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Year 8, Issue 12

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*The Cup 8.12 - December 2003
*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Jay McGowan
*  Numbers Compiler:  J. W. McGowan
*  Highlights:  Kevin McGowan
*  More highlights:  J. McGowan
*  Guest Interviewer:  Allison Wells
*  Current Events: Matt Medler
*  Poetry Composer:  Eric Banford
*  Puzzles & Games:  Jay McGowan
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     Welcome to The Cup 8.12 end-of-year super-issue!  This installment 
contains an incredible variety of information and entertainment for all 
of you, Cuppers and Non-Cuppers alike.
     We have wads of statistics and numbers, including requisites such 
as the final tallies for all Cuppers in David Cup, McIlroy, Evans, and 
Yard competitions; but also some entirely new assemblages of data, such 
as the winning Cup totals from the past, and the Basin Life Lists!
     We have oodles of bird lists, including the final Basin year list, 
the all-new Ithaca year list, the birding highlights from December, and 
the highlights from the entire year!
     We have dozens of new articles (okay, not dozens, but a few), 
including a comprehensive breakdown of the rarities of 2003 as compared 
to other years and a review of the 2003 Cupper Supper!
     This issue also contains (if you can believe it): TWO brand-new 
interviews of the David Cup and McIlroy Award winners, both conducted 
by former editor Allison Wells; poetry (in both Cup Quotes and actual 
poem form); a word-search of the rare birds of 2003 for all you puzzle-
loving birders; and, much, much more.  Actually not--I think I've given 
it all away.  Oh well.

     But most astonishing of all, it's here in FEBRUARY, less than TWO 
MONTHS from the end of the year!  Pretty amazing, considering we're 
still waiting for the concluding issue of 2002.

So anyway, if you can still read after all that amazement, here is The 
Cup 8.12...


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


Final (December) 2003 David Cup Totals

252 JAY MCGOWAN
245 Kevin McGowan
243 Tim Lenz
241 Ken Rosenberg
238 Steve Kelling
237 Pete Hosner
233 Steve and Susan Fast
229 Meena Haribal
225 Matt Medler
225 Jesse Ellis
225 Mike Andersen
220 Bruce Tracey
214 Bard Prentiss
212 Jeff Wells
207 Mark Chao
204 Jeff Gerbracht
204 Dan Lebbin
197 Allison Wells
186 Julie Hart
125 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
 91 Martin (the Cat) McGowan
 34 Evan Wells


Final (December) 2003 McIlroy Award (Ithaca) Totals

What a ride!  The competition between Ithaca leader Ken and Tim was 
fierce at the end, but Tim Lenz finally prevailed--by one species!  
This sets a new all-time Ithaca year high, breaking the previous record 
of 207, set by Allison Wells in 1997.

212 TIM LENZ
211 Ken Rosenberg
167 Jay McGowan
160 Kevin McGowan
156 Jeff Gerbracht
??? Allison Wells (less than Tim Lenz, but not much less)


Final (December) 2003 Evans Trophy (Dryden) Totals

Not much competition in Dryden this year...funnily enough, my winning 
total this year is exactly the same as last year.

193 JAY MCGOWAN
183 Kevin McGowan
158 Bard Prentiss
125 Tringa McGowan
 91 Martin McGowan


Final (December) 2003 Yard Totals

Steve Kelling had an incredible run in his yard in Caroline this year.

160 STEVE KELLING, CAROLINE
130 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden


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EDITOR'S NOTE 1:  Cupper membership

This is a brief reminder to all you lurking Cuppers out there that 
there is no shame in low numbers.  I respectfully entreat all of you 
who are not currently participating to do so, and to suggest the same 
to your friends.

Remember, although this may be termed a 'competition,' and although the 
rivalry may become heated at times (just calm down, Ken), we are all in 
it for the fun of seeing birds.  Since the David Cup began, species 
lists and rarities have increased dramatically.  Coincidence?  Not at 
all.  Even the mild competition was enough to spur many people to go 
out birding a little more often, pay a little more attention, and the 
result was an even better and more alert birding community.

In conclusion, I hope many of you will join us in the David Cup 2004!

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EDITOR'S NOTE 2:  Town Lists

This is a note to those folks who are already participating (or are 
planning to participate) in the David Cup in 2004.  Few people have 
been participating in the Ithaca and Dryden competitions (not to 
mention the Yard and Etna competitions) during the last couple of 
years.  I hope that more people will send in town lists this year.  For 
some of you who feel that Montezuma is just too darn far away, here is 
a way to be competitive by birding in your own backyard, or at least 
not too far away from it.  I look forward to receiving your town lists 
soon!

--Jay McGowan, Cup Editor

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CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP/CUP

Cupper Supper Review
by Matt Medler

SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP\SUP

     From the sounds of Santana greeting arriving Cuppers to the much-
anticipated presentation of the David Cup and McIlroy Award, the eighth 
annual Cupper Supper proved to be even better than a day of warbler-
watching in the Hawthorn Orchards in mid-May.  The turnout at Ken and 
Anne Rosenberg's home was heavy, and included Cuppers past (Chris and 
Diane Tessaglia-Hymes), present, and future (Evan Wells, and Francie 
and Tilden Chao, among others).
     Following a delicious dish-to-pass dinner, Cuppers adjourned to 
the basement, where, after Olivia and Rachel Rosenberg wrestled their 
toys away from Tim Lenz, the awards ceremony began.  Just like last 
year's MTV Music Awards and the recent Super Bowl halftime show, there 
was a minor "incident" that had everybody talking--master of ceremonies 
Matt Medler performed an impromptu striptease of sorts, wriggling out 
of his shirt to reveal his original 1996 David Cup t-shirt.  After he 
was wrestled to the ground by security and reclothed, he announced the 
following 2003 Cupper Survey winners:

Bird of the Year:  Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Birder of the Year:  Jay McGowan (followed closely by Tim Lenz)
Newcomer of the Year:  Mark Chao
Most Likely to Win the 2004 David Cup:  Jay McGowan (in a landslide)
Most Likely to Win the 2004 McIlroy Award:  Ken Rosenberg
Best Cupper Vehicle:  Tim Lenz's Vegas Gangster Crown Victoria LTD
Cutest Cupper Couple:   Ken Rosenberg and Jeff Wells (or was it really 
Julie Hart and Matt Medler?)
Rosenberg Award for Slowest Reporting of Bird Sightings:  Ken Rosenberg

Then it was on to the big awards--the Evans Trophy for highest Town of
Dryden total, the McIlroy Award for highest Town of Ithaca total, and 
the granddaddy of them all, the David Cup, given to the highest Cayuga 
Lake Basin total for the year.  Jay McGowan cleaned up in two of three 
categories, taking home the beautiful Evans Trophy (a miniature Wood
Duck box lovingly crafted by Bard Prentiss) and the equally beautiful
David Cup a chunk of wood bored in the middle by Steve Kelling).  Tim 
Lenz, who came so close to capturing the McIlroy Award last year, and 
who worked so hard this year to demolish Allison Well's old record and 
hold off Ken Rosenberg, earned the McIlroy Award (Allison's old Pony 
basketball sneaker).  In perhaps the most ironic moment of the evening, 
Tim almost left the much sought-after sneaker in Ken basement as he 
left at the end of the festivities.
     All in all, it was a wonderful evening of bird nerd camaraderie.
Despite often seeing the same birds as fellow Cuppers, it is not always 
so common to see birders like Bruce Tracey and Steve and Susan
Fast in the field.  Plus, it was great to see the fire in the eye of 
new Cup participants like Mickey Scilingo, Melanie Driscoll, Scott 
Haber, and Lena Samsonenko.  Who knows?  Maybe one of them will be 
taking home the hardware at the next Cupper Supper...
     Finally, we at The Cup would like to present a huge "thank you!" 
to Anne James-Rosenberg for opening her home for the Cupper Supper and 
providing such gracious hospitality.  Thanks, Anne!
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BASIN COMPOSITE DEPOSIT

December added Northern Gannet and Hoary Redpoll to the year total, 
bringing the final tally to *271* (two more than 2002).

Here is the final list by my reckoning:

R-t Loon, PACIFIC LOON, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, 
EARED GREBE, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL, NORTHERN 
GANNET, D-c Cormorant, Am. Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, 
Great Egret, CATTLE EGRET, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, GLOSSY IBIS, 
WHITE-FACED IBIS, Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, GREATER 
WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, Snow Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, Canada Goose, Brant, 
Wood Duck, G-w Teal, Am. Black Duck, Mallard, N. Pintail, B-w Teal, N. 
Shoveler, Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, EURASIAN WIGEON, Canvasback, Redhead, R-
n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Black Scoter, Surf 
Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, 
Hooded Merganser, C. 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, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine 
Falcon, GYRFALCON, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Virginia 
Rail, Sora, C. Moorhen, Am. Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b Plover, Am. 
Golden-Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, 
Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, WILLET, Spotted Sandpiper, 
Upland Sandpiper, WHIMBREL, Hudsonian Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, 
Sanderling, WESTERN SANDPIPER, 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, Am. Woodcock, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n 
Phalarope, RED PHALAROPE, PARASITIC JAEGER, POMARINE JAEGER, FRANKLIN'S 
GULL, LAUGHING GULL, LITTLE GULL, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring 
Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, 
Caspian Tern, C. Tern, ARCTIC TERN, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Rock 
Dove, Mourning Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E. Screech-Owl, Great 
Horned Owl, SNOWY OWL, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, N. Saw-whet Owl, 
C. Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-b 
Woodpecker, R-h 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, B-h Vireo, Y-t Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia 
Vireo, R-e Vireo, Blue Jay, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, C. 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, Am. 
Robin, European Starling, Gray Catbird, N. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, 
Am. 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 Warbler, 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-&-w Warbler, Am. Redstart, W-e Warbler, Ovenbird, 
N. Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, C. 
Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, YELLOW-
BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Chipping 
Sparrow, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah 
Sparrow, Grasshopper 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, DICKCISSEL, Bobolink, R-w Blackbird, E. 
Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, 
Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Common Redpoll, HOARY 
REDPOLL, Pine Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow.

LEADER'S MISS LIST

Here is what I missed this year:

NORTHERN GANNET, CATTLE EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, EURASIAN WIGEON, WHIMBREL, 
WESTERN SANDPIPER, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, RED PHALAROPE, 
PARASITIC JAEGER, POMARINE JAEGER, LITTLE GULL, LAUGHING GULL, SNOWY 
OWL, L-e Owl, R-h Woodpecker, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, G-w Warbler, HOARY 
REDPOLL.

---------------------------------------------
Two other birds that deserve mention as well are Trumpeter Swan and 
Northern Bobwhite, both of which, though seen in the wild here, are not 
technically countable (see article in the Aug-Sep '03 issue).
---------------------------------------------



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ITHACA COMPOSITE DEPOSIT

On request, I have put together a total list for birds seen in the Town 
of Ithaca in 2003.  I did it primarily from postings and known lists, 
so there are bound to be some omissions.  The number that I have now, 
however, is 236 species:

R-t Loon, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, WILSON'S STORM-
PETREL, BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL, N. GANNET, D-c Cormorant, Am. 
Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, 
Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, Snow Goose, 
ROSS'S GOOSE, Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, G-w Teal, Am. Black Duck, 
Mallard, N. Pintail, B-w Teal, N. Shoveler, Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, 
Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, 
Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded 
Merganser, C. 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, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, 
R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Am. Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b 
Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser 
Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, WILLET, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland 
Sandpiper, WHIMBREL, RUDDY TURNSTONE, Sanderling, Semipalmated 
Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, PURPLE SANDPIPER, 
Dunlin, S-b Dowitcher, Am. Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, RED-NECKED 
PHALAROPE, RED PHALAROPE, POMARINE JAEGER, PARASITIC JAEGER, LAUGHING 
GULL, LITTLE GULL, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland 
Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, C. 
Tern, ARCTIC TERN, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Rock Pigeon, Mourning 
Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E. Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred 
Owl, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, C. Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, R-t 
Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy 
Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, E. Wood-
Pewee, Y-b Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least 
Flycatcher, E. Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, E. Kingbird, N. 
Shrike, B-h Vireo, Y-t Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, R-e 
Vireo, Blue Jay, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, C. 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, Am. Robin, European 
Starling, Gray Catbird, N. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Am. Pipit, 
BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, B-w Warbler, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, 
Tennessee Warbler, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, Nashville Warbler, N. 
Parula, Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, CAPE MAY 
WARBLER, B-t Blue Warbler, Y-r Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Blackburnian 
Warbler, CERULEAN WARBLER, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, 
B-b Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, B-&-w Warbler, Am. Redstart, Ovenbird, 
N. Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, C. 
Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, Scarlet 
Tanager, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, 
Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, NELSON'S SHARP-
TAILED SPARROW, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp 
Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, D-e Junco, Snow Bunting, N. 
Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, DICKCISSEL, Bobolink, R-w 
Blackbird, E. Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, B-h Cowbird, 
ORCHARD ORIOLE, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Pine 
Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow.


LEADER'S MISS LIST

24 species eluded McIlroy champion Tim Lenz in 2003:

ROSS'S GOOSE, N. Goshawk, Golden Eagle, R-n Pheasant, Semipalmated 
Plover, Sandhill Crane, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Upland Sandpiper, 
Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Pectoral Sandpiper, S-b Dowitcher, POMARINE 
JAEGER, PARASITIC JAEGER, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, NORTHERN SAW-WHET 
OWL, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER, 
CERULEAN WARBLER, ORCHARD ORIOLE, Evening Grosbeak

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DECEMBER 2003 HIGHLIGHTS
by Jay McGowan

In December, the winter finches that tantalized us in November began to 
descend in better numbers, but still remained fairly elusive.  A few 
EVENING GROSBEAKS were seen in Caroline, as well as the very dependable 
flock of about 55 on Fillmore Lane in Summerhill.  COMMON REDPOLLS and 
PINE SISKINS were also present in moderate numbers around Summerhill.  
Other interesting birds at Summerhill included NORTHERN GOSHAWKS, and 
two just-out-of-basin rarities: a BOHEMIAN WAXWING on Lick Street (in 
the southern part of Summerhill) found by Ken Rosenberg and Jeff Wells 
found on the 20th; and a RED CROSSBILL in the more northern part of 
Summerhill.  Many NORTHERN SHRIKES were seen at various locations 
throughout the month, including Summerhill and Sapsucker Woods.
On December 14th, Anne Marie and Tim Johnson saw and photographed a 
perfect male HOARY REDPOLL at their house in Caroline.  They continued 
to see this bird very sporadically for the next two or three days, but 
no one else was able to see it.

The immature PEREGRINE FALCON continued to roost on Bradfield Tower on 
Cornell Campus, and many people got great looks at this usually-elusive 
species.  An adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was seen at Sapsucker Woods on 
December 26th, and has lingered (so far) into February.  Could this be 
the same bird as last year?

On the 4th, Tim Lenz had a brief encounter with a NORTHERN GANNET at 
Stewart Park that flew over and quickly disappeared to the west.  
Unfortunately, no one else was able to find this bird.

The DICKCISSEL frequenting the feeders of Lisa Wood in south Ithaca was 
seen as late as December 14th.

Bob McGuire found a SHORT-EARED OWL on the spit at Myers Point on 
December 7th.

On the 14th, Kevin and Jay McGowan found a single ROSS'S GOOSE in a 
huge Snow Goose flock at Aurora Bay.

A few winter gulls were around in December as well.  Kevin McGowan 
found a juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL at the Stevenson Road compost on the 
16th.  Possibly the same Glaucous Gull was later seen on the ice off 
Stewart Park.  Two different LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen the 
21st, one at Myers Point and the other near Stewart Park.  An ICELAND 
GULL was also seen at Stewart Park on the 25th.  Iceland, Glaucous, and 
Lesser Black-backed Gulls were all present around Seneca Falls and the 
north end of the lake as well.
---------------------------------------------



THE YEAR IN REVIEW: 2003 BIRD HIGHLIGHTS
by Kevin McGowan

The year 2003 was a good one for Basin birding.  The active birding 
community turned up over 270 species in the Cayuga Lake Basin.  Here is 
a brief roundup of the highlights of Basin birding in 2003.

Last winter was a northern finch-less one, so birders had to be content 
with other winter birds.  The most exciting of these was a GYRFALCON 
found on 11 January at Farleys Point.  It remained until at least 
March, but was elusive.  It was seen eventually by a number of people, 
but never for long.  Conflicting descriptions by different observers 
indicate that two different Gyrfalcons were present.  Other winter 
visitors of note were BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at Union Springs, BOHEMIAN 
WAXWING outside the new Lab of Ornithology building, a LITTLE GULL at 
Stewart Park, and a SNOWY OWL seen briefly in the Savannah Mucklands.

Early spring brought brief looks by single parties at PACIFIC LOON off 
of Varick (new to the Basin list, and in breeding plumage!), CATTLE 
EGRET in Aurora, and WILLET at Stewart Park.  Joining these during May 
were six GLOSSY IBIS on Armitage Road near Montezuma NWR, a FRANKLIN'S 
GULL at Myers Point, a singing CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in Slaterville 
Springs, and a rather uncooperative YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at the new 
Dorothy McIlroy Preserve at Lake Como.  Other interesting spring 
visitors included WILSON'S PHALAROPE, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, and 
possible night migrant BICKNELL'S THRUSH.

In June, we were treated to a longer visit by a WILLET, this time at 
Myers Point, another CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in Newfield, and a brief 
touchdown by a LAUGHING GULL at Myers Point.

The summer was a bit slow for unusual birds.  Conspicuous by their 
absence were Henslow's Sparrows, which were not seen at all in the 
Basin this year.  The failure of the Middaugh Road Red-headed 
Woodpecker to appear made this species seem particularly scarce, too.  
Perhaps the highlight of the season was the observation of the SANDHILL 
CRANES off of Carncross Road, north of Montezuma.  A pair of cranes has 
been seen there every year for several years, but this time they were 
seen with a chick, making this the first confirmed nesting of Sandhill 
Cranes in the state.

September brought the biggest birding story of the year:  Hurricane 
Isabel.  Although the hurricane went further west than we had hoped, it 
still managed to dump a few interesting birds in our laps.  The day the 
storm passed by, a number of southbound migrants that normally would 
fly by at high altitudes made brief stops on the lake.  These were an 
ARCTIC TERN, a flock of RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, and a WHIMBREL.  
The next day the jetsam of the storm itself were found:  at least two 
WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS (new species for the Basin), a LAUGHING GULL, 
and a PARASITIC JAEGER.  On the next day a Wilson's Storm-Petrel was 
still around offshore of Stewart Park, but it was joined by another 
similar, but slightly different-looking storm-petrel, a BAND-RUMPED 
STORM-PETREL.  If this record is accepted by NYSARC, it will represent 
the first sighting of Band-rumped for the state.

Perhaps brought in some fashion by the hurricane, although just how 
eludes me, an ibis was seen at Montezuma just after the storm.  It 
stuck around and was cooperative enough to allow observers long looks 
about a week later.  Some were able to notice the red eyes and face, 
and realized that the bird was not the Glossy Ibis it was thought to 
be, but was instead a WHITE-FACED IBIS, another new species for the 
Basin.

Fall migration provided a number of pretty good birds at Montezuma, 
including a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at May's Point, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, 
and EURASIAN WIGEON.  At the other end of the lake at Hog's Hole were a 
PURPLE SANDPIPER and a NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW.

November provided a handful of rarities, including a DICKCISSEL at a 
feeder south of Ithaca.  Briefly seen at Stewart Park were a LAUGHING 
GULL, a pair of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, and a probable POMARINE 
JAEGER.  Not so rare, but uncommon and greatly appreciated were a 
couple of birds appearing on the Cornell campus.  A BARRED OWL slept 
for a day in a very obvious spot near the vet school, and was seen by 
dozens of people.  A PEREGRINE FALCON was discovered roosting on the 
high "cliffs" of Bradfield Tower.  It kept to a predictable routine, 
allowing many people to observe it.

December still had more fun birds in store, with a brief visit by a 
NORTHERN GANNET to Stewart Park, and a ROSS'S GOOSE in a Snow Goose 
flock in Aurora.  The predictions were for an interesting northern 
finch winter, but it was slow in coming.  A handful of Evening Grosbeak 
and Pine Siskin sightings in November got everyone excited, but even 
these were hard to find.  Common Redpoll reports were few and far 
between, but at least they were around.  The highlight for the season 
to date was a brief and intermittent visit to Slaterville Springs by a 
nicely marked male HOARY REDPOLL.  Unfortunately, this rare visitor was 
seen only by Tim and Anne Marie Johnson, but fortunately they managed 
to take some nice photographs that they were able to share with the 
rest of us.

All in all, 2003 was a pretty good year for birds around Ithaca.  
Here's hoping that 2004 will be just as much fun.
---------------------------------------------



****************************
The Rarity Review:
An Analysis of Occurrence
****************************

by Jay McGowan

After our most remarkable year, I thought it might be interesting to 
delve back into the archives to see how 2003 compared with the last few 
years, in terms of rarities at least.  I used primarily Matt Medler's 
excellent annual first-records, which date back to 1999, and old issues 
of The Cup (back to 1996) for the time before then.

----------

First, the rarities that WERE seen in 2003, and some brief discussion 
of each:

PACIFIC LOON - the first (indisputable, at least) Basin Pacific Loon 
was found last year.  At the end of 2002, a possible Pacific was seen 
at the south end of the lake, but never confirmed.

EARED GREBE - this winter (2003-2004) is the fifth winter an Eared 
Grebe has been seen consistently in Aurora Bay.  Although these days 
this bird is all but guaranteed, before January 2000 this western 
species was virtually unheard of in the Basin.  In spring 2003, TWO 
Eared Grebes were seen together for the first time in the same area, 
but only one individual has been seen this season.

WILSON'S and BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL - both of these species are new 
to the Basin list (assuming Band-rumped is accepted by NYSARC).  
Hurricanes have brought pelagic species to the Basin in the past: a 
Herald Petrel (virtually the only North American record of this 
species) was found in Caroline Center in 1933, and a Black-capped 
Petrel was found some time before then (Bull's Birds of New York 
State).  However, this was the first time any storm-petrel had been 
seen in the Basin.

NORTHERN GANNET - this was, I believe, the third Basin record for this 
species.  The last time a Northern Gannet was seen in the Basin was in 
December 2001, during the Long-billed Murrelet episode.  As with that 
sighting, the December 2003 bird was a juvenile.

CATTLE EGRET - this species has been seen every year since 1996, with 
the exception of 1998.  It was seen twice last year.

GLOSSY IBIS - Since 1996, Glossy Ibis has been seen in 1999, 2001, and 
2002.  They are usually first seen in the spring (as last year), and 
occasionally have stayed or reappeared in the fall (unlike last year).

WHITE-FACED IBIS - Seen at Montezuma the week after the hurricane, this 
species was, of course, a new Basin record.  Although they are 
essentially annual in New Jersey, there were only nine New York records 
of this southwestern species previous to this one (Bull's Birds of New 
York State), with all recent sightings being from Long Island.

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE - this species has been seen every year 
since 1996.

ROSS'S GOOSE - First added to the Basin list in 1990, this species was 
seen in every year from 1996 to 2003 with the exception of 1998.

EURASIAN WIGEON - Eurasian Wigeon has been seen every year since 1996.

BARROW'S GOLDENEYE - since 1996, this species was seen in 1997, 2000 
and 2001.

GYRFALCON - The last Gyrfalcon in the Basin was an individual in 
January 2001; before that, one was seen in 1998.  The two individuals 
in 2003 were indeed remarkable.

SANDHILL CRANE - this species has been seen every year since 1998.  
However, 2003 marked the first confirmed breeding of Sandhills in New 
York and the Basin, when a chick was seen with two adults at Carncross 
Road near Howland's Island.

WILLET - Last year's two Willets (one in April and one in June) were, 
apparently, the first since before 1996.  Willet, like Whimbrel, Purple 
Sandpiper and many other even less-often recorded species, are usually 
strictly coastal, and only rarely turn up inland.

WHIMBREL - Whimbrel was last seen in 2000, when one appeared briefly on 
the spit at Myers Point.  Whimbrel was also seen 1996 and 1998.

WESTERN SANDPIPER - last year's Western Sandpipers were the first 
confirmed since 1999.  Before then, this species was seen in 1996, 
1997, and 1998.

PURPLE SANDPIPER - as most people know, 2003 is the second year in a 
row that Purple Sandpiper has been seen in the Basin, as well as the 
fourth individual bird.  Although Purples are found regularly in winter 
on Lake Ontario, before 2002, the last record in the Basin was 
apparently a bird collected at Myers Point in 1949.  However, an 
individual was found on Myers Point in May of 2002; later, in November 
of 2002, TWO Purples showed up at Myers; and of course in 2003, one was 
found on the jetty at the south end of the lake in October.

RED PHALAROPE - the only Red Phalarope after 1996 and prior to 2003 was 
one at Montezuma in 1999.  The hurricane-provoked mixed-phalarope 
flocks at the south end of the lake last September certainly were a 
unique phenomenon.

POMARINE JAGER - the slightly uncertain sighting of this species last 
November would be the first Basin record.

PARASITIC JAEGER - 1996 was last time this species was seen in the 
Basin, although a jaeger sp. was seen in 1997.

LAUGHING GULL - Laughing Gulls were seen in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 
2002.  Several Laughing Gulls were seen throughout 2003, from an adult 
in June to a juvenile in September and later (possibly the same bird in 
November?)

FRANKLIN'S GULL - Franklin's Gull was seen in 1997 and 1998, but not 
again until 2003.

LITTLE GULL - Little Gull has been seen every year since 1996.

ARCTIC TERN - no records exist of this species in the Basin for quite a 
long time.  As with the Red Phalaropes, it is thought that this bird, 
seen during the hurricane in September, was probably migrating at a 
high altitude overland.  When it encountered the storm, it was forced 
to come to earth, thus providing a rare observation for us.

SNOWY OWL - Snowy Owl has been found in the Basin every year since 
1997, though not in 1996.  Last winter this species was quite scarce in 
our area, and this winter it is proving to be even more so.

BOHEMIAN WAXWING - Bohemian Waxwings have been seen fairly sporadically 
in the Basin.  They were seen in 1996, 1999, 2000, and 2002, as well as 
last year.

YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT - Before last year, chats were seen only in 1996 
and 2002.

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW - Last year yielded two Clay-colored Sparrows.  
These were the first since 1996, although one was seen just outside of 
the Basin in Newfield in May of 2001.

NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW - This species has been seen in 1996, 
1998, and 2002.  However, it probably passes through every year.

DICKCISSEL - We have gotten Dickcissel for the Basin list nearly every 
year for the past few (in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002); but last 
year was the first in a long while any have been actually chaseable--
they are typically observed by only one or two individuals, and then 
usually only by flight note.  The cooperative (most of the time) male 
at a feeder in south Ithaca was a welcome change.

HOARY REDPOLL - Hoaries are seen only occasionally in the Basin.  
Before 2003, they were seen in 1996, 1998, and 2000.

----------

Some of the more notable misses last year include Henslow's Sparrow 
(for the first time since before 1996).  Pine Grosbeak, not too 
surprisingly, was not seen either, and both crossbills were missed as 
well.  Prothonotary Warbler, seen every year from 1996 to 2000, was 
first missed in 2001 and has not been seen again.  Whip-poor-will, 
reported nearly every year, also was missed.  Red-headed Woodpeckers, 
though seen in the north of the Basin, were scarce in 2003.  The same 
went for Long-eared Owl; the only record for 2003 was from the very 
northern part of the Basin.

Now, here are the rarities which have been seen in the last few years 
that were NOT seen in 2003 (figures in parentheses indicate years in 
which they were seen):

American White Pelican (1997, 2000, 2002)
Snowy Egret (1997, 1999)
Tricolored Heron (1999)
Little Blue Heron (1996)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (one reported at Montezuma in August 2003, 
no details) (1996)
Wood Stork (2001)
Black Vulture (1997, 1998, 2001)
King Eider (1999)
King Rail (reported at Montezuma in May 2003, no details) (2002)
Purple Gallinule (2002)
Piping Plover (2001)
American Avocet (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002)
Marbled Godwit (1996, 2002)
Curlew Sandpiper (1998)
Ruff (1999)
Black-headed Gull (2002)
Thayer's Gull (1997, 1999, 2000)
Slaty-backed Gull (2002)
Black-legged Kittiwake (2002)
Sabine's Gull (1997, 2000)
Long-billed Murrelet (2001)
Whip-poor-will (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002)
Western Kingbird (1997, 2000)
Loggerhead Shrike (2000)
White-eyed Vireo (1996, 1997, 1999, 2002)
Sedge Wren (reported on Montezuma Muckrace in September 2003, no 
details) (1997, 2000)
Prothonotary Warbler (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
Yellow-throated Warbler (1996)
Kentucky Warbler (1997, 1999)
Connecticut Warbler (1996, 2000, 2002)
Western Tanager (2002)
Henslow's Sparrow (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002)
Western Meadowlark (2000)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (1996, 1997, 1999, 2001)
Pine Grosbeak (1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002)

---------------------------------------------


******WINNING CUP TOTALS THROUGH HISTORY******
2003 was the 8th consecutive year of the David Cup.  I thought some 
people might be interested in seeing past winners and their totals.

1996: 251 Karl David
1997: 242 Kevin McGowan & Stephen Davies
1998: 239 Matt Young
1999: 246 Matt Young
2000: 251 Geo Kloppel
2001: 248 Bob Fogg & Matt Williams
2002: 263 Pete Hosner
2003: 252 Jay McGowan
---------------------------------------------


!!!!!!!CAYUGA LAKE BASIN LIFE LISTS!!!!!!!
And now, for the first time ever, here are the Basin life lists of many 
of the foremost Basin birders of all time!

295 Kevin McGowan
295 Andrew Farnsworth
294 Ken Rosenberg
293 Jay McGowan
291 Meena Haribal
288 Steve Kelling
284 Matt Medler
283 Jeff Wells
281 Karl David
281 Pete Hosner
280 Allison Wells
280 Geo Kloppel
279 Bill Evans
278 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes
278 Bard Prentiss
275 Tom Nix
275 Matt Young
271 Ned Brinkley
268 Jesse Ellis
267 Matt Sarver
266 Ryan Bakelaar
266 Bruce Tracey
264 Matt Williams
261 Mike Andersen
258 Tim Lenz
257 Bob Fogg
249 Jeff Gerbracht
245 Dan Lebbin
---------------------------------------------


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

And now, Cup editor emeritus and former 'serious' cupper Allison Wells 
reclaims The Cup's interviewing mike to speak to the winner of the 2003 
David Cup, Jay McGowan:

AW, FOR THE CUP: I guess I should thank you for taking on the 
editorship of The Cup, especially given that it was started by a couple 
of wise-cracking birding hacks. Taking that on must have been 
humiliating for you.  Why'd you do it?

JAY: Mostly because I wanted to keep seeing the numbers.  We had been 
keeping such good track for so long, it seemed a shame to stop now, and 
no one else seemed ready to take the reins after Medler 'retired'.

AW: How dull. The main reason it was started was to embarrass our 
friends.

JAY: It also helped me win The David Cup this year...wait, scratch that 
last part...

AW: See, we never abused it that way.

JAY: Obviously.

AW: It was strictly a tool for humiliation. But for you, isn't it 
really just a way to meet your home-schooling requirements? After all, 
by editing The Cup, you learn biology, mathematics (unless you're Steve 
Kelling), geography (except your dad, Kevin), meteorology (the 
hurricane forecasting was priceless), current events (the important 
ones, anyway, like what's currently being seen on Cayuga Lake), and 
life skills, such as conflict resolution (you did, after all, 
apprentice with Cayugabirds czar, Matt Medler).

JAY: Yeah, I suppose that's part of it.  I have learned many valuable 
procrastination skills (I did NOT say from Matt), as well as all those 
you mentioned.  By the way, I just had to slip this in somewhere.  
We've been spending a lot of time digiscoping lately.  Of my 252 
species, we got photographs of 242 of them.

AW: Never mind about that.  How did you manage to win, given that you 
don't even have a driver's license?

JAY: Well, it wasn't easy.  I would have seen more if I could have 
driven anywhere I wanted (or more importantly, any time I wanted).

AW: You think homeschooling interferes with birding, wait until you get 
a job...unless you're Ken Rosenberg.

JAY: Of course I go birding with my father Kevin all the time, and I 
went with Bard Prentiss a lot when Kevin was busy (thanks to both of 
them for my success!).  I think that winning without a driver's license 
makes my victory even more of an accomplishment.

AW: Or less believable. Do you consider yourself competitive?
Meaning, did you go into this thing to win?

JAY: Certainly not at the beginning.  It started like any other year-
seeing what you can see, but not TRYING to win necessarily.

AW: That's what you daddy always said too, but he's still choking on 
the seeds of all those sour grapes.

JAY: But after a few months of noticing that I was consistently in the 
lead, I started to feel like it would be fun to win.     Somewhere in 
September I heard a rumor that Pete Hosner thought he could catch me.

AW: And it was right around then that you started cheating?

JAY: I don't know if that was true or not, but it spurred me on a bit.

AW: To cheat, you mean. Assuming you were on the up-and-up, what felt 
better, winning the David Cup or beating your dad?

JAY: Well, since I have beaten my father for several years in a row 
now, I will have to go with the first one.  Kevin only lags behind 
because he has this thing he calls his 'job' that he's always going to.

AW: Huh. That's what he tells you, anyway. Didn't you ever wonder why 
he would come home sometimes wreaking of Hog Hole, after a day of 
"writing species accounts for the Lab of O's All About Birds web site"?
Anyway, what was your "best" bird, and can you describe the 
circumstances surrounding how you managed to get it?

JAY: Of course many of my best birds were simply fortuitous.

AW: Isn't that kind of a big word for teenager, and especially, for a 
birder?

JAY: Of course, I was aided by acute observation.

AW: You start a lot of sentences with "of course."

JAY: Of course. These birds included the Pacific Loon in April and the 
Greater White-fronted Geese at Stewart Park in November.  I added three 
life birds in the Basin last year--Gyrfalcon, Pacific Loon, and the 
enigmatic Band-rumped Storm-Petrel.  All three of these were great 
birds, as were the Franklin's Gull, Dickcissel, Nelson's Sharp-tailed 
Sparrow, Purple Sandpiper, and, of course, the White-faced Ibis (which 
was a lifer for me in NJ that May). Having an Olive-sided Flycatcher 
appear in our yard not ten minutes after returning from seeing the one 
near Dryden Lake was also great fun.

AW: Fun? You sent Cuppers far and wide into spasms. Too many of use 
didn't see ANY Olive-sideds this year.

JAY: One of the other best birds of the year (also completely 
accidental) was the Willet at Myers Point.  Bard Prentiss and I were 
walking along the shore at Myers when we flushed some terns off the 
point.  We stopped, and I noticed a large, dark bird asleep on the 
shoreline.  I put my binoculars up just before it woke up.  I had never 
seen a 'western' type Willet before, so it took a couple of seconds for 
me to realize what it was.  Just as I had decided what it was, it took 
off, and the moment it did, it was obvious I was correct: the white 
wing-patches were unmistakable.

AW: You mean, just as you had decided what it was, you SCARED it off so 
no one else could see it!

JAY: As if that wasn't enough--

AW: Oh, it was plenty.

JAY: --the bird called several times, the distinctive "pill-will-
willet".  Yep, those were great times.  Now what were we talking about?

AW: I have no idea. What do you think will be the next new Basin Bird? 
Not that winning the David Cup warrants any credibility whatsoever, 
given that the best birders never win - Tringa the Bird Dog, Mimi and 
Teddy the cat-birding duo.

JAY: Hmm...I don't know.  We've added a good number lately (Long-billed 
Murrelet, Slaty-backed Gull, Pacific Loon, White-faced Ibis, storm-
petrels).  Cave Swallow seems like a possibility; they've been seen on 
Lake Ontario a number of times lately.  Tufted Duck is another one to 
keep an eye out for.  By the way, Tringa hasn't been getting out much 
lately.

AW: How pathetic! You're so worried about your dog beating you in the 
David Cup that you don't even take her for a walk. I suppose you've 
trained her to use the toilet, so you won't have to let her outside to 
do her business - and risk getting, say, Olive-sided Flycatcher.

JAY: But she's still keeping a list.  Last week she picked up Snow 
Bunting from a fly-over in our yard.

THE CUP: As Cup editor, you only nagged me about half a dozen times 
each month for my totals. Is this because you were trembling with fear 
for what my mighty totals may be?

JAY: Absolutely.  I only asked at all because I was afraid you would 
add to them even more if I didn't.  However, winning has given me more 
confidence, so now I will be soliciting your totals with unprecedented 
frequency!  On an unrelated topic, would you please send me your 
January totals?

THE CUP: Nag, nag. Matt Medler has found himself a "lovebird." Do you 
think this explains his lame showing this year? Maybe you should rerun 
your dad's exquisite column about "family time."

JAY: Could be.  To be fair, he didn't do all *that* badly.  His end-of-
year push did earn him a seat in the Top Ten.

THE CUP: What advice do you have for those who think of themselves as 
contenders (like Ken Rosenberg) even while the rest of the Cup world 
snickers at the idea?

JAY: For some, I'd say, get out of Ithaca occasionally!  I guess Ken 
and others now think of themselves as 'specialists'-the entire Basin is 
too unrefined an area, and prefer to stick to a smaller category.  I 
guess it's kind of like the 'Cape May only' teams in the World Series.

AW: Only tougher. I'd close by saying you really lost, because you 
didn't beat the record, but that would be bad sportswomanship. So I'll 
instead say CONGRATULATIONS (under my breath: you rotten stinkin' kid). 
Really, nice job. And by the way, that Hoary Redpoll you've been seeing 
at your digs? I saw your dad smuggle a Hoary Redpoll out of the Museum 
of Vertebrates here at the Lab one night after work. It's right up 
there with his photo of the "Eskimo Curlew" at Myers Point...
---------------------------------------------



mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
m   McIlroy Musings   m
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Former McIlroy record-holder Allison Wells returns once again to grill 
McIlroy record-breaker Tim Lenz about his success:

AW: Hey, Tim, guess who! Yes, it's the ghost of McIlroy record holders 
past!  Which means, shame on everyone else, it can only be one person. 
Need I say who?

It's with sneer and cynicism that I conceded to do this interview. In 
fact, I was well paid to interview both you and the McGowan kid (the 
upstart's letting me use a Royal Tern image for my forthcoming web 
site, address TBA, but suffice to say it has nothing to do with humdrum 
McIlroy record breaking).

First, for the record, could you name the town of your residence?

TL: Ithaca, New York.

AW: Let the record show that Allison Wells has been living in Etna for 
the last five years. Need I say more?

TL: That's most unfortunate, but no excuse for your recent McLaziness.

AW: Actually, I enjoyed sitting back and watching you sweat it out 
(that wasn't a January thaw last year at this time!) As a student, I 
knew you'd eventually have to move on, leaving the title wide open for 
whenever I decide to reclaim it. And that's all it would take, really. 
Sadly, you'll be long gone and won't be able to do a thing about it 
(evil laugh).

Anyway, what did it take for you to break the record? I know you were 
working pretty darned hard. Heck, you even showed up at my son's 
daycare trying to track down MY McBohemian Waxwing. They called the 
cops on you for that, you know. You now have a permanent record - and 
I'm not talking about the McIlroy record.

TL: To try to break the record, I looked at Allison's totals at the end 
of each month in her record year, and always tried to see more birds 
than she did by the end of the month.  In computer science, we call 
this a greedy algorithm.

AW: Those of us not in computer science call this cheating. What were 
your most surprising McIlroy birds?

TL: The most surprising bird was the Northern Gannet that paid a brief 
afternoon visit to Stewart Park at the beginning of December.  Other 
delights included Little Gull, Laughing Gull, Purple Sandpiper, and the 
one-day wonder Mourning Warbler in the Hawthorns.

AW: Otherwise known as the "I'm not really sure it what it was but 
since I'm going for the McRecord, I'll call it a Mourning Warbler" 
bird.  I'll bet you think I'm serious about that, too. Did you miss any 
should-have McBirds?

TL: A medium-sized shorebird with yellow legs comes to mind. Missing
Yellow-billed Cuckoo was also a bit upsetting, since they were reported 
numerous times around campus in early September.

AW: Shame on you. McYellow-bills are not terribly hard, if you spend a 
little time enjoying the night migrants in the fall. But you probably 
went to bed at dusk, having tired yourself during the day running all 
over Ithaca trying to break my record. At any point during the McIlroy 
race, were you ever worried about Bill Evans catching you? It's become 
tradition for him to threaten a "big push," but sadly, his sad showing 
is also a continuing tradition.

TL:  No.

AW: Ouch (Bill).

TL: The only time I saw him at the south end of the lake this year was 
during Hurricane Week, when good birds were "guaranteed" to be around.

AW: Oh, Bill, Bill.

TL: I thought Jesse Ellis might make a push in the fall, but apparently 
he had more important things to do besides birding.

AW: I found, during my winning run, a lot of people pretended they 
weren't really trying to compete. What about Ken Rosenberg's move to 
Ithaca?  Did he scare you at all when he started spying Golden Eagles 
from his bathroom window or through the crack in his bulkhead doors or 
wherever it was?

TL: Well, I figured if he could see them flying over his house during 
"picnics" with his family, then it couldn't be *that* hard of a bird to 
get.  Boy, was I wrong!

AW: Ken is the master of creating opportunities for seeing birds. It 
used to be Kevin McGowan, but he's been replaced by Ken. Now that you 
have won the only competition that really takes any birding finesse, 
what are your plans, will you hang up your bins?

TL: Never! I'll be at Cornell until May, and then head off to Spain for 
some more "exotic" birding.

AW: Spain.  Hmm.  Doesn't sound like you're making birding your 
priority.

TL: After that, who knows what?  I suppose I'll have to find a job 
somewhere.

AW: Oh, you poor thing. Anyway, congratulations on your victory. But I 
should say, you really didn't break the record. You spent far more time 
in the field to get your total than I did, and records are based on the 
bird vs. time-in-the-field ratio.

TL: That's preposterous. Unlike people with real jobs, I could always 
put off any work until after dark. So there's no reason not to spend 
lots of time outside.

AW: You're soon to find what the "real world" is really like. 
Meanwhile, congratulations!  But if I ever move back to Ithaca...

TL: Is that a threat!?

AW: You know it!

---------------------------------------------


...............
THESE MOMENTS
by Eric Banford


The soft crunch
of footsteps in snow,
the gentle buzz
of our exhilaration.
Far off chick-a-dee-dee-dee,
a single caw.

Lots of sun,
little activity,
so we pause.
Time stretches...
we wait.

As always
that incredible feeling builds.
Something IS going to happen!
We will it so.

We hear something large approaching
so slowly it almost hurts.
But we wait...
and are rewarded!

Gradually
a doe pushes into the open.
We are frozen, literally,
in smiles.

Sccccreeee
cries a hawk
as it glides overhead.
We both jump
and the deer is gone.

Laughter echoes
as the soft crunch
begins again.
These moments!
Man...

                Eric Banford

...............



"[CUP QUOTES]"

So it has come to this to get tenth place.  Pretty sad.
--Matt Medler, bemoaning to his end-of-the-year scramble for finches at 
feeders

Ken [Rosenberg] is like Reggie Jackson.  He always comes through in the 
clutch at the end of the year.
-- Kevin McGowan

Who's Reggie Jackson?
-- Jay McGowan

About 20 minutes ago, I watched an immature NORTHERN GANNET fly in from 
the north, terrorize the Geese along the ice edge, fly right over my 
head, and disappear in the vicinity of Hog Hole.
--Tim Lenz

It was still bright, sky in the west was beautiful, taking various of 
shades of gold to magenta, but contrails were something like a work of 
vandals.
--Meena Haribal

An addition to the ever-growing catalog of STARLING imitations:  On an 
early morning neighborhood walk I heard what I initially thought was an 
imitation of the quacking of a mallard.  Two problems however, there 
are no mallards anywhere nearby, and the notes were more drawn out.  I 
then realized the starling was saying "baaa baaa" which it probably 
picked up from the adjacent sheep farm.
--Steve Fast

---------------------------------------------

             _____
DAVID CUP  /        \  WORD SEARCH
          /      U   \
          \  C    P /
            \_____/
              /  /
             /  /
            /  /
           /_/

Attached to this message is an Excel file containing a word search.   
Look for the common names of 33 of the rare birds seen in the Basin in 
2003 vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and transversely through 
time and space.  Print it off and try to find them all during your 
lunch break.
---------------------------------------------


May Your Cup Runneth Over,
- Jay