is that it changes a lot.

As to this "Global Warming" mantra of some: The last I knew, about 
5,000 scientists believed in it, but 17,000 scientists didn't. I think 
the jury is still out and will be for some time.

As to your Veery posting: Back in 1974 or '75 a VEERY was reported on 
the CBC for Geneva, NY, by a member of the Eaton Ornithological 
Society, which my wife and I belonged to. Yes, it was a very rare 
sighting. Was he believed?... Yes, he was. Because, he was, I dare say, 
the best, most experienced birder in the Finger Lakes at that time.

Everyone on this list knows and believes by now that you think you 
heard a VEERY this past winter. You've certainly said it enough times! 
Dick, nobody believes or is going to believe, based on what you have 
reported in the past or probably what you say in the future, that there 
actually was a VEERY in T. Falls on that day. And, yes, that is because 
you are quite new to birding. It just ain't gonna happen. Give it a 
rest, for the sake of all of us! Just go ahead and check or keep the 
check for VEERY on your Life List. I don't really care!

And, for cripes sakes, just drop that Dr. Wood bit, if you don't like 

Been where you are.
- Dick Jorgensen

May Your Cup Runneth Over,