Year 6, Issue 7

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition. * Editor-in-Chief: Matt Medler * Basin Bird Highlights, Pilgrims' Progress, * and Formatting King: Matt Williams * Grammar and Spelling Editor: Pete Hosner * Voice of Reason: Ben Fambrough ****************************************************************** As an avid sports fan, I've been trying to find that perfect sports metaphor for The Cup. I thought I had it back in October, when Matt Williams traveled to southwestern Pennsylvania for a month to work on a hush-hush bird project. The Basin, I thought, is the major leagues. Or, as baseball people call it, The Show. Williams had been performing admirably for most of the season, leading the David Cup from May until October, but let's face it--by mid-September he was from my peak form. His mechanics got all messed up. How else to explain spending a week at Montezuma in early September, literally camping out in the Northern Montezuma Wetlands Complex, and not ticking off Short-billed Dowitcher? The inevitable came in mid-October, when Williams received "the call." He was being sent down to the bush leagues of southwestern Pennsylvania (where Matt Sarver used to be a hotshot birding phenom) to work on his form. His assignment was to spend the next month alone, on a cold ridge, counting any and all birds that might fly by. Before reporting for his new assignment, though, Williams was allowed one last weekend in the Basin big league, and he made the most of it. The date was October 13, 2001, and it should go down in the annals of Cup history. Matt Williams and Bob Fogg waged a classic heavyweight battle, with both competitors going back and forth, trading blows, but neither landing a knockout punch. Matt started the day at 239, two birds ahead of Bob. Fogg's target birds for the day included Fox Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow; Williams was after Long-billed Dowitcher (missing both dowitchers in one year would probably force him into permanent retirement). The Birding Club had a trip scheduled for Montezuma at 9 am, but these two die-hards couldn't wait that long to start birding, so they met at Bomax Drive at 7 a.m. to look for sparrows. Within a short period of time, they came across a nice Fox Sparrow. Williams 239, Fogg 238. And then, the big blow, and a self-inflicted one at that. In keeping with the true spirit of The Cup (this is a *friendly* competition), Matt handed Bob one of his mostsought-after birds--Lincoln's Sparrow. Matt found the bird, and was quick to get Bob on the subtle little beauty. All tied up at 239. The co-leaders then met the rest of us at Myers at 9 a.m., and Bob was faced with a classic dilemma. Should he go home to work on schoolwork, as he had planned, or should he continue onward to Montezuma with the rest of us? The choice was obvious, as dictated by the Law of Defensive Birding. With Williams headed to Montezuma, Bob had no alternative but to join us. After all, what if a Hudsonian Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Cattle Egret, or Orange-crowned Warbler made an appearance at Montezuma? Bob obviously couldn't afford to let Williams out of his sight. Matt might pick up one of these hard-to-see species while Bob was at home, receiving tutoring from Steve Kelling on the mysteries of physics. As if the Law of Defensive Birding needed any additional support, no sooner did our group arrive at Mays Point then somebody shouted out, "There's a godwit. Make that two godwits!" The big shorebirds were right out front, for all of us to enjoy (and tick off). Bob and Matt had both passed the "Young Line" of Cup listing, hitting 240 species for the year. And then, a few seconds later, Williams spotted a group of dowitchers (presumably Long-billed), bumping his total up to 241, and moving him back into the lead. An epic day of David Cup birding. But, the heavyweight boxing analogy doesn't quite work either. After all, The Cup is not limited to two competitors. Back in January, we all started off with blank checklists, and everybody had an equal chance of attaining David Cup glory (well, except maybe for Bill Evans). Over the course of ten months, though, Bob and Matt had pulled ahead of the field and made it a two man race. Then it hit me. What better analogy for The David Cup than the most grueling event in all of sports--the Tour de France. All cyclists start out even on the first day of the race, but over the course of 20+ stages and 2000 miles, the leaders gradually pull away from the "peloton," or pack. The first few stages are easy, with pretenders often taking the overall race lead, but when it comes time for pivotal stages like time trials and rugged mountain climbs, the real contenders emerge, and champions like Lance Armstrong don the "maillot jaune," or yellow jersey, emblematic of the overall leader of the Tour. And so it is with The Cup. Anybody can lead The Cup through April (see The Cup 6.4), but it is that grueling stage known as "May" that separates the men and the women from the boys and the girls. And then there are the individual time trials. How fast can you get up to Montezuma to see that one-day wonder at Mays Point? What about that yellow jersey thing, though? Ahh--the new Montezuma Muckrace V t-shirt is just the thing we needed. With its bold, brash yellow color, and bright red lettering, it is the perfect attire for the David Cup leader. I suggest that from now on, the top Cupper wear this classic shirt any time that he or she goes out birding. It will be a way to say, "Yes, I'm Kickin' Tail." The Tour de France concludes with a short stage on the Champs-Elysées, essentially serving as a victory lap for the Tour champion. I think a loop around the tennis courts at Stewart Park would be the perfect way to end the David Cup year. And who knows, you might even pick up a winter finch or a white-winged gull in the process. Unfortunately, the Tour de France/David Cup comparison only goes so far. Another time-honored tradition of the Tour is for the overall leader to receive boquets of flowers and kisses from two French lasses (clad in yellow mini-skirts) at the end of each stage. I'm afraid that the best that The Cup can offer is kisses from two scruffy, blue-jean clad guys named Matt. Now there's some incentive for all you female Cuppers next year! @ @ @ @ @ @ NEWS, CUES, and BLUES @ @ @ @ @ @ STORK SIGHTING: So did you think that all the storks disappeared from the Basin in early September, just before the Muckrace? Well, they did, but one made a return appearance to the area on October 25, to deliver Gwyneth Grace Gerbracht to Cupper Jeff Gerbracht and his wife Whitney Wiggins. At birth, Grace weighed 7 lb. 15 oz. and was 20" long. Perhaps realizing that it might be the last chance that he'd have for birdwatching for a really long time, Jeff managed to spot a Cooper's Hawk and a Rough-legged Hawk flying by the hospital window during the hours before Gwyneth's arrival. Jeff was even kind enough to point out the Rough-legged Hawk to Whitney as she was going into labor. That, I believe, is when he was asked to go out to the waiting room. With the middle name Grace, Gwyneth is bound to be a natural with warblers when she grows older. Congratulations, Whitney and Jeff! OVERFLOWING CUP: Thanks to former Cupper Anne Kendall, I am extremely pleased to announce the unveiling of the complete Cup Archive. Anne has had the foresight to save every single issue of The Cup, starting with the original Cup 1.1, written by Allison Wells in February 1996. And now, for the first time ever, all the issues (all 53 of them) are available at one site: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/bcc/cuparchive2.html For those who are relatively new to the David Cup scene, and never read The Cup while Allison was Editor and Jeff was Best Boy, the first four years of The Cup are required reading. Do not go birding again until you have read and studied each issue. They represent an unequaled combination of great writing and great birding. LIVING LARGE: Since The Cup was running a little late this month, I hope you took the time to pick up that other quality bird publication from Ithaca, the award-winning Living Bird. Two of the featured articles in the latest issue (with a beautiful Aplomado Falcon on the cover) are by Cuppers Allison Childs Wells and Kevin and Jay McGowan. Allison wrote about the unique conservation efforts on the Caribbean islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent; these conservation success stories have helped save the two stunning Amazona parrots endemic to each island. Kevin and Jay's article is really just an excuse for why they are doing so poorly in this year's Cup. It details their latest passion, already familiar to most Cuppers: "digiscoping" birds with their digital camera and Swarovski spotting scope. We've all seen some of these pictures on Kevin's "Bad Photos of Good Birds" web page, but the Living Bird article also features some good photos of good birds. I was especially impressed by a picture of a White-winged Becard at its nest in the Peruvian Amazon. Still, all the digital pictures in the world won't add to your David Cup totals boys! Some of you might be wondering why the former editor of The Cup, and two former contributors, would choose to publish these articles in the Living Bird, rather than in the prestigious Cup. Well, we do have higher standards here at The Cup when it comes to accepting submissions, and sometimes, articles just don't make the cut. Now, for an article that was up to our high submission standards... SCHOOL NEWSPAPER October, 1981 Trumansburg Middle School Travel Talk If your parents ever want to go for a long, scenic drive, here is a great place to go; the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Located at the other end of Cayuga Lake, this beautiful marshland is an added bonus to the lovely drive around the lake. In the peak seasons, mid-March and mid-October, there are more than 90,000 ducks and geese that stop at the swamp. In 1951, a white pelican was spotted there, and in 1973 and last spring, a bird which normally inhabits Europe and Asia was also seen. Even bald eagles have been known to visit Montezuma. In all, there are more than 250 species of birds and about 50 species of mammals that have been recorded at Montezuma and it is definitely a spot to see. There is a five mile road around one of the main pools which allows an excellent view of the wildlife. To get to it, you go up route 89 along this side of the lake and the entrance to the refuge is on routes 5 & 20. Have a nice drive! Susie Barnett (Susan Barnett works at Cornell University Press. She received a BA from Williams College, and an MFA in poetry, MA in English literature, and MLS from Indiana University. If you are confused by all those abbreviations, they mean that Susan should probably be writing The Cup rather than two science/engineering types named Matt. To the best of my knowledge, only husband (and chief David Cup rival) Greg Delisle is now allowed to call her "Susie.") 200 200 200 200 200 2 0 0 200 200 200 200 Sign on 200 Club Door: Hey! Who let Allison Wells in here?! Williams, I thought I told you to "adjust" her total. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> + = + = + = + OCTOBER 2001 TOTALS + = + = + = + Compiled by Matt Williams "...churning and burning they yearn for The Cup..." -Cake October 2001 David Cup Totals 243 Bob Fogg 241 Matt Williams 231 Matt Medler 230 Jay McGowan 228 Kevin McGowan 224 Pete Hosner 221 Jai Balakrishnan 221 Ken Rosenberg 216 Matt Sarver 215 Meena Haribal 214 Bruce Tracey 212 Greg Delisle 207 Jeff Gerbracht 206 Susan Barnett 201 Allison Wells 180 Jeff Wells 151 Ben Fambrough 120 Jim Lowe 121 Tringa (Woof) McGowan 90 Martin (Meow) McGowan October 2001 McIlroy Award Totals 155 Jai Balakrishnan 145 Bill Evans 141 Kevin McGowan 141 Ken Rosenberg 124 Matt Williams 122 Jay McGowan 115 Jim Lowe 101 Allison Wells October 2001 Evans Trophy Totals 188 Ken Rosenberg 170 Kevin McGowan 164 Jay McGowan Yard Totals 127 Ken Rosenberg 115 McGowan/Kline Family 92 Nancy Dickinson Lansing Listers 146 Bruce Tracey 130 Kevin McGowan 128 Matt Williams Office/Classroom Totals 31 Jai Balakrishnan 17 Matt Williams 1 Pete Hosner ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ COMPOSITE DEPOSIT & LEADER'S MISS LIST/WISH LIST To see a complete checklist of the birds seen in the Basin through October 31, and to see the few species that Bob Fogg hasn't see, go to: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/mdm2/oct2001cd.html !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! KICKIN' TAIL! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This month we welcome first-time leader Bob Fogg to the Kickin' Tail interview. Bob has been one of the most active birders in the Basin all year, but until now, he has been content to lurk in the David Cup shadows. With an October total of 243, though, Bob now finds himself two birds ahead of Matt Williams with two months to go. THE CUP: Congratulations, Bob, on finally climbing your way to the top of the David Cup pile! What took you so long to get here? FOGG: Slow and steady. Don't want to startle the competition in the beginning. That way you can sneak up in the end. THE CUP: Despite Ben Fambrough's admirable job of profiling you in The Cup 6.1, I'm still not sure that most Cuppers know exactly who you are. I've heard a number of different theories- a distinguished older physics professor, lead guitarist in a punk rock band, a former professional wrestler. Are any of these descriptions accurate? FOGG: Well, let's see. I am studying physics in school. I'd say the distinguished older professor is a bit off. I also have a guitar but I don't play it all that much any more. I'll definitely admit that I am built like a professional wrestler. I could take 'em on. Anyone wanna wrestle? THE CUP: I think Matt Sarver used to be an Olympic-caliber Greco-Roman wrestler. Maybe you could take him on. THE CUP: Back when I was in elementary school, I played a solid second base for the Fogg's Automotive baseball team, and if you've been studying your Cupper vehicles as closely as your Basin birds (and you should be), you'll notice that my trusty Ford Tempo was purchased at Fogg's Auto. Any relation? FOGG: Actually I did notice. I just forgot to ask. The last name is the same. THE CUP: Thanks for clarifying that. FOGG: I have relatives with an auto repair shop in south Jersey. That'd be quite a haul to buy a car for you though. Of course it could be just an excuse to do some birding down there. THE CUP: That's true, but why would anybody want to go birding in southern New Jersey? They don't get any good birds down there, do they? THE CUP: The other question I've been hearing about you around The 200 Club hangout (while you're out birding, of course) is, "What kind of nerve does this Bob Fogg guy have anyway? He shows up in the Basin last fall (from New Jersey, no less!), and now he's poised to win the David Cup in his first full year in the Basin?!" There is perhaps a sentiment that you haven't paid your Basin dues yet, which would involve mucking around the Basin for two, three, or say six years before even thinking about winning the Cup. Do you have any thoughts on that? (By the way, you can pay your Basin dues directly to me, in cash, following the interview.) FOGG: Six years! It sounds like someone needs to go out and do some birding. THE CUP: Hey, careful there! Wasn't it you who just said, "Slow and steady?" FOGG: In order to win any birding competition you need to spend time in the field. Perhaps this is the real "dues." I'd say time spent in the field is directly proportional to probability of winning the David Cup. The more you're out, the more you'll see. THE CUP: You better not say that too loudly. Those are some radical ideas. I always thought I could win The Cup just be sitting in my LNS studio and ticking off the birds I heard singing outside the fire door. FOGG: Experience is a big bonus, though. Experience can decrease the time required in the field, but experience itself comes from time spent. THE CUP: Have there been any veteran Cuppers who have been instrumental in providing you with Basin wisdom in your quest for birds this year? I know that I've been doing everything I can to lead you astray, but somehow, you keep managing to tick off new species. FOGG: I certainly wouldn't have gotten very far without help. This is one of my secrets. I would usually tag along with Matt Williams when he went out and that way if he got anything new, so would I. THE CUP: Yes, he told me that he had to hold your hand in order for you to finally hear a Henslow's Sparrow. FOGG: When he moved away, that gave me the opportunity to tick off a bird here and there to put me in the lead. I went out with others as well. I managed to go out with Ben Fambrough a few times in the beginning of the year and he showed me a few spots. Bruce Tracey showed me around in the summer. Of course, I learned my way around Summerhill on field trips with Matt Young. One of the first people I met in the Basin was Nicholas Barbarin and he was the first to show me some of the ropes. THE CUP: I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but there is a bit of a tradition of hotshot birders in the Cornell Physics Department. When Steve Kelling was in his birding prime, posting 250 species in the inaugural David Cup in 1996, he was a lecturer in the Physics Department. Do they have any framed portraits of Steve in Rockefeller Hall or Clark Hall? FOGG: I haven't noticed, but I'll have to keep an eye out. THE CUP: I would imagine that they would have the Kelling portrait right next to the one of Hans Bethe, and some of the Nobel Prize winners from the department. THE CUP: Have you developed any favorite birding spots during your short time in the Basin? Matt Young, for example, has embraced Summer Hill, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes wowed us with his reports from Howland Island (before he regressed to a "car birder" this past year), and Matt Williams put Bomax Drive on the map. Is there any spot that really strikes your fancy? If not, I hear that the Renwick Sanctuary is a happening place, so you might want to check it out some time. Be careful where you step, though. FOGG: I think I'd have to go with May's Point Pool and Benning Marsh. Lots of people can get bored there after a little while, but I can just scan for hours. It's amazing how new birds keep popping out of a new scan. THE CUP: It's true. If you spend several hours staring intently through a spotting scope, it's amazing the things that you start to see. I once saw a Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Mays after peering through my scope for six hours. Ben Fambrough was there at the time, but he said that I probably shouldn't tell anybody else, though. Something about how it would be too big a discovery, and might cause heart problems for Jeff Wells and some other older Cuppers. THE CUP: What birds have you enjoyed seeing or hearing the most during the past 10 months? FOGG: Oh my, let's see. I guess I'll have to start back in January with the Barrow's Goldeneye. That was new for me and I got some good looks. I think I'm going to bounce around here. It was very nice seeing Baird's Sandpipers in decent numbers. The Red-necked Phalarope was kind enough to stay for an extra day. The Piping Plover certainly stuck around for a bit longer than it should have... around one or two days longer than it should have. I enjoyed getting good looks at, and hearing, a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher... oh wait a second, that was a pewee. I almost forgot about the Snowy Owls this past winter. Seeing 4 Wood Storks in someone's back yard in upstate New York was rather unbelievable, let alone 14 within the next week. When I saw a Cape May Warbler on the Muckrace, I realized I had a shot at the David Cup. THE CUP: What about painful misses? Are there any glaring omissions from your list that keep you up at night, thinking, "If only I'd seen this, Williams would really be eating my dust?" FOGG: There are a few birds I should have gotten but didn't. Northern Goshawk is a disappointing miss. I'm not too disappointed about missing a Golden Eagle but I'm sure they came through when no one was looking for them. (Everyone was at the Loon Watch on those days.) Fortunately I still have a shot at both of those birds. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was a miss, but I just couldn't find any that were real. I wished I had gotten to Stewart Park for the Forster's Tern also. THE CUP: What is your strategy for holding off Williams during the last two months? He's two birds down at the end of October, but could still see Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Brant, and Evening Grosbeak, among other things. Common Redpoll is still a possibility for both of you? Are there any other birds that you could still see? FOGG: I have a good strategy for this. I'll live in the Cayuga Lake Basin for those two months. THE CUP: Not a bad idea. For a Basin newcomer, you have some really keen insights into the fundamentals of Basin birding. FOGG: I could get those raptors I mentioned before. Winter finches are also a possibility. It looks like they will be around this winter. I really hope I get a good look at a Pine Grosbeak. Thanksgiving will see lots of traveling and you never know what birders could find while they're on the road. THE CUP: You're right- you never can tell. I mean, a famous ornithologist could be in the area, visiting family for Thanksgiving, and come across an egret on the west side of the lake. Something like that could happen. THE CUP: I'm a distant third place right now (but solidly ahead of Pete "Trumpeter Swan" Hosner, I might add), so I'm already looking ahead to next year's David Cup. So if I arrange, err, I mean, if you manage to pull out this year's Cup, are you still going to scout out rare birds for me next year? That's the deal, isn't it? Seriously, how do you see next year's Cup shaping up? With all the winter finches that are starting to be seen now, 2002 could be a good year for somebody to go after a really big total. FOGG: I don't know what'll happen next year. I see myself birding more leisurely next year in the Basin. THE CUP: Good. FOGG: I'd like to get a little birding done outside the Basin. The David Cup is really keeping a constraint on me right now. When I think about going outside the Basin to bird, I realize that I just may miss something in the Basin. I'll try to scout out a few things next year though. Maybe I'll concentrate on the local scene as well. THE CUP: You're right. I don't think you should confine yourself to the Cayuga Lake Basin. I hear that May is a wonderful time to be in the Adirondacks. Maybe you should camp out up there for the month. And when fall migration rolls around, you should spend some time in your native New Jersey. See if you can turn up another Painted Bunting down there, like you did in 2000. Or better yet, how about a Rustic Bunting? THE CUP: Back to this year's competition. You've been talking about turning up a "good gull" before the end of the year, but you're starting to run out of time. Do you have any idea what it's going to be? Steve Kelling turned up a Laughing Gull at Stewart Park last December, and Stephen Davies discovered a Franklin's Gull at Myers Point back in November 1997 (or was it 1998?). How about a Black-headed Gull? It's on the Basin checklist, but I've never heard of any recent report of this species. Better yet, why don't you make history and find the Basin's first California Gull? FOGG: California Gull would be very nice. I have a feeling that a California Gull could easily hide with all the Ring-billed and Herring Gulls that congregate in the winter. Turning one up is another story. I'd be more optimistic about a Thayer's Gull though. I've never seen one, but I would really like to. Hopefully not a sketchy one. THE CUP: I thought all Thayer's Gulls were sketchy. THE CUP: Have you been seeing any birds at your feeder lately? I know you put one up recently, and were excited by the prospects. What are you seeing? FOGG: Ahhh, yes. I recently put up a thistle feeder because the @*^& deer are eating everything I put out in the regular tube feeder. I was really excited at the prospect of redpolls. I do have a single goldfinch coming now. The chickadees have recently found it too. If I was around more often I'd maybe see more birds. THE CUP: OK, on to the obligatory first-time leader questions. What is your favorite color? FOGG: Violet-green. THE CUP: Very nice. THE CUP: What's in your CD player at the moment? FOGG: Social Distortion. THE CUP: Who is your favorite Matt? FOGG: That depends on who wins the David Cup. THE CUP: With an answer like that, I can make sure that it's not you. THE CUP: Kowa or Swarovski? FOGG: Swarovski. THE CUP: Finally, you mentioned something about malodorous breath in your interview with Ben back in January. Does your breath still smell like cat food? That's what you said in your last interview, wasn't it? FOGG: No. I said my cat's breath smells like cat food. I'm disappointed with the lack of Simpson's knowledge here. Any comments? THE CUP: Doh! :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS By Matt Williams October 2001 While this month started out pretty slowly, with only the late shorebirds and a few winter finches trickling in, things sure picked up and birders got out and did what they do best. Lots of good waterfowl (scoters, Brant, Long-tailed Ducks) were seen on several occasions, especially at the Loon Watch. But the action didn't stop there. Many Cuppers didn't ignore the importance of land birding and were rewarded with a few bonus ticks. In reviewing the reports from the first few days of the month, I was tempted to nominate Jeff and Allison Wells as Birders of the Month. They wasted no time and headed to Montezuma on the 1st to find a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, a PEREGRINE FALCON and plenty of falcon food, including an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, a dozen BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, 30 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 5 DUNLIN. Then, on the 3rd, they didn't even have to leave their Etna yard to see 3 EVENING GROSBEAKS. The dynamic Wells duo soon quieted down and let others share in the glory of seeing good birds. Matts Medler and Sarver found a DUNLIN (that they made sure was not a Curlew Sandpiper) at Myers Pt. on the 3rd. Also on the 3rd, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes had a WINTER WREN, a CAROLINA WREN, a BLUE-HEADED VIREO and a RUSTY BLACKBIRD at the Lab of O. On the 4th, at the same location, he added MARSH WREN (He promised me a Sedge but didn't deliver!), GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, INDIGO BUNTING and PURPLE FINCH. On the 4th, Greg Delisle found one of those cooperative BRANT near the tennis courts at Stewart Park. Susan Barnett found a RING-NECKED PHEASANT near Cass Park on the 5th. Jai Balakrishnan was right across the inlet, trying to add to his McIlroy total at the Lighthouse Woods that morning and he flushed a GREAT HORNED OWL and saw a BLUE-HEADED VIREO. Jai also turned up a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Bomax Drive on the 6th. Bob Fogg relocated the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on the 5th and had 2 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 5 STILT SANDPIPERS and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at May's Point. The "good" geese were multiplying because 3 BRANT were seen at Stewart Park on the 6th and then on the 7th a few Eaton birders found 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTEDS at Mays Point. Also on the 7th, Ken Rosenberg found a female LESSER SCAUP on Dryden Lake and then watched a PEREGRINE FALCON and a MERLIN cruise overhead. On Cayuga Lake, Ken found 4 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and saw a possible PHALAROPE ("most likely a RED") fly up the lake. He alse found a flock of 15 TREE SWALLOWS flying high over the south end. On the 9th, Jeff Gerbracht found a REDHEAD and 2 RUDDY DUCKS off of Stewart Park. Another EVENING GROSBEAK was seen in Etna by Martha Fischer on the 9th. On the 10th, a GOLDEN EAGLE flew over Steve Fast while he was on the roof of his house near Brooktondale. David Gooding had a McIlroy MERLIN over downtown on the 11th. On the same day, Jeff Gerbracht and Greg Delisle enjoyed a few RED-TAILS and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK up on Mt. Pleasant. On the 13th, the Birding Club at Cornell found 2 HUDSONIAN GODWITS, a few LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a PEREGRINE FALCON at Mays Point. They also had 8 COMMON TERNS, a few TREE and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS over the marsh near the Visitor's Center and both KINGLETS along the old Towpath. And while they didn't post it, I'm pretty sure they had 2 PALM WARBLERS there as well. Prior to that trip, Bob Fogg and Matt Williams met at Bomax Dr. and found a FOX SPARROW, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW and a MARSH WREN (that they wished was a Sedge). The McGowans had a single HUDSONIAN GODWIT on the 14th at Benning and had the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED and 4 STILT SANDPIPERS at Mays Pt. They also had 2 TRUMPETER SWANS at a pond off of Hogback Rd. in Savannah. On the 14th, Etna continued to be a winter finch hangout with a PINE SISKIN at Laurie Ray's feeder. Ken R. contined his raptor-watching and found a NORTHERN GOSHAWK on that same day in Dryden. A late OSPREY was seen near Freeville on the 15th by Tim Gallagher. Tim Lenz found a PHOEBE and a BLUE-HEADED VIREO at the Lighthouse Woods on the 16th. Later that day, Dave Nutter found a MERLIN up on Lake Ridge Rd. and Jay McGowan had a HERMIT THRUSH, an AMERICAN WOODCOCK, and a NORTHERN PARULA in the yard in Dryden. In Newfield on the 17th, Donna Jean Darling had 2 PINE SISKINS and a CHIPPING SPARROW at her feeders. On the 18th, Dan Lebbin and Jesse Ellis had an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and 3 COMMON LOONS (flying over) at Bomax Dr. Bob Fogg found a MERLIN at Stewart Park on the 19th. Fogg, Hosner and Medler hit Bomax and found a BROWN THRASHER and 3 EVENING GROSBEAKS on the 20th. Hosner and Medler later checked Myers Pt. and found 2 RED-NECKED GREBES. Anne Marie and Tim Johnson found the HUDSONIAN GODWIT at Montezuma on the 20th and they also saw SNOW GEESE in the Mucklands. Jesse Ellis spent the morning of the 21st at Bomax Dr. where he had 2 MERLINS and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW. On the 20th, Jeff and Allison Wells found a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 2 WINTER WREN, 2 RUFFED GROUSE and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW while hiking around near one of the bogs in Malloryville. Allison also noted that this might be the area to check for Boreal Chickadees this winter. Coach? Ken R. checked Stewart Park on the 20th and found 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. Chris T-H went to Montezuma on the 21st and found 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS along the old Towpath. The HUDSONIAN GODWIT was at Mays on that day as well. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS returned to Dryden around the 22nd and were seen by Gladys Birdsall and Rachel Dickinson. On the 23rd, one RED-NECKED GREBE was seen at Myers Pt. by Matt Medler. Also that day, Kevin McGowan found a VESPER SPARROW near the compost piles by the Game Farm. Jai Balakrishnan went to Hog's Hole on the 24th and turned up an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, HERMIT THRUSH, LINCOLN'S SPARROW and 2 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS. He also saw about 30 DUNLIN flying out near the lighthouse jetty. About 20 SNOW BUNTINGS were seen by Carl Strickland near Union Springs on the 26th. On the 27th, Jai Balakrishnan and Matt Sarver spent the morning at the Jetty and saw an impressive LOON migration which included over 300 COMMON and 2 RED-THROATED LOONS. The Loon Watch was also good, tallying over 700 LOONS flying past. Also on the 27th, Kevin and Jay McGowan found a LONG-TAILED DUCK mixed in with the COOTS and 10 LESSER SCAUP near Myers Pt. On what was possibly the most active birding day of the month (the 28th), Jai Balakrishnan had a BRANT and 2 immature BLACK SCOTERS from the Lighthouse Jetty. The Loon Watch was also productive that morning and had 6 BLACK SCOTERS, 1 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, 8 RED-THROATED LOONS and 182 COMMON LOONS. They also had an EASTERN MEADOWLARK and an EVENING GROSBEAK at the watch and a PINE SISKIN at Bob Meade's feeders. On their way back from the Loon Watch, Bob Fogg and Jesse Ellis found a VESPER SPARROW, some AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS and a WINTER WREN at Hog's Hole. Also after the Loon Watch, Susan Barnett and Greg Delisle found a NORTHERN SHRIKE at the "park" near the Hospital on the west side of the lake. Geo Kloppel hiked around the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby and found about 60 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, a WINTER WREN, and 2 singing FOX SPARROWS. Also on the 28th, Pete Hosner found 5 WHITE-WINGED and 1 BLACK SCOTERS off of Stewart Park. Later that day, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes found about 10 BLACK and 1 SURF SCOTER off of East Shore and 6 BRANT near the Red Lighthouse. Early in the day, Ken saw 40 LONG-TAILED DUCKS flying over Dryden Lake and had 75 AMERICAN PIPITS on Irish Settlement Rd. Kevin and Jay were over at Dryden Lake later on, where they had a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, NORTHERN GOSHAWK and GOLDEN EAGLE fly over. Now, that is a BIG DAY!!!! Things settled down on the 30th, but Matt Medler and Coreen Seacord found a male BLACK SCOTER at Myers. At the loon watch that day, Bob Meade, Greg Delisle and Susan Barnett saw 35 BLACK SCOTERS and a few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< < COACH'S CORNER < < <<<<<<<<<<<<<< < < < < < < < < I wasn't planning on writing a Coach's Corner this month, but after all those sports references at the beginning of the issue, the old adrenaline just got flowing, and I couldn't resist. Unlike past epistles that I've written for this column, this month's Corner will be short and sweet, just like the order to "Get out and run!" that my old tennis coach would give on the first day of practice. Here it is: SOMEBODY GET OUT TO HAMMOND HILL STATE FOREST!!! AND CHECK LETTIE COOK FOREST TOO! """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" SCRAWL OF FAME """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" There are way too many geese in this world. They tear up vegetation in fragile erosion-prone waterside habitats, fill the water and the ground with their greasy pestilent feces at their breeding grounds, migration stopovers, and the places they winter. They make a lot of noise in the middle of the night when they fly over, waking people up. They fly into plane engines causing crashes and loss of life. They are, as a whole, large aggressive stupid noisy animals. Clearly, we should try to reduce their numbers. But where should we start? There are many subspecies and populations, each different, with subtly different life histories that mean they affect the environment around them in subtly different ways. Maybe we should cull a few out of every population. We could start with the sick and lame, but that probably won't be enough, especially because their survival is unlikely anyway. Perhaps we could take out the aberrant ones, or any member of a subspecies that has somehow moved outside of its normal range? An even better idea might be to find the single least offensive subspecies and wipe out everything but it. Then geese would be nice again. Or maybe we could manage the geese that we have now, learning from the mistakes of past goose management and not making blanket statements that sound like policy proposals but are really just complaints. good emailing, Ben (Ben Taft is currently doing field work somewhere in Africa, and is totally unaware that his above post to Cayugabirds-L has become a Scrawl of Fame. I'm sure he would be very excited to know that he has found his way into The Cup, since it means that he has finally been published somewhere.) ************************************************************************ Evidence that Ken Rosenberg should *not* win the Rosenberg (Slow Draw) Award this year: Having just complained about the lack of migrating birds this past weekend, I can now see out my office window a steady stream of migrants -- mostly TURKEY VULTURES, along with many RED-TAILS and a possible RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. My view is facing north, across Rt. 13 towards Fall Creek, where it crosses somewhere behind the Sunoco Station west of Etna.. The birds seem to be following the path of the creek in a NE to SW direction. I have seen Nighthawks following this route earlier in the fall, and daily there have been flights of Blue Jays and a few Ospreys. Inthe last 30 minutes I've seen sev. large kettles of vultures and hawks, totalling 50+ birds. KEN ************************************************************************ """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "CUP QUOTES" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" By the time I come back everyone would be way ahead of me in David Cup. Good luck. May be we should start a World Cup! Meena Haribal I have noticed something disturbing happening at Renwick Sanctuary over the past few years. Side-trails off the main northeast entrance trail are being developed and used by individuals for the sole purpose of having sexual encounters. Chris Tessaglia-Hymes Not to change the subject or anything, but I was wondering... Did *every* Asian general who ever lived have his own chicken recipe? If anyone knows this you can send me private email. Thanks Steve Kelling Last week, however, I had an apparently adult male Black-throated Green Warbler (extensive black bib and rich yellow face) in my yard doing a funny little addendum to the normal richer-than-Yellow-rump call notes. It would do a normal "tssk" then follow that by a faint "zoo-zee" at about the same volume. Just left-over hormones, I guess. Either that or it was fondly reliving a successful breeding season? Kevin McGowan Hello, I had the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE today at May's Point Pool in Montezuma. The first thing I heard when I arrived was a strange laughing, goose type noise that I was unfamiliar with. I scanned the geese and found the bird. Bob Fogg Dear Ithaca, NY birders, Due to recent world developments, it has been proposed that our Cayuga Basin birding be largely limited to the southern C. Basin in 2002 including Taughannock State Park, Meyers Park, and regions south. This initiative has been inspired and tested by Geo Kloppel during his 2001 field season. By limiting his birding driving he quite significantly reduced his fossil fuel consumption. Our appetite for fossil fuel has been implicated as a causal factor in undermining world peace and environmental continuity. Sincerely yours, Bill Evans Director of Planning Office of Homeland Birding Wayne, At a brief glance your request seems a bit tedious. Wondering if you have tried to use a field guide at all? Bill Evans Long-billed Dowitchers (+ or - 20) Not that we can tell the Dowitchers apart. We're relying on the Kelling/Rosenberg rule posted awhile ago saying that "the only dowitchers at MNWR after the third week of September are Long-billed Dowitchers." Anne Marie Johnson Jeff and I spent Saturday morning hiking around the TNC preserve in Malloryville (between Freeville and McClean), which Jeff recently "discovered" for us. A great place to hike, and if there are Boreal Chickadees to be found in the Basin this year, this could be the place! Allison Wells My husband was on the telephone to his parents who are in the Netherlands and in mid-(Dutch)-sentence, he yelled into the phone (but directed at me) "Grosbeaks!" - Now THAT is the proper enthusiasm! Laura Stenzler On Saturday at Hog's hole I had a couple PALM WARBLERS. One of the palm warblers had no tail (That was interesting). I also had a MEADOWLARK. Good luck, Bob Fogg I just got back from a quick cruise of Stewart Park. Things were pretty quiet there except for two WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS some distance off-shore from the park. Matt Medler My beloved Shrike is in the house! Susan Barnett A Northern Cardinal sang once in a while in the couple of hours I spent outside, and when I located the singer, it was a female - cool! Marie Read A weekend of many yard birds was capped by the appearance of a Common Redpoll which popped up on a stem of goldenrod right in front of me this morning. Nancy Dicknson Hello Cayuga- I just got an email from my uncle Dave Benson, a birder in Duluth MN. They've had three hoary redpolls, hundreds of WW Crossbills, and some Pine Grosbeaks. Here's hoping we get some spillover... my fingers are crossed. Just thought I'd get people salivating. Jesse Ellis I guess I'm going as Ken Rosenberg for Halloween, because Bob Meade and Greg Delisle saw 35 Black Scoters (and I saw a group of 15-20 that split off and flew back and forth) yesterday morning at loon watch. Susan Barnett May Your Cup Runneth Over, Matt and Matt