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Year 8, Issues 8-9

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*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Jay McGowan
*  Interviewer:  Matt Medler
*  Fact-Checker: Kevin McGowan

Well, September and August have come and gone, and with it the bulk of 
the fall passerine and shorebird migration.  Although the Cup was 
regrettably held up in early September (forcing another double-issue), 
hopefully no one will be inconvenienced by this delay.  We had a lot of 
excitement in September, making 2003 a year Basin birders will remember 
for a long time.

As usual, if anyone would like to write a column for (or contribute in 
any way to) The Cup, please let me know at  

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

August, September 2003 David Cup Totals

227, 239 Jay McGowan
215, 232 Pete Hosner
217, 231 Kevin McGowan
213, 229 Tim Lenz
???, 227 Ken Rosenberg
202, 225 Steve Kelling
???, 224 Mike Andersen 
???, 223 Meena Haribal
???, 223 Steve and Susan Fast
???, 212 Bard Prentiss
205, 208 Bruce Tracey
???, 207 Jeff Wells
187, 203 Matt Medler
179, 203 Jesse Ellis
197, 197 Jeff Gerbracht
180, 193 Mark Chao
172, 191 Dan Lebbin
???, 182 Allison Wells
???, 120 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
???,  86 Martin (the Cat) McGowan

Jesse Ellis' 200th bird: Orange-crowned Warbler

Bruce Tracey's 200th bird: Stilt Sandpiper

August, September 2003 McIlroy Award Totals

Ken edged out Ithaca fanatic Tim Lenz for one day at the end of 
September, but Tim quickly regained his lead the next day.  Now who 
knows who is in the lead?

???, 197 Ken Rosenberg
184, 196 Tim Lenz
147, 157 Jay McGowan
154, 154 Jeff Gerbracht
133, 145 Kevin McGowan
???, 127 Allison Wells

August, September 2003 Evans Trophy Totals

177, 184 Jay McGowan
169, 174 Kevin McGowan
???, 120 Tringa McGowan
???,  86 Martin McGowan

August, September 2003 Yard Totals

135, 147 Steve Kelling
117, 124 McGowan/Kline Family

Unfortunately, very few people sent in their totals for this 
experimental category.  However, here are the standings so far:

229 Kevin & Jay McGowan
  6 Mark Chao
  2 Dan Lebbin


The cumulative total is now up to 260 species!  Most of the regular 
shorebirds were added in August and early September (including Buff-
breasted Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope), as well as Eurasian 
Wigeon.  The Muckrace added Long-eared Owl to the list.  Hurricane 
Isabel brought in many new ‘arrivals', including Arctic Tern, Red and 
Red-necked Phalaropes, Whimbrel, Parasitic Jaeger, Wilson's Storm-
Petrel and what was very probably a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (both the 
first ever for the Basin).  A week after Isabel, another first-ever for 
the Basin appeared at Montezuma--White-faced Ibis.  Two birds--
Dickcissel and Connecticut Warbler--were seen just outside the Basin in 

Here's the total list:

R-t Loon, PACIFIC LOON, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, 
Cormorant, Am. Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, 
IBIS, Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, 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, Ruddy Turnstone, 
Sanderling, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, 
W-r Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral 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 
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, 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, C. Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, 
Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Am. Goldfinch, House 


Here's what the leader has missed as of September

WHIMBREL, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, RED 
Owl, S-e Owl, R-h Woodpecker, N. Shrike, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, G-w Warbler, 
Lincoln's Sparrow.


countable in the David Cup at this time.  Trumpeter Swans are not yet 
countable in New York State, having not been established long enough to 
count as a completely wild species here.  There is evidence (wing-
tagged birds) that some of the Trumpeters seen in the Basin have come 
on their own from a reintroduction program in Ontario; however, they 
are not a countable species in Ontario either.  Therefore, I think it 
advisable not to count Trumpeter Swan on the official David Cup list.  
(I'm not counting the Mandarin Ducks Bard Prentiss and I found at Myers 
Point this January either.)  While Trumpeters may not be countable on 
your David Cup list, do not ignore them; such species have to be kept 
track of if they are ever going to be countable.  
     As for Northern Bobwhite, there has been a private reintroduction 
project going on in the Snyder Hill area for many years, so all 
bobwhites seen anywhere near there must be assumed to be those released 
birds.  Again, it is good to keep track of them, but they are not 
countable in the David Cup.


by Jay McGowan


A few of the more common shorebirds started to be seen in early August, 
mostly at Montezuma and at Myers Point.  The first American Golden-
Plovers of the year were seen at Montezuma on the 10th, and the first 
Baird's Sandpiper on the 23rd (22 Baird's Sandpipers were seen there on 
the 26th, a new maximum for New York State).  Also on the 23rd, two 
WILSON'S PHALAROPES were seen at May's Point Pool, along with a 
probable WESTERN SANDPIPER.  On the 26th, Ken and Gary Rosenberg found 
the first RED-NECKED PHALAROPE of the year at May's Point, and Gerard 
Phillips found a drake EURASIAN WIGEON there two days later.  The first 
Long-billed Dowitchers appeared near the end of the month.  Other 
shorebirds of note present at Montezuma in late August included White-
rumped Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, and Sanderling.  On the 24th, Meena 
Haribal saw a SANDHILL CRANE flying over the Wildlife Drive at 
Montezuma.  Common Nighthawks and both Least and American bitterns were 
seen often at Montezuma as well.

Two Worm-eating Warblers were seen on August 10th at the Lindsay-
Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, where they regularly breed.  On the 
17th, Steve Fast found an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER on the Dryden Lake 
trail, in almost exactly the same location as one appeared earlier this 
year in May.  A number of Philadelphia Vireos were seen in late August, 
as well as many species of warblers.


On the 1st of September, Gerard Phillips and Chris Tessaglia-Hymes 
found a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the far side of May's Point.  (Buff-
breasted were seen at May;s Point as late at September 29th.)

A Ruddy Turnstone was seen at Myers Point on the 5th, and up to three 
others were seen at Montezuma throughout the month.  A juvenile Red 
Knot was reported at May's Point on the 7th, but no details were 
posted.  The first LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL of the season was seen at 
Montezuma on the 13th.

The 7th annual Montezuma Muckrace was held on September 5-6th; 178 
species were seen in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex area during the 
event.  The winning team, 'Crex crex', was composed of Pete Hosner, Tim 
Lenz, Mike Andersen, and Ryan Bakelaar, and totaled 139 species, by far 
the highest-ever total; the second-place team, 'The Gallinagos', Chris 
Tessaglie-Hymes and Gerard Phillips and joined by Jeff Wells and Steve 
Kelling, totaled 137; and the third-place team, 'Corn Crake', made up 
of Scott Haber, Dan Lebbin, Lena Samsonenko, and Colby Neuman, saw 125 
species.  Some of the highlights were: Merlin, SANDHILL CRANE, 20 
species of shorebirds, Black Tern, LONG-EARED OWL, RED-HEADED 
WOODPECKER, a reported SEDGE WREN (near East Road), all the thrushes, 
25 species of warblers (including GOLDEN-WINGED, a Brewster's hybrid, 
Cape May, Bay-breasted, Prairie, Cerulean, and Canada), and Grasshopper 

Although just outside the Cayuga Lake Basin, Steve Kelling's property 
in Caroline hosted many good birds in September, including a flyover 
DICKCISSEL on the 10th, and a CONNECTICUT WARBLER on the 21st.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen at Sapsucker Woods on September 
11th, and another on Bomax Road in Lansing on the 26th.  Night 
migration continued to be good late into the month, with many 
Swainson's, Gray-cheeked, and other thrushes heard.  Lincoln's Sparrows 
started to appear towards the end of the month, and an early Fox 
Sparrow was seen at Dryden Lake on the 27th.

Hurricane Isabel passed to the west of the Basin (over Lake Erie) on 
September 19th.  Birders stationed themselves around Cayuga Lake in the 
hope of seeing pelagic rarities brought inland by the storm.  The south 
end of the lake turned out to be the place where most of the birds were 
concentrated.  One Forster's and several Common Terns were joined by an 
adult ARCTIC TERN in the afternoon.  Several flocks of up to 8 RED-
NECKED and 5 RED PHALAROPES were also present at times, and a WHIMBREL 
was sighted flying by.  A Jaeger species was seen flying south from 
Myers Point, but was not resighted that day.  (Also, during this time a 
Red-necked Phalarope was seen at Montezuma.)  The next day, September 
20th, Willy Hutcheson saw a storm-petrel from Taughannock Park that 
headed south.  A little later in the day, two WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS 
were visible from the south end of the lake for much of the day.  Jeff 
Wells found a juvenile LAUGHING GULL at Myers Point in the afternoon.  
Later in the evening, an adult PARASITIC JAEGER was seen from Stewart 
Park.  The next morning, the 21st, Curtis Marantz discovered a probable 
BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL at the south end of the lake.  (If accepted by 
NYSARC, this will be a first New York State record.)  A definite 
Wilson's was also present.  The separation of Band-rumped from Wilson's 
is fairly difficult; this bird was thought to be a Band-rumped based on 
flight-pattern (stronger and less fluttery than the Wilson's), wing-
shape (longer and more pointed, with Wilson's appearing shorted and 
more rounded), and less extensive white on the flanks.  Some observers 
who saw the bird closer reported a slightly notched tail with no foot 
projection beyond the wings.  However, most of the time the bird was 
very far out on the lake and good looks were hard to obtain.  In an 
attempt to clear up any confusion, birders chartered a boat on the 22nd 
to go out on the lake to try to get a closer look at the storm-petrels.  
Unfortunately, the birds were not seen again. 

Meanwhile, on the evenings of the 20th and 21st, the Cayuga Bird Club 
held a Shorebird Workshop at Montezuma.  Most of the normal shorebirds 
were there, as well as Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, 50+ 
White-rumped Sandpipers (Benning Marsh; a new fall inland maximum?), 
and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

On September 27th, Marva Gingrich reported that a Glossy Ibis was 
present at Benning Marsh, Montezuma NWR.  Later in the day, two birders 
at Montezuma saw the purported Glossy but noticed that the bird had a 
red eye, and quickly got the word out.  Indeed, the bird turned out to 
be the Basin's first-ever WHITE-FACED IBIS, a species normally found 
only in the southwest part of the U.S.  (John Van Niel reported a 
Glossy Ibis flyover at Montezuma a week before, on the 20th, very 
possibly the White-faced.)  It stayed until at least October 5th, when 
it was observed flying high to the southwest, and was not seen again.  
Also seen at Benning Marsh during this time was a probable Richardson's 
form of Canada Goose, and up to three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and a 
WESTERN SANDPIPER was found there on the first of October.


Dear Editor-

The remark made in reference to me in the last issue of The Cup was 
completely inappropriate. To be referred to as a "historical figure" 
was reprehensible. If you were earning your keep as editor, you would 
have omitted that offensive remark. As former editor, I resent this 
departure from the traditional always-respectful tone; I never, ever 
teased any Cuppers in my e-pages, nor did I allow them to be heckled in 
interviews, as I was in the last Kickin' Tail interview. I implore you 
to reinstate the delicacies that I insisted upon during my tenure as 
Cup editor, and to do so starting immediately.

"Historically" yours,
Allison Wells

Dear Ms. Wells:

Thank you for your letter.  I can quite understand your consternation 
with respect to the offending statement mentioned by you.  It was 
exceptionally careless of me to let that go into print.  As you 
doubtless realized, the statement was made by Mr. Chao, a griller-in-
training.  He has not yet been trained to use the finesse and courtesy 
needed to live up to the standard of excellence in interviewing style 
that was essential during your prestigious career as the editor of The 
Once again, may I offer you my sincere apologies, and let me assure you 
that it will happen again as often as is practical.


J.W. McGowan
Editor, The Cup

!                       KICKIN' TAIL!                      !

This month's Kickin' Tail interviewee is Ithaca birder extraordinaire 
Tim Lenz.  Currently a graduate student in Cornell's Computer Science 
department, Tim has been the dominant figure in the McIlroy Award 
competition for the past two years.  Last year, unfortunately, he was 
edged out for the coveted McIlroy shoe by Pete Hosner, but Tim has come 
back and birded Ithaca harder than ever this year.  Technically, we 
probably should be interviewing Ken Rosenberg this month, since he just 
overtook Tim for the McIlroy lead at the end of September.  But, Tim 
was in the lead for the entire first half of the year, and we wanted to 
recognize his birding efforts.  Plus, we're The Cup, and we can 
interview whomever we please.  And, to be honest, we find Ken to be a 
bit on the boring side, so we thought we'd liven things up by 
interviewing Tim instead.  

Since Tim is a computer science major (or perhaps more importantly, 
since Tim is under the age of 25), we've decided to employ a "new" 
technology for the Kickin' Tail--Instant Messenger.  So, rather than 
sending Tim a batch of questions, having him answer them, and then 
manipul, er, I mean editing them, I am conducting this interview "live" 
on my computer.  

THE CUP: Congratulations, Tim!  You've been birding the Town of Ithaca 
feverishly for the past two years or so, and you've probably been 
leading the McIlroy Award competition for most of that time, but now 
you've finally hit the big-time--your first Kickin' Tail interview.  
How does it feel?

TIM: Great!  When I first started reading The Cup many years ago, I 
never imagined I'd actually be the one being interviewed someday.  I 
thought all of these birders were able to come up with extremely witty 
responses on the fly, but then you told me these were done via email.  
Anyway, it's still exciting to be here behind this instant messenger 
portal, talking about birding, etc. 

THE CUP: Yes, we at The Cup never imagined that we'd been interviewing 
you either.

TIM: (phone)

THE CUP: Come on!  This is the Kickin' Tail interview we're talking 
about here.  I didn't think I'd need to state the obvious and tell you 
that all cell phones and electronic pagers should be turned off.

TIM: Very sorry.  But it could've been Ken Rosenberg calling about a 
McBarred Owl!

TIM: We'd have to interrupt the interview for that.

THE CUP: True, but I thought you were going to go out and find one on 
your own last night.

TIM: I was very busy yesterday.  In fact, I think it was one of the few 
days this year I wasn't able to go birding--a real tragedy.

THE CUP: Yes, a real tragedy indeed.  I'm sure that somewhere, Ken 
Rosenberg is crying in his beer over it.

TIM: Ken Rosenberg drinks beer?  So *that's* how he gets all of his 
McIlroy birds.

THE CUP: Well, that could explain *some* of his "sightings."  Speaking 
of Ken, we should point out that while the Town of Ithaca has 
essentially been your own private birding domain for the past two 
years, Ken is actually in the lead for the McIlroy Award as of the end 
of September.  This interview is to honor you for being in the lead at 
the end of August.  Do you even remember August at this point?  I know 
I don't.

TIM: Not really, since I was only in Ithaca for the last week of 

THE CUP: What?!?  How could you possibly wait until the last possible 
minute in August to come back to Ithaca?  And don't even tell me that 
you were birding someplace better.

TIM: Better than the Cayuga Basin?  What!?  Actually, I did go on a 
birding trip to Adak [in the Aleutian Islands] at the end of August.  
It was spectacular. I got to see birds I'd never even dreamed of 
before, and it helped me freshen up on Lapland Longspur callnotes.
THE CUP: Forget about longspur call notes--did you study the call notes 
of the Red-throated Pipit that your group had?  Now *that* would be a 
good McIlroy bird!  And you know how Siberian birds seem to have a 
fondness for the Cayuga Lake Basin.

THE CUP: What were some of your favorite birds from that trip?

TIM: The two juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were real stoinkers.  Of 
course it was also great to see Whiskered Auklet, Black-footed and 
Laysan Albatrosses, Rock Ptarmigan, and a juvenile Red-necked Stint.  
The Song Sparrows on that island are gigantic! 

THE CUP: At the risk of upsetting the new editor-in-chief (and we hear 
he has quite the temper), could you give us an update on the current 
McIlroy situation?  Where do you and Ken stand?

TIM: I think I'm just one bird behind now, at 203.  Ken did really well 
with McShorebirds this year, and just about everything else too.  He's 
going to be really hard to beat.

THE CUP: What is the McIlroy Award record?

TIM: Allison Wells got 207!

THE CUP: Hmm.  She must have gotten lucky, since it seems like little 
Evan is the one who is always pointing out birds to Jeff and her.  Do 
you think that you will be able to tie or break her mark?

TIM: Possibly.  If I can get Lesser Yellowlegs somewhere, Tundra Swans 
in November, that "easy" Goshawk at Bostwick Rd., and both field birds 
I might have a chance.  Also, who knows what might show up on the lake 
this time of year.  It would be great to get a fly-by King Eider at 
East Shore.

THE CUP: Yes, it certainly would, but I don't think I'd count on that.  
Why don't you set your sights a little lower, and hope for the three 
winter finches (Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll) that 
are on the move already?

TIM: Oh yeah, I forgot about those.

THE CUP: Come on, Tim!  Are you fully committed to this McIlroy thing, 
or what?  Winning a prestigious Basin birding competition requires 
total focus--you should be thinking, dreaming, eating, and drinking 
birds 24 hours a day!  How else do you think you're going to beat 

TIM: I'm hoping those birds will show up at the Lab feeders.

THE CUP: I see two problems with that.  First, if they're at the Lab of 
O feeders, there is a good chance that Ken will be the one to find 
them.  Plus, we all know that the feeders on the north side of the new 
Lab are *clearly* in the Town of Lansing.  I sure hope that you and Ken 
haven't been padding your totals with birds from that area...

TIM: You should ask Allison about this.  Remember, the nearest road 
rule? And I DO have some places up in the hills that I staked out for 
winter finches. I'm just not sure if they will turn up anything, since 
most winter finches would be McLife birds for me.

THE CUP: What?  You want me to ask the "Queen of Ithaca/Lansing" about 
the geography of Sapsucker Woods?  Of course she's going to say that 
all of Sapsucker is in McIlroy territory.  How else do you think she 
got to 207?  Birding skill?!?

THE CUP: Speaking of premier birding competitions, can you tell us 
anything about your record-shattering performance in last month's 
Montezuma Muckrace, as part of "Crex crex?"

TIM: Yeah, we had a great day, and a lot of luck.  Pete's secret 
sparrow spot came through once again, and we picked up a lot of birds 
we thought we were going to miss in the evening at May's.  The Muckrace 
seems to be the only time I'm able to see Golden-winged Warblers in the 
Basin too.

TIM: Those should have been in the jetty woods this fall.

THE CUP: What was it like birding with grizzled Basin veteran Ryan 
Bakelaar?  That must have been a highlight for you.

TIM: He was very mellow the whole day, almost like Steve Kelling.

THE CUP: Hmm.  He must have mellowed out, now that he is a respectable 
M.D.  That's disappointing.  Last year, I heard that fisticuffs almost 
broke out between Ryan and the other competitors...and I think it was 
*all* the other competitors.

TIM: Wow.

THE CUP: OK, I think it's just about time for the traditional first-
time leader questions.  But first, I'd like to continue a theme that 
Mark Chao started last month in his fine interview with Jay.

THE CUP: In testing Jay's birding dedication, Mark asked whether Jay 
would rather see a Yellow Rail in the Basin, or have a date with 
Cameron Diaz.

THE CUP: It was an intriguing line of questioning, but one of the 
problems with that question is the fact that Cameron Diaz is probably 
more than twice Jay's age.  So, the question for you is, would you 
rather see a Yellow Rail at Hog Hole, or have a date with, say, Britney 

THE CUP: [Please note for the record that it is taking Tim an extremely 
long time to answer this question.]

THE CUP: Hello?

TIM: Of course, it would be ideal to go on a date with Britney Spears 
to Hog Hole and see a Yellow Rail at the same time, but I'm afraid that 
the Yellow Rail could wait.  How often do you get to go on dates with 
Britney Spears!?

THE CUP: That is a good question.  I like your idea of taking Britney 
on a date to Hog Hole to see the rail.  Maybe you could make a picnic 
of it.

TIM: Anyway, I could probably get Yellow Rail as a night migrant over 
Ken's House.

THE CUP: Ahh--an excellent point!

THE CUP: OK, onto the classic questions...

THE CUP: What's your favorite color?

TIM: The industrial grayish-purple on Purple Sandpipers

THE CUP: Very nice!

THE CUP: What is on your MP3 player right now?

TIM: Liszt's 2nd Transcendental Etude, played by the Hungarian Pianist 
Gyorgy Cziffra

THE CUP: Hey--that's what I'm listening to right now too.  What a 

TIM: Yeah, right

THE CUP: You read the old issues of The Cup more than I do.  Are there 
any other questions that I'm supposed to ask you?

TIM: I'm not sure.

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

TIM: Reply-to-sender

THE CUP: Trunks or Speedo?

TIM: Trunks

THE CUP: What?!?  You dive in trunks?  That must make it hard to really 
"rip" the entry.

TIM: No, but after four years of diving in a Speedo, you can understand 
why I might prefer trunks now.

THE CUP: Yes I can.

THE CUP: What has been your most exhilarating David Cup moment so far?

TIM: The Barrow's Goldeneye and Gyrfalcon this winter on Cayuga Lake.  
There's nothing more exhilarating than winter birding in the Basin, as 
far as I'm concerned.

THE CUP: Wait--what about the hurricane birding in September!?!

TIM: Oh yeah, that's a repressed memory.  I missed Ruddy Turnstone, 
Semipalmated Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and Sanderling on that day.  But the 
birds I did see definitely made up for it.  I'll always remember 
looking at those terns at East Shore and then hearing Mike yell out, 
"Why isn't the bird in the back an Arctic!?"
THE CUP: And then there was that little storm-petrel thing too...

TIM: Yeah, those were nice.

THE CUP: I just realized that we haven't really talked much about who 
you are.  Do you care to share with your fellow Cuppers a little bit 
about yourself?

TIM: Sure.

THE CUP: Go right ahead...

TIM: I was born in Rochester, NY, moved to Ithaca at the age of 8, and 
stayed in Ithaca for three years while my dad went to school.  We lived 
on Tareyton Drive, very close to the Lab of O.  That's how I got 
interested in birds.

THE CUP: OK, how about "Tim Lenz, the Teenage Years?"

TIM: I spent my teenage years as a ski bum in Reno, NV.  I only went 
birding once a month maybe, because I didn't know anyone my age who 
enjoyed it.  But I went skiing just about every weekend.  When I came 
back to Cornell, I was excited to see there was a birding club here 
that I could get involved in.

THE CUP: Huh.  I never knew that you were a skier.  Anyway, have you 
made it out of your teens yet?

TIM: Yeah.  Be patient.

TIM: I didn't really start birding hardcore until the Fall of 2001--
when the murrelet showed up.

THE CUP: That was definitely a good time to start.  How much longer 
will you be lifting your binoculars in the beloved Basin?

TIM: I'm leaving in May

THE CUP: What?  Leaving the Basin so soon?  You've only been here, 
what, five years?  I recommend staying at least ten years.

TIM: People come and go.

THE CUP: Do you have any plans after finishing your Masters?  Any 
thoughts of doing some summer bird work, or are you going to look for a 
computer science job right away?

TIM: Maybe I'll get a computer science job first, make lots of money, 
and then go birding a lot.  Or maybe I'll do the birding first.  I 
haven't decided yet.

CUP: Any final thoughts?  This might be the last time you get 
interviewed by a major electronic birding publication for some time...

TIM: Yeah...I'm still trying to find someone else who's interested in 
doing McIlroy next year.  Maybe one of these new freshmen.  Scott?  
Ben?  It's really fun.  I hope to see everyone out in the field at 
least a couple more times this year.

THE CUP: We'll be sure to stop by one of your offices--Stewart Park, 
Hog Hole, or East Shore--some time soon.  

            DEAR TICK

Dear Tick,

This summer I was visiting McLean Bog in Dryden, where (naming no 
names) I saw a certain bird species which I had not run across 
previously this year.  Now McLean Bog is (I believe) clearly within the 
boundaries set for the Cayuga Lake Basin, the Cayuga Lake Basin being 
the area whose waters drain into Cayuga Lake.  So I can count it for 
the David Cup, right?  Now here's the problem: By definition, a bog has 
no drainage.  So, is a bird seen in a bog countable for the Basin, even 
though the land where it (the bird) is doesn't drain into Cayuga Lake 
(i.e., is the drainage basin really only a rough boundary from which we 
derive our territory, our 'playing field', if you will)?  Or does the 
countability of a bird actually depend on where the water drains?  Is 
my bird countable only for the 'McLean Bog Basin'?  Thanks for any 
answers you can give me.

--Bogged Down in Dryden

Dear Bogged Down,

Let me ask you this: When you see a Peregrine zooming through the air, 
do you count it? What about Ken Rosenberg's alleged Ross's Goose, seen 
flying over his house - in McIlroy territory, no less! Should he count 
that?  Of course not! Air doesn't "drain" into Cayuga Lake, any more 
than bog water does. In fact, any Cupper who counts any bird that is in 
flight is cheating, unless of course, it's raining, in which case the 
rain water hits the bird, rolls off it, and makes its way into the 
grand Cayuga, thereby making it a "basin" bird.

This, by the way, is the primary argument for why Cuppers are not 
allowed to count birds that reside in the frozen food section of 

[If you have a question for Dear Tick about anything having to do with 
The David Cup, or just birding in general, send it to Allison Wells at, and she will pass it along.]


"I'm glad you took over from those namby-pambies who were running it 
[The Cup] for a while."
--Allison Wells

"We next tried Old Towpath Rd. from directions given by Matt M.  The 
potholes are so big we were looking for shorebirds in them, but we 
finally got to the dike and found a good selection..."
--Steve Fast

"Last evening, while walking Evan to sleep in his stroller during the 
power outage, we heard a loud "swooshing" sound a few feet behind us, 
on Etna Lane. Neighbor Chris T-Hymes attempting to cool us off with a 
Super Soaker?  No! A Great Blue Heron dropping the most massive guano 
bomb we'd ever seen! It went the length of the road and about 8 meters 
in width. Missed us by about two feet."
--Allison Wells

"I was standing outside in the yard and thinking about Muckrace and 
happenings etc. "
--Meena Haribal

"Also in that area, Meena picked out a black fluffball (this is one of 
Meena's specialties) that turned out to be a VIRGINIA RAIL chick."  
--Matt Medler

"And, on a quick walk around the pond, a distinct lack of warblers (can 
you say Geothlypis?) was mitigated by a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on 
the Wilson Trail near the pond overlook."
--Jesse Ellis

"In order to give Tim Lenz a break, we took the evening shift at 
Stewart Park."
--Steve Fast

"I'm off to Stewart Park on the slim chance that McSemipalmated Plover 
is still around. Probably have better luck winning the lottery, but 
it's worth a try!"
--Tim Lenz

 "I love you Isabel."
--Pete Hosner, after listing the many birds brought in by Hurricane 

"Your choices are a dive meet dinner or a McWhimbrel.  I think the 
choice is clear."
--Matt Medler, to Tim Lenz, who needed to get his priorities straight.

"You must be sweating like crazy."
--Matt Medler, said to Tim Lenz, who, clad in long pants and a bright 
yellow raincoat, ran non-stop from the Newman Golf Course parking lot 
to the white lighthouse jetty in five minutes, only to learn that the
Wilson's Storm-Petrel had flown off ten seconds earlier

"I have a good deodorant."
--Tim Lenz, who beat a closing Pete Hosner by 15 seconds and Matt
"Old Man" Medler by over a minute

"What an incredible three days of Basin birding!  Unfortunately, it 
would be equally incredible if I could actually finish all my work 
before the due date..."
--Tim Lenz

"...Sheesh you'd almost think this was a post on Pelagics-L."
--Tim Lenz

May Your Cup Runneth Over,
- Jay