Year 9, Issues 1-2

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The Cup 9.1-9.2 ­ January/February 2004 *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Jay McGowan * Highlights: Jay McGowan ****************************************************************** Welcome to the Cup 9.1-9.2! 2004 is off to a fairly good start. Cuppers have enjoyed the virtually unprecedented number of Hoary Redpolls this winter, as well as more usual winter visitors. We have a lot of new names in the David Cup this year, and hopefully a few more will swell our ranks in the coming months. Thus, some of these names might look a little unfamiliar to some of you. Scott? Erin? Lena? All the new names make me nostalgic for the good old days, back when all the top contenders were named "Matt." If you met an enthusiastic young male birder in the field, there was no need to remember names; chances were he was a Matt. And now look--only a single Matt in the David Cup (and he’s fading fast!) ---------------------------- <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> January, February 2004 David Cup Totals Steve Fast took a well-deserved lead in February. We weren’t able to bring you an interview with him this issue, but possibly we will at some point in the future. 89, 99 Steve Fast 89, 96 Jay McGowan 75, 95 Scott Haber 88, 94 Kevin McGowan 68, 84 Bruce Tracey 50, 83 Pete Hosner 45, 80 Tim Lenz 31, 75 Lena Samsonenko 53, 73 Perri McGowan 63, 71 Bard Prentiss 61, 71 Ken Rosenberg ??, 69 Julie Hart ??, 68 Matt Medler 34, 67 Mark Chao ??, 64 Steve Kelling 43, 63 Anne Marie Johnson 18, 55 Erin Hewett 32, 42 Allison Wells 33, 41 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes 27, 36 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan 32, 35 Jeff Wells 19, 22 Martin (the Cat) McGowan 10, 11 Evan Wells 0 Dan Lebbin January, February 2004 McIlroy Award (Ithaca) Totals With Tim Lenz reportedly leaving town for good this spring, Ken Rosenberg looks like a shoe-in for Ithaca champion this year...unless Jeff Gerbracht can make a big push. Come on Jeff! 61, 69 Ken Rosenberg 42, 54 Kevin McGowan 44, 50 Jeff Gerbracht 30, 50 Jay McGowan 14, 42 Tim Lenz 29, 36 Allison Wells 21, 23 Jeff Wells January, February 2004 Evans Trophy (Dryden) Totals Steve Fast has joined the ranks of the Dryden listers. Can he topple Beam Hill-monarch Jay McGowan for the Evans Trophy? 48, 55 Jay McGowan ??, 54 Steve Fast 46, 53 Kevin McGowan 38, 42 Bard Prentiss January, February 2004 Yard Totals 28, 31 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden ??, 28 Steve Kelling, Caroline 13, 15 Anne Marie Johnson, Caroline January, February 2004 Lansing Competition Totals Yes, that’s right: the Lansing Competition has been reinstated! Although not many people have competed in it in the past, it has the potential to be a pretty high-scoring affair...maybe? Lansing is a big place, and maybe some of you will join in and count your species there. ??, 68 Kevin McGowan ??, 62 Bruce Tracey January, February 2004 Etna Challenge Totals And finally, the little competition that could...or not. Feel free to join Allison in her quest to find birds in Etna (you know that’s in Dryden, right Allison?) 24, 32 Allison Wells $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BASIN COMPOSITE DEPOSIT The Basin birding community racked up 110 species in January, with an additional 5 in February, making a total of 115 for the year so far. Mute Swan, , Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Am. Black Duck, Gadwall, N. Pintail, Am. Wigeon, G-w Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Black Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, R-t Loon, PACIFIC LOON, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n Grebe, EARED GREBE, D-c Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, N. Harrier, S-s Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, N. Goshawk, R-s Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Am. Coot, Killdeer, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Great B-b Gull, Mourning Dove, Rock Pigeon, S-e Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, E. Screech-Owl, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, N. Shrike, Blue Jay, C. Raven, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, Horned Lark, Tufted Titmouse, B-c Chickadee, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren, G-c Kinglet, E. Bluebird, Am. Robin, Hermit Thrush, N. Mockingbird, European Starling, Am. Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, Y-r Warbler, N. Cardinal, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, W- t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, B-h Cowbird, R-w Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, C. Redpoll, HOARY REDPOLL, Pine Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow. LEADER’S MISS LIST Of the total, this month’s leader missed the following birds: Double-crested Cormorant, Black Scoter, Red-shouldered Hawk, Killdeer, Bonaparte's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Barred Owl, Northern Shrike, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-winged Crossbill, HOARY REDPOLL. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2004 HIGHLIGHTS by Jay McGowan The Ithaca Christmas Bird Count was conducted as usual on January 1st. 75 species were recorded, with an additional four count week birds. Highlights included a TURKEY VULTURE near Ellis Hollow Road (new to the count), PEREGRINE FALCON, Fish Crow, EASTERN TOWHEE, and CHIPPING SPARROW. The Montezuma CBC had a fairly low count, totaling 67 species. Highlights included high numbers of SNOW GEESE and TUNDRA SWANS, an assortment of diving ducks, and 9 BALD EAGLES. One of the main attractions of this winter was, of course, the winter finches. On the 1st of January, Bruce Tracey found a WHITE- WINGED CROSSBILL at Summerhill, and Mickey Scilingo reported several flying over his house on Yellow Barn Road in Dryden on the 15th. EVENING GROSBEAKS continued to be seen regularly at the feeders on Fillmore Lane in Summerhill, but virtually nowhere else in the Basin. PINE SISKINS were seen regularly at Summerhill, and less often at various other locations. COMMON REDPOLLS, though their numbers were not as high as they might have been, were enjoyed by many feeder watchers. Just outside the Basin limits, Steve Kelling’s yard in Caroline hosted a female PINE GROSBEAK on February 1st. The most interesting phenomenon was the number of HOARY REDPOLLS reported in the Ithaca area. One was reported from the west side of Beam Hill on the 3rd of January, and a female turned up at our house on the east side of Beam Hill on the 6th. We continued to see at least two different female Hoaries intermittently until mid-February. A Hoary was photographed at a feeder on Hunt Hill in late January, and another was reported near Mount Pleasant on February 7th. A Hoary was reported at the Lab of O on February 8th, and a male was seen there again on the 13th, and observed by a few individuals over the course of the next week or two. Another Hoary Redpoll was reported in Ithaca on the 16th. At Myers Point, a yellow wing-tagged TRUMPETER SWAN (one of the same birds as last year, 305) was seen often, in association with one or more Tundra Swans. Additionally, a family of three (two adults and one immature) TRUMPETER SWANS spent time on the Mill Pond at Union Springs. Also in the main pond at Union Springs, a RED-NECKED GREBE spent some in late January, allowing close looks. RED-NECKED GREBES began appearing in mid-January and increased in numbers through February. Additionally, the EARED GREBE continued to be seen from Aurora throughout the winter. A BONAPARTE’S GULL appeared briefly off Stewart Park, and two female LONG-TAILED DUCKS spent all of January and February at the ice edge at the south end of the lake. Single WHITE- WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS were seen near Long Point S.P. on January 25th. On January 25th, Mark Dettling discovered a male BARROW’S GOLDENEYE with a flock of Common Goldeneye at Myers Point. This bird was fairly cooperative for most people and stayed until at least March 5th. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK spent January and February around Sapsucker Woods (possibly the same individual as exhibited similar behavior in the same are last year?), and a MERLIN was seen over the pond on the 6th and 7th of January. A HERMIT THRUSH was seen at Sapsucker Woods on January 15th. Nearby, a single CHIPPING SPARROW was seen at feeders for most of January. Apparently the only FISH CROWS around this winter frequented the neighborhood near the P&C on the north side of Ithaca. LAPLAND LONGSPURS were seen regularly at Cornell Lane near Harford, and occasionally at other locations. As usual, some observers were able to find a few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS wintering in the cedars along Lake Road near Long Point S.P. The campus PEREGRINE FALCON continued to be seen roosting on Bradfield Tower into March. Red-tailed Hawk numbers at the game farm at Game Farm and Stevenson roads were very large, with a high count of 65 birds on January 17th. SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen once or twice one both sides of the lake in January and February. On February 10th, my sister Perri and I found one sitting on the ice north of the red lighthouse at the south end of the lake. On February 8th, Pete Hosner, Tim Lenz, Mickey Scilingo, and Melanie Driscoll observed a probable PACIFIC LOON off the marina at Myers Point. Other observers looked for the loon, but confusion ensued when a dark, immature RED-THROATED LOON--apparently not the same bird as Pete and Tim’s Pacific--also was seen. The probable Pacific Loon was not seen again after the 8th, though the Red-throated was present until late February. ICELAND, GLAUCOUS, and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were all seen at various locations around the lake throughout the winter. A possible immature THAYER’S GULL was seen at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls on February 14th, but the characters were not quite convincing enough for it to be counted on the year list. On February 22nd, Meena Haribal found a BOHEMIAN WAXWING in a large flock of Cedar Waxwings near Asbury Road. This bird was not relocated, despite substantial searching later that day. A late report was received of a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER frequenting a feeder in Lansing in late January and early February. Towards the end of February, a few early "spring" arrivals were noted, including KILLDEER and AMERICAN PIPIT. --------------------------------------------- \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ CAYUGA BIRD CLUB BULLETIN BOARD /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Kevin McGowan has put together an online bulletin board to display photos of local birds of the Cayuga Lake Basin and surrounding areas. Anyone is welcome to have their photos displayed for others to view. Not just photos of rare birds, but also interesting plumages, behaviors or just nice photos are welcome. The site can be viewed by anyone at . Some recent interesting photos on the site at present include an assortment of Hoary Redpolls, the Aurora Eared Grebe, Myers Point Barrow’s Goldeneye, the Eurasian Green-winged Teal from Dryden, Ross’s Goose, and various views of the incredible Snow Goose flock near Union Springs. To put your photo on the sight, send it as an attachment in an email to Kevin at with "Cayuga BC photo" in the subject line. Also, please include photographer’s name, where and when the photograph was taken, and any short comments you might have. Don’t be shy about putting up your pictures. We all enjoy seeing what other people are taking. Jay --------------------------------------------- @#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@( DEAR TICK @#%$^!)$(%*&^>$*%?*%^#*%(*& Dear Tick: There are 365 days in a year, yet I live outside the Basin and so don't spend 365 days birding in the Basin. Therefore, I'm sure you'll agree that I should calculate my Basin total based on actual days birding in the Basin. It seems only fair. Calculating in Out-of-Basin Dear Calculating: Your argument is not unrelated to early Cup banterings by Kevin McGowan regarding "time in the field," and is especially reminiscent of Ken Rosenberg's subtle lobbying for the David Cup crown when he boasts about his high ratio of time spent birding vs. number of birds seen. Unfortunately, neither Kevin nor Ken has the statistical background to come up with an accurate formula to make these reasonings really stick. Luckily for you, I do. Here's how you should run your numbers: Sum of the total # species seen in per Basin birding day/number of days in-Basin birding x 365 (days in a year) = Basin total for a given "year" Example: If you did the Muckrace and saw 100 species and that was the only Basin birding you did that year, you divide 120 by 1 and multiply by 365, for a Basin year total of 3,650. Please tell Allison Wells that she should be using this same time- tested formula when tabulating her McIlroy total (see Tim Lenz's new McIlroy "record" as an example). "CUP...QUOTES" The arctic wind was fierce: you know it's windy when the windshield wiper fluid doesn't even make it to your windshield! --Mike powers O, Lord, please send me a Redpoll. 300 Etna Rd. Amen --Martha Fischer Slim pickings, but it's still better than television --Marty Schlabach SARCOPTIC MANGE MITES. If you can divorce yourself from the image of mange and mite (they're hideous, BTW. Someone sent me some horrific photos) the poetry of those syllables is seductive. --Caissa Willmer I was passing by Rand Hall and noticed two squirrels chasing each other on a small patch of exposed grass. A few seconds after I turned my head away from them, I literally had to duck as an immature Red-tail came cruising in about a foot above my ahead. It made one stoop at the squirrels (they got away) before it resigned itself to a branch overlooking the grass patch. Keep your eyes open (and your head down). --Scott Haber These observations add nothing to what has been said already by others so you're not getting them. --Steve Fast Then I decided to call it a day as realized I have had no lunch. --Meena Haribal With two small loons the sky clears, my mind is calm and everything is right with the world. --Steve Fast I guestimated about 70 Snow Buntings, a bit under 200 Horned Larks, and about 0.1 Lapland Longspurs in the fields at the far eastern end of Cornell Lane in about 30 minutes of scanning. The fractional longspur (male) is because I only located this bird during my proverbial last scan before leaving. It jumped out at me (smaller size) when I finally found it, and given how obvious it was and that I had been looking at the same flock for so long, I can only conclude that the longspur pops into existence irregularly. --Wesley Hochachka The wind never got above 5 mph, and the sun made the 10 - 15 degrees feel like, well, 16 or 17! --Bob McGuire Finally I managed to get bird and camera aligned and I clicked though it was not a full frame. When I clicked bird was in the frame. But actually when camera opened the shutter, bird had gone and all I got was a branch! Well that was my digiscoping. --Meena Haribal I had a Hoary Redpoll in with a flock of Commons at the Lab this morning. Nice views in the morning light. --Jeff Gerbracht Yeah, sure you did! --Eric Banford Sorry, that reply was just suppose to go to Jeff! Doh! Hoary Redpoll has been Jeff's nemesis bird for a while. Guess you need a new one now, Jeff. --Eric Banford Though, if there may be any doubt left about Jeff's Hoary... Did anyone else find it odd that Jeff already had a Hoary on the morning of Wednesday, Feb 18th? Hmmm.. Jeff? --Melanie Driscoll I did, until I remembered that my Yahoo account is configured for NZ, allows me to get New Zealand news and also happens to set the time ahead by 18 hours. --Jeff Gerbracht Turkeys looked HUGE compared to Canada and I was surprised. --Meena Haribal I was looking over to south into the sun for other birds, when from the corner of my eye, I caught my car moving. I did not know whether to hold on to my scope from falling of in the wind or run to car and stop it before it rolled over to Cayuga Lake. Decision was quick, left the scope and ran for the car. Fortunately, scope was still standing though threatening to fall off in the gust. Then even after putting on the hand break I was not sure that car won’t roll out....Later I found that probably it would have not rolled into lake as there was an ice bank, it would have slowed it down definitely. Finally both car and scope were saved. --Meena Haribal ...There I saw a calling FISH CROW fly overhead in a group of four Americans (ha, take that Scott! ;-) --Lena Samsonenko Take that, Lena? I also saw and heard a Fish Crow flying over Eco House this evening at 5PM. --Scot Haber Well, I am sad to say I am leaving the Ithaca area this weekend, as I am off to travel the tropics and the world. It was a good last day of Basin birding (for the foreseeable future), and it has been a pleasure birding, and learning about birds with all of you. The Ithaca/Basin birding community is one of the best in the country, and I was glad to be a part of it for a little while. Keep up the good work. --Pete Hosner -------------------- May Your Cup Runneth Over, - Jay