Year 8, Issues 10-11

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Jay McGowan * Highlights: Matt Medler ****************************************************************** Merry Christmas Cuppers! I hope you have enjoyed/are enjoying the winter holidays. Unfortunately, this issue has been delayed considerably; additionally, despite the lengthy delay, it still contains very little actual content! Hopefully this will not dampen your holiday spirit. ---------------------------- It will soon be 2004, bringing to an end a remarkable year. Although last year (2002) was highly vaunted as being a very high-scoring, rarity filled year (and it was), this year can easily rival it for rarities. At the end of November 2003 was tied with last year for total number of species seen in the Basin, with all of December to pick up a few more (which has happened). I hope to have a more extensive article on this topic in the next issue. In fact, much of the content which could have been in this issue is being saved for the special end- of-year edition. So be sure to send in your final totals is a timely manner for the ultimate issue for 2003. On a related note, anyone who has anything they would like to see in the Cup, whether it is poetry, interviews, articles, or anything else, please contact me at ---------------------------- <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> October, November 2003 David Cup Totals 245, 250 Jay McGowan 238, 242 Kevin McGowan 236, 239 Tim Lenz 233, 236 Ken Rosenberg 232?,232?Pete Hosner 227, 232 Steve and Susan Fast ???, 230 Steve Kelling 224, 225 Mike Andersen ???, 225 Meena Haribal 217, 224 Jesse Ellis 210, 221 Matt Medler 213, 216 Bruce Tracey 213?,214?Bard Prentiss 207?,207?Jeff Wells 201, 206 Mark Chao 200, 204 Jeff Gerbracht 198, ??? Dan Lebbin ???, 192 Allison Wells ???, 186 Julie Hart 123, 125 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan 90, 91 Martin (the Cat) McGowan 0 Bob Fogg October, November 2003 McIlroy Award (Ithaca) Totals Tied once again, Ken and Tim race head-to-head towards the finish line in Ithaca. I believe Tim is slightly ahead at the moment, but can Ken get the few birds needed to catch up? 205, 209 Ken Rosenberg 203, 209 Tim Lenz 164, 167 Jay McGowan 155, 157 Jeff Gerbracht 156, 160 Kevin McGowan ???, 145 Allison Wells October, November 2003 Evans Trophy (Dryden) Totals 188, 191 Jay McGowan 180, 181 Kevin McGowan 123, 125 Tringa McGowan 90, 91 Martin McGowan October, November 2003 Yard Totals ???, 158 Steve Kelling 128, 130 McGowan/Kline Family ???, 99 Nancy Dickinson $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ COMPOSITE DEPOSIT The cumulative total up to the end of November was 269, tying last year's end-of-year total. This October added Purple Sandpiper, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Pine Siskin and Hudsonian Godwit. November added Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, Greater White-fronted Goose, Pomarine Jaeger, and Dickcissel. Birds still lacking for the year include both crossbills and Pine Grosbeak. Here's the total list: R-t Loon, PACIFIC LOON, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL, D-c Cormorant, Am. Bittern, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, CATTLE EGRET, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, GLOSSY IBIS, WHITE-FACED IBIS, Turkey Vulture, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, Snow Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, Canada Goose, Brant, Wood Duck, G-w Teal, Am. Black Duck, Mallard, N. Pintail, B-w Teal, N. Shoveler, Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, EURASIAN WIGEON, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, C. 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, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, GYRFALCON, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Virginia Rail, Sora, C. Moorhen, Am. Coot, Sandhill Crane, B-b Plover, Am. Golden- Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, WILLET, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, WHIMBREL, Hudsonian Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, W-r Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, PURPLE SANDPIPER, Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, S-b Dowitcher, L-b Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe, Am. Woodcock, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, RED PHALAROPE, PARASITIC JAEGER, POMARINE JAEGER, FRANKLIN'S GULL, LAUGHING GULL, LITTLE GULL, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, C. Tern, ARCTIC 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, C. Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, R-h 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, B-h Vireo, Y-t Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, R-e Vireo, Blue Jay, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, C. 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, Am. Robin, European Starling, Gray Catbird, N. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Am. 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 Warbler, 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-&-w Warbler, Am. Redstart, W-e Warbler, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, C. Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, YELLOW- BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper 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, DICKCISSEL, Bobolink, R-w Blackbird, E. Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow. LEADER'S MISS LIST Here's what the leader has missed as of November: CATTLE EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, ROSS'S GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, WHIMBREL, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, RED PHALAROPE, PARASITIC JAEGER, POMARINE JAEGER, LITTLE GULL, LAUGHING GULL, SNOWY OWL, L-e Owl, R-h Woodpecker, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, G-w Warbler, Common Redpoll. ----------------------------------------------------------------- $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS by Matt Medler OK. Let's be honest. How many of you thought that you had seen your last Basin rarity of the year in mid-September, when the storm- petrels (Were they both Wilson's? Was one the state's first Band- rumped!?!) made their last appearances at the south end of Cayuga Lake. Nothing really good ever shows up in October and November, right? A few winter finches might start to descend on the Basin, but that's certainly about all we could expect for highlights. Well, if that's what your general perception of October and November is, maybe you should ponder these highlights and reconsider: White-faced Ibis, Western Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Franklin's Gull, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Eurasian Wigeon, Purple Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Cattle Egret, a possible Pomarine Jaeger, Laughing Gull, and Dickcissel, Greater White-fronted Goose. Not a bad two months, huh? October got off to a good start with one of September's rarities-- the Basin's first-ever White-faced Ibis--lingering at Montezuma until October 3. While watching the ibis for the second time on October 1, and after having scoured the peeps at Montezuma for scores of hours over the past few years, Pete Hosner was rewarded with a nice, close juvenile Western Sandpiper at Benning Marsh. Later that same day, while counting shorebirds at Mays Point Pool, Pete and others caught a brief glimpse of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. On a rare voyage out of the Town of Ithaca on October 10, Tim Lenz came across a young, small hooded gull at Myers Point that he initially identified as a Laughing Gull. After doing some research and consulting his notes, Tim realized that the bird he saw was actually a Franklin's Gull. To atone for both his extralimital wanderings and his initial identification confusion, Tim later found a real Laughing Gull at Hog Hole on November 5. On the topic of geographically-challenged Cuppers, Steve Kelling is *still* living outside of the Basin, but to make up for it, he had a number of good birds on his farm in Caroline. The first was a Dickcissel heard calling shortly after dawn on October 10. On the 13th, Steve heard the area's first Pine Siskin of the year (the Basin's first would follow on Beam Hill the next day), and he also had the region's first Evening Grosbeak of the year on October 20. The Basin's first Evening Grosbeak sighting came almost three weeks later, when Jesse Ellis heard and saw this species flying over Sapsucker Woods. On November 7, finchmeister Matt Young heard an early Common Redpoll at Summerhill, suggesting that there might be a good invasion of these delightful little finches, but such an irruption has not been forthcoming. The early part of October is when Cuppers usually *talk* about going to Hog Hole to look for Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, but actual attempts to find this elusive bird are much less common. On October 12, though, Ken Rosenberg actually walked the walk in the wet grasses at the south end of the lake, and was rewarded with a beautiful Nelson's at Hog Hole. To his credit, Ken was quick to alert other birders of his find, so that even a desperate Tim Lenz, three hours away in Buffalo, was able to return and see the bird before dark. Another bird that has generated much discussion among Cuppers in recent years has been Cave Swallow, which has become almost annual in Cape May in early November. When Bruce Tracey spotted a Cliff/Cave Swallow type bird near his home in Lansing on November 4, he must have thought, at least for a split second, that he had achieved birding fame by finding the Basin's first-ever Cave Swallow. However, try as he might, he could not turn this late Cliff Swallow into a Cave. After nearly a forty-year absence from the Cayuga Lake Basin, Purple Sandpiper made its *third* appearance in the Basin in less than 18 months, on October 17. This time, the bird was where it was "supposed" to be--on the red lighthouse jetty in Ithaca. Quite impressively, this was the second time that Tim Lenz was the birder who discovered this rare species, earning him the possible nickname "Purple Tim" (Pink Floyd...Purple Tim, get it?) Despite the intense McIlroy Award competition between Tim and Ken Rosenberg, it was actually Jay McGowan who made the other big discovery at the south end of Cayuga Lake this fall. Adding to his Birder-of-the-Year credentials, Jay found not one, but two, Greater White-fronted Geese in among the mass of Canada Geese at Stewart Park on November 12. Just a few days later, Ithaca feederwatcher Lisa Wood subscribed to Cayugabirds-L to report that she and her husband had spotted a probable Dickcissel in their yard. A legion of Cuppers quickly descended upon the Woods' yard and confirmed that they did in fact have the Basin's first on-the-ground Dickcissel in recent memory. A late Rose-breasted Grosbeak was also seen at the Wood residence for a few days before Thanksgiving. Speaking of "late" and "Wood," Mike Andersen saw and described a very late Wood Thrush on the Cornell campus on November 14. As usual, Montezuma hosted its fair share of Basin rarities during October and November. In addition to the birds previously mentioned, birders at Montezuma spotted Eurasian Wigeon on October 12 and November 1, Sandhill Cranes on October 14 and 21, Hudsonian Godwit on October 25 and 30, and Cattle Egret on October 29. One of the most intriguing reports of Fall 2003 was a report by Ken Rosenberg of a Pomarine Jaeger at the south end of Cayuga Lake on November 2. Since Pomarine Jaeger would be a new addition to the Basin checklist, and details of the jaeger have not been forthcoming, this report remains in the "intriguing" category as we go to press . Finally, perhaps two of the biggest birding highlights of October and November were found right on the Cornell campus during November. A Barred Owl that spent the day near the Vet School on November 6 treated countless birders and passers-by to great looks as it sat in a tree in a courtyard. And, when Jesse Ellis saw a Peregrine Falcon land on a "big brown building" on campus on November 14, little did he know that this Peregrine would take up residence on Bradfield Hall for the month of November (and beyond), allowing patient birders excellent views every day at dusk. @#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@( DEAR TICK @#%$^!)$(%*&^>$*%?*%^#*%(*& No questions were received for Dear Tick. Apparently, no one had any qualms or doubts about their sightings or what they are counting. [If YOU have a question for Dear Tick about anything having to do with The David Cup, or just birding in general, send it to Allison Wells at, and she will pass it along.] "CUP QUOTES" Among the more normal calls, we did hear a Barred Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, Potoo, Manakins...oh, that's right, those were made by myself, Dan Lebbin, and Pete Hosner, during the lull... --Chris Tessaglia-Hymes While putting out clothes for drying in solar dryer, I watched the sky. In about 20 minutes (it took 20 min because I was scanning the sky more often than hanging clothes), two Sharpies, 1 Kestrel and a TV went by --Meena Haribal On Hammond Hill on Sunday, the morning light and fall foliage were gorgeous beyond description, both in the intimate corridors of the gravel roads and trails, and in the expansive colorscapes of the surrounding hills. --Mark Chao For those like myself who enjoy even numbers, I'll mention that this bird was my 200'th in Ithaca for the year, and also a lifer. Thanks Ken! (who also surpassed 200 sometime this weekend, I might add). --Tim Lenz This morning when I walked up the hill behind my house I had many birds. --Steve Kelling Cool! Three times over the past couple days I thought I heard an Osprey outside my house (near Beebe Lake), but I couldn't see it. The third time, when I ran outside I saw . . . a Blue Jay mimicking an Osprey! It was amazing how close the mimicry was. --Fred Werner What a day! I fully expected the small shorebird I saw on the jetty this morning to be another Dunlin (since they've been so numerous lately), and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a pulchritudinous PURPLE SANDPIPER. Wasn't planning on finding that on the jetty until November... --Tim Lenz ...Actually, Ken just called, said there's another small shorebird with the purple on the Jetty. Gotta go. --Tim Lenz PS: I watched MV Manhattan pass-by the Red Light house jetty and was hoping I was on it. --Meena Haribal At the loading dock of the lab I found couple of Yellow-rumped warbler and someone caught me talking to the warblers. --Meena Haribal CORRECTION: From Stew. Park this morning I reported "6 white lumps that looked like Tundra Swans". I was at the Park this afternoon at 1630 and with much better visibility, the same location yielded 5 WHITE DOMESTIC GEESE and 2 LARGE ROUND WHITE BUOYS. Sorry about that. --Steve Fast Out across the Fuller Wetlands pond, a flock of about 40 or 50 finches, mostly House, were playing Redpoll in the weeds. --Jesse Ellis At Stewart, a GRRRREATER YELLOWLEGS was swimming in the swan pen. --Tim Lenz, presumably lamenting over his continued lack of Lesser Yellowlegs for Ithaca Good Novembirding, --Tim Lenz I birded up the east side of the lake this morning, and drove back down the west side. I bought a muffin for breakfast at the gas station in Lansing, but it was stale and didn't taste very good. There weren't many birds around... ...By 10:45 I was very hungry, and worrying more about school than about birds, so I just drove straight home. Nevertheless, it was a nice morning to be out. --Tim Lenz Bennings: There were two Dunlins feeding close in, with three Green- Winged Teal way in the back, right where the Wegmans truck is . . . . NOW! (May have moved by now.) --Bob McGuire On 11/24, there was a female Purple Finch on our feeder along with the house finches. A short time later. there were two Y-B Sapsuckers on our asian elm. As a sign of our continuing mild weather, a garter snake crossed my path Monday afternoon. That's the latest I have seen one here. The birds were reported to ebird. The snake was not. --Bill McAneny ...apologies to gull enthusiasts, I scanned the dock so quickly & sloppily as not to notice whether there were Herring Gulls among them, but I'm pretty sure there were no skimmers, penguins, or smaller gulls. --Dave Nutter Bundle up, and get out there and find birds! --Steve and Sue Fast [In response to the above quote]: I managed to do the first two on the list this afternoon, but had a bit of trouble with the third. --Tim Lenz I've got more notes in the car, and even attempted to sketch a few things, but it's snowing now so I don't want to go outside. --Tim Lenz It's always interesting to me how several observers can look at (the same bird?) and see slightly different things. I'm off now to clean the lenses on my spotting scope and make an appointment with my eye doctor for an exam. --Steve Fast May Your Cup Runneth Over, - Jay