Resources‎ > ‎The David Cup‎ > ‎

Year 7, Issues 7-9

*****************************************************************
*^^^^^^^   ^     ^    ^^^^^^        ^^^^^^^    ^     ^    ^^^^^^^
*   ^      ^     ^    ^             ^          ^     ^    ^     ^
*   ^       ^^^^^     ^^ ^          ^          ^     ^    ^ ^^^^^
*   ^      ^     ^    ^             ^          ^     ^    ^
*   ^      ^     ^    ^^^^^^        ^^^^^^^      ^^^^     ^
*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Matt Medler
*  Basin Bird Highlights:  Jay McGowan
*  Waxwing Poetic:  Eric Banford
*  Legal Advice:  Niall Hatch
******************************************************************

     Will anybody ever surpass the Basin birding year that David Cup 
champion-to-be Pete Hosner is having this year?  When we last checked 
on Pete's progress, in June, he had already surpassed (with 245 
species) winning David Cup totals for entire years.  The addition of 
another species in July tied him with Matt Young's winning total of 246 
in 1999.  Then August arrived, and Pete really went to work, visiting 
Montezuma on an almost daily basis during the last part of the month.  
His persistence paid off, as he moved to 253 species at the end of 
August, passing Geo Kloppel's 2000 total of 251.  The David Cup record 
was now his, after only eight months of birding, and the vaunted Basin 
record of 254 set by Ned Brinkley and Adam Byrne during the pre-David 
Cup years, was within easy striking distance.  A share of the Basin 
record came quickly, as Pete found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at 
Montezuma on September 5.  254!!!
     When you've seen that many birds in the Basin, new species can 
become rather hard to find.  How long would it take Pete to hit 255 and 
break the Basin record?  Would he have to wait until October, when 
Hudsonian Godwits often pass through the area, or would the record-
breaking bird come in late fall, in the form of Black Scoter or Lapland 
Longspur?  How about seeing #255 two days after #254?  Better yet, how 
about breaking the Basin Big Year record in the process of shattering 
the Montezuma Muckrace Big Day record?  Sounds too much like a Disney 
script, you say?  Well, that's how it turned out.  On September 7, Pete 
teamed with birding comrades Mike Andersen, Ryan Bakelaar, and Jesse 
Ellis to win the sixth annual Muckrace with a record total of 132 
species.  And, when Jesse picked out an eclipse male Eurasian Wigeon at 
Mays Point that day, the Basin record was Pete's.
      Wait, some old-timers might be saying.  Ned Brinkley actually 
tallied 256 species during his Big Year, but later removed two species 
(Mute Swan and a night-flight Least Bittern) from his list.  So, while 
the "official" Basin record was 254, the unofficial record was 256.  No 
problem, Pete said.  A flock of 16 Hudsonian Godwits the following 
weekend brought Pete to 256, and Kevin McGowan's Stewart Park Laughing 
Gull made for 257.  Purple Gallinule(!!!) at Montezuma later in the 
month was icing on the cake (like that really good icing on carrot 
cake).  Incredibly, at the end of September, Pete stood at 258 species, 
and he shows no signs of slowing down between now and December 31.  
  

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


WELCOME TO THE CUP FAMILY:  The Cup is extremely excited to announce 
the arrival of a new member to the First Family of The Cup--The Wells 
Family.  After much anticipation, Allison gave birth to Evan Jeffrey 
Wells on August 1, 2002, at 10:22 p.m.  The not-so-little guy weighed 
in at 8 lb. 10 oz. and measured 20" long.  With his impeccable birding 
pedigree, there's no telling just how good a birder Evan will become 
(can you say 2020 David Cup Champion?).  In fact, rumor has it that at 
the tender age of three months, Evan has already surpassed "Papa" 
Wells's David Cup total for the year.    
 
DRYDEN DISAPPERANCE:  Has anybody seen Ken Rosenberg in Dryden 
recently?  Granted, as a denizen of the Lab of Ornithology's annex 
(a.k.a. "The Rock"), Ken currently works in the Town of Dryden, but it 
appears that Dr. Rosenberg's days of Dryden birding dominance are over.  
Why?  In July, Ken, Anne, Rachel, and Olivia departed beloved Beam Hill 
for a new home in northeastern Ithaca, just minutes from Sapsucker 
Woods.  Besides offering the girls a better school district, residence 
in Ithaca also makes Ken a favorite in the 2003 McIlroy Award race.  
You better pull out a McIlroy victory this year, Tim Lenz, while you 
still can!


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

BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS

Having trouble remembering the birds that you saw (or missed) in the 
third quarter of 2002?  Fortunately, The Cup has managed to retain the 
expert services of Jay McGowan to bring you the highlights of late 
summer and early fall.  Take it away, Jay!

July, August and September
By Jay McGowan

JULY

July was, as always, a slow month for birding in the Cayuga Lake Basin, 
but there were still a few birds seen.  In early July, a few shorebirds 
were seen at Montezuma, mostly yellowlegs.  On July 12, Ken Rosenberg 
had two Common and two Caspian Terns at Myers Point.  The same day, 
Matt Medler had an adult winter Bonaparte’s Gull, as well as a couple 
of Great Black-backed Gulls, off Stewart Park.  On July 14, more 
shorebirds appeared at Montezuma, including Pectoral and Semipalmated 
Sandpipers.  

In late July more shorebirds started to come through.  Least, 
Semipalmated, Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, 
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Short-billed Dowitchers were all 
seen at Montezuma.  Black-crowned Night-Herons, Black, Common, and 
Caspian Terns, and a fairly large number of common dabbling ducks were 
also present at Montezuma.

Although not in the Basin, still of note was an immature Brown Pelican 
reported from Sodus Point on Lake Ontario on July 21.  It was seen 
again on the 24th and 25th at Sodus Point.  The pelican was relocated 
on the 27th at Sandy Pond, farther north, and seemed to be wandering up 
and down the Lake Ontario shore.

Back in the Basin, Meena Haribal found a Ruddy Turnstone at Myers Point 
on July 26, and it continued to be seen as late as July 29.


AUGUST

In early August, Least Bitterns started to be seen at Montezuma, in 
addition to the common shorebirds and some apparently resident 
Redheads.

Caspian Terns were seen in great numbers in various places, with more 
than 50 being reported at Stewart Park, and at least 25 individuals 
seen at one time at Myers Point.  Also at Myers, Kevin McGowan found a 
Sanderling and a Pectoral Sandpiper on the spit there on August 14.  
The Sanderling stayed until at least the 17th, when it was joined by 
another individual.  A Black-bellied Plover and several other common 
shorebirds were also seen there.

On August 15, Bernie Carr posted that there were three American Avocets 
at May's Point.  Although this is somewhat unclear, it seems that the 
avocets had been present for a few days before they were reported to 
Cayugabirds-L.  They were not present, however, the following morning.

To make up for missing the avocets, Pete Hosner visited Montezuma 
approximately every evening from mid-August until mid-September.  He 
(and others) found a juvenile Wilson's Phalarope at May's Point on 
August 17.  On the 20th, Pete reported two Wilson's Phalaropes.  Two 
Wilson's were seen from then until mid-September.  Also on the 20th, 
Pete Hosner had the first Baird's Sandpiper of the year, at Montezuma.  
In the next few days, American Golden-Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, 
and many of the more common shorebirds were seen at Montezuma.

On August 23, Mark Chao found an Olive-sided Flycatcher in Sapsucker 
Woods.  It was still there on the 25th.  Fall warbler migration began, 
with Blue-winged, Nashville, Tennessee, Pine, Magnolia, Black-throated 
Green, Hooded, and Wilson’s Warblers seen, along with Philadelphia and 
other vireos.  On the evening of August 26, Dan Lebbin found a male 
CONNECTICUT WARBLER along a trail in Sapsucker Woods.  It was not seen 
later that evening, but Pete Hosner, Mike Andersen, and Eric Banford 
relocated the bird early the next morning.  Birders who tried for it 
later that morning failed to find it, and it was not seen again.  Other 
birds of interest in Sapsucker Woods included various warblers and 
vireos, Solitary Sandpiper, and a Merlin.

Back at Montezuma on August 24, eight or more Least Bitterns were seen 
from the corral at May's Point, as well as several Common Nighthawks.  
On August 27, Pete Hosner found a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope at 
May's Point, in addition to the two Wilson's Phalaropes and other 
shorebirds.  On August 31, Pete Hosner and Mike Andersen led a well-
attended shorebird workshop at Montezuma.  Most of the same shorebirds 
were seen then, plus White-rumped Sandpiper.

On August 31, Jesse Ellis had a scaup species, probably Greater, off of 
Stewart Park.


SEPTEMBER

In early September, many species of warbler were reported, including 
both Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes; other migrant passerines of 
note included Philadelphia Vireos and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers.

On September 5, Pete Hosner found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at May's 
Point, as well as most of the other common shorebirds.  A Buff-breasted 
was seen again on the 11th.

September 7 was the 6th annual Montezuma Muckrace at the Montezuma 
National Wildlife Refuge Wetlands Complex.  The total number of species 
reported was 177 (including 20 species of waterfowl, 19 shorebirds, and 
23 warblers).  The winning team, "Malar Stripe," was composed of Pete 
Hosner, Mike Andersen, Jesse Ellis, and Ryan Bakelaar; they tallied 132 
species, a new high for the Muckrace.  The second-place team, "The 
Beasts of Birding," featuring Bob Fogg, Matts Williams and Sarver, and 
Niall Hatch, totaled 129 species (also breaking the previous Muckrace 
record).  Some of the highlights of the competition included:  an 
eclipse male EURASIAN WIGEON at May's Point, found by Jesse Ellis of 
Malar Stripe (this bird stuck around until at least September 22); 
Sandhill Crane; Wilson’s Phalarope; Long-eared Owl and WHIP-POOR-WILL 
(both found by The Beasts of Birding on Howland Island); Red-headed 
Woodpecker; Olive-sided Flycatcher; and a Golden-winged Warbler on a 
trail at Esker Brook.

On September 15, Pete Hosner, Matt Medler, and Mike Andersen had 16 
Hudsonian Godwits at Montezuma.  There was one godwit remaining the 
next morning, and all the godwits appeared to have departed completely 
by that evening.  Other shorebirds at Montezuma included Sanderling, 
White-rumped and Baird’s Sandpipers, and both dowitchers.  Also, up to 
around 75 Great Egrets were seen at one time at May's Point.

Kevin McGowan found an adult nonbreeding LAUGHING GULL on the dock at 
Stewart Park on the morning of September 18.   Not only did it stay the 
afternoon, it was seen [by seemingly everybody but Ryan "I Need 
Laughing Gull for my Basin List" Bakelaar] as late as September 22.

On September 20, Mary Clark and Donna Trumble, volunteer workers at 
Montezuma NWR, reported seeing an immature PURPLE GALLINULE walking on 
the lily pads on the wildlife drive at Montezuma.  It was seen by one 
person that evening and by many observers in the next few days.  The 
Purple Gallinule stuck around for a long time, and was last reported on 
October 20.  This bird turned out to be the first of at least three 
Purple Gallinules seen in New York State this fall.

On the morning of September 22, Kevin and Jay McGowan found a probable 
female WESTERN TANAGER in Freeville while on a crow census.  The bird 
was flycatching in a dead tree on the corner of Sheldon and Boneplain 
Roads.  It was not seen again by others who looked for it later that 
day.

Chris Tessaglia-Hymes and Joe Brin reported a Red-necked Phalarope in 
the Savannah Mucklands on September 21, and the same day Matt Victoria 
reported another (or possibly the same) Red-necked Phalarope from May's 
Point.  Red-necked Phalaropes were seen until at least September 25.

Night migration peaked in the middle of the month, with thousands of 
thrushes (Hermit, Wood, Veery, Gray-cheeked, and Swainson’s), 
grosbeaks, warblers, sparrows, and various other night-migrants.  Also, 
in the middle of the night on September 29, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes 
recorded one or more flyover Dickcissels passing over his home in Etna. 

Towards the latter half of the month, migrant warblers continued to be 
seen.  Northern Parula, Mourning, Hooded, Pine, and Blue-winged 
Warblers were all reported.  On September 28, Jesse Ellis had a Rusty 
Blackbird at Hog Hole in Ithaca, and on September 29, Chris Tessaglia-
Hymes had (among other warblers) a late Yellow Warbler by the marina at 
Myers Point.  The same day, Laura Stenzler found an early female Surf 
Scoter at Myers Point.


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

September, August, and July 2002 David Cup Totals

258, 253, 246 Pete Hosner
249, 243, 235 Mike Andersen
247, 240, 233 Matt Medler
245, 239, 229 Jay McGowan
243, 236, 224 Jesse Ellis
241, 235, 226 Kevin McGowan
236, 233, 220 Meena Haribal
226, ???, ??? Steve & Susie Fast
222, 217, 209 Bruce Tracey
219, 208, 194 Jeff Gerbracht
218, 212, 197 Tim Lenz
???, ???, 208 Bob Fogg
???, ???, 206 Ken Rosenberg
206, 203, 181 Anne Marie Johnson
205, 197, 196 Dan Lebbin
???, ???, 202 Steve Kelling
202, 199, 179 Tim Johnson
200, 198, 183 Eric Banford
???, ???, 184 Allison Wells
???, ???, 182 Jeff Wells
172, 102, 102 Matt Williams
???, ???, 150 Anne James-Rosenberg
124, 120, 118 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
 97,  86,  85 Martin (the Cat) McGowan
???, ???,  45 Rachel Rosenberg

Eric Banford's 200th Bird:  Winter Wren
Anne Marie Johnson's 200th Bird:  Stilt Sandpiper


September, August, and July 2002 McIlroy Award Totals

180, 178, ??? Pete Hosner
176, 173, 163 Tim Lenz
173, 173, 173 Jai Balakrishnan
160, 154 Jay McGowan
148, 147 Kevin McGowan
140 Matt Medler
128 Allison Wells
127 Ken Rosenberg


September, August, and July 2002 Evans Trophy Totals

186, 178, 175 Jay McGowan
182, 176, 175 Kevin McGowan
170 Ken Rosenberg
164 Pete Hosner


September 2002 Yard Totals

140 Steve Kelling
127 McGowan/Kline Family
 95 Nancy Dickinson
 91 Rosenberg Family
 64 Anne Marie and Tim Johnson
 61 Jesse Ellis
 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

COMPOSITE DEPOSIT

There have been a whole lot of changes in the Composite Deposit since 
the last issue of The Cup at the end of June.  Expected "Fall Only" 
shorebirds like American Golden-Plover, Hudsonian Godwit, Baird's 
Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Long-billed 
Dowitcher, and Red-necked Phalarope were all added to the list in 
August or September, as were hoped-for and sought-after species like 
Eurasian Wigeon, American Avocet, Laughing Gull, and Connecticut 
Warbler.  Then there were the surprises, and what surprises they were:  
Purple Gallinule and Western Tanager!  

Adding these thirteen species to June's Composite Deposit of 252 would 
bring the year's total to 265, but we also have a subtraction.  After 
much deliberation, and an exhaustive study involving Cornell 
undergraduates running in front of headlights while flapping owl wings, 
we have decided to remove Snowy Owl from the Composite Deposit.  Thus, 
the Composite Deposit total stands at 264 at the end of September.

Finally, we have a name change to note.  The American Ornithologists' 
Union has recognized the North American form of Common Snipe (Gallinago 
gallinago) as a distinct species, Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata).  
That Wilson guy sure is good--he just keeps racking up new species! 

Here's the complete Composite Deposit:

R-t Loon, Common Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, 
D-c Cormorant, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great 
Egret, CATTLE EGRET, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, GLOSSY IBIS, Turkey 
Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED 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, EURASIAN 
WIGEON, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, 
Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Black Scoter, 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, B-w Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, 
Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, R-n Pheasant, 
Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, KING RAIL, Virginia Rail, Sora, PURPLE 
GALLINULE, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b Plover, 
American Golden-Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, AMERICAN AVOCET, 
G Yellowlegs, L Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, 
Upland Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, MARBLED GODWIT, Ruddy Turnstone, 
Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, W-r Sandpiper, 
Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, PURPLE SANDPIPER, Dunlin, Stilt 
Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, S-b Dowitcher, L-b Dowitcher, 
Wilson's Snipe, American Woodcock, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, 
LAUGHING GULL, LITTLE GULL, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, 
Iceland Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, SLATY-
BACKED GULL, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, 
Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E Screech-Owl, Great 
Horned Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, N Saw-whet Owl, Common 
Nighthawk, Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted 
Kingfisher, R-h Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy 
Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, O-s 
Flycatcher, E Wood-Pewee, Y-b Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Alder 
Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, E Phoebe, Great 
Crested Flycatcher, E Kingbird, N Shrike, WHITE-EYED VIREO, Y-t Vireo, 
B-h Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, R-e Vireo, Blue Jay, 
American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, 
Tree Swallow, N R-w Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, 
B-c Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch, Brown 
Creeper, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, G-c 
Kinglet, R-c Kinglet, B-g Gnatcatcher, E Bluebird, Veery, G-c Thrush, 
Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray 
Catbird, N Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, American 
Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, B-w Warbler, G-w Warbler, 
Tennessee Warbler, O-c Warbler, Nashville Warbler, N Parula, Yellow 
Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia, Cape May Warbler, B-t Blue Warbler, Y-r 
Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie 
Warbler, Palm Warbler, B-b Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean 
Warbler, B-and-w Warbler, American Redstart, W-e Warbler, Ovenbird, N 
Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, Mourning 
Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada 
Warbler, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, WESTERN TANAGER, E 
Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper 
Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, 
NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's 
Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland 
Longspur, Snow Bunting, N Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, 
Bobolink, R-w Blackbird, E Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle, 
B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Pine Grosbeak, Purple 
Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, 
American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow.


LEADER'S MISS LIST

CATTLE EGRET, Black Scoter, AMERICAN AVOCET, SLATY-BACKED GULL, WESTERN 
TANAGER, and Lapland Longspur.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!                       KICKIN' TAIL!                      !
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE CUP:  Congratulations, Pete!  Not only have you broken the hallowed 
record of 254 birds in the Basin in one year, you've downright 
shattered it, tallying 258 birds...by the end of September!  How did 
you do it?  I have three possible explanations, all of the supernatural 
variety:

1.  You went to the Basin's birding crossroads (the intersection of 
Route 89 and Routes 5/20), got down on your knees, and sold your soul 
to the devil, in exchange for Purple Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Whip-
poor-will, Yellow-breasted Chat, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, 
Connecticut Warbler, and Purple Gallinule.  (Not a bad deal, we might 
add.)

2.  You have some type of telepathic connection with fellow Michigan 
native (by the way, what is somebody from Michigan called?  A 
Michiganer?  Or is it Michiganite?) Adam Byrne, who channeled his 
prodigious birding powers to you.

3.  You joined Dionne Warwick's "Psychic Friends Network," which gave 
you the "vision" to predict when and where rare birds would appear.

Am I on track with any of these theories?  They all seem to make sense 
to me.

PETE:  I actually tried to sell my soul after the murrelet showed up 
last December, but all I found was this guy from the Montezuma Winery 
trying to get me to go in and buy some wine.  I thought this wine 
salesman may have been the dark lord himself, so I went in.  I choked 
down some chardonnay, and woke up the next day in my car on the 
wildlife drive.  I didn't remember signing a flaming contract in blood 
or anything like that, but that afternoon back in Ithaca, the gannet 
showed up.  Do the Cup clergy have any comment on this?

THE CUP:  Hmm.  We'll have to talk with Cup Shaman Matt Sarver to see 
if there's any hope of saving your soul.  Personally, I think you're 
toast.  I hope you've enjoyed the ride.  

THE CUP:  At the end of September, you're at 258 species.  With 
Halloween just around the corner, temperatures dropping, and fierce 
north winds coming down the lake, it's now time for two more "should 
get" species:  Black Scoter and Lapland Longspur.  Those two birds 
should definitely push you to the 260 plateau, if you haven't already 
reached it with a surprise species or two.  With sounds of "The Limbo" 
in the air, the question is:  "How high can you go?"     

PETE:  Well, after we won the Muckrace, Ryan Bakelaar told me that I 
better not match his Basin life list (265) in one year.  Now I love 
disappointing Ryan as much as anyone, so I would love to hit 265.  I 
think this is the highest number possible (it would take three to four 
completely unexpected birds).  My prediction at this point is 263--
picking up American White Pelican (which will show up at MNWR), Lapland 
Longspur, Black Scoter, Snowy Owl, and two unexpected surprises.

THE CUP:  Thanks for mentioning the Muckrace--I almost forgot about it.  
I asked Ryan to write an account of Team Malar Stripe's dominating, 
record-breaking performance, but being the humble guy that he is, he 
didn't quite feel comfortable detailing how you completely destroyed 
the so-called "The Beasts of Birding," composed of Matt Sarver, Matt 
Williams, Bob Fogg, and Niall Hatch.  Tell us all about your victory.

PETE:  Well, under normal circumstances I too would be humble.  
However, about half an hour after the Muckrace began, my team was 
listening to a Barred Owl call from Armitage Rd, when a beat up car 
spewing noxious fumes pulled up.  A cocky Matt Sarver stuck his head 
out the window and "dogmatically" stated "we got the owls in the first 
five minutes."  We said nothing, and were not impressed either, because 
we also already had the owls.  From that point on, "it was on" and the 
birding was at a level of intensity rarely seen.  We had 18 species 
before first light.  We covered eight miles of Howland Island on foot 
before leaving at 11:30 a.m.  In 15 minutes we had every shorebird 
(except one) at Mays Point, and found an eclipse Eurasian Wigeon.  
After that it was on to Towpath Road, a great spot that the other 
birders seemed to have missed.  This spot had the only Black-bellied 
Plover and Snow Goose on the Muckrace.  We drove around to pick up 
random field birds like Bluebird, Kestrel, and Savannah Sparrow before 
heading back to Mays for sunset.  This is what really put us ahead.  
While "The Beasts of Birding" were looking through their scopes after 
we pointed out the Eurasian Wigeon to them (and everyone else), three 
species flew over their heads (Redhead, Merlin, and Common Nighthawk) 
that would have tied them with us--if they had had the sense to keep 
watch of the sky.  Was that cocky enough?  

THE CUP:  Speaking of "winning," who do you think is going to win the 
battle for second place in this year's David Cup (and surpass all 
previous winning David Cup totals in the process)?  Mike Andersen has a 
few birds on me, but as a rookie Cupper, I think he's finally hit the 
wall in this grueling competition.  You've noticed signs of fatigue in 
him, haven't you?    

PETE:  Definitely.  Perhaps he has gotten mono from one of his many 
floozies.  Speaking of illness, you look a little pale, Medler.  Are 
you ok?  Is there something you aren't telling us?  You never complain 
if anything is wrong.  

THE CUP:  I'm doing just great.  Nothing that a little nitroglycerin 
can't fix.

THE CUP:  Getting back to more pressing issues, Jay McGowan is right 
near the top of the David Cup again this year, but I think he has 
essentially run out of new birds to see.  How do you like his chances 
for next year?  Do you think The Cup is his for the taking, or is he 
still a year away?

PETE:  If Jay has his license by spring, I think all the Basin birders 
are toast.  His schedule is even more flexible than mine.  When I was 
in high school, we had to write reports on history and study like that.  
I hear Jay gets credit for writing NYSARC reports.  Does digiscoping 
count as art credit for home-schooled students?    

THE CUP:  I think it fulfills the technology requirement that we have 
here in New York State.

THE CUP:  What are your birding plans for next year?  After winning The 
Cup and demolishing the Basin record, there's really not anything left 
for you to prove.  Except, maybe, that this year wasn't a fluke.  I 
mean, anybody can get lucky for one year.  And let's face it--some of 
your birds this year were gift-wrapped (and believe me, I know all 
about gift-wrapped birds):  Bohemian Waxwings so thick on campus that 
you had to beat them off with a stick, a Whip-poor-will in the 
Hawthorns that people flagged with a little orange ribbon around its 
neck, a Laughing Gull at Stewart Park that scored enough free food 
handouts to make Matt Sarver proud, and a Purple Gallinule that has 
apparently decided that Montezuma will make a nice place to spend the 
winter.  Can you say "gimmes?"    

PETE:  I actually worked hard for those birds.  I spent days at Keith 
Lane before getting the original Bohemian Waxwing in January.  When I 
got to the Hawthorns to look for the Whip-poor-will there was no one 
there (and I only had 20 minutes to find it because I had an exam that 
afternoon).

THE CUP:  Nobody at the Hawthorns, in mid-May?!  I find that hard to 
believe.  Just out of curiosity, when you were a little kid, would you 
go to the playground and then suddenly all the other kids would leave, 
because they had to, um, study?  Anyway, as you were saying...

PETE:  Were you at the Hawthorns?  Did you see the Whip?  Oh, I’m 
sorry.   

PETE:  It took me three tries to see the gallinule.  The Laughing Gull 
was easy though.  As for next year, I will not be competitive for The 
Cup; I plan on spending bird time digiscoping, skinning, and learning 
how to record bird songs.

THE CUP:  Those are all admirable pursuits, but this is *The Cup* we're 
talking about.  If you're in the Basin, you should be Cupping!

THE CUP:  Much to our chagrin, we still find you in the lead for the 
McIlroy Award.  Tim Lenz is out there birding in the Town of Ithaca 
every day, braving the brisk winds of Cayuga Lake, the "doggie 
mementos" of Hog Hole, and pesticide-laden, carcinogenic powerline 
cuts, and yet, you're still ahead of him this month.  It's just not 
right.  How is this happening?

PETE:  Tim should make sure he checked House Sparrow, Starling, and 
Ring-billed Gull.  I always forget those.

THE CUP:  We've also noticed that every time that Tim seems to overtake 
you in the McIlroy competition, you remember a few other birds that 
you've "forgotten."  

THE CUP:  We understand that you left the Basin over Cornell's fall 
break to visit your beloved Katie out at Stanford.  That was very sweet 
of you, but don't you know that when you hear the words "fall break," 
your mind should be thinking "Basin Sabine's Gull?"  [See October 
2000.]  Plus, you missed the first day of the Friends of the Library 
Book Sale, although we hear that the McGowan boys cleared out the bird 
section in short order.  That Jay can be a real bruiser when you're 
standing between him and an autographed copy of Roger Tory Peterson's 
"A Field Guide to the Birds."         

PETE:  It was my first trip to California, and I picked up 23 new 
birds, while scoring relationship points as well.  Usually I lose 
relationship points when I bird (e.g., skipping a dinner date while 
looking for the murrelet the first day).  

THE CUP:  OK, it's hard to argue with that combination of new birds and 
relationship points.  If only those could have been new Basin birds...


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

WAXWING POETIC

"I arise every morning torn between the desire to save the world and 
the desire to savor the world. It makes it hard to plan the day." 
- E. B. White

Well, I have run the gamut of volunteer contributors, so my turn is 
here. I got hooked on birds when I took birdwatching merit badge at 
scout camp, and have been parting the underbrush ever since.  Family 
trips to Maine and Florida fueled my passion.  I have kept journals 
forever, and enjoy writing poetry and songs.  In 2000, the chance to 
marry my profession of computers with my passion for birds was too much 
to resist, and thus my life at the Lab of O began!  And here we are...

If you do any nature writing (poetry, prose, the back of napkins), and 
you would like to share (don’t be shy!), please send your contributions 
to eric.banford@cornell.edu.

Bird! 
Eric

Spellview 
by Eric Banford

Not a peep
nor call
just the hushed
whisper
of feathers on wind.
I raise my eyes
and that familiar bob
begins.

Rise and fall,
rise and fall,
rise and..
my head follows
that undulating contour
that goldfinch conspire.

It rolls
as the hills,
as a wave,
as my mind.

Joyous in cahoots
I follow
until at last 
the spellview
is broken.

Blink.

Sigh.


Return.

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


"Cup Quotes"

Last night, Aleta and I went to Myers Point Town Park to use the 
playground and to see if any birds might be around.
- Chris Tessaglia-Hymes

We started the day at Stewrat Park when it's cool.  I counted 25 
CASPIAN TERNS, and 5 GREAT BLUE HERONS.  From there we headed to 
Charlies Diner in Dryden for a plateful of excellent BLUEBERRY 
PANCAKES.
- Steve and Susie Fast

At Montezuma we expected great concentrations of shorebirds, pursuant 
to the advice we've had about cold fronts and north winds.  In the 
ditch about 100 yards in on the right from the start of the auto loop 
we found 5 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and 1 KILLDEER.  
The new "wetland" next door had 1 KILLDEER.  Benning Marsh showed 10 
CASPIAN TERNS, 15 KILLDEER, some geese, 3 ducks, and 1 SEMIPALMATED 
SANDPIPER.  OOOOOOOOH!  MAYS POINT POOL had the distinction of 
presenting even FEWER shorebirds than Benning.  
- Steve and Susie Fast

I apologize for changing the subject a bit... but these emails remind 
me of a question I just can't seem to answer. That is, if carrots are 
so good for the eyes, how come I see so many dead rabbits on the 
highway?
- Steve Kelling

Three American Avocets were at May's Point pool on Thursday evening 
(7:30 pm).
- Bernie Carr

Stopped by Myers Point at noon today, unfortunately, the dogs 
outnumbered the birds on the point.
Dogs:  3 (2 Black Labs and 1 Neapolitan Mastiff)
Birds:  2 (Killdeer and Sanderling)
- Jeff Gerbracht

I used to really be into the Care Bears.
- Matt Sarver

Has anyone else noticed that the male of the pair of grey domestics 
that have been there for a while (with goslings) got cuckolded?  The 
offspring of the grey domestic pair appear to actually be hybrids with 
a Canada Goose!  They're pretty funky looking...
- Jesse Ellis

The shorebird habitat is looking better each day!
- Pete Hosner

I am familiar with the species.  
- Pete Hosner, to Dominic Sherony, following Dominic's description of 
an American Bittern (as a Green Heron flew by)

I saw a male Connecticut Warbler in Sapsucker Woods today at 6:05pm.  
It was skulking in a bush with red berries on the right side of the 
first marsh overlook off the trail as you emerge from the woods.  It 
responded to pishing.
Also, there was a juvenile racoon with an injured hindleg on the trail.
- Dan Lebbin 

Yesterday I posted my sighting quickly because I had milk sitting in my 
car for over an hour and wanted to get home, plus I was supposed to 
meet my room mate (who I missed by 5 minutes).
- Dan Lebbin

Other interesting sightings were on Woodchuck who came running straight 
to me scared the hell out of me.  I wondered why he did that, only 
looking around I found he had no choice but to go past me to his hiding 
ground.
- Meena Haribal

Go!  Get up there and watch for hawks!
- Kevin McGowan

Also, I flushed a weird bird from the marsh on Bluegrass Lane.  It was 
black, small, fat, and gave a strange nasal callnote.
- Tim Lenz

I know this is a bit late, but I thought I'd keep the info flowing.  
The BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was still present at Mays Point Pool when 
Dan Lebbin and I left at 7:30 tonight.  The light was great and we got 
knee-jellifying looks at this bird, even though it was across the pool.
- Jesse Ellis

There were seven American Kestrels hunting from the wires along the 
dirt road to the radio towers on Mt Pleasant Road about 5:00 pm today. 
Another at the observatory brings the total to eight (WOW - give her a 
prize for arithmetic!!).
- Marie Read

I refuse to count a Mallard-Black Duck hybrid [as a Black Duck] for the 
Muckrace!
- Ryan Bakelaar

If wimping out means getting to Montezuma from Ithaca by 7:00 am, then 
call me a wimp.  The Valiant and I made the trek this morning in search 
of the flock of Godwits...
- Jesse Ellis

Nights like last night make me really want to study Bill Evan's 
Nocturnal Flight Call CD.
- Steve Kelling

Kevin just called to say that he has a winter-plumaged LAUGHING GULL 
sitting on the dock at Stewart Park.
- Jay McGowan

It [the Laughing Gull] seemed to enjoy the Southwest Sourdough bread we 
fed it from the Ithaca Bakery.
- Pete Hosner

A report came in today of an immature Purple Gallinule on the main 
drive at Montezuma (tan head, no white stripe, greenish wings).  It has 
not yet been confirmed, but it sounds good and is not unexpected.
- Kevin McGowan

Getting rained off work and having nothing better to do, I thought I 
would try to find some birdies. 
- Steve Fast

This morning Jay and I saw a probable WESTERN TANAGER female outside of 
Freeville...
- Kevin McGowan

Subject:  MNWR Purple Gallinule...you can't hide from a Ford Tempo!
At 6:50, the sun was setting, and our hopes were fading.  We drove down 
the canal one last time, with Mike sitting on the roof of the car.  At 
7:00pm, 100 ft. past marker two (this is farther down than it has been 
reported in the past), Mike called out that he had the bird.  We all 
climbed up on the roof, and we all got decent views of the bird 
(although the lighting wasn't great, it was better than before sunset).  
I got out my scope and had a brief scope view, and we watched the bird 
actively forage for 10 minutes before it disappeared.  The bird kept 
grabbing lily pads with its bill and turning them over to look for 
invertebrates.  Matt's car survived with only minor denting.
- Pete Hosner

This morning I went to the Jetty Woods, Mundy Wildflower Garden, and 
then Freese Rd.  There were birds everywhere!!
- Tim Lenz

May Your Cup Runneth Over,
Matt