Year 8, Issues 8-9

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Jay McGowan * Interviewer: Matt Medler * Fact-Checker: Kevin McGowan ****************************************************************** Well, September and August have come and gone, and with it the bulk of the fall passerine and shorebird migration. Although the Cup was regrettably held up in early September (forcing another double-issue), hopefully no one will be inconvenienced by this delay. We had a lot of excitement in September, making 2003 a year Basin birders will remember for a long time. ------------------------- Columnists? As usual, if anyone would like to write a column for (or contribute in any way to) The Cup, please let me know at ------------------------- <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> August, September 2003 David Cup Totals 227, 239 Jay McGowan 215, 232 Pete Hosner 217, 231 Kevin McGowan 213, 229 Tim Lenz ???, 227 Ken Rosenberg 202, 225 Steve Kelling ???, 224 Mike Andersen ???, 223 Meena Haribal ???, 223 Steve and Susan Fast ???, 212 Bard Prentiss 205, 208 Bruce Tracey ???, 207 Jeff Wells 187, 203 Matt Medler 179, 203 Jesse Ellis 197, 197 Jeff Gerbracht 180, 193 Mark Chao 172, 191 Dan Lebbin ???, 182 Allison Wells ???, 120 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan ???, 86 Martin (the Cat) McGowan Jesse Ellis' 200th bird: Orange-crowned Warbler Bruce Tracey's 200th bird: Stilt Sandpiper August, September 2003 McIlroy Award Totals Ken edged out Ithaca fanatic Tim Lenz for one day at the end of September, but Tim quickly regained his lead the next day. Now who knows who is in the lead? ???, 197 Ken Rosenberg 184, 196 Tim Lenz 147, 157 Jay McGowan 154, 154 Jeff Gerbracht 133, 145 Kevin McGowan ???, 127 Allison Wells August, September 2003 Evans Trophy Totals 177, 184 Jay McGowan 169, 174 Kevin McGowan ???, 120 Tringa McGowan ???, 86 Martin McGowan August, September 2003 Yard Totals 135, 147 Steve Kelling 117, 124 McGowan/Kline Family BASIN PHOTOGRAPHED LIST Unfortunately, very few people sent in their totals for this experimental category. However, here are the standings so far: 229 Kevin & Jay McGowan 6 Mark Chao 2 Dan Lebbin $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ COMPOSITE DEPOSIT The cumulative total is now up to 260 species! Most of the regular shorebirds were added in August and early September (including Buff- breasted Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope), as well as Eurasian Wigeon. The Muckrace added Long-eared Owl to the list. Hurricane Isabel brought in many new ‘arrivals', including Arctic Tern, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Whimbrel, Parasitic Jaeger, Wilson's Storm- Petrel and what was very probably a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (both the first ever for the Basin). A week after Isabel, another first-ever for the Basin appeared at Montezuma--White-faced Ibis. Two birds-- Dickcissel and Connecticut Warbler--were seen just outside the Basin in Caroline. 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, 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, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, W-r Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral 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, 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, 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, C. Grackle, B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow. LEADER'S MISS LIST Here's what the leader has missed as of September CATTLE EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, ROSS'S GOOSE, Brant, EURASIAN WIGEON, WHIMBREL, WESTERN SANDPIPER, Wilson's Phalarope, R-n Phalarope, RED PHALAROPE, PARASITIC JAEGER, LITTLE GULL, LAUGHING GULL, SNOWY OWL, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, R-h Woodpecker, N. Shrike, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, G-w Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow. ----------------------------------------------------------------- EDITOR'S NOTE: Neither TRUMPETER SWAN nor NORTHERN BOBWHITE are countable in the David Cup at this time. Trumpeter Swans are not yet countable in New York State, having not been established long enough to count as a completely wild species here. There is evidence (wing- tagged birds) that some of the Trumpeters seen in the Basin have come on their own from a reintroduction program in Ontario; however, they are not a countable species in Ontario either. Therefore, I think it advisable not to count Trumpeter Swan on the official David Cup list. (I'm not counting the Mandarin Ducks Bard Prentiss and I found at Myers Point this January either.) While Trumpeters may not be countable on your David Cup list, do not ignore them; such species have to be kept track of if they are ever going to be countable. As for Northern Bobwhite, there has been a private reintroduction project going on in the Snyder Hill area for many years, so all bobwhites seen anywhere near there must be assumed to be those released birds. Again, it is good to keep track of them, but they are not countable in the David Cup. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS by Jay McGowan AUGUST A few of the more common shorebirds started to be seen in early August, mostly at Montezuma and at Myers Point. The first American Golden- Plovers of the year were seen at Montezuma on the 10th, and the first Baird's Sandpiper on the 23rd (22 Baird's Sandpipers were seen there on the 26th, a new maximum for New York State). Also on the 23rd, two WILSON'S PHALAROPES were seen at May's Point Pool, along with a probable WESTERN SANDPIPER. On the 26th, Ken and Gary Rosenberg found the first RED-NECKED PHALAROPE of the year at May's Point, and Gerard Phillips found a drake EURASIAN WIGEON there two days later. The first Long-billed Dowitchers appeared near the end of the month. Other shorebirds of note present at Montezuma in late August included White- rumped Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, and Sanderling. On the 24th, Meena Haribal saw a SANDHILL CRANE flying over the Wildlife Drive at Montezuma. Common Nighthawks and both Least and American bitterns were seen often at Montezuma as well. Two Worm-eating Warblers were seen on August 10th at the Lindsay- Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, where they regularly breed. On the 17th, Steve Fast found an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER on the Dryden Lake trail, in almost exactly the same location as one appeared earlier this year in May. A number of Philadelphia Vireos were seen in late August, as well as many species of warblers. SEPTEMBER On the 1st of September, Gerard Phillips and Chris Tessaglia-Hymes found a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the far side of May's Point. (Buff- breasted were seen at May;s Point as late at September 29th.) A Ruddy Turnstone was seen at Myers Point on the 5th, and up to three others were seen at Montezuma throughout the month. A juvenile Red Knot was reported at May's Point on the 7th, but no details were posted. The first LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL of the season was seen at Montezuma on the 13th. The 7th annual Montezuma Muckrace was held on September 5-6th; 178 species were seen in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex area during the event. The winning team, 'Crex crex', was composed of Pete Hosner, Tim Lenz, Mike Andersen, and Ryan Bakelaar, and totaled 139 species, by far the highest-ever total; the second-place team, 'The Gallinagos', Chris Tessaglie-Hymes and Gerard Phillips and joined by Jeff Wells and Steve Kelling, totaled 137; and the third-place team, 'Corn Crake', made up of Scott Haber, Dan Lebbin, Lena Samsonenko, and Colby Neuman, saw 125 species. Some of the highlights were: Merlin, SANDHILL CRANE, 20 species of shorebirds, Black Tern, LONG-EARED OWL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, a reported SEDGE WREN (near East Road), all the thrushes, 25 species of warblers (including GOLDEN-WINGED, a Brewster's hybrid, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Prairie, Cerulean, and Canada), and Grasshopper Sparrow. Although just outside the Cayuga Lake Basin, Steve Kelling's property in Caroline hosted many good birds in September, including a flyover DICKCISSEL on the 10th, and a CONNECTICUT WARBLER on the 21st. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen at Sapsucker Woods on September 11th, and another on Bomax Road in Lansing on the 26th. Night migration continued to be good late into the month, with many Swainson's, Gray-cheeked, and other thrushes heard. Lincoln's Sparrows started to appear towards the end of the month, and an early Fox Sparrow was seen at Dryden Lake on the 27th. Hurricane Isabel passed to the west of the Basin (over Lake Erie) on September 19th. Birders stationed themselves around Cayuga Lake in the hope of seeing pelagic rarities brought inland by the storm. The south end of the lake turned out to be the place where most of the birds were concentrated. One Forster's and several Common Terns were joined by an adult ARCTIC TERN in the afternoon. Several flocks of up to 8 RED- NECKED and 5 RED PHALAROPES were also present at times, and a WHIMBREL was sighted flying by. A Jaeger species was seen flying south from Myers Point, but was not resighted that day. (Also, during this time a Red-necked Phalarope was seen at Montezuma.) The next day, September 20th, Willy Hutcheson saw a storm-petrel from Taughannock Park that headed south. A little later in the day, two WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS were visible from the south end of the lake for much of the day. Jeff Wells found a juvenile LAUGHING GULL at Myers Point in the afternoon. Later in the evening, an adult PARASITIC JAEGER was seen from Stewart Park. The next morning, the 21st, Curtis Marantz discovered a probable BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL at the south end of the lake. (If accepted by NYSARC, this will be a first New York State record.) A definite Wilson's was also present. The separation of Band-rumped from Wilson's is fairly difficult; this bird was thought to be a Band-rumped based on flight-pattern (stronger and less fluttery than the Wilson's), wing- shape (longer and more pointed, with Wilson's appearing shorted and more rounded), and less extensive white on the flanks. Some observers who saw the bird closer reported a slightly notched tail with no foot projection beyond the wings. However, most of the time the bird was very far out on the lake and good looks were hard to obtain. In an attempt to clear up any confusion, birders chartered a boat on the 22nd to go out on the lake to try to get a closer look at the storm-petrels. Unfortunately, the birds were not seen again. Meanwhile, on the evenings of the 20th and 21st, the Cayuga Bird Club held a Shorebird Workshop at Montezuma. Most of the normal shorebirds were there, as well as Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, 50+ White-rumped Sandpipers (Benning Marsh; a new fall inland maximum?), and Lesser Black-backed Gull. On September 27th, Marva Gingrich reported that a Glossy Ibis was present at Benning Marsh, Montezuma NWR. Later in the day, two birders at Montezuma saw the purported Glossy but noticed that the bird had a red eye, and quickly got the word out. Indeed, the bird turned out to be the Basin's first-ever WHITE-FACED IBIS, a species normally found only in the southwest part of the U.S. (John Van Niel reported a Glossy Ibis flyover at Montezuma a week before, on the 20th, very possibly the White-faced.) It stayed until at least October 5th, when it was observed flying high to the southwest, and was not seen again. Also seen at Benning Marsh during this time was a probable Richardson's form of Canada Goose, and up to three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and a WESTERN SANDPIPER was found there on the first of October. LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor- The remark made in reference to me in the last issue of The Cup was completely inappropriate. To be referred to as a "historical figure" was reprehensible. If you were earning your keep as editor, you would have omitted that offensive remark. As former editor, I resent this departure from the traditional always-respectful tone; I never, ever teased any Cuppers in my e-pages, nor did I allow them to be heckled in interviews, as I was in the last Kickin' Tail interview. I implore you to reinstate the delicacies that I insisted upon during my tenure as Cup editor, and to do so starting immediately. "Historically" yours, Allison Wells Dear Ms. Wells: Thank you for your letter. I can quite understand your consternation with respect to the offending statement mentioned by you. It was exceptionally careless of me to let that go into print. As you doubtless realized, the statement was made by Mr. Chao, a griller-in- training. He has not yet been trained to use the finesse and courtesy needed to live up to the standard of excellence in interviewing style that was essential during your prestigious career as the editor of The Cup. Once again, may I offer you my sincere apologies, and let me assure you that it will happen again as often as is practical. Regards, J.W. McGowan Editor, The Cup !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! KICKIN' TAIL! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This month's Kickin' Tail interviewee is Ithaca birder extraordinaire Tim Lenz. Currently a graduate student in Cornell's Computer Science department, Tim has been the dominant figure in the McIlroy Award competition for the past two years. Last year, unfortunately, he was edged out for the coveted McIlroy shoe by Pete Hosner, but Tim has come back and birded Ithaca harder than ever this year. Technically, we probably should be interviewing Ken Rosenberg this month, since he just overtook Tim for the McIlroy lead at the end of September. But, Tim was in the lead for the entire first half of the year, and we wanted to recognize his birding efforts. Plus, we're The Cup, and we can interview whomever we please. And, to be honest, we find Ken to be a bit on the boring side, so we thought we'd liven things up by interviewing Tim instead. Since Tim is a computer science major (or perhaps more importantly, since Tim is under the age of 25), we've decided to employ a "new" technology for the Kickin' Tail--Instant Messenger. So, rather than sending Tim a batch of questions, having him answer them, and then manipul, er, I mean editing them, I am conducting this interview "live" on my computer. THE CUP: Congratulations, Tim! You've been birding the Town of Ithaca feverishly for the past two years or so, and you've probably been leading the McIlroy Award competition for most of that time, but now you've finally hit the big-time--your first Kickin' Tail interview. How does it feel? TIM: Great! When I first started reading The Cup many years ago, I never imagined I'd actually be the one being interviewed someday. I thought all of these birders were able to come up with extremely witty responses on the fly, but then you told me these were done via email. Anyway, it's still exciting to be here behind this instant messenger portal, talking about birding, etc. THE CUP: Yes, we at The Cup never imagined that we'd been interviewing you either. TIM: (phone) THE CUP: Come on! This is the Kickin' Tail interview we're talking about here. I didn't think I'd need to state the obvious and tell you that all cell phones and electronic pagers should be turned off. TIM: Very sorry. But it could've been Ken Rosenberg calling about a McBarred Owl! TIM: We'd have to interrupt the interview for that. THE CUP: True, but I thought you were going to go out and find one on your own last night. TIM: I was very busy yesterday. In fact, I think it was one of the few days this year I wasn't able to go birding--a real tragedy. THE CUP: Yes, a real tragedy indeed. I'm sure that somewhere, Ken Rosenberg is crying in his beer over it. TIM: Ken Rosenberg drinks beer? So *that's* how he gets all of his McIlroy birds. THE CUP: Well, that could explain *some* of his "sightings." Speaking of Ken, we should point out that while the Town of Ithaca has essentially been your own private birding domain for the past two years, Ken is actually in the lead for the McIlroy Award as of the end of September. This interview is to honor you for being in the lead at the end of August. Do you even remember August at this point? I know I don't. TIM: Not really, since I was only in Ithaca for the last week of August. THE CUP: What?!? How could you possibly wait until the last possible minute in August to come back to Ithaca? And don't even tell me that you were birding someplace better. TIM: Better than the Cayuga Basin? What!? Actually, I did go on a birding trip to Adak [in the Aleutian Islands] at the end of August. It was spectacular. I got to see birds I'd never even dreamed of before, and it helped me freshen up on Lapland Longspur callnotes. THE CUP: Forget about longspur call notes--did you study the call notes of the Red-throated Pipit that your group had? Now *that* would be a good McIlroy bird! And you know how Siberian birds seem to have a fondness for the Cayuga Lake Basin. THE CUP: What were some of your favorite birds from that trip? TIM: The two juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were real stoinkers. Of course it was also great to see Whiskered Auklet, Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses, Rock Ptarmigan, and a juvenile Red-necked Stint. The Song Sparrows on that island are gigantic! THE CUP: At the risk of upsetting the new editor-in-chief (and we hear he has quite the temper), could you give us an update on the current McIlroy situation? Where do you and Ken stand? TIM: I think I'm just one bird behind now, at 203. Ken did really well with McShorebirds this year, and just about everything else too. He's going to be really hard to beat. THE CUP: What is the McIlroy Award record? TIM: Allison Wells got 207! THE CUP: Hmm. She must have gotten lucky, since it seems like little Evan is the one who is always pointing out birds to Jeff and her. Do you think that you will be able to tie or break her mark? TIM: Possibly. If I can get Lesser Yellowlegs somewhere, Tundra Swans in November, that "easy" Goshawk at Bostwick Rd., and both field birds I might have a chance. Also, who knows what might show up on the lake this time of year. It would be great to get a fly-by King Eider at East Shore. THE CUP: Yes, it certainly would, but I don't think I'd count on that. Why don't you set your sights a little lower, and hope for the three winter finches (Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll) that are on the move already? TIM: Oh yeah, I forgot about those. THE CUP: Come on, Tim! Are you fully committed to this McIlroy thing, or what? Winning a prestigious Basin birding competition requires total focus--you should be thinking, dreaming, eating, and drinking birds 24 hours a day! How else do you think you're going to beat Rosenberg? TIM: I'm hoping those birds will show up at the Lab feeders. THE CUP: I see two problems with that. First, if they're at the Lab of O feeders, there is a good chance that Ken will be the one to find them. Plus, we all know that the feeders on the north side of the new Lab are *clearly* in the Town of Lansing. I sure hope that you and Ken haven't been padding your totals with birds from that area... TIM: You should ask Allison about this. Remember, the nearest road rule? And I DO have some places up in the hills that I staked out for winter finches. I'm just not sure if they will turn up anything, since most winter finches would be McLife birds for me. THE CUP: What? You want me to ask the "Queen of Ithaca/Lansing" about the geography of Sapsucker Woods? Of course she's going to say that all of Sapsucker is in McIlroy territory. How else do you think she got to 207? Birding skill?!? THE CUP: Speaking of premier birding competitions, can you tell us anything about your record-shattering performance in last month's Montezuma Muckrace, as part of "Crex crex?" TIM: Yeah, we had a great day, and a lot of luck. Pete's secret sparrow spot came through once again, and we picked up a lot of birds we thought we were going to miss in the evening at May's. The Muckrace seems to be the only time I'm able to see Golden-winged Warblers in the Basin too. TIM: Those should have been in the jetty woods this fall. THE CUP: What was it like birding with grizzled Basin veteran Ryan Bakelaar? That must have been a highlight for you. TIM: He was very mellow the whole day, almost like Steve Kelling. THE CUP: Hmm. He must have mellowed out, now that he is a respectable M.D. That's disappointing. Last year, I heard that fisticuffs almost broke out between Ryan and the other competitors...and I think it was *all* the other competitors. TIM: Wow. THE CUP: OK, I think it's just about time for the traditional first- time leader questions. But first, I'd like to continue a theme that Mark Chao started last month in his fine interview with Jay. THE CUP: In testing Jay's birding dedication, Mark asked whether Jay would rather see a Yellow Rail in the Basin, or have a date with Cameron Diaz. THE CUP: It was an intriguing line of questioning, but one of the problems with that question is the fact that Cameron Diaz is probably more than twice Jay's age. So, the question for you is, would you rather see a Yellow Rail at Hog Hole, or have a date with, say, Britney Spears? THE CUP: [Please note for the record that it is taking Tim an extremely long time to answer this question.] THE CUP: Hello? TIM: Of course, it would be ideal to go on a date with Britney Spears to Hog Hole and see a Yellow Rail at the same time, but I'm afraid that the Yellow Rail could wait. How often do you get to go on dates with Britney Spears!? THE CUP: That is a good question. I like your idea of taking Britney on a date to Hog Hole to see the rail. Maybe you could make a picnic of it. TIM: Anyway, I could probably get Yellow Rail as a night migrant over Ken's House. THE CUP: Ahh--an excellent point! THE CUP: OK, onto the classic questions... THE CUP: What's your favorite color? TIM: The industrial grayish-purple on Purple Sandpipers THE CUP: Very nice! THE CUP: What is on your MP3 player right now? TIM: Liszt's 2nd Transcendental Etude, played by the Hungarian Pianist Gyorgy Cziffra THE CUP: Hey--that's what I'm listening to right now too. What a coincidence! TIM: Yeah, right THE CUP: You read the old issues of The Cup more than I do. Are there any other questions that I'm supposed to ask you? TIM: I'm not sure. THE CUP: Reply-to-sender or Reply-to-all? TIM: Reply-to-sender THE CUP: Trunks or Speedo? TIM: Trunks THE CUP: What?!? You dive in trunks? That must make it hard to really "rip" the entry. TIM: No, but after four years of diving in a Speedo, you can understand why I might prefer trunks now. THE CUP: Yes I can. THE CUP: What has been your most exhilarating David Cup moment so far? TIM: The Barrow's Goldeneye and Gyrfalcon this winter on Cayuga Lake. There's nothing more exhilarating than winter birding in the Basin, as far as I'm concerned. THE CUP: Wait--what about the hurricane birding in September!?! TIM: Oh yeah, that's a repressed memory. I missed Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and Sanderling on that day. But the birds I did see definitely made up for it. I'll always remember looking at those terns at East Shore and then hearing Mike yell out, "Why isn't the bird in the back an Arctic!?" THE CUP: And then there was that little storm-petrel thing too... TIM: Yeah, those were nice. THE CUP: I just realized that we haven't really talked much about who you are. Do you care to share with your fellow Cuppers a little bit about yourself? TIM: Sure. THE CUP: Go right ahead... TIM: I was born in Rochester, NY, moved to Ithaca at the age of 8, and stayed in Ithaca for three years while my dad went to school. We lived on Tareyton Drive, very close to the Lab of O. That's how I got interested in birds. THE CUP: OK, how about "Tim Lenz, the Teenage Years?" TIM: I spent my teenage years as a ski bum in Reno, NV. I only went birding once a month maybe, because I didn't know anyone my age who enjoyed it. But I went skiing just about every weekend. When I came back to Cornell, I was excited to see there was a birding club here that I could get involved in. THE CUP: Huh. I never knew that you were a skier. Anyway, have you made it out of your teens yet? TIM: Yeah. Be patient. TIM: I didn't really start birding hardcore until the Fall of 2001-- when the murrelet showed up. THE CUP: That was definitely a good time to start. How much longer will you be lifting your binoculars in the beloved Basin? TIM: I'm leaving in May THE CUP: What? Leaving the Basin so soon? You've only been here, what, five years? I recommend staying at least ten years. TIM: People come and go. THE CUP: Do you have any plans after finishing your Masters? Any thoughts of doing some summer bird work, or are you going to look for a computer science job right away? TIM: Maybe I'll get a computer science job first, make lots of money, and then go birding a lot. Or maybe I'll do the birding first. I haven't decided yet. CUP: Any final thoughts? This might be the last time you get interviewed by a major electronic birding publication for some time... TIM: Yeah...I'm still trying to find someone else who's interested in doing McIlroy next year. Maybe one of these new freshmen. Scott? Ben? It's really fun. I hope to see everyone out in the field at least a couple more times this year. THE CUP: We'll be sure to stop by one of your offices--Stewart Park, Hog Hole, or East Shore--some time soon. @#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@( DEAR TICK @#%$^!)$(%*&^>$*%?*%^#*%(*& Dear Tick, This summer I was visiting McLean Bog in Dryden, where (naming no names) I saw a certain bird species which I had not run across previously this year. Now McLean Bog is (I believe) clearly within the boundaries set for the Cayuga Lake Basin, the Cayuga Lake Basin being the area whose waters drain into Cayuga Lake. So I can count it for the David Cup, right? Now here's the problem: By definition, a bog has no drainage. So, is a bird seen in a bog countable for the Basin, even though the land where it (the bird) is doesn't drain into Cayuga Lake (i.e., is the drainage basin really only a rough boundary from which we derive our territory, our 'playing field', if you will)? Or does the countability of a bird actually depend on where the water drains? Is my bird countable only for the 'McLean Bog Basin'? Thanks for any answers you can give me. --Bogged Down in Dryden Dear Bogged Down, Let me ask you this: When you see a Peregrine zooming through the air, do you count it? What about Ken Rosenberg's alleged Ross's Goose, seen flying over his house - in McIlroy territory, no less! Should he count that? Of course not! Air doesn't "drain" into Cayuga Lake, any more than bog water does. In fact, any Cupper who counts any bird that is in flight is cheating, unless of course, it's raining, in which case the rain water hits the bird, rolls off it, and makes its way into the grand Cayuga, thereby making it a "basin" bird. This, by the way, is the primary argument for why Cuppers are not allowed to count birds that reside in the frozen food section of Wegman's. [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" "I'm glad you took over from those namby-pambies who were running it [The Cup] for a while." --Allison Wells "We next tried Old Towpath Rd. from directions given by Matt M. The potholes are so big we were looking for shorebirds in them, but we finally got to the dike and found a good selection..." --Steve Fast "Last evening, while walking Evan to sleep in his stroller during the power outage, we heard a loud "swooshing" sound a few feet behind us, on Etna Lane. Neighbor Chris T-Hymes attempting to cool us off with a Super Soaker? No! A Great Blue Heron dropping the most massive guano bomb we'd ever seen! It went the length of the road and about 8 meters in width. Missed us by about two feet." --Allison Wells "I was standing outside in the yard and thinking about Muckrace and happenings etc. " --Meena Haribal "Also in that area, Meena picked out a black fluffball (this is one of Meena's specialties) that turned out to be a VIRGINIA RAIL chick." --Matt Medler "And, on a quick walk around the pond, a distinct lack of warblers (can you say Geothlypis?) was mitigated by a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on the Wilson Trail near the pond overlook." --Jesse Ellis "In order to give Tim Lenz a break, we took the evening shift at Stewart Park." --Steve Fast "I'm off to Stewart Park on the slim chance that McSemipalmated Plover is still around. Probably have better luck winning the lottery, but it's worth a try!" --Tim Lenz "I love you Isabel." --Pete Hosner, after listing the many birds brought in by Hurricane Isabel "Your choices are a dive meet dinner or a McWhimbrel. I think the choice is clear." --Matt Medler, to Tim Lenz, who needed to get his priorities straight. "You must be sweating like crazy." --Matt Medler, said to Tim Lenz, who, clad in long pants and a bright yellow raincoat, ran non-stop from the Newman Golf Course parking lot to the white lighthouse jetty in five minutes, only to learn that the Wilson's Storm-Petrel had flown off ten seconds earlier "I have a good deodorant." --Tim Lenz, who beat a closing Pete Hosner by 15 seconds and Matt "Old Man" Medler by over a minute "What an incredible three days of Basin birding! Unfortunately, it would be equally incredible if I could actually finish all my work before the due date..." --Tim Lenz "...Sheesh you'd almost think this was a post on Pelagics-L." --Tim Lenz May Your Cup Runneth Over, - Jay