Year 7, Issue 6

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Matt Medler * Guest Editors: Pete Hosner and Mike Andersen * Waxwing Poetic: Eric Banford * Cleaning Lady: Matt Sarver * Operator: Kevin McGowan ****************************************************************** It has come to the attention of the guest editors that The Cup is too lengthy. At the request of Matt Young, the intro section (or abstract, if you will) of this month's issue will be forgone in hopes that readers with a short attention span may actually read the entire issue. But wait a tick...who cares what Matt Young thinks--he doesn't read The Cup anyway.... @ @ @ @ @ @ NEWS, CUES, and BLUES @ @ @ @ @ @ DOWITCHERS, AND STILTS, AND STINTS, OH MY! Attention all birders: We, as guest editors of this month's Cup, are announcing the first annual Basin Shorebirding Workshop, to be tentatively held Saturday afternoon, August 30. Intended for birders of all levels of experience and interest, this "workshop" will consist of an afternoon of talking birds, butterflies, dragonflies, digiscoping, and anything else that may come up. Experienced Basin birder Kevin McGowan may even put in a cameo. There may even be a small-budget cookout as we watch shorebirds feeding in the light of a setting sun at May's. Basically, we hope that this afternoon will provide many with the inclination to get out and look for some shorebirds during the peak of their fall migration. The afternoon will only be loosely organized and based around local water level conditions and the needs and desires of the group. Scopes will be generously shared and talking through identifications will be greatly encouraged. All in all, nothing can make an afternoon of shorebirding more enjoyable than a group of birders to share stories and information with. Keep your eyes open for future postings to Cayugabirds for a final date, time, and meeting location. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ THIS JUST IN: The new gas station convenience store [Nice 'n Easy] at the intersection of Rte. 90 and Rte. 20 at the north end of the lake lacks all style, class, and quality. One anonymous Cupper who will be hereafter referred to as Matt M., wait...I mean, M. Medler, complains of severe gastrointestinal pains and discomfort every time he subjects himself to the wonders that are to be had in their mystery meatball subs. Other sketchy items include the flavored nutri-sweet slushies and a mean lookin' hot dog that is still giving Cup Leader Pete Hosner nightmares. The jury is still deliberating as to how much it would take to get Matt Sarver to try the mystery meat. The Editors of The Cup believe he'd do it free of charge. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Calling all members of the World Series of Birding Champion Sapsuckers (and anyone else looking for a good time)! The 6th annual Montezuma Muckrace is nearly upon us. For the first time ever, this premier big day event will be (finally) held over the course of 24, rather than 21 hours. From 9pm Friday September 7th to 9pm Saturday the 8th, teams will be scouring the forests of Howland Island in hopes of migrant passerines, driving themselves dizzy while struggling over eclipse- plumaged mergansers and straining to identify legitimate Black-bellied Plovers in the waning light at May's. Birders are encouraged to participate in this enjoyable birdathon designed to raise money for the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Montezuma Wetlands Complex. Even if you are not too keen on birding through the night, teams who choose to sleep at night are usually still quite competitive as the "night-owls" rarely add more than a few species after dark. Adults are also encouraged to chaperone a team of youngsters in the youth division. Come 9 o'clock on Saturday, the 8th, we look forward to seeing you stagger into the Montezuma Visitor's Center having just completed a most enjoyable day of birding. @#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@( DEAR TICK @#%$^!)$(%*&^>$*%?*%^#*%(*& Dear Tick, Last April, there was a rare bird reported seen flying across a couples' headlights while driving home from a dinner party. Are birds seen in headlights really countable, and more importantly, how competent is a records keeper who counts this on the Basin year list? -Romping in Renwick Dear Romping, If you can ID the bird, you can tick it. That's a no brainer. But can your average birder, on his way back from a dinner party where his/her judgment was likely impaired by an assortment of guilty pleasures--and perhaps terribly dull conversation--be trusted to make this call? He may think so, but lord help him/her when s/he lines up at the Gates of Glory, and more so if the main course was duck. To be safe, though, I checked with my friends at Arthur Anderson and they say counting the bird is A-OK. :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> WAXWING POETIC "The clearest way into the universe, is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir This month's guest poet is Betsy Potter, who is an artist, poet and active conservationist. She lives with Willie D'Anna near Niagara Falls. They came to birding 20 years ago through their combined love of the outdoors and an enthusiastic friend that was taking a museum course. If Betsy had to pick a catalyst bird it would be the Great Blue Heron seen while driving through Iroquois National Wildlife refuge on the way to hiking the Adirondacks. Or would it be the Yellow Warbler feeding a young cowbird twice its size? If you do any nature writing (poetry, prose, post-it notes), and you would like to share, please send your contributions to Bird! Eric Migrating Warblers in spring wash Over hedgerow, park, and wood lot In slow bright waves High-pitched songs and trills Pealing through trees. In fall they flicker As light through swaying leaves, Now whispering thin chips and seets, Now darting through hawthorn, Now gone. Spring and Fall Dear Boreal, When you pass this way please call or stop by. There is someone I'd be loved to show you to. Not just this, but I miss your pale beak. Yours in migration and always, Owl eyes <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> June 2002 David Cup Totals [Yawn.] 245 Pete Hosner 235 Mike Andersen 233 Matt Medler 228 Jay McGowan 224 Jesse Ellis 223 Kevin McGowan 219 Steve & Susie Fast 210 Meena Haribal 209 Bruce Tracey 208 Bob Fogg 206 Ken Rosenberg 202 Steve Kelling 197 Tim Lenz 192 Jeff Gerbracht 184 Allison Wells 184 Baby Wells-in-Utero 182 Eric Banford 182 Jeff Wells 180 Anne Marie Johnson 178 Tim Johnson 150 Anne James-Rosenberg 113 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan 102 Matt Williams 76 Dan Lebbin 82 Martin (the Cat) McGowan 45 Rachel Rosenberg Bob Fogg's 200th Bird: KING RAIL (sure, Bob, we believe you) June 2002 McIlroy Award Totals Who came up with this Town of Ithaca idea anyway? 176 Pete Hosner 173 Jai Balakrishnan 163 Tim Lenz 154 Jay McGowan 146 Kevin McGowan 140 Matt Medler 128 Allison Wells 128 Baby Wells-in-Utero 127 Ken Rosenberg June 2002 Evans Trophy Totals You've all heard about teams going from worst to first in one season, a la Allison's beloved New England Patriots. But what about a first to worst? Pete, I think you better go over your Dryden list again. If you're having problems with the math, maybe Steve Kelling can help you. He's a math whiz. 175 Jay McGowan 173 Kevin McGowan 170 Ken Rosenberg 164 Pete Hosner June 2002 Yard Totals 126 Steve Kelling 115 McGowan/Kline Family 95 Nancy Dickinson 91 Rosenberg Family 61 Jesse Ellis 55 Anne Marie and Tim Johnson $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ COMPOSITE DEPOSIT Only two species were added to the Composite Deposit in June, but oh what species they were--King Rail and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow! R-t Loon, Common Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, D-c Cormorant, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, CATTLE EGRET, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, GLOSSY IBIS, Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED 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, KING RAIL, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, G Yellowlegs, L Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, MARBLED GODWIT, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, W-r Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, PURPLE SANDPIPER, Dunlin, S-b Dowitcher, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, Wilson's Phalarope, LITTLE GULL, 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, Black Tern, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, N Saw-whet Owl, Common Nighthawk, Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-h Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, O-s Flycatcher, E Wood-Pewee, Y-b Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, E Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, E Kingbird, N Shrike, WHITE-EYED VIREO, Y-t Vireo, B-h Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, R-e Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, 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, B-g Gnatcatcher, E Bluebird, Veery, G-c Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, N Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, American Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, B-w Warbler, G-w Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, O-c Warbler, Nashville Warbler, N Parula, Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia, Cape May Warbler, B-t Blue Warbler, Y-r Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, B-b Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, B-and-w Warbler, American Redstart, W-e Warbler, Ovenbird, N Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, YELLOW- BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, E Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, N Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, R-w Blackbird, E Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, 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 As we hit the half-way point of the 2002 Basin birding year, only seven species have eluded our fearless leader Pete: CATTLE EGRET, B-c Night-Heron, Black Scoter, SLATY-BACKED GULL, Snowy Owl, O-s Flycatcher, and Lapland Longspur. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! KICKIN' TAIL! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since Pete Hosner is again in the lead and no one cares what he has to say, this month's Cup interview is with pre-David Cup (also known as the Dark Ages of Basin birding) birder Adam Byrne. While Adam was at Cornell as a Natural Resources undergrad, he and Ned Brinkley probably birded the Basin more intensely than any others have past or present, and they hold the Basin year record at 254 apiece. Somehow Adam managed to graduate in 1993, and promptly fell of the face of Basin birding, coming back only to help win the Muckrace in 1999 and to see the Long-billed Murrelet in 2001. The Cup: So Adam, what have you been up to since you left the Basin? We have heard rumors of a Big Year record in Michigan, a Big Day record in Texas, a family, and a lax job that allows you to bird five days a week. Is there any truth in this? Adam: So much has happened since I left the Basin nine years ago. Most importantly I got married and started a family. Jan is frequently referred to as the "patron saint of birding," a title she started earning during our days in the Basin! Jason will be 5 in October and we are expecting our 2nd child any day now! Birding-wise, I have been extremely active in Michigan, serving as the Chairman of the Michigan Bird Records Committee for the past 5 years and as the summer (and now winter) seasonal survey compiler. I worked for several years at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory as the waterbird counter and set Michigan's Big Year record at 321 in 1994. In April of 2001, I was part of a team that broke the old national Big Day record of 231; we tallied 258 species covering areas from the Hill Country to the Central Coast of Texas. Lastly, it is true--I have managed an almost perfect job for my interests. I work as a research assistant in the Entomology Department at Michigan State University. Our lab works on insect pests on vegetable crops, with most of my time focused on the Colorado potato beetle. While I'm not working with birds, I am doing research and have a job that doesn't involve lots of travel away from my family. The best part of this job is its flexibility–-basically if the conditions are right or a rarity has been reported, I am probably off birding! The Cup: Have you thought about coming back to do the Muckrace this year? It has come to our attention that Pete was trying to get you on his team as early as last May, and that some of the Sapsuckers are wining and dining you. Keep in mind that the Sapsuckers are aging and still probably a little worn out from their stellar showing at the World Series. In fact, I don't think any of them have been birding since then... Adam: The Muckrace is certainly enticing; any opportunity to bird in the Basin would be great. While I haven't benefited from any exquisite offers from the Sapsuckers (there is still time, though), Pete has brought up the topic on several occasions. The Sapsuckers may be aging, but their victory this year at the World Series demonstrates the potential hidden in those creaky bones. I would hate to challenge those wily veterans; it would probably be like cornering a wild animal- -anything could happen! The Cup: Yes, we imagine it might be like the reaction we got when we tried to "borrow" one of Ryan Bakelaar's beloved Abercrombie & Fitch t- shirts. The Cup: You and Ned Brinkley were even more inseparable than the pair of domestic geese down at Stewart Park (which have four nice-sized goslings now, I might add) and you found more than your share of good birds. Do you have any advice for Cuppers for finding rarities this fall? Adam: Speaking of those domestic geese, has Pete tried to make them into a rare species for his year list yet? The Cup: Not yet, but he has had a string of summer "Snow Geese" reports from a yard along Mud Lock. Adam: My first piece of advice for finding rarities would be to quit surfing the Internet and actually bird-–rumor has it certain Cuppers have been rather "vulture-like" as opposed to getting out there and finding their own birds. Ned and I certainly didn't have such a luxury in our day; our "network" consisted of knowing the location of every pay phone in the Basin. We did have a secret weapon back then--the amazing Bill Evans was extremely active (when around) and was an incredible boost to our birding experience. The Cup: Unfortunately, Old Silvertop Evans isn't really good for much of anything these days. Anything constructive, that is. Adam: With fall approaching, the best piece of advice would be to stay close to Cayuga Lake. At least 2-3 trips a week circumventing the lake should increase one's chances of finding those fall vagrants. The Cup: Two to three trips around the lake each week?! Did you *really* graduate? The Cup: What are your future plans these days? Any thoughts of coming back to the Basin? Adam: While we would love to return to the Basin, we are pretty content in Michigan right now. Both Jan and I have discussed the possibility and if the right jobs were to present themselves, we would probably return. The Cup: I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but there is this snotty student named Pete Hosner who thinks he's going to break your record. Do you know this character? Any thoughts on the situation? Adam: Yes, Pete has mentioned his Big Year run and seems quite confident the record is in the bag. Pete and I have quite a history; I knew him when he was just a punk kid learning how to bird-–I guess some things never change! Honestly, I am amazed the total Ned and I set hasn't been broken before now. We didn't have listservers to help spread the word on rarities, it was not infrequent for us to hear about things a day or two after they were seen (believe it or not, but this was before Steve Kelling entered the scene even). So, if Pete breaks the record, congrats to him. However, his "vulturine" behavior may forever scar the integrity of the Basin record. The Cup: Vulture behavior? How dare you?! I, I mean...Pete would still be in the lead even if you took away his "chase" birds. The Cup: What do you think is the next addition to the Basin list? Will it be from Siberia? Will Steve Kelling find it? More importantly, will he tell anyone in a timely manner? Adam: Has the Basin had its first Eurasian Collared-Dove? If not, this seems like a very likely possibility. Whether Steve finds it, and lets people know, seems rather improbable. The Cup: Any final comments, complains, compliments, or thoughts? Adam: I'd like to say hello to all my old friends that still actively bird in the Basin. I have many fond memories of the Basin, and in all my birding travels, haven't found anything to match the Basin's birding atmosphere. :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS By Mike Andersen June Highlights "Kek. . . kek. . . kek. . . kek. . . kek. . .." On the second of June, three Basin birders heard this rail-like sound emanating from a small stand of cattails just off the northwest corner of the Montezuma Visitors' Center building. Minutes passed and the sound continued. Similar in quality to the tone of a Clapper Rail, but given at a steady cadence of two beats per second meant only one thing...King Rail! After denying himself of yet another opportunity to be a finder rather than a chaser of a bird in his epic big year, Pete Hosner emerged from the "facilities" to a welcome surprise in the King Rail. The four birders present [Mike Andersen, Bob Fogg, Pete Hosner, and Matt Medler] extend thanks to Kevin and Jay McGowan for sending a prompt post to Cayugabirds and to Kevin McGowan for playing a recording over the phone from his house to help confirm the bird's identity. This find apparently marked the Basin's first King Rail report in 15 years! It was rather interesting to hear a recording in one ear through the phone while listening to the actual bird calling in unison from the other ear. The King Rail was heard by many and seen by a few lucky observers for almost three weeks in June. Only five days later, another Basin rarity was heard in the northern Basin, this time by Rochester birder Kurt Fox. A Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow was present at midday and heard again (with almost 100% certainty) on the evening of June 7, 2002, from the Carncross Road salt marsh in the Town of Savannah. Unfortunately, this bird proved to be a one-day wonder and was rather uncooperative for all except Kurt. Also of note were two Sandhill Cranes seen sporadically from Carncross Road and other areas in the vicinity of Savannah, north of Montezuma NWR. Locals, refuge staff, and local birders all reported much courting activity include spectacular aerial dancing displays, stick exchanges, and vocalizations. Second-hand reports of a fledgling are, to the best of my knowledge, unconfirmed. Most certainly a great occurrence for New York State. As June progressed, reports waned. Postings to the Cayugabirds list followed their usual summer patterns, decreasing in both volume and frequency. Birders shifted their focus to breeding activity, especially for the Ithaca June Count and the statewide Breeding Bird Atlas. While at Howland Island, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes and his father, Larry Hymes, found a territorial Golden-winged Warbler! Subsequent observers noted the continued presence of this bird as well as an odd- looking hybrid nearby. Birders from around the Basin reported good numbers of Black-billed Cuckoos as well as other notables like Alder Flycatcher, hybrid Blue-winged/Golden-winged warblers in Etna and Howland Island, and upwards of 20+ species of breeding warblers at Summer Hill, including Mourning, Black-and-white, and Canada. Other noteworthy sightings include odd waterfowl such as Bufflehead on June 7 at Mays Point Pool, two Snow Geese in Mud Lock, and, of course, the domestics with goslings at Stewart Park. Northward shorebird migration continued into early June, and with the high rainfall from May, there was still suitable habitat at Morgan Road in Savannah to host birds. Steve and Susie Fast enjoyed a nice mix of big, gaudy shorebirds there on June 1, finding 36 Black-bellied Plovers and 15 Ruddy Turnstones, along with some other smaller, duller birds (Least, Semipalmated, and Spotted sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plovers). The King Rail crew also had good numbers of Black-bellied Plovers at Morgan Road on June 2, as well as a few White-rumped Sandpipers and a combined total of almost 70 Semipalmated Sandpipers at Benning Marsh and Morgan Road. :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< < COACH'S CORNER < < <<<<<<<<<<<<<< < < < < < < < < By Matt Medler OK, so how many of you are reading this in the comfort of your air-conditioned office, thinking, "Birding in early August?! Are you crazy? There's no way that I'm strapping on my bins again until the last week of August." Oh sure, you're probably thinking that you're doing just fine in the David Cup. After all, you haven't done any birding since early June, and you haven't missed anything. Or have you? Like the proverbial question about the chicken in the forest, the following question begs being asked: "Have you really missed a rarity if nobody finds it?" I know the question that you're all ready to offer in response: "Whatever shows up during the summertime anyway?" What birds do show up during the summertime? To answer that question, let's look at the birds that one individual turned up in the Basin over the course of two summers--1980 and 1981. This diligent young man made his first mark on the Basin birding scene by turning up an immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on July 10. Not only did he write a thorough description of the bird (complete with an illustration), but the bird was also seen by others, and observed again on July 13. Right on the heels of this, he found a sub-adult Franklin's Gull in Ithaca on July 13 (it remained until July 18). Is one Franklin's Gull not enough for you? How about another one (this time a winter adult) from July 24-27, and two probable juvenals on July 28? Speaking of probables, we forgot to mention that this same birder found a probable immature/female Ruff at Montezuma on July 14. And during that same visit to Montezuma, he discovered a singing Northern Parula, the Basin's first summer record since 1950. Back at the south end of the Basin, our tireless summer birder wasn't done finding rare gulls. July was the month for Franklin's Gulls, and August was the month for Laughing Gulls. Out on the Lighthouse Jetty, he found two juvenal Laughers on several occasions over the course of the week (August 3-9). And, to cap off the quiet summer birding season, the same observer found a Marbled Godwit along the Cayuga Inlet on August 12. Not a bad summer of birding, huh? We rejoin our birding hero on April 24, 1981, when he found a third-year Lesser Black-backed Gull in Ithaca. He then grabbed some recording gear (making him an instant favorite here at The Cup) and headed for the hills, specifically Connecticut Hill. There, during the course of the last week of May, he managed to find singing male "Audubon's" Warbler (i.e. a western Yellow-rump), Kentucky Warbler, and Connecticut Warbler! Don't believe it? At least for the Kentucky and the Connecticut, he has the recordings (and quality ones at that) to prove it. "Wait a second," you might be saying. "Isn't this Coach's Corner about summer birding?" It is, but we were on a roll, and couldn't bear to leave out these great spring finds. On then, to the summer of 1981, when our new Cup favorite "only" managed to find a immature Little Blue Heron (in Ithaca on July 28), a male Red Crossbill at Connecticut Hill (July 6), and, ho hum, the aforementioned Kentucky Warbler at Conn. Hill. So who was this guy, and how come you've never heard of him before? Well, you're probably all familiar with this amazing birder, but not in the context of Basin birding. His name: David Sibley. Granted, none of us here in the Basin right now are David Sibley, but one of the points of this story is that there are good birds to be found during the summertime, if you go and look for them. While we might not all be bird identification experts like David Sibley, I would hope that any Cupper who checked Stewart Park and the Lighthouse Jetty regularly, patiently looking through the same gulls day after day, would at least notice when a "different" gull suddenly appeared. Then, you can bust out your handy Sibley guide and determine what the bird is. Even easier than that is quickly scanning the grassy areas at Stewart Park and neighboring environs for stray egrets. I've seen a Cattle Egret walking around the tennis courts at Stewart Park, and even though I wasn't the one who found it, I'm pretty confident that I would have noticed the bird (even in my neophyte stage) *if* I had checked the park on my own that day. Just to provide you with proof that other birders besides David Sibley can find rare birds during the dog days of summer, I present here a list of rarities discovered in July or August during recent years, along with those tireless birders who found the birds: Laughing Gull, 8/26/1991, 1, Ned Brinkley, Stewart Park Laughing Gull, 8/27/1991, 1, Ned Brinkley, Stewart Park Whimbrel, 8/29/1991, 1, Andy Farnsworth, Savannah Mucklands Loggerhead Shrike, 7/19/1992, 1, Andy Farnsworth, Farley's Point Whimbrel, 8/30/1993, 1, ???, Montezuma NWR Laughing Gull, 7/3/1994, 1, Ned Brinkley, Ithaca Whimbrel, 7/3/1994, 1, Adam Byrne, Montezuma NWR Ruff, 8/21/1995, 1, Allison & Jeff Wells, Montezuma NWR Glossy Ibis, 8/25/1995, 1, Bill Evans, Karl David, Montezuma NWR American Avocet, 7/26/1996, 1, Karl David, Myers Point American Avocet, 7/24/1997, 1, S. Davies, S. Kelling, Ithaca Lighthouse Cattle Egret, 8/12/1997, 1, Stephen Davies, Stewart Park Curlew Sandpiper, 8/12/1998, 1, Gerard Phillips, Montezuma NWR Whimbrel, 8/15/1998, 1, Geo Kloppel, Montezuma NWR Little Gull, 8/17/1998, 1, Matt Young, Myers Point Whimbrel, 8/19/1998, 1, Gerard Phillips, Montezuma NWR American Avocet, 8/24/1998, 2, Matt Young, Myers Point Franklin's Gull, 8/30/1998, 1, Gary Chapin, Montezuma NWR Tricolored Heron, 7/5/1999, 1, Ken Rosenberg, Montezuma NWR Snowy Egret, 8/1/1999, 1, Matt Young, Newman Golf Course, Ithaca Snowy Egret, 8/7/1999, 1, Matt Young, Bard Prentiss, Seybolt Rd. Ponds Glossy Ibis, 8/29/1999, 1, B. Fambrough, K. Rosenberg, C. Sandell, J. VanNiel, Montezuma NWR Glossy Ibis, 8/30/1999, 2, Geo Kloppel, Montezuma NWR Sedge Wren, 7/20/2000, 2, Kevin McGowan, Freese Rd., Town of Dryden(?) All information for this article comes from old issues of The Kingbird, the journal of the New York State Federation of Bird Clubs. "CUP QUOTES" Pete Hosner just called to say that they were hearing a continued "kek- kek-kek..." from the main bulding at Montezuma. Sounds to me like a good KING RAIL. - Kevin McGowan Kurt Fox just called: one NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW was heard singing from the salt marsh near the north edge of the dirt road along Carncross Road in the Town of Savannah, NY. This was heard around noon today, 7 June, 2002. Two SANDHILL CRANES were also present on the north side of the road about 100 meters from the road. - Chris Tessaglia-Hymes At the 11:00am walk, my group heard the Acadian Flycatcher again, but this time it had moved south a bit. It was then at the very NW corner of the small pond with the shelter, along the east part of the trails on the east side of Sapsucker Woods Road. It sang loudly, doing the squeaky dog toy sound, several times (about every 10-15 seconds) and also called out the soft pi-pi-pi-pi-pi-pi-pi call a couple of times. It would be nice if a female found this bird. Also, as I suspected, this is a FIRST record for Sapsucker Woods. Cool! - Chris Tessaglia-Hymes I have kept a peacock or two, off and on, for the past 10 years or so. Most of them have had the run of the yard. The bird who lives with us now, however, I must keep penned--to my sorrow. He is obsessed with pick-up trucks. Big shiny ones. - Marie McRae Bone Plain Rd, just E of Sheldon--Northern Bobwhite calling from backyard of 1st house on N side of road. Seeing as how it was calling from a backyard in a woods (across the street from the emu, wallabies, and red kangaroo), I believe this to be countable even less than the ones on Whitted Rd. Nobody is really counting bobwhite for the David Cup, are they? - Kevin McGowan Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling from our yard on Beam Hill in Dryden. Credit my lovely, non-birding wife for this one. She came in the house and said there was a cuckoo calling, and it turned out to be a Yellow- billed, not the Black-billed that has been calling around the yard for the last two weeks. Even anti-birders can't help but absorb some information, especially with super-avid sons that force them to listen. (Around our house it's not "Lookit me, Mom, lookit me!", it's "Mom, listen! There's a [insert bird name here] calling! Can you hear it?") - Kevin McGowan Possible Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on Etna Rd. 100 yards east of Hanshaw. The bird was perched in a dead snag, very yellowish below and it a broad (appeared to be slightly yellowish) eyering. However, it was a ways off, and although I scoped it, I couldn't be completely sure with the heat haze (Empidonax ID with heat haze is just a bad idea). - Pete Hosner While eating, we heard the distinctive song of a probable GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER coming from the second-growth habitat on the north side of the road. It was indeed an adult male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER. - Chris Tessaglia-Hymes Hi all, This is a farewell message and does not contain any bird sightings. My advance apologies for not adhering to the bird-list protocol. I have completed my Ph.D requirements with the electrical engineering department at Cornell and I'll be leaving Ithaca tonight. I am going to India for a 6 week vacation and then will be off to Dallas in August to begin work with Texas Instruments. I have had a great time birding in the basin. I started out as a birder three years ago and the basin birding community has nurtured me as a birder. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and passion about birds and birding locations. I will miss you and birding in Ithaca. My e-mail at Cornell will be active for a while, in case you need to get in touch with me. Sincerely, Jai Balakrishnan P.S; If any of you come to Dallas, drop me a note and we could perhaps plan on a local birding trip. Last evening I had the privilege of holding a hummingbird in my hand for twenty minutes. I don't think I'll ever be the same! - Nancy Dickinson May Your Cup Runneth Over, - Pete and Mike