Year 6, Issue 5

***************************************************************************** * ^^^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ * * The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition. * Editor-in-Chief: Matt Medler * Basin Bird Highlights, Pilgrim's Progress: Matt Williams * Cup Astrologer: Matt Young * Head Scout: Matt Sarver * ***************************************************************************** @ @ @ @ @ @ NEWS, CUES, and BLUES @ @ @ @ @ @ Welcome back to The Cup! What?! You thought The Cup had gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet? Never! After all, this is The Cup we're talking about. The truth of the matter is that various editors have been on "working vacations" this summer, globetrotting to places like Brazil, the Adirondacks, and California (and let's not forget that noted birding hotspot, western Massachusetts). Sure, it might sound like we were just galavanting all over the place to add new species to our life lists, but in reality, we were hard at work, researching all aspects of birds and birding so that we can bring you, The Cup readership, the very best e-mail newsletter that money can buy. And, if you believe that, I saw a penguin down by the lighthouse jetty that you should go and check out. Since it is now the middle of September, you might assume that this Cup will cover all the fast and furious Basin birding action through the end of August. Ahh- but you know what they say about the word "assume." Instead of envisioning Wood Storks and shorebirds, imagine yourself in a place (a very hot place, probably) somewhere in the Cayuga Lake Basin at the end of July. This, my friends, is the setting for this issue of The Cup. Call-a-Cupper: Introducing The Cup Phone Card No, The Cup Phone Card isn't one of those great deal phone cards where you can call Timbuktu for a mere four cents a minute. Instead, it's actually a phone list, which if you like, you can copy into the word processor of your choice, shrink down to business card size, print out, and have at the ready the next time *you* find a super Basin rarity. If you're not the rarity type, but you like going out birding, keep it as a list of possible birding companions. If you want your name on The Cup Phone Card list (and who wouldn't?), send your current phone number(s) to Matt Williams when he sends out the next call for totals in early October. HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIH MAY JULY 2001 HIGHLIGHTS LITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITESLITES May 2001 Highlights Birding definitely picked up in May, as usual. The migrants seemed to trickle through this year with a few people in Ithaca and the Northeast claiming that it was one of the lightest migrations they've witnessed. In Ithaca, there were a few times the Hawthorn Orchard was really hopping, but not quite as much as last year. Perhaps this is only because there were fewer Cape Mays or just because there were no really good fallout days. What was lacking in the migration was offset somewhat by the interesting rarities that showed up this month. A May Day AMERICAN BITTERN and a few PALM WARBLERS were found at Stewart Park by Jeff Gerbracht. On the same morning, Ken Rosenberg was along Mt. Pleasant Road and witnessed a flock of migrant warblers foraging in trees and flying overhead (for those who want to use the in-flight pictures in the Sibley Guide). Joe Aliperti was at Monkey Run, which was perhaps the best spot that morning. There, he saw the year's first CERULEAN WARBLER in addition to a NORTHERN PARULA. Matt Young hit Summerhill that evening and heard BARRED, SCREECH and SAW-WHET OWLS. Ken R. had a CAPE MAY WARBLER at Green Hills Cemetery on the 3rd and on the 4th, Bob Fogg had a HOODED WARBLER singing from its usual haunt up on Beam Hill in Dryden. Also on the 4th, Kevin McGowan heard and saw a male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER in Dryden. Geo Kloppel, had a LAWRENCE'S WARBLER near his yard this year instead of his usual Golden-winged. From the other side of Danby, Ben Fambrough heard the Basin's first YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO in his yard and then got a call from Bob Fogg, who had seen a LITTLE GULL over the Main Pool at Montezuma NWR. On May 5th, Jai Balakrishnan found one CAPE MAY WARBLER in the Hawthorne Orchards and another near the MNWR Visitor's Center. On the 6th, there was a PHILADELPHIA VIREO and a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER in Dryden, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW in West Danby and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH at Monkey Run North. The Hawthorne Orchards produced a few TENNESSEE WARBLERS, a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, a NORTHERN PARULA and a PHILADELPHIA VIREO on the 8th. There was a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Mundy on the same day. A GLOSSY IBIS was seen at Montezuma on the 10th. On the 13th, WORM-EATING WARBLERS were seen at the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in Danby. BAY-BREASTED and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS were seen along with a PHILADELPHIA VIREO in the Hawthorns. A single WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen at Benning Marsh and a HENSLOW'S SPARROW was heard that night near Rafferty Rd. Good numbers of interesting migrants passed through the Hawthorne Orchards and birders covered that area daily. On the 17th, Mark Scheel's persistence paid off when he saw a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in that area. Two COMMON TERNS made a brief appearance at Dryden Lake on the 18th. Later that day, Jai found a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER along the path at the Hawthorns. Jai came through on the 19th and had 4 BRANT at the north end of the lake. Tom Nix had a singing SWAINSON'S THRUSH and some HOODED WARBLERS near Nut Ridge on the 20th. On the 21st, Bruce Tracey had 2 HENSLOW'S SPARROWS singing near Burdick Hill Rd. Ken R. had a RUDDY TURNSTONE among a few other shorebirds at Myers Point on the 22nd. "Cape May" Jai strikes again with a CAPE MAY, a few BLACKPOLLS and a late PALM WARBLER on the 24th at the Hawthorns. On the 26th, Matt Young's Summerhill trip turned up 20 Warbler species (19 breeders), a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, BARRED OWL and SAW-WHET OWL. Jai had an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at the Hawthornes on the evening of the 27th. On the same day, there was another OLIVE-SIDED in Dryden, along with a NORTHERN GOSHAWK and a RED-SHOULDERED hawk. The next morning (5/28), a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD made a brief appearance at the Thomas's feeder up the west side of the lake. Near Sheldrake, 3 Matts, Bob and Ben found an ORCHARD ORIOLE pair and nest. Farther up the west side, the UPLAND SANDPIPERS were seen on the 28th. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was seen at the Hawthorns on the 29th and the OLIVE-SIDED hung around until the 30th. On the 30th, Bruce Tracey saw 4 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and 9 RUDDY TURNSTONES at Myers. Laura Stenzler had a single PINE SISKIN at her feeder in Ellis Hollow. June 2001 Highlights Appropriately, June is the month when summer truly begins. For some, that means tracking down late migrants or finding the breeders that they are missing. However, it seems that by the end of the month, the heat had reduced birder activity more than it had affected the birds. Two ORCHARD ORIOLES were found along Lake Rd. on the 2nd. A COMMON TERN was observed dive-bombing a BALD EAGLE at Tschache Pool on the 2nd. On the 3rd, there was a VESPER SPARROW singing near Mt. Pleasant. The ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS were seen along with CERULEAN WARBLERS at Ford Hill and Salmon Creek on the 4th. On the 5th, an ORCHARD ORIOLE was seen near Myers Point. Also on the 5th, 2 COMMON TERNS were seen at Tschache Pool, and Long Point and Myers yielded 1 COMMON LOON each that evening. Bob Fogg heard an AMERICAN BITTERN along Carncross Rd. on the 6th. Steve Kelling and Jeff Gerbracht reported 3 UPLAND SANDPIPERS and 2 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS at Empire Days Fairgrounds on the 7th. 4 COMMON TERNS were at Myers on the 9th. That evening, Karl and Kathy Strickland found a HENSLOW'S SPARROW on territory and watch a LONG-EARED OWL hunting up near Rafferty Rd. Also on the 9th, Sandy Podulka found a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Brooktondale. A pair was seen entering a cavity later that week. On the 11th, there was a RUDDY TURNSTONE and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on the spit at Myers Point. On the 24th, the McGowan boys reported CLIFF SWALLOWS along Hanshaw Rd. An ORCHARD ORIOLE and a PINE SISKIN were reported from Brooktondale on the weekend of the 23rd. An albino RED-TAILED HAWK was seen near Union Springs on the 29th. July 2001 Highlights With the exception of a few early migrants and post-breeding dispersals, not much new happened this July. Several BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS were reported around the southern Basin and other cool breeders such as ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and BLACK TERN were seen in their usual haunts throughout the month. A LEAST SANDPIPER was seen at Myers Point on the 1st. Ken R. had a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW near the Ithaca Airport and had 1 CASPIAN TERN on the Red Lighthouse Jetty on the 15th. Two SANDHILL CRANES were seen in a harvested wheat field on the 21st and were seen intermittently through the end of the month. The Basin's first GREAT EGRET was seen at North Springs Pool on the 22nd. The first SANDERLING was seen at Myers Point on the 25th. In addition to a single PECTORAL SANDPIPER and a few LEASTS, good numbers of SOLITARY SANDPIPERS were reported from Montezuma that day. Breeding BROAD-WINGED and RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were reported in Ellis Hollow on the 26th. By the end of the month, shorebirds were starting to show up at Montezuma, where good numbers of SOLITARY, LEAST and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were seen with GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. PILGRIMS' PROGRESS += + = + = + MAY, JUNE, & JULY 2001 TOTALS + = + = + = + Compiled by Matt Williams "...churning and burning they yearn for The Cup..." - Cake July, June, & May 2001 David Cup Totals 227 225 222 Matt Williams 216 214 152 Bob Fogg (Alder Flycatcher) 208 ??? ??? Matt Medler 206 206 200 Kevin McGowan (Yellow-bellied Flycatcher) 204 ??? ??? Ken Rosenberg 203 203 197 Jai Balakrishnan (Yellow-throated Vireo) 203 203 196 Jay McGowan (Acadian Flycatcher) 202 202 198 Pete Hosner 200 199 195 Bruce Tracey (100:Peregrine Falcon, 200:Vesper Sparrow) 189 185 182 Greg Delisle 182 ??? ??? Susan Barnett 174 168 156 Jeff Gerbracht 118 117 115 Jim Lowe 192 192 66 Meena Haribal 151 ??? ??? Ben Fambrough 130 ??? ??? Allison Wells 112 ??? ??? Tringa (Doggie) McGowan (Yellow-billed Cuckoo) 79 ??? ??? Jon Kloppel 79 ??? ??? Steve Kelling 78 ??? ??? Martin (Kitty) McGowan 73 ??? ??? Tom Nix 70 ??? ??? Jeff Wells 66 ??? ??? Bard Prentiss July, June, & May 2001 McIlroy Award Totals 138 138 136 Jai Balakrishnan 135 ??? ??? Ken Rosenberg 127 127 127 Kevin McGowan 113 111 109 Jim Lowe 117 117 116 Jay McGowan 117 ??? ??? Matt Williams 95 ??? ??? Allison Wells 78 77 57 Bill Evans 40 ??? ??? Jeff Wells July, June, & May 2001 Evans Trophy Totals 174 ??? ??? Ken Rosenberg 158 156 154 Kevin McGowan 149 147 146 Jay McGowan 38 ??? ??? Bard Prentiss July, June, & May Yard Totals 114 ??? ??? Ken Rosenberg 101 101 95 McGowan/Kline Family 88 ??? ??? Nancy Dickinson 24 ??? ??? Steve Kelling 5 ??? ??? Pete Hosner July, June, & May 2001 Lansing Listers 139 136 135 Bruce Tracey 120 120 109 Kevin McGowan 120 ??? ??? Matt Williams July, June, May 2001 Office/Classroom Totals 30 30 29 Jai Balakrishnan 17 ?? ?? Matt Williams 1 ?? ?? Pete Hosner !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! KICKIN' TAIL ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE CUP: So, how does it feel to be Kickin' Tail in a competition that most people have either forgotten about, or given up for dead? Pretty prestigious, huh? Matt Williams: You're not going to fool me with that one. Too many times I've thought, "Oh, he's forgotten about the David Cup," only to have that person sneak right up ahead of me. It's a common Cup strategy. Pretending that you're not a contender to reduce the competition is quite effective. One drawback is that feigned birder apathy takes its toll on the Composite Deposit. It's nice to be in the lead, but knowing that everyone is after you is a bit scary. Have you seen the contenders this year? THE CUP: It's been a while, and some people (most likely those who still haven't cracked into the 200 Club) still seem to be having problems telling the Matts apart, so which Matt are you again? MW: I guess I'm Matt inornatus. That title really helps me not stand out to other Cuppers as a threat. THE CUP: And which Matt am I? MW: That would be M. minimus, like your DC total. At least you still turn a total in, though. The former champ, Matt Young (M. vociferus) and your personal rival, Matt Sarver (M. pensylvanicus) seem to have lost their David Cup spirit. THE CUP: OK, thanks for clearing that up. So you're at 227 at the end of July? Does the number 239 mean anything to you? Well, it should. That meager number was Matt Young's total the first time he won The Cup, in 1998. And despite all the excuses that Mr. Young might give about that total (I didn't join The Cup until August! I was kidnapped by aliens and missed Yellow-billed Cuckoo!), the fact remains that 239 is the only winning total below 240. Any comment on your chances of joining the group of respectable Cup winners in the 240+ Club? Heck, even Ben Fambrough broke 240 last year. MW: I will admit that I do have some glaring misses and I am breaking the Cup rule that states "Never leave the Basin" by being in Western Massachusetts (not PA) for much of what's left of the year. However, I think that I am in good shape to hit or beat 240. Unfortunately, I think a few other Cuppers may be as well. This isn't the year for breaking any records but I don't think the winning total will be as low as 239. THE CUP: Let's get down to the nitty gritty. What birds have you seen since the end of July, and what birds do you think are realistic additions between now and the end of the year? MW: Well, the most obvious additions are the fall "easy" birds. B-c Night Heron and Great Egret seemed to elude everyone this spring so those will be nice to have on my list. The dowitchers, Baird's and Stilt Sandpipers, and Black-bellied and Golden Plovers are usually not too difficult. Buff-breasted Sandpiper will be tough, as will Red-necked Phalarope. Hopefully a mid-late fall trip can turn up Brant and White-winged (not sure how I missed this one) and Black Scoters. If it's a finch year, I could get Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak with a winter trip to the Basin. I'm not going to add that list up but my spreadsheet checklist says that it's possible (but not all that likely) that I'll hit 245. THE CUP: Now there is the consideration of your current residence- where are you living at the moment, and how much time do you plan on spending in the Basin during the long haul of fall and early winter? MW: There's the rub-being in Western Mass for much of what's left of 2001 will certainly affect my total. Hopefully, I birded hard enough this year to gain a lead that will hold but I'm not sure. There are some others who could take the lead with a little effort. THE CUP: Do you care to size up your competition? Bob Fogg, 11 birds off the pace, is your nearest challenger. What do you think about old Bobby Fogg, and who exactly is he? That seems to be the great mystery of the year- who is Bob Fogg? MW: I was wondering that myself last fall when he reported an Oldsquaw-oooh sorry!-Long-tailed Duck off of Stewart Park. Since then, Bob has really added some excitement to Basin birding. That 11 bird lead will dwindle since I'm sure he'll pick up a few birds that he neglected in the spring. He's in a much better position for rarities and will undoubtedly find a few before the year is over. I actually think I voted him the most likely to win the 2001 David Cup. THE CUP: Now, I know that he barely cracked the 200 Club by the end of July, but I would still keep my eye out for my esteemed Cayugabirds-L sparring partner, Ken Rosenberg. It doesn't seem to me like he has missed many of the big rarities this year, and we all know that his yard represents one of the big migratory pathways in North America, so there's no knowing what he'll pick up from his bathroom window this fall. Plus, I hear that Steve Kelling is teaching Ken the "new Cup math," whereby you magically gain birds at the end of the year ("Oh, I forgot to tick off House Sparrow until now!"). Do you think that Kenny is still a threat? MW: Always. Ken has learned that if you don't post (or wait a few days to post) to Cayugabirds-L, nobody knows what your total is. He's been much better this year, I think, but still manages to create quite a bit of confusion in regards to what he has or hasn't seen. Couple that with his yard list, as you mentioned, and you've got a total that could easily win the David Cup this year. THE CUP: Hmm. Can you think of any more interesting questions for this interview? MW: Where's the door? THE CUP: Would you like to sing a song or two for us? MW: Sarver and I do a mean rendition of Lodi, but being so far from there, I'm not too inspired right now. THE CUP: Thanks for stopping by, and good luck the rest of the way. We'll be rooting for you this fall. Maybe. COMPOSITE DEPOSIT & LEADER'S LIST To see a complete checklist of the birds seen in the Basin through July 31, and to see which of these species Matt Williams missed, go to the following site: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/mdm2/july2001cd.html """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "CUP QUOTES" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "PS -- put out The Cup already jeez wth" -Greg Delisle "I did find a very vocal CERULEAN WARBLER along with a male CAPE MAY WARBLER (my second bird for the day/life) at the entrance to the auto-loop." -"Cape May" Jai Balakrishnan "Greetings birders, this note is a kind request, to any who have visited or will visit the Hawthorn Orchard in East Ithaca in the future, to post your bird sightings." -Chris Tessaglia-Hymes "I had an OSPREY on July 13th fishing in the inlet. This is my first July record for Ithaca. DDT begone!" -Bill Evans "The Cooper's Hawk nest near my house has at least two nestlings. They are big "babies," a cross between adorable and magnificent." -Anne Marie Johnson "A moorhen with two young--half-grown and half her size, but clearly moorhens. (Sorry! I have a silly question: we have peahens and peacocks; why don't we have moorcocks--or do we?)" -Caissa Willmer "The crows dip the bread repeatedly in the water, softening it up like, he says, people dipping biscotti in their coffee." -John Greenly "For those who wonder whether those little paintings of warblers in flight in the Sibley guide will ever come in handy, you should head over to Mt. Pleasant one of these early mornings coming up." -Ken Rosenberg "Hate to be a cynic here, but the chances of seeing something like this are minuscule but non-zero." -Kevin McGowan "put out The Cup" -Greg Delisle May Your Cup Runneth Over, The Matts