Year 5, Issue 2

CURTAIN RISES

The editors' locker room is dim with little evening light. The sound of a

plastic cap sliding off a half empty bottle of inexpensive scotch is

closely followed by the opening of a door as Medler walks in catching

Fambrough with the glass to his lips...

M: Hard day, eh Fambrough?

F: You're not kidding. Sorting through the Cup submissions takes

hours--never mind the mental stress of pestering you guys for the columns.

These deadlines are enough to drive a guy to.... oops...too late for that.

Want a swig?

M: No thanks. I've got a heavy date with my Neil Diamond albums and a cup

of warm milk. And I've got to make a looped tape of Red-eyed Vireo for my

sleep aid. By the way, I couldn't help but notice that Butler by-passed our

security codes and inserted a second March total into our last issue.

F: Yeah, that was really sneaky. You've got to watch out for those quiet

ones. What could he possibly hope to accomplish?

M: I don't know, but he's got to be punished.

F: Consider it done. I'll knock five off his April total. He probably made

up that many anyway.

M: At least five! You just watch, he ll be pulling Ruddy Turnstone out of

his err, hat. Anyway, you d better get a move on...Geo and Nix are waiting

for you in the office.

^v^v^v^v ^v^v THE CUP TALKS TO GEO AND TOM ^v^v^v^v^v^v

The Cup: Gentlemen, this is truly a pleasure. I am so excited to see you

two holding the number one slot: two basin giants going to head-to-head.

What fun! Congratulations! You're tied for first place with 158.

Geo: That's what I get for handing him a couple of good birds. I knew I

should have counted that Oriole on the 30th!

The Cup: So you *do* keep the spirit of competition! And now you have to

share with Nix.

Geo: Tom is my biggest hero, so I'm thoroughly abashed to find myself

jostling with him. I could never live up to the standard he set for the

HIGHLIGHTS either.

The Cup: Care to forecast a winner?

Geo: Nope. But I will say this: some pretty awesome birders take a

decidedly laid-back approach to this game. If any one of them was motivated

to make a run... well, I might have to slink back to West Danby and tie a

spruce switch over my ridgepole. On the other hand, if they really cared

about winning the DC, wouldn't I have to downgrade them from gods to mere

heroes? Maybe they're playing it smart.

The Cup: And I thought they were just plain lazy.

Nix: Can I jump in here? About the tie, I'm quite honored to share the

privileged position, but I really think that April 30 simply marks the day

that Geo passed me on his way to David Cup glory.

The Cup: So Geo's gonna take it all?

Nix: What I just said. He's even more grizzled than I am.

Geo: What do you mean "grizzled?" Come on. At this stage the lead doesn't

mean anything. If you've ticked the important winter specialties, the early

through-migrants and some of the season's allowance of rarities, it makes

little difference whether you're on top or somewhere down in the middle of

the pack.

The Cup: So, Tom, I'm sure you couldn't help but notice that you won the

Big Fizz award for '99. Should we go ahead and engrave your name for 2000

or will you stick around this year?

Nix: Really? I hadn't noticed. Working for City government has taught me

not to pay any attention to the tabloids. But if you're giving out awards,

who am I to decline? In fact, since no one is going to beat Geo this year

anyhow, my only hope for David Cup success is to once again fade in the

back stretch. As Bob Dylan said, "there's no success like failure" adding

curiously, "and failure's no success at all."

The Cup: Geo, who is more cool, you or Tom?

Geo: Tom is inscrutable. In my book that's nearly synonymous with cool.

Probably few would even think of handing him this year's Rosenberg Prize.

People would first have to realize that he's actually been out birding on

the quiet. In an area as small as the basin you expect to bump into the

dedicated birders on an irregular basis, but not Tom. Ages pass between

sightings. I ran into him at Stewart Park last month and couldn't even

place the guy. There was a sort of mist before my eyes, and I had to ask

"Excuse me, but haven't I met you somewhere before?"

The Cup: Why do you suppose he doesn't post to Cayugabirds-l like a good boy?

Geo: Sympathy for Ken Rosenberg?

The Cup: (to Nix) So why *don't* you post to Cayugabirds-l? Don't you like us?

Nix: Top Five Reasons For Not Posting More to Cayugabirds-L:

5) Excessive use of computer keyboards can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome

4) I'm worried my employer will find out how much time I spend on the

internet while at work.

3) People might consider me a hardcore birder.

2) Geo's already posted everything.

1) I don't want my wife to find out I've been birding instead of attending

my Men's Group's sensitivity training.

But getting back to the coolness issue: I used to be cool, but working for

government has taken all of the cool right out of me. Geo (I mean just look

at him!) is very cool. He works with his hands. He makes music. He writes

like an 19th century romantic. Very cool.

The Cup: You guys are too much. Alright I've been a slacker and haven't

checked the past records, but... Have you ever won the Cup?

Nix: You must be joking! No. However, I'm proud to say that I have been in

the lead for at least part of every year except last when Mighty Matt Young

was shaking it up.

The Cup: And you Geo?

Geo: Anyone who inspects the David Cup will see that my name is neither

embossed on the bowl nor engraved in the brass. It's not even chalked on

the bottom. My name has never been whispered reverently over the rim, nor

the reflection of my contemplative visage mirrored in distorted miniscule

upon the countless spheroidal surfaces of shining beer-bubbles born out of

the celebratory draft. The trophy has never collected dust on my dashboard,

nor been reviled in my house as "more abominable clutter".

The Cup: I think that may chance come the end of 2000. Do either of you

have any big misses?

Nix: I missed Golden Eagle, despite spending some prime-time on Mt.

Pleasant, Saw-whet Owl, and of course, Bohemian Waxwing. Nothing else

strikes me as a problem yet.

Geo: I was sad about the cranes...

The Cup: Tom, do you have any strategies for staying on top?

Nix: I'm on top? Well, no. I'd like to put in a decent showing, for once,

but in the past something has always come up. We'll see.

The Cup: And you, Geo?

Geo: I'm on a ten-year development program, not looking to take The David

Cup before 2006. I've deferred all non-essential scheduled maintenance and

replacement of the components of a conventional life. My clothes are full

of holes, my car has gone 209,000 miles on the original clutch, I live on

peanut butter and jelly, sometimes skip the bread. Spare no sacrifice.

Ironically, this is pure self-indulgence. I'm exploiting my character

defects to obtain a modestly steep learning curve at minimal cost.

The Cup: No one came anywhere close to the 1992 or 1993 record of 200

species before May 1st. Are basin birders getting soft?

Geo: More likely an attrition problem. When you approach the level of such

a record, you're getting ripe for a move to Texas or the tropics.

Nix: Also, we have had a delayed arrival of neotropical migrants, but along

Geo's lines and more to the point, the last guys to post big pre-May

numbers are gone. I mean, now that Kelling has a real job, who's seen him?

And Matt Young's car won't get him to the Basin reliably even if he had the

time. Listen guys, someone's building my dinner and it's due for

inspection, so I have to run.

The Cup: Okay, just a couple quick ones for you then. Do you have any plans

for out-of-basin birding?

Nix: Well, I did go to Alabama to see the Lark Bunting, but no, at this

time I don't have any other plans.

The Cup: Do you hope to see any new basin, or life, birds this year? And

what's your favorite color? (Jeff still wants to know.)

Nix: Hope is the bread and butter of birding. I'm still hoping to see the

glowing red head of a Eurasian Wigeon this year.

The Cup: Well thanks a bunch for stopping by. And good luck to you! So,

Geo, how about yourself: do you hope for any new basin birds or, for that

matter, life birds this year?

Geo: I've already seen some lifers this year, like BOHEMIAN WAXWING and

LITTLE GULL. I'll be disappointed if I don't add some more. For me, the

real purpose of the game is just to provide some inducement to put aside

less crucial matters and get out to see the birds. In the current state of

society that requires a little winking self-deception: You tell yourself

it's "important" to "do the best you can", to "make a real effort", and

even "contribute to conservation", etc., but isn't it all just apologetics

for plain old providence?

I had a conversation once with a fisherman who wanted to know what I was

looking at in the treetops. When I attempted to explain the allure of

warblers to him, he just asked "Can ya eat 'em?" and made a toothy grin.

Hunters and fishermen may hope to bring home a pheasant or a mess of fish

for dinner, providing a neat primal pay-off for their lengthy dalliance in

field and stream, but we birders must resort to greater ingenuity

commensurate with the greater refinement of our pursuit.

The Cup: Speaking of "can ya eat 'em"...are you a vegetarian?

Geo: Although the Vedas reportedly say that "He who has true faith in the

omnipresent supreme being may eat all that exists", vegetarianism and other

restrictive diets are commonly associated in our culture with religious or

ethical doctrines tacitly considered to be rather naive or dubious.

I prefer to sidestep all of that, so even though I find it expedient in

general to eat below the top of the food chain, I occasionally break this

voluntary rule with deliberation. Rigidity seems to me a greater risk than

succumbing to a coarse diet.

The Cup: Do you have any plans for out-of-basin birding?

Geo: My view is that there is a lifetime's study available right here, so

why take time out from birding to earn extra cash for traveling expenses? I

know this will seem perverse to many, but evading the government ticket to

southeast Asia, hitch-hiking around the country, buffeting Finger Lakes

winters in a tar-paper yurt, and similar not-so creditable experiences have

left their marks on me. One's sense of proportion arises from personal

perspective. It's amazing to me how much thoroughly conspicuous consumption

consists with our conservationist sport as it exists today. The

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO may fly from Argentina on a few pounds of

caterpillars, but barrels of jet fuel are required for us to make such a trip.

No, I like the scale of the basin. I declined to head over to Geneva in

past winters for BARROW S GOLDENEYE, though I happily drove up beyond Lyons

to see WESTERN KINGBIRD. I just knew I'd eventually see BARROW S in the

basin, and that was what I wanted. If it's convenient or if I feel the

impulse I will sometimes go elsewhere for birds. SABINE'S GULL and ANNA'S

HUMMINGBIRD lured me to other parts of the southern tier, or there's my

current hankering to go after BICKNELL'S THRUSH. Sure, I burn a lot of

gasoline chasing birds, but it seems to me I ought to aspire to use less

rather than more in the future. Looking beyond the current

ranging-the-basin phase, I expect that as I age (I'm 48 now) I will

probably shrink my territory. Maybe switch to botany.

The Cup: Geo, it's a pleasure to have your words grace the Cup newsletter

again. I hope you hold the leader's position and we speak again next month.

Take care

o| o| o| o| o| o| o| o| DAVID CUP MUSIC SCENE o| o| o| o| o| o| o| o|

by Matt Williams

Well, we all know by now that many birds are great musicians. It

is also a fact is that there are also certain Cuppers who are musically

gifted as well.

Recently, Matt Sarver and I headed to Binghamton to see Ben

Fambrough and his band The Other Ear play at The Tie Dye Shop aka Cyber

Cafe. We entered a small room with a stage in the back of a CTB-esque

coffee/bagel house and didn't know what to expect. What we got was a fine

show from Mr. Fambrough and company. It was certainly a surprise to see

Ben on lead vocals, especially after hearing some of his owl calls this

past winter. He sounded great and his voice and guitar playing style

demonstrated amazing versatility. The band covered a few songs from groups

such as Phish and Wilco, but also had a healthy amount of original

music. Some of it was mellow, some a bit harder and some even had a pinch

of country twang (not too much though). The group did a nice job of

handling this varied array of tunes and the diversity coupled with an

overall great sound made for a wonderful evening. Unfortunately you have

to leave the basin to catch their shows. Try on Friday, June16th at the

location mentioned above.

And now for a brief editorial interlude:

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON BIRDING IN MAY: Perhaps you feel an early tinge of

warbler-neck, that awful posture, face to the canopy, struggling to get a

glimpse of undertail coverts, those Swarovskis weighing heavily on the

shoulders. You've a little eye strain from the constant scanning. Perhaps

your sneakers are dew-soaked from morning walks at the Green Hills

Cemetery. Or you might even have a bit of a cold from leaving the windows

open at night with hopes of Whip-poor-will. On the other hand, you may be

one of the lazy ones: limiting your birding to leisurely lunch time strolls

through Mundy Wildflower Garden: "Ah, ho hum, another Black and

White...la...another Wilson's." Or worse, you may bird the dawn chorus from

your bed! drifting in and out of sleep with bird song floating through your

head: you wake with a start...was that Acadian Flycatcher? Of course, you

can't count these birds, you dreamt half of them! Either way, if you were

not out braving the icy winds off Cayuga in February or the snowdrifts

along the Savannah mucklands, then you don't know the meaning real birding.

Only the few, the brave and stout of heart can handle the rigors of the

winter cold, the dangers of the ice, the challenge of gull identification

or scoping for Longspurs in a snow squall. Were you meticulously sorting

through Aythya for Tufted Duck? Or did you venture out to boost your meager

Cup totals only when true birders located rarities? How many Iceland Gulls

did you find? Search your soul for the answers and realize you may have to

do time in December if you find those answers hard to bare. La-de-da you

saw twenty species of warblers today. Seek redemption ye heathens! The

least you can do is to put in some time now. Olive-sided or Yellow-bellied

Flycatcher might help. Or you could spend a few nights penance listening

for Sedge Wren and Henslow's. Whatever you do, do not be seduced by the

easy flash of local breeders. May is too easy.

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

COACH'S CORNER by Matt Medler

After an especially dreary, gray, and uneventful April, two words

instantly come to mind with the arrival of May: spring migration! While

migration has been under way since March, May undoubtedly represents its

pinnacle, with more species seen in the Basin during this month than any

other month of the year. There is an understandable temptation for birders

to gorge themselves on as many warblers, tanagers, and orioles as they can

find at places like Dryden Lake, Sapsucker Woods, and the Mundy Wildflower

Garden, but in my mind, migrants represent just one element of a

five-pronged attack for May and early June. In addition to migrants,

birders should focus on uncommon breeders, early-arriving breeders, marsh

birds, and surprises if they hope to crack the Top 10 in the David Cup this

year.

Migrants

Everybody has warbler fever these days, so I'll start with what I

consider to be our strictly migrant warblers here in the

Basin: Golden-winged, Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Northern Parula, Cape

May, Palm, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, and Wilson s. These are the warblers

on which to concentrate during spring migration; the 23 other species of

regularly occurring warblers all breed somewhere in the Basin. (See below,

and next month s Corner for more details.) I think of Orange-crowned and

Wilson s as being fall migrants, so I m not going to concentrate on them

much here, but Wilson s is reported every spring, and an Orange-crowned

showed up on Beam Hill last spring, so keep them in mind. Steve Kelling

has a date with a Wilson s Warbler every spring on the Wilson Trail at

Sapsucker Woods, so you might ask Steve when and where they have their

annual rendezvous. Golden-winged Warbler, unfortunately, is become a more

and more difficult bird to see in the Basin. This stoinker seemed to stop

by Mundy Wildflower Garden every spring for a few years (with a preference

for hemlocks?), but last year, I believe the only report was from Geo

Kloppel s place in West Danby. Geo gets just about every species of

warbler in the Basin in his yard (or nearby), so I could probably cut this

segment on warblers short and just say, Camp out at Geo s place during the

middle of May. Matt Young says he s going to turn up a breeding Northern

Parula at Summer Hill this spring, and I m certainly not going to doubt

him, but if you re impatient and want to see one during migration, keep

doing those loops at Sapsucker Woods, Mundy, and Dryden Lake. Tennessee

Warbler is a species with which, for some reason, I have had problems in

the past, but Chris Tessaglia-Hymes has been kind enough to share his

secret Tennessee spot- the stretch of the East Ithaca Recreation Way

between Mitchell Street and Honness Lane. Cape May, Bay-breasted, and

Blackpoll were all seen together at Green Hills Cemetery in Dryden last

spring, and that seems like a good place to check again this year. The

Ithaca City Cemetery, which was one of the spots for warblers a few years

back (especially this trio), seems to have fallen upon hard times recently,

but Matt Williams is going to give it some good coverage this spring, and

I'll be surprised if he doesn't find at least one or two of these last

three species of warblers. Finally, if you haven t seen Palm Warbler by

the time you read this, it might be too late this spring, but keep checking

Sapsucker Woods and Dryden Lake.

In addition to the warblers mentioned above, there are four other

migrants that I believe are key species during the spring: Ruddy

Turnstone, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Lincoln s

Sparrow. Sure, you can probably see/hear all four in the fall, but

sightings of these birds are sparse enough that I think they deserve

special effort in the spring. To see Ruddy Turnstone, check the spit at

Myers Point every morning from Memorial Day Weekend through the first week

in June. If you do, you should be treated to this colorful birds (and

Sanderlings) in their stunning breeding plumage, and you might pick up a

few other shorebird species in the process. From my experience, it s hard

to predict where the flycatchers might show up, but keep your ears open for

their distinctive vocalizations, and if somebody else reports them, chase

after them. As for Lincoln s Sparrow, ask Chris Tessaglia-Hymes where to

find this spring migrant dirt bird. Or, just hang out by the front door

of the Lab of O, and one might show up there.

Uncommon Breeders

Besides the migrant warblers I mentioned above, there are two key

breeding species to concentrate on in mid to late May: Worm-eating Warbler

and Prothonotary Warbler. To the best of our knowledge, these two species

are very limited breeders in the Basin. Also known as the Golden Swamp

Warbler, the Prothonotary breeds in wet woodlands; the classic spot for

this bird in the Basin is on Armitage Road, just a few miles northwest of

Mays Point at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. The Worm-eating Warbler, by

contrast, prefers dry wooded hillsides for breeding. The Biodiversity

Preserve in West Danby is the best known spot for this subtle, but equally

beautiful warbler. It is my theory that because of the small population

sizes of these two species (and the species mentioned below) in the Basin,

they are not vocal as long into the season as our more common breeding

warblers, and they can thus become difficult to detect by even early

June. So, get out there during the last third of May to listen and look

for these birds!

Two other key species that fit into my category of uncommon

breeder are Acadian Flycatcher and Orchard Oriole. In an ideal birding

world, one trip to the Salmon Creek area over Memorial Day Weekend would

allow you to see (or at least hear) both of these birds. But, things don't

usually work out that way, so be prepared to make multiple visits to Salmon

Creek. As a backup, Howland Island is a spot where both species have bred

within the past few years. In addition, such classic birding spots as

Sheldrake, Myers Point (north of Salmon Creek), and Pete s Treats ice cream

stand in Union Springs have been the sites of Orchard Oriole sightings in

recent years.

Early-arriving Breeders

This group includes three species of birds that arrive back in the

Basin some time in April, and for a variety of reasons, can become

difficult to detect by mid to late May: Vesper Sparrow, Brown Thrasher,

and Pine Warbler. My advice on these birds: if you haven t already seen

them, go out after them as soon as possible, because it s just going to get

harder and harder as spring progresses. Bay-winged Sparrow, as Vesper was

previously known, has bedeviled Cup contenders for years, and this year

shouldn't be any different- it was conspicuously absent from the May 1st

reading of the Basin Checklist. Check the Hart Road spot that Bard

Prentiss just reported recently, or try along Lake Road in northern

Lansing. Brown Thrasher is a bird that has to date eluded my Cup

editor-in-chief and the office waterboy. Thrashers *should* still be

singing at Dryden Lake, but I haven't heard any the past few times I've

been there. Perhaps it would be easier at this point to detect this bird

by sight; try shrubby areas out by the Tompkins County Airport or around

Tompkins-Cortland Community College. Why is Pine Warbler on this list,

some of you might be asking? Well, from my own very personal experience

with this bird, I've learned that it can be hard to even hear Pine Warbler

by the end of May. Yes, I know that they breed at Comstock Knoll and

Monkey Run North, but in a previous year, I check both of these spots in

late May and early June (early in the morning), and never had any luck. My

theory is that their early arrival and breeding season, combined with a low

population density, makes for low levels of song by this time of the

year. I don t know how good that theory is, but that s my excuse, anyway.

Marsh Birds

Oh yes, marsh birds. Specifically, Virginia Rail, Sora, American

Bittern, and Least Bittern. With the expanse of wetlands at the north end

of Cayuga Lake, we know that these birds must be around. The question,

then, is how to see or hear them? My answer would be to do what Cup

co-leader has already done- go up to Montezuma now (right this very

minute!) and spend a night listening for them. In the case of the first

three species, they have already been back in the Basin for 3-5 weeks, so

now is the time when they are likely to be active vocally. Least Bitterns

should be back any time now, so by mid-May, the potential will exist to

hear all four species on a given evening. There is also the chance of

catching one or both of the bitterns rising up briefly out of the marsh at

dusk or dawn, so keep your eyes open for them, and be sure that you can

distinguish them with a quick look from the other herons.

Surprises

We've already had our share of nice surprises this year, but let s

hope for (and work for) even more. What about another appearance from

Sedge Wren in the Basin? Check out the grasslands at Finger Lakes National

Forest and you might find some. Is Red-headed Woodpecker really gone from

the Basin? Spend some time birding Ringwood Preserve and McLean Bog, two

places that hosted this species in the 1990s. Speaking of McLean Bog, do

you know that there are specimens of Connecticut Warbler from this site,

from June?! Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the discovery of a

Kentucky Warbler at Mundy Wildflower Garden. Will this be the year for the

appearance of a Yellow-throated Warbler? As you focus on the birds I've

mentioned in the categories above, keep your mind open to bigger

possibilities, explore new areas, and try to make your contribution to

Basin birding lore.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< THE NUMBERS GAME >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Compiled by Matt Medler

"...churning and burning they yearn for the cup..." (Cake)

April 2000 David Cup Totals

After four months, the 2000 David Cup looks like it has the

potential to be a classic: two seasoned veterans tied for the top spot,

followed by a former winner and a very energetic college upstart. And

let's not forget about the pre-season favorite, lurking in the shadows just

a few birds off the pace.

158 Geo Kloppel

158 Tom Nix (White-crowned Sparrow)

155 Kevin McGowan

155 Matt Williams

154 Ben Fambrough

152 Jay McGowan

150 Chris Butler

140 Matt Medler

138 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes

135 Ken Rosenberg

135 Allison Wells

133 Meena Haribal

132 Bard Prentiss

122 Jon Kloppel (Western Meadowlark)

109 Melanie Uhlir (???)

106+ Matt Young

106 Marty Schlabach (Solitary Sandpiper)

102 Nancy Dickinson

99 Catherine Sandell

80 Jim Lowe

54 Perri McGowan

46 Anne Kendall

Note: Species in parentheses are Cuppers' admission tickets into the 100

Club. Look for special club bonuses next month when we reopen the Club

sections of the newsletter and allow readers to enjoy secretly recorded

conversations of club members and member wannabes.

April 2000 McIlroy Award Totals

112 Chris Butler

104 Kevin McGowan

96 Jay McGowan

88 Ken Rosenberg

86 Matt Williams

76 Allison Wells

67 Jim Lowe

60 Matt Medler

April 2000 Evans Trophy Totals

125 Ken Rosenberg

118 Kevin McGowan

114 Bard Prentiss

111 Jay McGowan

50+ Matt Young

Yard Totals

83 Ken Rosenberg

72 McGowan/Kline Family

57 Nancy Dickinson

47 Geo Kloppel

43 Melanie Uhlir

38 Jeff and Allison Wells

Office Totals

23 Melanie Uhlir

22 Allison Wells

Lansing Listers

100 Matt Williams

84 Kevin McGowan

GET YOUR TOTALS IN ON TIME: Now kids, Mr. Medler works very hard to have

this list compiled and sent to me by the deadlines under which he strains.

When he puts out the call for totals rush right to your checklist, tick

those birds and fudge those figures. Whatever you do, just get 'em in. Do

not, in the most casual/offhand manner, mention them to the Cup editor when

you happen to bump into him at the lighthouse jetty woods on the night

before we go to press (Hymes!). Cause it might just be too late next time.

Or you might have your totals cropped as Mr. Butler did.

~^x^~^x^~^x^~^x^ HIGHLIGHTS ^x^~^x^~^x^~^x^~

by Matt Williams

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour

Of which vertu engendred is the flour

G. Chaucer - from the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales

For those who know Old or Middle English or have studied Chaucer,

please excuse me for the liberties I am about to take with his fine

introduction to a fine piece of European literature

Well, the Aprill shoures (showers) certainly did not miss

Ithaca, however this fourth month of the 2000th year (AD, Of course) was

certainly a welcome change from the droughte (drought) of march that

certainly perced to the roote of many-a-cupper. Only a baker s dozen new

species were seen in March and the April total eclipsed that with a

whopping 62 new birds.

This month, I have decided to start with one of my first arrivals

for the month. Conveniently, this not-so-humble idea falls quite nicely

into the chronological trend that was developed in the last cup. To those

who still may think that I was fooling, I personally assure you that Matt

Williams did indeed see an American Bittern on the first. The Montezuma

count was the next day and Great Egret, Virginia Rail and Chipping Sparrow

were added. American Tree Sparrows held on through nearly the entire month

of April and, with both sparrows present, the so-called Spizella rule was

violated for quite a while.

Montezuma continued to be a focal point for good birds with a

Cattle Egret on the 3rd, found by Donna Jean Darling. The action was

brought back to Ithaca with the adult summer Little Gull found by Steve

Kelling on the 5th and then another 2nd winter summer transition Little

Gull that caused a bit of confusion but was eventually cleared up by Chris

Tessaglia-Hymes.

More birds kept coming. Shorebirds, including the Yellowlegs duo,

and Swallows, including Rough-winged and an early Purple Martin, were seen

on the 8th while Matt Young and the SFO Trip were at MNWR. They both had

the same quantity of new arrivals but Young was significantly

outnumbered. In addition, many SFO groups were treated to looks at

numerous Red-necked Grebes. Eleven were reportedly at the north end alone,

one was at Myers and given the extent of the fallout, there were certainly

more that went unnoticed. At May s point, there were three (Some saw 4?)

Oldsquaw, complete with long tail, offering great views. Despite the

tremendous (but wet) day on Cayuga Lake and a wonderful assortment of

waterfowl at Montezuma, the highlight of that day was found right in our

very own Evans Cup territory (Dryden, NY). Ken Rosenberg located a Western

Meadowlark on West Lake Rd. A few of the soaked, recently-returned

Montezuma birders anxiously drove over there to hear and get distant looks,

some braved blizzard-like conditions the next morning (only to miss the

bird altogether), but others who waited didn't suffer since the bird is

still there as of May 6.

An incredibly early Ruby-throated Hummingbird showed up at Nari

Mistry s residence and a not-as-early Great Crested Flycatcher was heard by

Geo Kloppel on the 16th. A late (and perhaps the last) Rough-Legged Hawk

was seen at the Mucklands on the 16th also. Both Forster's and Common

Terns were seen at Stewart Park on the 18th. A (the?) Red-throated Loon

was also seen swimming just offshore here in McIlroy country. At the same

location, migrant birder Meade Krosby was also seen. The Conservation of

Birds Class had Sora behind the airport and a Moorhen at Tschache on the

22nd. The Eaton Birding Society found their annual Sandhill Cranes at

Montezuma on the same day.

While a few of the early warblers were back: Pine (12th), Palm

(8th), LA Waterthrush (15th), warbler migration didn't really pick up until

the last third of the month. In 10 days there were 10 returning warbler

species. Most noteworthy was the Northern Parula, seen by Elizabeth King,

visiting feeders on the 23rd.

Besides warblers, Ben Fambrough saw the first Black Terns at

Tschache on the 26th and a Baltimore Oriole was seen at MNWR Visitors

Center on the 29th by Matt Victoria. Finally, the aprill shoures end

with the last spectacular sighting of the month: a Whip-poor-will was heard

and seen on the 28th by Paul Feeny in Cayuga Heights.

The May flowers are here and while the April showers apparently

lingered a bit longer than the rhyme implies, we made it through to the

good stuff. If you have been hibernating, or simply haven t noticed the

fact that the weather is great and the birds are back in good numbers, open

your eyes, open your minds and darn it, find some good stuff for next

Month s David Cup Highlights.

Here ends the [highlights] of this [month] and here begins the

[next month s] tale, which is [May s] tale. G. Chaucer

<><><><><><> EDITOR'S CORNER <><><><><><>

Well, you've done it again, you've wasted a perfectly good few minutes of

birding reading the Cup newsletter. Thanks again to Geo and Nix for

visiting our office. Special head nods to Williams for taking the headache

out of cut and paste. His computer finesse saved my tail. Please.share you

thoughts with us. send your comments to the editors. The Cup welcomes

submissions of all kinds

Editor-in-chief and Food and Beverage Director:

Ben Fambrough

Senior and Contributing Editor:

Mr. Compilation himself, "Long-tailed" Matt Medler

Contributing Editor & Formatting Guru:

Matt "Rear-wheel-drive-is-better" Williams

Potato Chip-Note: Consultant:

Matt Young

Editor Emeritus:

Allison Wells