Year 9, Issues 3-4

***************************************************************** *^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^ * ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ * ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ *The Cup 9.3-9.4 ­ March/April 2004 *The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions. * Editor-in-Chief: Jay McGowan * Highlights: Jay McGowan * Resident Interviewer: Mark Chao * Bird Taste-Tester: Martin McGowan ****************************************************************** Welcome to The Cup 9.3-9.4! Well, this issue is a bit fact, it concerns the months of March and April, if you can even remember that far back. But it makes up for its tardiness by, here it is anyway. ---------------------------- <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> March, April 2004 David Cup Totals Steve Fast topped the list again at the end of March (see his interview below), but Cup-newcomer Scott Haber took the lead for the end of April (with any luck, an interview with Scott will appear in the next issue.) 112, 172 Scott Haber 108, 169 Jay McGowan 94, 168 Steve Kelling 113, 156 Steve Fast 109, 156 Tim Lenz 106, 153 Kevin McGowan 102, 145 Bard Prentiss 98, 143 Lena Samsonenko --, 143 Ken Rosenberg 92, 140 Mark Chao 101, 137 Bruce Tracey 80, 135 Perri McGowan 92, 126 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes 89, 122 Anne Marie Johnson --, 118 Sam Kelling 67, 113 Erin Hewett 77, 104 Allison Wells 85, ?? Pete Hosner 50, 78 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan 77, ?? Gina Prentiss --, 71 Rachel Rosenberg --, 71 Olivia Rosenberg 69, 69 Julie Hart 68, 68 Matt Medler 28, 56 Martin (the Cat) McGowan 16, 20 Evan Wells Mark Chao’s 100th bird: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Erin Hewett’s 100th bird: Yellow Warbler Anne Marie Johnson’s 100th bird: Chipping Sparrow Tim Lenz’s 100th bird: Hoary Redpoll Kevin McGowan’s 100th bird: Golden Eagle Jay McGowan’s 100th bird: Surf Scoter Perri McGowan’s 100th bird: Field Sparrow Bard Prentiss’ 100th bird: Tree Swallow Chris Tessaglia-Hymes’ 100th bird: Swamp Sparrow March, April 2004 McIlroy Award (Ithaca) Totals Tim Lenz beat Ken Rosenberg by only one bird in Ithaca this month. You’d better savor your victory now, Tim. I think Ken is getting tired of coming in second. 85, 134 Tim Lenz --, 133 Ken Rosenberg 75, 105 Mark Chao 76, 102 Jeff Gerbracht 62, 94 Jay McGowan 64, 87 Allison Wells 60, 84 Kevin McGowan Jeff Gerbracht’s 100th Ithaca bird: American Woodcock March, April 2004 Evans Trophy (Dryden) Totals 75, 143 Jay McGowan 73, 125 Kevin McGowan 78, 115 Steve Fast 71, 110 Bard Prentiss Jay McGowan’s 100th Dryden bird: Eastern Meadowlark Bard Prentiss’ 100th Dryden bird: Cattle Egret March, April 2004 Yard Totals 49, 91 Steve Kelling, Caroline 42, 78 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden --, 76 Pixie Senesac 44, 65 Nancy Dickinson 52, -- John Fitzpatrick 33, 45 Anne Marie Johnson, Caroline March, April 2004 Lansing Competition Totals 80, 105 Bruce Tracey --, -- Kevin McGowan March, April 2004 Etna Challenge Totals So far, Allison Wells is flattening her competitors in this competition. Way to go Allison! 52, 72 Allison Wells $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BASIN COMPOSITE DEPOSIT The Basin list for the end of April totaled exactly 200 species (Wilson’s Phalarope was the 200th species). This is from only 138 species at the end of March. Here is the complete list: Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, ROSS'S GOOSE, Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Am. Black Duck, Gadwall, N. Pintail, Am. Wigeon, EURASIAN WIGEON, N. Shoveler, B-w Teal, G-w Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t Duck, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, 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, Am. Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Turkey Vulture, 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, C. Moorhen, Am. Coot, Virginia Rail, YELLOW RAIL, SANDHILL CRANE, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Am. Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Great B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, C. Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, Mourning Dove, Rock Pigeon, S-e Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, N. S-w Owl, E. Screech-Owl, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, N. Shrike, Warbling Vireo, B-h Vireo, Blue Jay, C. Raven, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, N. R-w Swallow, Bank Swallow, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, B-c Chickadee, 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, Am. Robin, Wood Thrush, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, N. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Am. Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, N. Parula, B-w Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, B-t Blue Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Y-r Warbler, B-t Green Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, B-&-w Warbler, Am. Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, C. Yellowthroat, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, Scarlet Tanager, N. Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, E. Meadowlark, Bobolink, B-h Cowbird, R-w Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House Finch, W-w Crossbill, C. Redpoll, HOARY REDPOLL, Pine Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow. LEADER’S MISS LIST Of all those species, Scott missed the following birds: EURASIAN WIGEON, W-w Scoter, PACIFIC LOON, EARED GREBE, Am. Bittern, Golden Eagle, Virginia Rail, YELLOW RAIL, SANDHILL CRANE, Least Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Glaucous Gull, C. Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, S-e Owl, Purple Martin, Cliff Swallow, Marsh Wren, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, B-w Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Prairie Warbler, C. Yellowthroat, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, W-w Crossbill. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ --------------------------------------------- OPPORTUNITY LOST By Jay McGowan --------------------------------------------- When Lisa McGraw posted her sighting to Cayugabirds at 10:00 PM on Tuesday, April 20th, the bird was probably already gone. She described seeing a bird which was spending the day in a planter outside the Judd Hills Wines and Spirits at East Hill Plaza, a bird which she described as "either a juvenile sora or night heron." While many who read this description dismissed it as lacking in details, Kevin McGowan at least knew exactly what this bird was: YELLOW RAIL. Only Yellow Rails (okay, sometimes Black Rails too) habitually turn up in odd places such as a planter at a shopping mall or a tiny patch of grass in a parking lot. (By habitually, however, I do not mean very often.) Only Yellow Rails have, as later described by Lisa, an overall yellowish color, a very short tail, and a short yellow bill (because, of course, there are no juvenile Soras in April.) To substantiate this deduction, a few days later Lisa talked to an employee at the wine shop who said that a woman had come by with a field guide on Tuesday and identified the bird in the planter as a Yellow Rail. Lisa had initially dismissed the possibility of the bird being a Yellow Rail, knowing that they are exceedingly rare. And they most certainly are, which is what makes this sighting all the more frustrating for the members of the birding community who did not hear about the bird until too late. Of course, the bird was gone the next day. They always are. As I keep telling myself, it is important not to take this too hard. We all--especially those of us who have never seen a Yellow Rail at all, let alone in the Basin--have to try not to think about that extraordinary little bird, sitting *all day* in an easily accessible spot, an almost guaranteed super-rarity, what amounts to a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity...lost. --------------------------------------------- MARCH AND APRIL 2004 BASIN HIGHLIGHTS by Jay McGowan Winter finches were still being seen in the Cayuga Lake Basin through most of March and some of April this year. Pine Siskins were relatively common and continued to be seen at some locations through late April. Common Redpoll numbers were high through much of March, with many HOARY REDPOLLS being reported as well, and it wasn’t until the first weeks of April that the redpolls finally went home. Evening Grosbeaks were also seen in a few places from March through late April. The Barrow’s Goldeneye found in late January at Myers Point continued to be seen into early March. A Surf Scoter was seen there on March 3rd and stayed for several weeks. On March 5th, Jay McGowan found a Eurasian form of Green-winged Teal (Common Teal in Britain) in the permanently-flooded fields at the corner of Rt. 38 and George Road in Dryden, and the bird remained for a few days. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was also seen at the same location. Iceland, Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present in moderate numbers around the north end of the lake. Incredibly large Snow Goose flocks were seen along Cayuga Lake, with a maximum estimate of nearly one million birds at the ice edge just north of Union Springs on the east side. A few ROSS’S GEESE were found in the Savannah Mucklands in mid March among many thousands of Snow Geese. Two more Ross’s Geese were seen in a flock of Snow Geese migrating over Ithaca on March 14th. On March 28th, Gary Chapin found a EURASIAN WIGEON in the flooded fields in the Savannah Mucklands. SANDHILL CRANES were seen in many locations around Montezuma and the Savannah Mucklands in late March and early April. A possible Gyrfalcon was reported from Montezuma on April 12th but was not refound. One of the more frustrating birds so far this year, a YELLOW RAIL was found in a planter outside the Judd Hills Wine and Spirits at East Hill Plaza on April 20th, but unfortunately was not reported until too late. On April 24th, Jeff and Allison Wells found a breeding-plumage CATTLE EGRET at the George Road pond. Later in the day, Scott Haber saw the egret and also found a Eurasian Green-winged Teal, presumably the same bird last seen at this location March 7th. Passerine migration picked up in April as usual, with the usual warblers, grosbeaks, tanagers, orioles, and early flycatchers being seen. On April 30th, Roger Sleeper found a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby. This bird was seen a few days after then disappeared. (A chat was found in the same general area May 16th, possibly the same bird.) Later on the 30th, Bob McGuire discovered two breeding-plumage female WILSON’S PHALAROPES in the flooded fields near George Road. ????????????????????????????????????? AN ILLUSTRATED CUP? ????????????????????????????????????? The Cup had traditionally been a plain-text, no frills type of publication (besides Allison’s creative use of symbols and spacing). However, the possibility of making this newsletter more sophisticated (or at least technologically advanced) has occurred to its current staff. At this time, I am soliciting your opinion, as Cup readers, as to the value--as well as feasibility--of this possibility. I think it would be interesting to include photographs, for example, of classic David Cup moments or rare birds. Or perhaps more puzzles and games (in the end of year issue, I attached a David Cup word search; did anyone find that worthwhile?) I want to know what you all think of these ideas. For those of you with slower connections or older computer systems, perhaps we could also have an alternate plain-text version. Anyway, let me know your views. I would also welcome additional suggestions on other ways in which we could spruce up The Cup. Thanks for your input, Jay McGowan Cup Editor --------------------------------------------- ,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,., CUPPER DIALOGUES ,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,., As a experimental replacement for the (moderately) cherished institution of the Kickin’ Tail column, we at The Cup would like to introduce this new feature, designed to provide information and insight on some of the David Cup’s new (and possibly, when we run out of new, old) participants. We wanted to present a column in which we can all get to know new cuppers in a more relaxed and sympathetic environment than the traditional tongue-in-cheek, back-stabbing approach taken in most Kickin’ Tail columns. (That way, when we really grill the newbies, they won’t be as prepared.) Anyway, it also won’t just be the leaders who are interviewed--we hope to talk to many new cuppers, even if they haven’t seen the most birds for the month. That said, however, when one of our relative newcomers scheduled for interviewing takes the lead, can we fail to act quickly and get the current, up-to-date scoop on him or her for that month? The answer is absolutely, which is why this interview appears in this issue rather than the last, where it belongs. But to get on with things: This issue’s featured Cupper is Steve Fast, who earned the spotlight by squeaking past Jay McGowan for the February David Cup lead. Steve, who works as a carpenter, lives in Brooktondale with his wife and frequent birding partner Susan. Faithful Cup reporter Mark Chao conducted the interview. The Cup: Before we talk birds, let's start (appropriately, perhaps) with breakfast. Many people know you and your wife Susie from your Cayugabirds messages not only as prolific birders, but also as connoisseurs of the morning fare at local diners. Can you give us your current picks -- best food, best service, best value? Steve: You may have noted a sharp decrease in the number of diners recently surveyed. This is due to several factors--weight gain, less time available for longer trips, etc. We still go out, but not as much, and only locally. Still the best breakfast is Charlie's Diner in Dryden for quality of food, good service, and low prices. On weekends you can get, for $3.09, a choice of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, toast. It's too bad Kevin won't take his kids (and wife). I was talking to them the other day and mentioned a bacon and cheese omelet I had just consumed, and poor Jay's eyes swam and he started to drool. The kid needs more food. The other place in Dryden, the Queen Diner, is not a diner. It's a bastardized fast food place. We tried it once and the food AND service were so bad we'll never return. In Ithaca, Carl's Cafe, on the southside, is the best. Excellent service, food is ok and prices are low. Manos is ok too, although lately the quality of service is going downhill. Ziggy's on the northside is terrible; crowded, dirty, with mediocre food. Toad's in Freeville used to be good when I was working around there, but I haven't been in several years. Although not a diner, Pete's Treats in Union Springs deserves mention. The ice cream is fine (Perry's), but unless you have an affection for intestinal gas, stay away from the food. The Cup: Many a young Montezuma diehard at Cornell, most recently freshman Cup contender Scott Haber, has shown a taste for Pete’s. I’ve seen some of these guys scarf down chili dogs and more. Maybe intestinal gas isn’t a problem when you’re driving the auto loop with all the windows open. So, Steve, what combination of birding and breakfast makes your ideal morning? Steve: Breakfast at Charlie's, followed by a return home for a nap where I can dream about all the birds I'd like to see, or should have seen. Actually birding and breakfast are mutually exclusive; we can't do both, and we do like to eat. The Cup: But Jay does both. He sees Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Mourning Warblers between bites of breakfast at his kitchen table. Come to think of it, that may be why he’s not getting those calories down. Steve, tell us about how you came to be a birder. Steve: I don't recall the other guys being asked these hard questions. I got into birding mainly by default--I spent many years in this area studying the trees, rocks, fossils, wildflowers, ferns, mammals, fish, etc. I guess there was not much left but the birds. I shied away from birding for so many years because I thought birders were dweebs, a view I still hold. It took years of self-analysis to realize I was a dork too, so hey, why not get some binos and stand around peering intently at specks in the sky. The Cup: I always considered myself more of a twerp or a nitwit than a dweeb or a dork. Many readers surely have noticed your use of an unflattering nickname for the big hotspot at the south end of the lake. Why "Stewrat Park"? Steve: I think the connotations of "Stewrat", especially if broken down into 2 words, should give the attentive reader a clue as to my meaning. Susie and I swam at the former beach there in the late sixties. I do not want to get started on a general theme here, but it severely aggravates me to see such a foul shoreline in a city which openly brags about being enlightened, progressive, and emerging. Plus there's a LOT of money in this place. The Cup: Does Susie love birds as you do? Steve: I think so, although I've never been sure of what goes on in her mind. There is a difference: with me it’s birds, then job; she is the opposite. The Cup: What do the Cup and its spinoff competitions mean to you? Do you intend to keep giving Jay a battle in the Basin and in Dryden? Steve: They mean absolutely nothing when I can't find the birds, and absolutely everything when things are going well. I find they are an excellent incentive to go wandering about, and putting off till later things like lawn mowing, house painting, plumbing leaks, and answering these questions. My plan is to stay close to Jay, then when he loses it to malnutrition or a girlfriend or a job, I'll be right there. It's only a matter of time, and I'm patient like the shelled reptile in the "tortoise and the hare". The Cup: When you aren't out birding, how do you spend your time? Steve: I do have a job (career). Otherwise housework, yardwork, and reading are what I do best. The Cup: What brought you to Ithaca? We came here as graduate students in 1968, and never had enough ambition to leave. Then we bought a house, had kids, and here we are. Let this be a lesson to you young folks. The Cup: At what stage in life are your kids? And what do they think of their birder parents? Steve: We have 3 girls. Oldest is 29, then 25, and the youngest is a college junior at 20. At first they shared my view of birders, but they are slowly coming around. They have finally realized that to have any conversation with me, they've got to talk about birds. I am that intense, which is hard to believe given my usual lackadaisical aura. The Cup: What's the longest your beard has ever been? Steve: About what you see. Any longer and it tickles my chest and my giggling keeps Susie awake at night. The Cup: Your favorite color? Steve: Skyblue on the wings of the male Blue-winged Teal as it drops its flaps for a landing. The Cup: Your favorite bird song? Steve: "May the Bird of Happiness Fly up your Nose." The Cup: You’ve just reminded me of an ancient Chinese saying: "Peng cheng wan li" -- "The ‘peng’ bird flies ten thousand li," or, more liberally, "May your future be as bright and endless as the three- thousand-mile flight of the ‘peng’ bird [a fictional creature]." We say this to wish young people well in times of transition. Tim Lenz, peng cheng wan li to you. And Matt Medler, may the bird of happiness fly up your nose. Is that really a song, Steve? Steve: That is a song, but I've forgotten the words. I've forgotten a lot of things. I subscribe to the "finite brain capacity" theory, so when something new comes in, something old goes out. At least I hope that's what's happening--I'd hate to be getting senile like some of the other members of this competition. The Cup: Your best David Cup moment? Steve: I don't remember. The Cup: Most coveted Basin species not yet seen? Steve: Western Grebe. The Cup: Let's say that you're at 249 species for the year. 250 means a lifetime of free breakfasts at Charlie's. Where would you choose to go: the McGowan backyard, with Jay as your guide; Stew. Park, with Tim helping to scope the distant waters; or the Rosenberg home, with Ken there with a mike to pick out night flight calls with you? Steve: I'd be crazy to answer this as it would leave two guys huffing with indignation, and I'm going to need all the help I can get. I do appreciate your thinking I could ever reach 249, however. But the mention of Tim jogs my memory of a story about when we met for the first time and almost came to blows, and how I'm directly responsible for his stunning recent success. The Cup: Care to elaborate? Steve: I first met Tim several years ago on Rafferty Rd. We were looking for short-eared owls. We didn't know each other from Adam then. I was scanning with my powerful and competent Nikon, while he dragged out and set up this thing that looked like a cardboard tube with a scratched plastic disk taped to each end. He soon announced excitedly that he "HAD ONE", and looked around beaming with pleasure. I aimed where he was pointing, but could find only a mass of grape vines in a fencerow. I said I didn't see it. He offered a view through his scope, which I accepted although I was leery of contracting an eye infection. All I could see was a darker gray lump surrounded by areas of lighter gray. I asked about the focus knob, but he said there wasn't one. I made bold to proclaim there was no owl. "Is," he spoke with determination. "Isn't," I countered. "Is." "Isn't." "IS." "ISN'T." This looked bad, and as he's bigger than me, I quickly offered my scope for a peek. He looked. He stared. A long time. Then his fingers slowly flexed, and mewling sounds were coming from deep in his throat. He suddenly grabbed his own "scope", hopped in his car, and drove off. The next time I saw him he had this giant chrome Leica that's almost as good as Ken's, and he's been finding everything in sight since. The Cup: Wow. I always knew both of you as unfailingly gracious folk. I guess I was only partly right. Well, you’ll soon be a distant speck in the Lenzmobile’s rear-view mirror anyway (if it still has one). Any final thoughts? Steve: Not really at this time. This has been hard on the old brain. ---------------------------------------- "CUP...QUOTES" Off and on last week, I heard starling imitating an Eastern Meadowlark - not a great imitation, but not a bad attempt to fool the uninitiated! --Allison Wells Thanks to the good timing of my dog's need to go out, I just watched a flock of about 45 Snow Geese pass over my Mecklenburg farm, heading north in a sunny blue sky. --Nancy Dickinson Nine Bonasa umbellus! That makes me jealous. But I'm not complaining -- just roused for more grousing. --Mark Chao Having been away for most of the past month, it is nice to come home to these first signs of spring. Along with the many flocks of geese, on Sunday a beautiful adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK circled low over our Northeast Ithaca neighborhood and glided on towards Sapsucker Woods. On Thursday afternoon, I saw 2-3 male BEE HUMMINGBIRDS. --Ken Rosenberg A quick look from Stewart Park and East Shore Park produced a nice variety and close looks at many diving ducks, including a pair of LONG-TAILED DUCKS north of East Shore. No Bee Hummingbirds were in evidence. --Ken Rosenberg Despite the wind shaking the scopes like Jello, I think we got clear views of the unlikely duck in an unlikely spot. --Bill McAneny ...Given the great distance, watching these geese wasn't so much about the grace of individual birds, nor about the din and spectacle of great numbers. It was about the fluid form of the flock itself. Rising, the birds appeared like one great, white meta-organism with formless edges and a solid but seethingly active interior. Then the thing collapsed dramatically from three dimensions into one, as the flock fell into a tight line on the water's surface. --Mark Chao ...I think that with this message, we've sent a record for longest- distance reply to a call for totals. Seems like we should get some sort of reward at the next Cupper Supper... --Matt Medler, from Auckland, New Zealand (approximately 8,700 miles from The Basin) If only an Evening Grosbeak would stop by..... I live on Greek Peak, by the way (just outside of the basin???). --David Bonter Talk to Steve Kelling...I'm sure he could help you get your place *in* to the Basin. --Martha Fischer Whoah, just checked and Ken beat my February total from last year by one bird as well. He's not stealing my "greedy algorithm" strategy, is he??!! --Tim Lenz Finally, if my estimates are even remotely correct, and assuming an average weight of 2910 grams per Snow Goose, then I believe there were about 480 tons of snow geese in the basin today. --Tim Lenz Then we noticed a couple of Horned Grebes and, as we scanned, a few more, and then a few more, and then . . . . . When we had finished counting, and waiting for some to surface, we had a total of 58. Reminds me of the soldiers in "The Mouse that Roared". Once counted, they snuck to the end of the line, to be counted again . . . and again. We did count several times. 58, really! --Bob McGuire Just now (9:30) a Ring-necked Pheasant flew over the ponds at the Lab of Ornithology. I don't believe I have ever seen this before. --Steve Kelling Hello from Panama. Today I had Rufous-crested Coquette, Solitary Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-eagle, and a Crested Owl (roosting during the day). The Chagres Basin is a bit more interesting than the Cayuga. --Pete Hosner ...Martha Fischer and I had a GREEN HERON at lunch today at the lab of O. --Mark Reaves Sorry, but when someone announces that "Martha Fischer and I had a GREEN HERON at lunch today at the lab of O, I can't help asking: "Roasted or stewed?" --Caissa Willmer ...and our first SWAMP SPARROW of the year. Dilemma: the Swamp Sparrow was so close that we're sure Evan heard the bird, but he didn't acknowledge it, since he was busy picking up rocks to toss into the brook. To put on his David Cup list or not? Perhaps a question for The Cup's Dear Tick columnist. Our consolation is that on the walk back, he did his Barred Owl imitation, completely of his own accord. --Allison Wells I've also been feeling too busy and left out of seeing all the arriving birds. However, this morning an indigo bunting was kind enough to fly into my window in Cayuga Heights and not hurt himself as a result. I won't have seen him had he not called attention to himself so considerately. --Karen Brazell -------------------- May Your Cup Runneth Over, - Jay