Year 7, Issue 4

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Matt Medler * Waxwing Poetic: Eric Banford * Norwegian Translator: Mike Andersen ****************************************************************** Yes, this is the issue of The Cup covering the month of April. And yes, I know it's now June. And no, I didn't take all that extra time to painstakingly create a Cup masterpiece. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this issue of The Cup is that now that it's finally done, we can get on to the fun of the May issue. Without further delay, I finally present to you The Cup 7.4... @ @ @ @ @ @ NEWS, CUES, and BLUES @ @ @ @ @ @ CONSERVATION CHAMPIONS: What is a David Cup champion to do after reaching the pinnacle of the Basin birding scene? In the case of former Cup champions Matt Young and Geo Kloppel, they've devoted their substantial energies to helping the conservation efforts of the Finger Lakes Land Trust. The Spring 2002 issue of The Land Steward, the newsletter of the Land Trust, contains front-page feature stories on the separate conservation efforts of both Matt and Geo. Thanks to Matt Young's tireless exploration and championing of the Summerhill area, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has established the Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary at the outlet of Lake Como in the Town of Summerhill. Established in memory of the late Dorothy McIlroy, the First Lady of Ithaca birding for several decades (and the namesake of our McIlroy Award), the sanctuary is home to a very unique flora for our area, including several species of rare wildflowers. From a bird standpoint, the sanctuary is home to a host of breeding species more typically found to our north, including Dark-eyed Junco, Hermit Thrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Mourning Warbler. With his classic enthusiasm, Young encouraged the author of his article (who visited the sanctuary with him in January) to join him there again during the glorious days of spring: "I've got to get you back here in May...you haven't lived until you've heard a Hermit Thrush." Can we all join you, Matt? Meanwhile, at the southern end of the Basin, Geo Kloppel has been hard at work helping to clean up the new Percy Browning Parcel of the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve (sometimes referred to in these circles as "The Biodome"). This recent addition to the preserve is mostly pristine, but it contained a large illegal dump with over 50 tons of trash, appliances, tires, etc. Together with over 140 volunteers, Geo worked on weekends over several months to help remove refuse from the parcel. This new addition to the preserve offers, for the first time, an opportunity for hikers to climb from the heart of the L-P Biodiversity Preserve up to the Danby State Forest and Thatcher's Pinnacles. And, it also offers birders additional habitat to hike in search of that gorgeous West Danby specialty, Worm-eating Warbler. But, if you head down to the new Browning Parcel looking for the warbler, be careful where you walk, because the new parcel is also home to an endangered species of plant endemic to West Danby, "wood reedgrass." Geo, could you point that one out for us? We certainly miss the Cup exploits of both Matt and Geo, but it looks like they've both moved on to bigger and better things (if anything can be bigger or better than The Cup)! WELCOME TO THE CUP CLAN: The Cup is very pleased to formally introduce two birding couples to The Cup Family. Tim and Anne Marie Johnson actually entered the David Cup competition a few months ago, but, believe it or not, we've been a little slow to present them to their fellow Cuppers. Here's what Anne Marie had to share: Tim teaches Music Theory at Ithaca College, and Anne Marie, a former middle school counselor, assists with Project FeederWatch at the Lab. In 1989, when they were graduate students in Buffalo, they discovered birding while on a nature walk at Tifft Farm. The leader pointed out a Baltimore Oriole and then a Yellow Warbler. Those with binoculars were ooohing and aaahing, while Tim and Anne Marie could barely see little orange and yellow blurs. They bought their first pair of binoculars shortly after and have been birding away their spare time ever since. We have a feeling that you'll be hearing more from Tim and Anne Marie. You've already heard quite a bit from our other birding couple, Steve and Susan Fast. Since their arrival on the Cayugabirds scene last fall, the Fasts have turned up Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwing, and other quality birds from around the Basin. We're happy to have Susan, Steve, Anne Marie, and Tim join the Cup community! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> April 2002 David Cup Totals Another record-setting month from Pete Hosner... 163 Pete Hosner 158 Mike Andersen 155 Jay McGowan 155 Kevin McGowan 154 Jesse Ellis 147 Matt Medler 146 Steve Kelling 143 Steve & Susan Fast 140 Meena Haribal 136 Bruce Tracey 134 Tim Lenz 128 Eric Banford 127 Jeff Gerbracht 123 Allison Wells 117 Anne Marie Johnson 116 Jeff Wells 113 Tim Johnson 103 Ken Rosenberg 102 Matt Williams 76 Dan Lebbin 74 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan 67 Anne James-Rosenberg 56 Jon Kloppel 49 Martin (the Cat) McGowan 45 Rachel Rosenberg April 2002 McIlroy Award Totals 119 Jai Balakrishnan 114 Pete Hosner 110 Tim Lenz 108 Kevin McGowan 105 Jay McGowan 92 Matt Medler 73 Allison Wells 61 Ken Rosenberg April 2002 Evans Trophy Totals 127 Jay McGowan 126 Kevin McGowan 110 Pete Hosner 88 Ken Rosenberg April 2002 Yard Totals 86 Steve Kelling 77 McGowan/Kline Family 61 Nancy Dickinson 54 Rosenberg Family 50 Jesse Ellis 39 Anne Marie and Tim Johnson $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ COMPOSITE DEPOSIT As April came to a close, a total of 189 species of birds had been seen in the Cayuga Lake Basin. Last year at this time, Basin birders had tallied 193 species before the start of May. Here is the 2002 Composite Deposit as of April 30: R-t Loon, Common Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, D-c Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Greater W-f Goose, Snow Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, G- w Teal, American Black Duck, Mallard, N Pintail, B-w Teal, N Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, W-w Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, Bald Eagle, N Harrier, S-s Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, N Goshawk, R-s Hawk, B-w Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Virginia Rail, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b Plover, Killdeer, G Yellowlegs, L Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, SLATY-BACKED GULL, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, E Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, N Saw-whet Owl, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, N Shrike, Least Flycatcher, E Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, E Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, B-h Vireo, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, N R-w Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, B-c Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, G-c Kinglet, R-c Kinglet, E Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, N Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, American Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, B-w Warbler, Nashville Warbler, N Parula, Yellow Warbler, Y-r Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, B-and-w Warbler, Ovenbird, N Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, E Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, N Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, R-w Blackbird, E Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow. LEADER'S MISS LIST Here are the twenty-six birds that Pete somehow missed through the end of April. Come on, Pete, what are you doing? R-t Loon, Great Egret, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, Brant, Black Scoter, Ruffed Grouse, Virginia Rail, B-b Plover, Least Sandpiper, SLATY-BACKED GULL, Common Tern, Snowy Owl, Least Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, E Kingbird, B-w Warbler, Nashville Warbler, N Parula, Common Yellowthroat, Henslow's Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, Lapland Longspur, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! KICKIN' TAIL! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This month, The Cup shifts its focus to the Town of Ithaca and the McIlroy Award. We are very pleased to welcome the "Dr. J" of the Ithaca birding scene, Dr. Jaiganesh Balakrishnan. THE CUP: Congratulations, Jai, on Kickin' McIlroy Tail in April. Oh yes, and congratulations on recently receiving your Ph.D. in electrical engineering. What do you think you've spent more time working on this year, your dissertation or your Ithaca list? JAI: My dissertation, of course, but only because I am not including the time I spent on my Ornithology course to the Ithaca birding-hours. THE CUP: Now that you're officially done with your Cornell education, do you have any plans to "pull a Williams" and stay in or near Ithaca for the rest of year? JAI: No. I have been offered a job with Texas Instruments in Dallas and I plan to join work in the beginning of August. THE CUP: Because of The Cup's "peculiar" production schedule, we're going to pretend for the sake of this interview that May hasn't happened yet, at least from a birding standpoint. If you plan to leave Ithaca for good in June, do you think that you'll be able to see enough birds in May to clinch the McIlroy title? If not, who do you see claiming the crown? JAI: I missed a few easy birds in early spring. So, it will be very tough for me to put up a winning total by the end of May. Tim Lenz is my top contender for the McIlroy award. THE CUP: Tim has been putting together a good year, but I wonder if he's up to the challenge. I'm afraid that as a youngster, he might get a little confused during May migration and end up as a vagrant in some far-flung location, like Reno. That could put a damper on his McIlroy total. THE CUP: Do you think that 200 is possible in McIlroy territory this year? Old-timers like Allison Wells claim that they used to hit 200 species in the Town of Ithaca in a year, but you know how it is with birding stories from days gone by--memories get fuzzy, totals get padded... JAI: With perseverance, mixed in with a generous amount of luck, one can possibly hit 200 in McIlroy territory. A number of species that pass through the McIlroy territory do not stay put for long. This is the main difficulty in breaking the 200 barrier. In my opinion, 180 is a more realistic estimate. THE CUP: We've noticed a little change from you over the course of the past year or two. You used to be one of the nicest guys in the world, but recently we've noticed a bit of an attitude on your part--teasing newcomers like Jesse Ellis about missing birds, talking trash to the illustrious Cup editor-in-chief about his McIlroy total. What do you have to say for yourself, young man? JAI: During the transformation from a Cup newbie to a "veteran," one does pick up a certain attitude. However, in my defence, I did not tease Jesse Ellis, but had an exchange of friendly banter with the other newcomer, Tim Lenz. If a certain editor-in-chief of the Cup ends up with a poor total in the McIlroy territory, after a public challenge made during the last cupper-supper, doesn't he qualify as a canditate for talking trash? THE CUP: No--he's just doing his job to create some excitement in The Cup. Actually, we kind of like the new attitude. In fact, we think it would be perfect for the upcoming Muckrace. Is there any chance that you could come back to town for that? Pete Hosner has proposed putting together an all-mustachioed Muckrace team called Malar Stripe. He and Mike Andersen have already started working on their moustaches, but I'm not sure that they will really be grown in by September. In fact, I'm afraid they're going to end up looking like Matt Sarver, if they're lucky. Anyway, we could certainly use somebody with your birding skills. And facial hair. Whaddya say? JAI: That's a very appealing name and I do have the necessary qualifications. I should seriously consider applying for an extended leave in early September. Realistically speaking, I don't think I can take a vacation that early after joining the job. THE CUP: Well, that's about all for now. I have a feeling that we'll be talking again later in the year. Have a great trip home to India, and good luck with the new job in Dallas. And thanks for some nice birding memories! :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS Bohemian Waxwings!!! Everywhere! After being teased by single Bohemian Waxwings in January and again in late March, Cuppers enjoyed a waxwing explosion on the Cornell campus for almost ten days in early April. First it was "just" a few Bohemians mixed in with larger numbers of Cedars, but by the peak of the Bohemian rhapsody, birders were seeing almost pure flocks of the big waxwings. The highest number of Bohemian Waxwings reported was an amazing 36 birds, seen near the Wilson Synchrotron at the intersection of Rt. 366 and Judd Falls Road. The Bohemians were definitely the star attraction of April, but there were a few additional highlights during the month. Sandhill Crane has come to be an expected species in the northern Basin come April, and sure enough, a pair of birds was found in a field along Morgan Road in Savannah on April 7. The Montezuma area played host to a modest shorebird migration in April, but Ken Rosenberg showed that you don't even have to leave Dryden to find decent numbers of shorebirds--he found at least 32 Common Snipe scattered about three locations in Dryden during a single day. Elsewhere in the all- encompassing Town of Dryden, Meena Haribal found one of the only Lapland Longspurs of the year atop Mt. Pleasant, on the relatively late date of April 18. A full month after the big push of Golden Eagles over Mt. Pleasant, Meena found a single Golden Eagle in the company of Turkey Vultures above the Six Mile Creek valley. The much-hyped "Dryden Lake Effect" never materialized in April, or at the very least, nobody witnessed one. Classic Dryden Lake birds like Red-necked Grebe and White-winged Scoter were seen in the Basin in April, but on the big lake. In yet another one of their quality outings, Steve and Susan Fast found four Red-necked Grebes (three at Long Point SP, and one at Cayuga) at the north end of Cayuga Lake on April 6. On that same day, an amazing 225 Red-necked Grebes were seen to our northeast on Oneida Lake. Three White-winged Scoters lingered in Aurora Bay until at least April 15, and on April 13, were joined by a female Black Scoter and a mystery scoter. Finally, on the finch front, redpolls lingered at Laura Stenzler's feeders until at least the middle of the month, and Pine Siskin persisted throughout the month. Most interesting, though, were the continued reports of White-winged Crossbills in Dryden and Etna. While scouring the 'hood in Dryden on April 20, Jay McGowan found 4-6 White- winged Crossbills at the "Pine Grosbeak" spot on Keith Lane. Meanwhile, Laurie Ray still had one male and one female White-winged Crossbill coming to her feeders in Etna on April 29. :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> WAXWING POETIC Compiled by Eric Banford Spring migration is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than two poems about warblers?! Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. is a member of the Eaton Birding Society of Geneva, N. Y. His poems appear regularly in The Kingbird, journal of the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs. He is author of a book, "Following Their Star: Poems of Christmas and Nature." We are open to your contributions! Send submissions to eric.banford@cornell.edu. Bird! Eric Fiesta comes with warblers waves of warblers moving up the continents Bay-breasteds, Black-throated Greens and Blues Myrtles and Magnolias flourishing wing-tail skirts of white and yellow Redstarts flashing flamenco fans of orange and red Chestnut-sideds with headdresses of the sun Then, Blackburnians flown from orange flames of Aztec fires The Prothonotary emblazoned with Inca gold Redstart fiesta flashes of vermillion orange from fanning tail and fire wings of little Cuban "Candelita" tumbling plummeting upward in Canadian green of long spruce under which our eyes tango Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. 333 Bedell Street , Freeport, New York 11520 Phone: 516-623-5530 E-mail: Maxwell623@aol.com "CUP QUOTES" For those who've never seen a shrike, keep trying! I looked for this bird in the Ellis Hollow Ck/Turkey Hill area three days a week, morning and afternoon, all winter on my way to work. And I made numerous trips to the Neimi Rd. area this year and last year looking. This is one life bird that I really earned! - Anne Marie Johnson Subject: I'm a genius, and birds The stupid reply all settings strike again! I'm sorry. - Pete Hosner This morning a Ruby Crowned Kinglet was singing and dancing in some grapevines, a YB Sapsucker was drumming on a sugar maple, and a Carolina Wren was poking around in our garage while another sang atop the barn (possible mates?). Not bad for a snowy morning in Mecklenburg! - Nancy Dickinson Just now Matt called me tell that Mike Anderson found Bohemian Waxwing in front of Riley_Robb and the path in between the wing hall, that is what I think I understood. Hope too see you and Bohemian there. - Meena Haribal I spent an ecstatic hour and a half photographing Bohemian Waxwings in the parking lot east of Morrison Hall, between 6:30 and 8:00 this morning (or 7:30 and 9:00 if you changed to Daylight savings time, but I prefer the former because it sounds like I was motivated to get up early!!). Great light, close birds - lots of fun, despite cold hands! Days like this are what I live for!!!! - Marie Read I had a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW pooting away over the East Ith. Rec Way yesterday afternoon. - Jesse Ellis This event is for those who want to see bad pictures of good birds enough to stand it. Matt M is one of those people, and he was gracious enough to host the first of what we hope will be many such events, and he took the initiative of getting it going. I will not invite people to Matt's house, but I hope he will encourage even beginners to come. But, there WILL BE NO HEAVY SIGHING OR OTHER OBVIOUS FORMS OF IMPATIENCE! Or we'll kick you out without any pizza. - Kevin McGowan Woodpeckers are looking to make the biggest, baddest noise around. They of course use natural trees and limbs that resonate loudly, but some woodpeckers find that roofs, downspouts, and street signs (an especial favorite of sapsuckers) make even bigger noises. It probably blunts their bills faster, but I suspect they think it's worth it. - Kevin McGowan After playing tape off and on for about half an hour on Star Stanton Rd, I got one measly who cooks for you out of one of the resident Barred Owls. A lackluster performance, considering the perfect owling conditions, but I'll take it none the less. - Pete Hosner Continuing our streak of poor luck, a group of the Lab's "Rock" inhabitants blocked some strong west winds on top of Mt. Pleasant this noon hour. - Ken Rosenberg May Your Cup Runneth Over, Matt