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Year 9, Issues 3-4

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*The Cup 9.3-9.4 ­ March/April 2004
*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Jay McGowan
*  Highlights:  Jay McGowan
*  Resident Interviewer:  Mark Chao
*  Bird Taste-Tester: Martin McGowan
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Welcome to The Cup 9.3-9.4!

Well, this issue is a bit late...in fact, it concerns the months of 
March and April, if you can even remember that far back.  But it makes 
up for its tardiness by its...um...well, here it is anyway.


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

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


March, April 2004 David Cup Totals

Steve Fast topped the list again at the end of March (see his interview 
below), but Cup-newcomer Scott Haber took the lead for the end of April 
(with any luck, an interview with Scott will appear in the next issue.)

112, 172 Scott Haber
108, 169 Jay McGowan
 94, 168 Steve Kelling
113, 156 Steve Fast
109, 156 Tim Lenz
106, 153 Kevin McGowan
102, 145 Bard Prentiss
 98, 143 Lena Samsonenko 
 --, 143 Ken Rosenberg
 92, 140 Mark Chao
101, 137 Bruce Tracey
 80, 135 Perri McGowan
 92, 126 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes
 89, 122 Anne Marie Johnson
 --, 118 Sam Kelling
 67, 113 Erin Hewett
 77, 104 Allison Wells
 85,  ?? Pete Hosner
 50,  78 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
 77,  ?? Gina Prentiss
 --,  71 Rachel Rosenberg
 --,  71 Olivia Rosenberg
 69,  69 Julie Hart
 68,  68 Matt Medler
 28,  56 Martin (the Cat) McGowan
 16,  20 Evan Wells

Mark Chao’s 100th bird: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Erin Hewett’s 100th bird: Yellow Warbler
Anne Marie Johnson’s 100th bird: Chipping Sparrow
Tim Lenz’s 100th bird: Hoary Redpoll
Kevin McGowan’s 100th bird: Golden Eagle
Jay McGowan’s 100th bird: Surf Scoter
Perri McGowan’s 100th bird: Field Sparrow
Bard Prentiss’ 100th bird: Tree Swallow
Chris Tessaglia-Hymes’ 100th bird: Swamp Sparrow


March, April 2004 McIlroy Award (Ithaca) Totals

Tim Lenz beat Ken Rosenberg by only one bird in Ithaca this month.  
You’d better savor your victory now, Tim.  I think Ken is getting tired 
of coming in second.

 85, 134 Tim Lenz
 --, 133 Ken Rosenberg
 75, 105 Mark Chao
 76, 102 Jeff Gerbracht
 62,  94 Jay McGowan
 64,  87 Allison Wells
 60,  84 Kevin McGowan

Jeff Gerbracht’s 100th Ithaca bird: American Woodcock


March, April 2004 Evans Trophy (Dryden) Totals

 75, 143 Jay McGowan
 73, 125 Kevin McGowan
 78, 115 Steve Fast
 71, 110 Bard Prentiss

Jay McGowan’s 100th Dryden bird: Eastern Meadowlark
Bard Prentiss’ 100th Dryden bird: Cattle Egret


March, April 2004 Yard Totals

49, 91 Steve Kelling, Caroline 
42, 78 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden
--, 76 Pixie Senesac
44, 65 Nancy Dickinson
52, -- John Fitzpatrick
33, 45 Anne Marie Johnson, Caroline


March, April 2004 Lansing Competition Totals

80, 105 Bruce Tracey
--,  -- Kevin McGowan


March, April 2004 Etna Challenge Totals

So far, Allison Wells is flattening her competitors in this 
competition.  Way to go Allison!

52,  72 Allison Wells



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

BASIN COMPOSITE DEPOSIT
The Basin list for the end of April totaled exactly 200 species 
(Wilson’s Phalarope was the 200th species).  This is from only 138 
species at the end of March.

Here is the complete list:

Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, Snow Goose, Wood 
Duck, Mallard, Am. Black Duck, Gadwall, N. Pintail, Am. Wigeon, 
EURASIAN WIGEON, N. Shoveler, B-w Teal, G-w Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, 
R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Surf Scoter, Black 
Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, 
Hooded Merganser, C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, R-n 
Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, R-t Loon, PACIFIC LOON, C. Loon, 
P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, D-c Cormorant, Am. 
Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, 
Turkey Vulture, 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, C. Moorhen, Am. Coot, Virginia 
Rail, YELLOW RAIL, SANDHILL CRANE, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser 
Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Dunlin, Pectoral 
Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Am. Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's 
Phalarope, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, 
Glaucous Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Great B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, C. Tern, 
Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Mourning Dove, Rock Pigeon, S-e Owl, Great 
Horned Owl, Barred Owl, N. S-w Owl, E. Screech-Owl, Chimney Swift, R-t 
Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy 
Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Least 
Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, N. Shrike, 
Warbling Vireo, B-h Vireo, Blue Jay, C. Raven, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, 
Horned Lark, Purple Martin, N. R-w Swallow, Bank Swallow, Tree Swallow, 
Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, B-c Chickadee, 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, Am. Robin, Wood Thrush, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, 
N. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Am. Pipit,
BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, N. Parula, B-w Warbler, Nashville 
Warbler, Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, B-t Blue 
Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Y-r Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Prairie 
Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, B-&-w Warbler, Am. Redstart, 
Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, C. Yellowthroat, 
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, N. Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, 
Indigo Bunting, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Chipping 
Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, 
Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, 
Snow Bunting, E. Meadowlark, Bobolink, B-h Cowbird, R-w Blackbird, 
Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, Evening Grosbeak, Purple 
Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, C. Redpoll, HOARY REDPOLL, Pine 
Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow.


LEADER’S MISS LIST
Of all those species, Scott missed the following birds:

EURASIAN WIGEON, W-w Scoter, PACIFIC LOON, EARED GREBE, Am. Bittern, 
Golden Eagle, Virginia Rail, YELLOW RAIL, SANDHILL CRANE, Least 
Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Glaucous Gull, C. Tern, Forster's Tern, 
Black Tern, S-e Owl, Purple Martin, Cliff Swallow, Marsh Wren, BOHEMIAN 
WAXWING, B-w Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Prairie Warbler, C. 
Yellowthroat, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, W-w 
Crossbill.

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


---------------------------------------------
OPPORTUNITY LOST
By Jay McGowan
---------------------------------------------

When Lisa McGraw posted her sighting to Cayugabirds at 10:00 PM on 
Tuesday, April 20th, the bird was probably already gone.  She described 
seeing a bird which was spending the day in a planter outside the Judd 
Hills Wines and Spirits at East Hill Plaza, a bird which she described 
as "either a juvenile sora or night heron."  While many who read this 
description dismissed it as lacking in details, Kevin McGowan at least 
knew exactly what this bird was: YELLOW RAIL.  Only Yellow Rails (okay, 
sometimes Black Rails too) habitually turn up in odd places such as a 
planter at a shopping mall or a tiny patch of grass in a parking lot.  
(By habitually, however, I do not mean very often.)  Only Yellow Rails 
have, as later described by Lisa, an overall yellowish color, a very 
short tail, and a short yellow bill (because, of course, there are no 
juvenile Soras in April.)  To substantiate this deduction, a few days 
later Lisa talked to an employee at the wine shop who said that a woman 
had come by with a field guide on Tuesday and identified the bird in 
the planter as a Yellow Rail.

Lisa had initially dismissed the possibility of the bird being a Yellow 
Rail, knowing that they are exceedingly rare.  And they most certainly 
are, which is what makes this sighting all the more frustrating for the 
members of the birding community who did not hear about the bird until 
too late.  Of course, the bird was gone the next day.  They always are.  

As I keep telling myself, it is important not to take this too hard.  
We all--especially those of us who have never seen a Yellow Rail at 
all, let alone in the Basin--have to try not to think about that 
extraordinary little bird, sitting *all day* in an easily accessible 
spot, an almost guaranteed super-rarity, what amounts to a once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity...lost.

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


MARCH AND APRIL 2004 BASIN HIGHLIGHTS
by Jay McGowan

     Winter finches were still being seen in the Cayuga Lake Basin 
through most of March and some of April this year.  Pine Siskins were 
relatively common and continued to be seen at some locations through 
late April.  Common Redpoll numbers were high through much of March, 
with many HOARY REDPOLLS being reported as well, and it wasn’t until 
the first weeks of April that the redpolls finally went home.  Evening 
Grosbeaks were also seen in a few places from March through late April.
     The Barrow’s Goldeneye found in late January at Myers Point 
continued to be seen into early March.  A Surf Scoter was seen there on 
March 3rd and stayed for several weeks.  On March 5th, Jay McGowan 
found a Eurasian form of Green-winged Teal (Common Teal in Britain) in 
the permanently-flooded fields at the corner of Rt. 38 and George Road 
in Dryden, and the bird remained for a few days.  A Lesser Black-backed 
Gull was also seen at the same location.  Iceland, Glaucous and Lesser 
Black-backed Gulls were present in moderate numbers around the north 
end of the lake.
     Incredibly large Snow Goose flocks were seen along Cayuga Lake, 
with a maximum estimate of nearly one million birds at the ice edge 
just north of Union Springs on the east side.  A few ROSS’S GEESE were 
found in the Savannah Mucklands in mid March among many thousands of 
Snow Geese.  Two more Ross’s Geese were seen in a flock of Snow Geese 
migrating over Ithaca on March 14th.  On March 28th, Gary Chapin found 
a EURASIAN WIGEON in the flooded fields in the Savannah Mucklands.  
SANDHILL CRANES were seen in many locations around Montezuma and the 
Savannah Mucklands in late March and early April.  A possible Gyrfalcon 
was reported from Montezuma on April 12th but was not refound.
     One of the more frustrating birds so far this year, a YELLOW RAIL 
was found in a planter outside the Judd Hills Wine and Spirits at East 
Hill Plaza on April 20th, but unfortunately was not reported until too 
late.
     On April 24th, Jeff and Allison Wells found a breeding-plumage 
CATTLE EGRET at the George Road pond.  Later in the day, Scott Haber 
saw the egret and also found a Eurasian Green-winged Teal, presumably 
the same bird last seen at this location March 7th.
     Passerine migration picked up in April as usual, with the usual 
warblers, grosbeaks, tanagers, orioles, and early flycatchers being 
seen.  On April 30th, Roger Sleeper found a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at the 
Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby.  This bird was 
seen a few days after then disappeared.  (A chat was found in the same 
general area May 16th, possibly the same bird.)  Later on the 30th, Bob 
McGuire discovered two breeding-plumage female WILSON’S PHALAROPES in 
the flooded fields near George Road.


?????????????????????????????????????
        AN ILLUSTRATED CUP?
?????????????????????????????????????

The Cup had traditionally been a plain-text, no frills type of 
publication (besides Allison’s creative use of symbols and spacing).  
However, the possibility of making this newsletter more sophisticated 
(or at least technologically advanced) has occurred to its current 
staff.  At this time, I am soliciting your opinion, as Cup readers, as 
to the value--as well as feasibility--of this possibility.  

I think it would be interesting to include photographs, for example, of 
classic David Cup moments or rare birds.  Or perhaps more puzzles and 
games (in the end of year issue, I attached a David Cup word search; 
did anyone find that worthwhile?)  

I want to know what you all think of these ideas.  For those of you 
with slower connections or older computer systems, perhaps we could 
also have an alternate plain-text version.  Anyway, let me know your 
views.  I would also welcome additional suggestions on other ways in 
which we could spruce up The Cup.

Thanks for your input,

Jay McGowan
Cup Editor
---------------------------------------------


,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,
   CUPPER DIALOGUES
,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,

As a experimental replacement for the (moderately) cherished 
institution of the Kickin’ Tail column, we at The Cup would like to 
introduce this new feature, designed to provide information and insight 
on some of the David Cup’s new (and possibly, when we run out of new, 
old) participants.

We wanted to present a column in which we can all get to know new 
cuppers in a more relaxed and sympathetic environment than the 
traditional tongue-in-cheek, back-stabbing approach taken in most 
Kickin’ Tail columns.  (That way, when we really grill the newbies, 
they won’t be as prepared.)  Anyway, it also won’t just be the leaders 
who are interviewed--we hope to talk to many new cuppers, even if they 
haven’t seen the most birds for the month.  

That said, however, when one of our relative newcomers scheduled for 
interviewing takes the lead, can we fail to act quickly and get the 
current, up-to-date scoop on him or her for that month?  The answer is 
absolutely, which is why this interview appears in this issue rather 
than the last, where it belongs.

But to get on with things: This issue’s featured Cupper is Steve Fast, 
who earned the spotlight by squeaking past Jay McGowan for the February 
David Cup lead.  Steve, who works as a carpenter, lives in Brooktondale 
with his wife and frequent birding partner Susan.  Faithful Cup 
reporter Mark Chao conducted the interview.


The Cup:  Before we talk birds, let's start (appropriately, perhaps) 
with breakfast.  Many people know you and your wife Susie from your 
Cayugabirds messages not only as prolific birders, but also as 
connoisseurs of the morning fare at local diners. Can you give us your 
current picks -- best food, best service, best value?

Steve:  You may have noted a sharp decrease in the number of diners 
recently surveyed. This is due to several factors--weight gain, less 
time available for longer trips, etc. We still go out, but not as much, 
and only locally. Still the best breakfast is Charlie's Diner in Dryden 
for quality of food, good service, and low prices. On weekends you can 
get, for $3.09, a choice of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, 
toast. It's too bad Kevin won't take his kids (and wife). I was talking 
to them the other day and mentioned a bacon and cheese omelet I had 
just consumed, and poor Jay's eyes swam and he started to drool. The 
kid needs more food. The other place in Dryden, the Queen Diner, is not 
a diner. It's a bastardized fast food place. We tried it once and the 
food AND service were so bad we'll never return. In Ithaca, Carl's 
Cafe, on the southside, is the best. Excellent service, food is ok and 
prices are low. Manos is ok too, although lately the quality of service 
is going downhill. Ziggy's on the northside is terrible; crowded, 
dirty, with mediocre food. Toad's in Freeville used to be good when I 
was working around there, but I haven't been in several years. Although 
not a diner, Pete's Treats in Union Springs deserves mention. The ice 
cream is fine (Perry's), but unless you have an affection for 
intestinal gas, stay away from the food.

The Cup:  Many a young Montezuma diehard at Cornell, most recently 
freshman Cup contender Scott Haber, has shown a taste for Pete’s.  I’ve 
seen some of these guys scarf down chili dogs and more.  Maybe 
intestinal gas isn’t a problem when you’re driving the auto loop with 
all the windows open.

So, Steve, what combination of birding and breakfast makes your ideal 
morning?

Steve:  Breakfast at Charlie's, followed by a return home for a nap 
where I can dream about all the birds I'd like to see, or should have 
seen. Actually birding and breakfast are mutually exclusive; we can't 
do both, and we do like to eat.

The Cup:  But Jay does both.  He sees Yellow-billed Cuckoos and 
Mourning Warblers between bites of breakfast at his kitchen table.  
Come to think of it, that may be why he’s not getting those calories 
down.

Steve, tell us about how you came to be a birder.

Steve:  I don't recall the other guys being asked these hard questions. 
I got into birding mainly by default--I spent many years in this area 
studying the trees, rocks, fossils, wildflowers, ferns, mammals, fish, 
etc. I guess there was not much left but the birds. I shied away from 
birding for so many years because I thought birders were dweebs, a view 
I still hold. It took years of self-analysis to realize I was a dork 
too, so hey, why not get some binos and stand around peering intently 
at specks in the sky.

The Cup:  I always considered myself more of a twerp or a nitwit than a 
dweeb or a dork.

Many readers surely have noticed your use of an unflattering nickname 
for the big hotspot at the south end of the lake. Why "Stewrat Park"?

Steve:  I think the connotations of "Stewrat", especially if broken 
down into 2 words, should give the attentive reader a clue as to my 
meaning. Susie and I swam at the former beach there in the late 
sixties. I do not want to get started on a general theme here, but it 
severely aggravates me to see such a foul shoreline in a city which 
openly brags about being enlightened, progressive, and emerging. Plus 
there's a LOT of money in this place.

The Cup:  Does Susie love birds as you do?

Steve:  I think so, although I've never been sure of what goes on in 
her mind.  There is a difference: with me it’s birds, then job; she is 
the opposite.

The Cup:  What do the Cup and its spinoff competitions mean to you? Do 
you intend to keep giving Jay a battle in the Basin and in Dryden?

Steve:  They mean absolutely nothing when I can't find the birds, and 
absolutely everything when things are going well. I find they are an 
excellent incentive to go wandering about, and putting off till later 
things like lawn mowing, house painting, plumbing leaks, and answering 
these questions. My plan is to stay close to Jay, then when he loses it 
to malnutrition or a girlfriend or a job, I'll be right there. It's 
only a matter of time, and I'm patient like the shelled reptile in the 
"tortoise and the hare".

The Cup:  When you aren't out birding, how do you spend your time?

Steve:  I do have a job (career). Otherwise housework, yardwork, and 
reading are what I do best.

The Cup:  What brought you to Ithaca?

We came here as graduate students in 1968, and never had enough 
ambition to leave. Then we bought a house, had kids, and here we are. 
Let this be a lesson to you young folks.

The Cup:  At what stage in life are your kids? And what do they think 
of their birder parents?

Steve:  We have 3 girls. Oldest is 29, then 25, and the youngest is a 
college junior at 20. At first they shared my view of birders, but they 
are slowly coming around. They have finally realized that to have any 
conversation with me, they've got to talk about birds. I am that 
intense, which is hard to believe given my usual lackadaisical aura.

The Cup:  What's the longest your beard has ever been?

Steve:  About what you see. Any longer and it tickles my chest and my 
giggling keeps Susie awake at night.

The Cup:  Your favorite color?

Steve:  Skyblue on the wings of the male Blue-winged Teal as it drops 
its flaps for a landing.

The Cup:  Your favorite bird song?

Steve:  "May the Bird of Happiness Fly up your Nose." 

The Cup:  You’ve just reminded me of an ancient Chinese saying:  "Peng 
cheng wan li"  -- "The ‘peng’ bird flies ten thousand li," or, more 
liberally, "May your future be as bright and endless as the three-
thousand-mile flight of the ‘peng’ bird [a fictional creature]."  We 
say this to wish young people well in times of transition.  Tim Lenz, 
peng cheng wan li to you.  And Matt Medler, may the bird of happiness 
fly up your nose.  Is that really a song, Steve?

Steve:  That is a song, but I've forgotten the words. I've forgotten a 
lot of things. I subscribe to the "finite brain capacity" theory, so 
when something new comes in, something old goes out. At least I hope 
that's what's happening--I'd hate to be getting senile like some of the 
other members of this competition.

The Cup:  Your best David Cup moment?

Steve:  I don't remember.

The Cup:  Most coveted Basin species not yet seen?

Steve:  Western Grebe.

The Cup:  Let's say that you're at 249 species for the year. 250 means 
a lifetime of free breakfasts at Charlie's. Where would you choose to 
go: the McGowan backyard, with Jay as your guide; Stew. Park, with Tim 
helping to scope the distant waters; or the Rosenberg home, with Ken 
there with a mike to pick out night flight calls with you?

Steve:  I'd be crazy to answer this as it would leave two guys huffing 
with indignation, and I'm going to need all the help I can get. I do 
appreciate your thinking I could ever reach 249, however. But the 
mention of Tim jogs my memory of a story about when we met for the 
first time and almost came to blows, and how I'm directly responsible 
for his stunning recent success.

The Cup:  Care to elaborate?

Steve:  I first met Tim several years ago on Rafferty Rd. We were 
looking for short-eared owls. We didn't know each other from Adam then. 
I was scanning with my powerful and competent Nikon, while he dragged 
out and set up this thing that looked like a cardboard tube with a 
scratched plastic disk taped to each end. He soon announced excitedly 
that he "HAD ONE", and looked around beaming with pleasure. I aimed 
where he was pointing, but could find only a mass of grape vines in a 
fencerow. I said I didn't see it. He offered a view through his scope, 
which I accepted although I was leery of contracting an eye infection. 
All I could see was a darker gray lump surrounded by areas of lighter 
gray. I asked about the focus knob, but he said there wasn't one. I 
made bold to proclaim there was no owl.

"Is," he spoke with determination.
"Isn't," I countered.
"Is."
"Isn't."
"IS."
"ISN'T."

This looked bad, and as he's bigger than me, I quickly offered my scope 
for a peek. He looked. He stared. A long time. Then his fingers slowly 
flexed, and mewling sounds were coming from deep in his throat. He 
suddenly grabbed his own "scope", hopped in his car, and drove off. The 
next time I saw him he had this giant chrome Leica that's almost as 
good as Ken's, and he's been finding everything in sight since.

The Cup:  Wow.  I always knew both of you as unfailingly gracious folk.  
I guess I was only partly right.  Well, you’ll soon be a distant speck 
in the Lenzmobile’s rear-view mirror anyway (if it still has one).   

Any final thoughts?  

Steve:  Not really at this time. This has been hard on the old brain.

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


"CUP...QUOTES"

Off and on last week, I heard starling imitating an Eastern Meadowlark 
- not a great imitation, but not a bad attempt to fool the uninitiated!
--Allison Wells

Thanks to the good timing of my dog's need to go out, I just watched a 
flock of about 45 Snow Geese pass over my Mecklenburg farm, heading 
north in a sunny blue sky.
--Nancy Dickinson

Nine Bonasa umbellus!
That makes me jealous.  
But I'm not complaining -- 
just roused for more grousing.
--Mark Chao

Having been away for most of the past month, it is nice to come home to 
these first signs of spring.  Along with the many flocks of geese, on 
Sunday a beautiful adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK circled low over our 
Northeast Ithaca neighborhood and glided on towards Sapsucker Woods.
On Thursday afternoon, I saw 2-3 male BEE HUMMINGBIRDS.
--Ken Rosenberg

A quick look from Stewart Park and East Shore Park produced a nice 
variety and close looks at many diving ducks, including a pair of 
LONG-TAILED DUCKS north of East Shore.  No Bee Hummingbirds were in 
evidence.
--Ken Rosenberg

Despite the wind shaking the scopes like Jello, I think we got clear 
views of the unlikely duck in an unlikely spot.
--Bill McAneny

...Given the great distance, watching these geese wasn't so much about 
the grace of individual birds, nor about the din and spectacle of great 
numbers.  It was about the fluid form of the flock itself.  Rising, the 
birds appeared like one great, white meta-organism with formless edges 
and a solid but seethingly active interior.  Then the thing collapsed 
dramatically from three dimensions into one, as the flock fell into a 
tight line on the water's surface.
--Mark Chao

...I think that with this message, we've sent a record for longest-
distance reply to a call for totals.  Seems like we should get some 
sort of reward at the next Cupper Supper...
--Matt Medler, from Auckland, New Zealand (approximately 8,700 miles 
from The Basin)

If only an Evening Grosbeak would stop by.....  I live on Greek Peak, 
by the way (just outside of the basin???).
--David Bonter

Talk to Steve Kelling...I'm sure he could help you get your place *in* 
to the Basin.
--Martha Fischer

Whoah, just checked and Ken beat my February total from last year by 
one bird as well.  He's not stealing my "greedy algorithm" strategy, is 
he??!!
--Tim Lenz

Finally, if my estimates are even remotely correct, and assuming an 
average weight of 2910 grams per Snow Goose, then I believe there were 
about 480 tons of snow geese in the basin today.
--Tim Lenz

Then we noticed a couple of Horned Grebes and, as we scanned, a few 
more, and then a few more, and then . . . . . When we had finished 
counting, and waiting for some to surface, we had a total of 58.  
Reminds me of the soldiers in "The Mouse that Roared". Once counted, 
they snuck to the end of the line, to be counted again . . . and again. 
We did count several times. 58, really! 
--Bob McGuire

Just now (9:30) a Ring-necked Pheasant flew over the ponds at the Lab 
of Ornithology. I don't believe I have ever seen this before.
--Steve Kelling

Hello from Panama.
Today I had Rufous-crested Coquette, Solitary Eagle, Black-and-white 
Hawk-eagle, and a Crested Owl (roosting during the day).  The Chagres 
Basin is a bit more interesting than the Cayuga.
--Pete Hosner

...Martha Fischer and I had a GREEN HERON at lunch today at the lab of 
O.
--Mark Reaves

Sorry, but when someone announces that "Martha Fischer and I had a 
GREEN HERON at lunch today at the lab of O, I can't help asking: 
"Roasted or stewed?"
--Caissa Willmer

...and our first SWAMP SPARROW of the year. Dilemma: the Swamp Sparrow 
was so close that we're sure Evan heard the bird, but he didn't 
acknowledge it, since he was busy picking up rocks to toss into the 
brook. To put on his David Cup list or not? Perhaps a question for The 
Cup's Dear Tick columnist. Our consolation is that on the walk back, he 
did his Barred Owl imitation, completely of his own accord.
--Allison Wells

I've also been feeling too busy and left out of seeing all the arriving 
birds. However, this morning an indigo bunting was kind enough to fly 
into my window in Cayuga Heights and not hurt himself as a result.  I 
won't have seen him had he not called attention to himself so 
considerately.
--Karen Brazell

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May Your Cup Runneth Over,
- Jay