Year 5, Issue 2
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
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
83 Ken Rosenberg
72 McGowan/Kline Family
57 Nancy Dickinson
47 Geo Kloppel
43 Melanie Uhlir
38 Jeff and Allison Wells
23 Melanie Uhlir
22 Allison Wells
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
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:
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: