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Year 1, Issue 11

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* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy
*          Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells
*          Dolly Grip: Jeff Wells
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all good things to Cuppers and Cup
subscribers! For the last eleven months, you have generously put up with our
typos, willy-nilly production schedule, occasional Pilgrim's Progress
omissions, and unmerciful ribbing.  You have never once complained about
Dear Tick's tough-love answers to your excruciatingly troubling questions.
Furthermore, by subscribing, you have justified our use of our mounds and
mounds of "free" time.  Your generosity has, in fact, put us in a fervid
gift-giving state of mind this season.  To show just how in the holiday
spirit we are here at The Cup, we're giving you all a present.  And we don't
mean some slick, factory-made, store-bought piece of flash.  No, no.  Our
gift is home-made, the work of many hands, the product of countless hours of
tender thoughts and careful preparation. Bear in mind that this is a
home-made gift, and that home-made gifts sometimes have little imperfections
that make them all the more unique. This gift is fun AND educational, and we
made it for you with glad tidings of great joy.  Our gift?  It's The Cup
1.11! Now, you won't find any environmentally-incorrect gift wrap here. You
can unwrap this gift simply by reading it. If you don't unwrap it, though,
you're refusing it, and  it would be impolite to refuse a gift. So unwrap
with good cheer.  And again, we sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy
Holiday, and a very Happy New David Cup Year everyone!                
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                                NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
                                 @   @    @    @     @     @
WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: When we said it's never too late to join the
David Cup, we meant it, and we've got a brand new Cupper to prove it:
Margaret in Mansfield (Pennsylvania)! Margaret has already done great things
for the David Cup by expanding full-time, permanent representation of our
fine birding event to the furthest nether regions yet (we still feel
confident that some birder in Yemen or Papua New Guinea will sign up).  At
the same time, Margaret earns the honor of being our only permanent
out-of-state Cupper. She's quite pleased with her total to date:   "I had a
ball birding the MNWR and Basin [recently] because every bird (European
Starling, House Sparrow, etc.) was countable!  I tallied 34 birds and I feel
special already!"  You'll have your chance to congratulate Margaret in
person at the Cupper Supper!
IN-LISTED: Send in your lists!  This is more for a little project Cup
coeditor Jeff Wells has planned than for the fact that you all can't be
trusted to add correctly (except for Steve Kelling.  Kevin McGowan has
assured us he will be counting Steve's list--and checking it twice.)  No
need to include number of individuals seen, just the list of species you saw
this past year and the date you first saw each species, if you noted that.
Jeff needs these by January 13th or his plan is doomed--he needs time to
work the numbers, as they say in the biz.  Don't worry, you'll find out soon
enough what he's up to. Thanks in advance.
GUINNESS BOOK OF MISSING RECORDS:  November saw the anniversary of the
famous Guinness Book of World Records, but don't bother running out and
buying a copy.  Despite the fact that, in a year's time, Cuppers have spent
more hours in the field, traveled more miles, and made some of the funniest
typos on the Internet than any other organized group since birds became
primarily something to watch rather than eat, you won't read a thing about
the David Cup in the pages of the Guinness Book. Ask Santa for Kenn
Kaufman's Advanced Birding guide instead.
DUTY FRUITY:  The editors of The Cup learned during Thanksgiving dinner
conversation that there is really only one fruit cake.  Literally.
According to Cupper-in-Law Jewell Childs, Allison's mom, since no one really
eats fruit cake yet everyone seems to get them for the holidays, not only
has the recipe for fruit cake been passed from generation to generation,
neighbor to neighbor, so has the fruit cake itself! When it makes its way to
your door this holiday season, please don't pass it along to the Wells,
we've already had our turn. Wrap it in pretty pink cellophane, top it with a
shiny pink bow, and give it to Bill Evans...and look for it (instead of
doughnuts) with his hot cedar at the Thanksgiving Loon Watch at Taughannock
next year.
CUPPER SUPPER: It's confirmed!  The 1st Annual Pot-Luck Cupper Supper will
take place on Saturday, January 18.  After careful consideration, the Wells
figured that if they sell all their living room/dining room furniture,
holding the Cupper Supper at their place won't be a problem.  No, really, a
little maneuvering will leave us with plenty of room for all--and we mean
ALL (including your family/significant other)!  If you were a Cupper this
past year, you must come and pick up your prestigious David Cup Certificate
(this could be useful for getting into blues concerts at the special Cupper
discount rate and may help you gain more leeway with non-birding spouses,
since it's every bit as official as certificate.)  If you've signed up for
1997, you must come to take part in the hazing ritual (pies in the face,
pushing a penny across the floor with your nose)--don't worry, just kidding.
Really, it'll be a lot of fun.  In keeping with the David Cup's adventurous
spirit, here are a few things planned: stop-action scenes from "Bird Hard:
the David Cup Movie"; a David Cup Year-in-Review presentation by Cuppers
Jeff Wells, Steve Kelling, and Kevin McGowan; a Top-Ten-Reasons-To-Be-In-
The-David-Cup List; the Cuppers' Choice Awards (see ballot in this issue,
between Dear Tick and Cup Quotes), including The Cup Editors' Conferments;
and of course, the bestowing of the David Cup and McIlroy trophies.  There
will also be food, drink, and a chance to put a face to the names you've
been reading on Cayugabirds!  Please let us know ASAP how many in your
party will attend and what you can bring (main dish, salad, chips/bread
and/or soda, dessert...antacid).  Also, since the Wells American Bistro
doesn't have a license to serve booze, please bring your own, if beer or
wine is your beverage of choice.  Again, if you have any folding chairs
(lawn chairs, etc.), we'd appreciate it if you'd bring them--although we
promise to vacuum the floor beforehand, we'd like to give
as many people as possible the option of sitting in a chair.  Doors
officially open at 5:00, but if you're a little early or late, we'll
probably let you in.
THROW YOUR GAUNTLET INTO THE DAVID CUP: It's that time again  the start of a
new year, and with it, the start of the 2nd Annual David Cup/McIlroy Award
competition.  Didn't get up the nerve to leap into the pool last year?  Just
moved into town or only recently became aware of the prestigious David
Cup/McIlroy Award competitions?  Well, now's your chance to join in on this
grand collective adventure.  The word "competition" seems to bother some
people but if you haven't figured it out yet let's clarify what this
"competition" is really all about.  It's called "community."  It's an
opportunity to share your experiences, knowledge, and time with people who
care about the same things you do--people who love to spend time in the
out-of-doors thrilling at a flock of loons appearing as sparkling white
gems high up in a crystal blue sky over the Taughannock loon watch;
marveling at the sound of 30,000 geese descending into the marshes of
Montezuma; or perhaps even watching and wondering how a robin can so readily
catch worms.  The David Cup/McIlroy Award competitions give us a little more
impetus to explore our environments, discover new things and new places,
learn from each other, and just plain have some fun while engaging in what
can be an engrossing hobby.  Keep in mind that you don't even have to "try"
(i.e., go after every new bird that shows up).  The fun is seeing how many
different species you can see within your own time/geographical limits. Just
keep track of new birds you see each month and send your totals to The Cup.
Join this  collective adventure called the David Cup!  To sign up, send an
email to the editors of The Cup at
SEE YOU LATER:  Next month, look for The Cup a little--maybe a lot--later
than usual.  We can't imagine running the last issue of the 1996 David Cup
newsletter without a summary of the Cupper Supper, which won't take place
until January 18. Who won for "Best Dressed Cupper"? "Most Creative Cayuga
Birds Postings"? And what does that pesky little Swedish phrase Matt Medler
keeps throwing around in the Cup Quotes ("Hey dat bra!") actually mean?  The
answers to those questions and more belong with the next issue, with our
special year-in-review summary. Otherwise, it would be like separating a
litter of puppies.  Huh?  That happens all the time? Oh. Well, then did we
mention that the editors are being forced to flee the chilly winds of
Upstate New York to warm, sunny Aruba to perform with the Ithaca Ageless
Jazz Band for ten days in January?  This means that when we're usually
getting a head start on the next issue of The Cup, we'll be hopping,
shopping, lounging on the sandy beaches, gazing at Troupials, Bananaquits,
and Ruby-topaz Hummingbirds--and trying to find a way to count them for our
David Cup lists. Our apologies in advance for the delay.  (Sigh)  Life is
BIRD CUP BLUES: Seems no Cuppers made it to the BB King gig in Syracuse last
month.  Or worse, they went but didn't send The Cup their reports.  Maybe
they figure we've all had enough of BB, what with him being honored in print
ads for some airline and singing the praises of grilled chicken on TV for
Wendy's restaurants.  For those of you who can never get enough of Mr. King,
he's got an  autobiography out, Blues All Around Me (Avon, $23).  In it he
says things like, "It angers me how scholars associate the blues strictly
with tragedy."  He also shares distinguished tidbits, like that he lost his
virginity when he was six or seven and went on to father fifteen
children--with fifteen different women!  That may not qualify him as Master
of his Domain, but it certainly would justify calling him the King of
the Blues.
SWAN SONG: Well, not exactly a swan song.  Rather, what follows is a very
birdy holiday carol, composed by Cupper Jay McGowan, to get Cuppers in the
David Cup holiday spirit.  Sing this to the tune of  "The Twelve Days of
Christmas"--and don't skip the "verses" that aren't on your David Cup
                           Twelve Days of the David Cup
                                    by Jay McGowan
On the first day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
An Osprey in a pine tree.
On the second day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
Two Peregrine Falcons and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the third day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
Three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the fourth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an
Osprey in a pine tree.
On the fifth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
FIVE SNO-WY OWLS!  Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine
Falcons, and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the sixth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
Six Upland Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY OWLS! Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted
Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the seventh day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me,
seven Black Terns, six Upland Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY OWLS!  Four
Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an Osprey in
a pine tree.
On eighth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me, eight
Pied-billed Grebes, seven Black Terns, six Upland Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY
OWL! Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an
Osprey in a pine tree.
On the ninth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me, nine Great
Egrets, eight Pied-billed Grebes, seven Black Terns, six Upland Sandpipers,
FIVE SNO-WY OWLS! Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine
Falcons, and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the tenth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me, ten
Blue-winged Warblers, nine Great Egrets, eight Pied-billed Grebes, seven
Black Terns, six Upland Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY OWLS!  Four Whip-poor-wills,
three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the eleventh day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me, eleven
Dark-eyed Juncos, ten Blue-winged Warblers, nine Great Egrets, eight
Pied-billed Grebes, seven Black Terns, six Upland Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY
OWLS! Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two Peregrine Falcons, and
an Osprey in a pine tree.
On the twelfth day of the David Cup my spotting scope gave to me, twelve
Orchard Orioles, eleven Dark-eyed Juncos, ten Blue-winged Warblers, nine
Great Egrets, eight Pied-billed Grebes, seven Black Terns, six Upland
Sandpipers, FIVE SNO-WY OWLS!  Four Whip-poor-wills, three Tufted Ducks, two
Peregrine Falcon, AND AN OSPREY IN A PINE TREE!!!!!
(Jay McGowan, age ten, is a bird artist extraordinaire currently at work on
his first field guide.  He has Golden-winged Warbler on his David Cup list,
a bird his father, Cupper Kevin McGowan, does not have.)
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Like the editors of The Cup, Steve Kelling was also in the giving spirit
this month.  He has generously made a reappearance as Highlights Columnist!
His inexhaustible bird journal reading skills, handy-dandy on-line checklist
(be sure to e-mail in your bird records to  and ability to access a month's
worth of Cayuga Lake birding in a single bound--well, we don't call him the
Trendmaster for nothing.
                              BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS
                                  Steve Kelling
November: were there any highlights in November?  Well, there was
the loon watch diligently manned by the indefatigable Bob Meade.  Over 3,000
loons in two hours, including Red-throated Loon, and Black Scoter, Surf
thousands of ducks and more thousands of gulls were counted by Bob.  Then
there was the Bill Evans Dickcissel, albeit a brief appearance at his
homesite that was never refound.  And there was the Evans Orange-crowned
Warbler--on the only day Stephen Davies DOES NOT check the Newman Golf
Course woods and again not relocated.  There were other exciting things
around Cayuga Lake also.  Hundreds of Tundra Swans (yes, these were REAL
swans) at Montezuma, and hundreds of Brant (I watched Kevin McGowan identify
them at a distance of AT LEAST 10 miles!)  But for the most part things in
late October and November seemed pretty slow.  But were they?  How about a
Little Blue Heron or Cattle Egret to spice things up?  Or even a Northern
Three-toed Woodpecker?  All were seen in or very close to the Cayuga Lake
Basin, but none by us Cuppers!  Stuck in our ways, we did not expand the
search to Waterloo, Phelps and the Geneva area.  Check a Basin map; most
of this area is within the Cayuga Lake Basin. There was a Little Blue Heron
in Waterloo mid-October (seen by several Eaton Bird Club members).  A Cattle
Egret hung out in Phelps for several days in late October (again seen by
several Eaton Bird Club members).  And a Northern Three-toed Woodpecker
appeared at Barbara Lyons feeder in late September!  David Cuppers did a
great job scouring and networking on the south side of the Cayuga Lake
Basin, but were deficient in the north (other than Montezuma).  Who knows
what is up there now?  The Seneca Landfill has thousands of gulls.  Maybe a
Thayer's, or Glaucous, and I know there is a Lesser Black Backed!
(Steve Kelling teaches the mysteries of physics to Cornell undergraduates
and is considering setting up a parasailing operation as part of a
gull-watching business at Niagara Falls [November-December only.]
Reportedly, Matt Medler and James Barry have already signed up for their
first parasail.)
100      100      100      100      100      100      100     
100       100
                                  100 CLUB
100      100       100      100       100       100       100     
100     100
"Doomed to disappointment, failure knocking at every door, our heroine
desperately searches the bushes and hedge rows in a valiant effort to
accomplish her mission--access to the highly guarded 100 Club.  Will she
make it before the walls close in around her?  Can she make those 23
needed sightings before the jig is up--only 28 more days before...NO, NO,
                                         --Cathy Heidenreich
200           200          200          200           200           200
                               2     0    0
     200             200            200            200           200
"Here are my exciting totals as of Dec. 1...'Will he make 200?
Probably not.'"
                                         --John Bower
"What are the chances of finding 25 new species in the month of December?
Slim, I suppose, so I may not bust in the door of the 200 Club after all.
But, you never know..."
                                         --Michael Runge
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Sure, it's a distance run, a real marathon.  But when the race is
neck-and-neck towards the finish, it's the Cupper with the most kick at the
end that's gonna raise his/her arms in victory.  Of course, s/he may
collapse from exhaustion, dehydration, loss of necessary minerals...okay, so
you may not want to kick too hard (unless, of course, you're where Karl
David is in this month's Pilgrim's Progress report).  But it wouldn't hurt
to kick just a little, just enough so you can say, "I didn't give up.  And
because I didn't give up, regardless of where I place in the David Cup,
    252  Steve Kelling                   250  Steve Kelling
    251  Karl David                      248  Karl David
    248  Allison Wells                   246  Allison Wells
    242  Ken Rosenberg                   241  Jeff Wells
    242  Jeff Wells                      239  Tom Nix
    241  Tom Nix                         238  Ken Rosenberg
    240  Kevin McGowan                   237  Kevin McGowan
    237  Bard Prentiss                   237  Bard Prentiss
    233  Scott Mardis                    233  Scott Mardis
    232  Ralph Paonessa                  232  Ralph Paonessa
    222  Jay McGowan                     219  Jay McGowan
    220  Bill Evans                      218  Bill Evans
    216  Meena Haribal                   216  Meena Haribal
    212  Chris Hymes                     212  Chris Hymes
    204  Casey Sutton                    203  Casey Sutton
    197  Anne James                      196  Anne James
    191  John Bower                      185  John Bower
    177  Martha Fischer                  177  Martha Fischer
    175  Kurt Fox                        175  Kurt Fox
    175  Michael Runge                   175  Michael Runge
    173  Larry Springsteen               173  Larry Springsteen
    170  Rob Scott                       170  Rob Scott
    153  Diane Tessaglia                 153  Diane Tessaglia
    145  Matt Medler                     144  Matt Medler
    141  Dan Scheiman                    128  Dan Scheiman
    125  Jim Lowe                        125  Jim Lowe
    118  Tom Lathrop                     118  Tom Lathrop
     82  Sarah Childs                     82  Sarah Childs
     77  Cathy Heidenreich                67  Cathy Heidenreich
     53  Justin Childs                    50  Justin Childs
     34  Margaret (Lanius?)
EDITORS' NOTE: It's now official, the David Cup Committee members (the ones
we happened to run into in the field, anyway) have issued their decision:
the Trumpeter Swans will NOT be countable.  Repeat: the Trumpeter Swans will
NOT be countable. If you'd like to know why, reread Steve Kelling's recent
posting about them on Cayugabirds.  That pretty much sums it up.
    197   Allison Wells                  196   Allison Wells
    184   Kevin McGowan                  181   Jeff Wells
    183   Bill Evans                     180   Kevin McGowan
    181   Jeff Wells                     173   Ken Rosenberg
    179   Ken Rosenberg                  166   Bill Evans
    170   John Bower                     163   John Bower
    167   Karl David                     163   Scott Mardis
    163   Scott Mardis                   157   Karl David
    157   Jay McGowan                    154   Jay McGowan
    153   Larry Springsteen              153   Larry Springsteen
    144   Tom Nix                        144   Tom Nix
    143   Martha Fischer                 143   Martha Fischer
    134   Rob Scott                      134   Rob Scott
    133   Casey Sutton                   133   Casey Sutton
    131   Chris Hymes                    131   Chris Hymes
    119   Michael Runge                  114   Michael Runge
    113   Jim Lowe                       113   Jim Lowe
     73   Matt Medler                     73   Matt Medler
     55   Diane Tessaglia                 55   Diane Tessaglia
     53   Sarah Childs                    50   Sarah Childs
     35   Justin Childs                   35   Justin Childs
C. Loon, R-t Loon, P-b Grebe, H. Grebe, R-n Grebe, D-c Cormorant,
A. Bittern, L. Bittern, G. B. Heron, G. Egret, G. Heron, B-c.
Night-Heron, Tundra Swan, M. Swan, Greater White-fronted
Goose, S. Goose, Ross' Goose, Brant, C. Goose, W. Duck,
G-w Teal, A. Black Duck, Mallard, N. Pintail, B-w Teal,
N. Shoveler, Gadwall,  E. Wigeon, A. Wigeon, Canvasback,
Redhead, R-n Duck, G. Scaup, L. Scaup, Oldsquaw, Black Scoter,
Surf Scoter, W-w Scoter,  C. Goldeneye, Bufflehead, H. Merganser,
C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, T. Vulture, Osprey,
B. Eagle, N. Harrier, S-s Hawk, C. Hawk, N. Goshawk, R-s Hawk,
B-w Hawk,  R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, G. Eagle, A. Kestrel, Merlin,
Peregrine Falcon, R-n Pheasant, R. Grouse,  W. Turkey, V. Rail,
Sora, C. Moorhen, A. Coot, B-b Plover, L. G. Plover, S. Plover,
Killdeer, G. Yellowlegs, L. Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted
Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled
Godwit, R. Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper,
Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper,
Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, Stilt
Sandpiper, B-b Sandpiper, S-b Dowitcher, L-b Dowitcher, C.
Snipe, A. Woodcock, W. Phalarope, Laughing Gull, Little
Gull, B.Gull, R-b Gull, H. Gull, Iceland Gull, L. B-b. Gull,
Glaucous Gull, G. B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Black
Tern, R. Dove, M. Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E. Screech-
Owl, G. H. Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, S-e Owl, N. S-w Owl,
Whip-poor-will, C. Nighthawk, C. Swift, R-t Hummingbird, B.
Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b
Sapsucker, D. Woodpecker, H. Woodpecker, N. Flicker, P.
Woodpecker, O-s. Flycatcher, E. Wood-Pewee, Y-b. Flycatcher,
Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher,
Least Flycatcher, E. Phoebe, G. C. Flycatcher, E. Kingbird,
H. Lark, P. Martin, T. Swallow, N. R-w Swallow,
Bank Swallow, C. Swallow, Barn Swallow, B. Jay, A. Crow, F.
Crow, C. Raven, B-c Chickadee, T.  Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-
b Nuthatch, B. Creeper, C. Wren, H. Wren, W. Wren, M. Wren,
G-c Kinglet, R-c Kinglet, B-g Gnatcatcher, E. Bluebird,
Veery, G-c Thrush, S. Thrush, H. Thrush, W. Thrush, A.
Robin, G. Catbird, N. Mockingbird, B. Thrasher, A. Pipit,
Bohemian Waxwing, C. Waxwing, N. Shrike, E. Starling, S.
Vireo, Y-t Vireo, W. Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, R-e Vireo, B-
w Warbler, G-w Warbler, T. Warbler, N.  Warbler, N. Parula,
Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, C. M.
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-
a-w Warbler, A. Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-eating
Warbler, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, L. Waterthrush, Mourning
Warbler, C. Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler,
Canada Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Sc. Tanager, N.
Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, I. Bunting, E. Towhee, A. T.
Sparrow, C. Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, V.
Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, G. Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow,
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow,
Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow,
D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Bobolink, R-w
Blackbird, E. Meadowlark, R. Blackbird, C. Grackle, B-h
Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, N. Oriole, P. Finch, H. Finch, R.
Crossbill, C. Redpoll, H. Redpoll, P. Siskin, A. Goldfinch,
E. Grosbeak, House Sparrow
Total: 252 species
Add to Steve's Leader's List (above) the following species
and you'll have the entire list of birds seen in January,
February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September,
October, and November:
Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron,
American Avocet, Whimbrel, Red-necked Phalarope,
Parasitic Jaeger, Forster's Tern, Three-toed Woodpecker,
White-eyed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler,
Yellow-throated Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Dickcissel,
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Pine Grosbeak
Total: 268 species
                              !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !
What better way to appear poised for victory than by being featured in an
interview exclusively for The Cup?  KICKIN' TAIL brings well-deserved honor
and recognition to the Cupper who has glassed, scoped, scanned, driven,
climbed, dug, taken his kids and otherwise made his/her way to the top of
the David Cup list.
After a very impressive showing last month, Steve Kelling remains the Cupper
to catch. Perhaps inspired by son Taylor's passion for magic, it would seem
that Kelling has mastered the trickiest trick of all: staying on top of the
David Cup. Although he refused to show us in slow motion just how he did
this, he did agree to answer our questions.  Here's what he had to say:
THE CUP: Again, congratulations! Really, though, after an outstanding
October showing, most of us are not surprised to find you pecking away at
the top of the DC refuse mound once again.  What did you do to fend off a
crazed Karl David?
KELLING: I saw two new species in November.  Red-throated Loon (with Karl)
and Black Scoter (also with Karl).  I really did not do much to fend off
THE CUP: Hmmm.
KELLING: (Even though I had to throw rocks at this Surf Scoter that was
sitting on land in front of me right before he came!)
THE CUP: Good for you! Where do you think the Snowy Owl will show up in the
Basin, and where else should Cuppers be looking, just in case?  (Note:  this
question was asked before one was reported though not relocated in
KELLING: The Main Pool at Montezuma.  Or the Savannah Mucklands.
THE CUP: In order to get the Northern Saw-whet Owl last winter, a sacrifice
had to be made--and Ken Rosenberg valiantly stuck his head in the way of
hatchback door in order to oblige.  What sacrifices do you think will be
necessary in order to make it to 254?
KELLING: Allison Wells has to bungy jump.
THE CUP: Hmmm.
KELLING: Karl David has to walk barefoot to Aurora. Ken Rosenberg has to
shave his head, Kevin McGowan has to give a nose music  recital.
THE CUP:  Maybe at the Cupper Supper!
KELLING: Tom Nix needs to eat five pounds of rutabugas (or whatever those
things are he always buys), Jeff Wells has to change his name to John
THE CUP: That could be tough, there's a woman at the Lab that has taken to
calling him Paul. Changing his name to John James might confuse things even
KELLING: Bill Evans has to BE HERE NOW or is it NOW BE HERE (he'll have to
figure it out), Bard Prentiss must do the hoochee-koochee dance in a black
tutu as he opens his next Cayuga Bird Club meeting as president.
THE CUP: Didn't he do that already?
KELLING: And Ned Brinkley has to move to New Jersey.  Then I might see 254.
THE CUP: Guess that means you've already made your own
sacrifice--parasailing over Niagara Falls in your quest for California Gull,
we heard. Let's talk about Christmas Bird Counts. Last year, Jeff Wells
stole out in front in the McIlroy arena thanks to the Ithaca CBC, and so
far, that was the only day he's gotten a McRuffed Grouse (his wife has been
eying that little check mark on his list ever since) and several Mcducks. So
we want to encourage Cuppers to participate.  As the
Knower-of-All-Things-Birds, can you tell us which counts are when?
KELLING: The Ithaca CBC and the MNWR CBC are both on 1 Jan.  Geneva also has
one, though I don't know when it is. There used to be a CBC near Aurora, but
I don't think that is still going on.  So I guess there are three.  I will
be doing a CBC in Thomasville, GA.
THE CUP: That'll be good for your January Cup standings--and even better for
the rest of ours. By the way, what do you want for Christmas?
KELLING: A new necktie one with a duck motif.  I LOVE to look at ducks...
THE CUP: Yes, you and Ken Rosenberg. Any suggestions on what extra-special
gift to give nonbirding spouses this year, in light of the David Cup?
KELLING: Binocs and a Cayuga Lake Basin checklist--a gag gift, you know,
can't you see the humor in it?
THE CUP: WE can. Question is, will THEY?  I understand Karl's not taking any
chances this year, he's buying his beloved Elaine a big, fat diamond ring
with matching earrings.  And an exquisitely carved ruby cardinal pendant.
We're hoping she'll wear them to the Cupper Supper.  Any chance Taylor, or
even Sam, might join the DC next year?
KELLING: Sam is really into snakes now.  We are off to Florida in a couple
of weeks and we are continually reminding him to NOT pick up the
rattlesnakes. All summer long he ran around my rock garden grabbing garter
snakes...he didn't seem to mind when they puked worms up all over him.  Each
morning we discuss what snakes eat.  He really likes the story about
when the
anaconda tried to eat me.
THE CUP: We'd like to hear that one!
KELLING: Taylor on the other hand might join in the fracas.  He is
getting pretty good with ducks.  Although he is really into drawing,
especially alien monsters.  He has a great ability to pick out birds over
long distances and recognize what they are.
THE CUP: That's terrific. Maybe he would concede to being a Bird Brain
sometime? We'll see you and your beloveds at the Cupper Supper, yes?
KELLING: Yes, we will be there.
THE CUP: Great!  We won't mention that since you're making the trophy, you
HAVE to come.  See you there!
???????????????????????    PIONEER PRIZE    ????????????????????????????????
The editors of The Cup, through statistically significant birding polls and
by opening letters to Santa, have determined that recognition is in order
for the Cupper who has braved wind, rain, ice, and snow in a quest for new
David Cup birds for us all to enjoy. Equally weighty in this award category
is prompt notification to other Cuppers of said sightings, be it via e-mail,
phone line, dramatic hand signals, or by spelling it out in Christmas
Okay, this may sound really hokey, especially coming from The Cup, but we
wholeheartedly believe that ALL Cuppers should get the Pioneer Prize!
Participating in this the first year David Cup was a true adventure, a
territory nobody had previously entered into. You've all been good sports,
and everyone has been extemely fast and faithful in reporting their
findings.  In short, we've seen a fine demonstration of what the David Cup
Committee had hoped the event would be all about.
We, the editors of The Cup, hereby bestow November Pioneer Prize to ALL
CUPPERS.  To all, a prestigious, teal green David Cup Pencil!  Of course, by
the time it's sawed up among us, it may not be long enough to sharpen...
: >  : >    : >     : >       : >           : >               : >
                       CASEY'S CALL
: >  : >    : >     : >       : >           : >               : >
Casey sends his regrets.  No column this month.
(Casey Sutton, who initiated and [usually] writes this column on his own, is
a seventh grader at DeWitt Middle School. He is absolutely certain that the
Bills will win the Superbowl.  THIS season. )
                           SCRAWL OF FAME
                   The David Cup: A Prehistory
                           By Karl David
It's still too early to tell what the David Cup's future will hold,
but it's been a highly successful first year. Okay, some grumbling
about too much competitiveness; a little second-guessing on unusual
sightings; a few cases of sleep deprivation; but in the main, an
enjoyable, positive experience for all involved. And as the leaders
inch their way over the 250 mark, I thought this might be a good time
to review 1992, which appears in retrospect to have been a kind of
exhibition season for the David Cup, a year that provided a benchmark to
measure ourselves against.
When that year ended, four spent birders gathered at my house to
tally up the results: Ned Brinkley 256, Adam Byrne 254, Karl David
245, Bill Evans 240. Ned and Adam (a.k.a. Batman and Robin), usually
birding together, had consciously gone for a Basin BigYear right
from the start, and as I slowly caught on it caught me up in its
wake. As is his custom, Bill disappeared during the spring migration
and showed just how much ground can be made up from June on--not to
mention the booster shot of fresh enthusiasm ("Ah, the perfect day
for a vagrant flycatcher!") his return provided. And, although he
mostly went his own way, a young Cornell birder new on the scene--
Andy Farnsworth--provided some key sightings, in particular a
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Savannah Mucklands in late August. But
don't mention that bird to Ned -- he was foolishly chasing some
rarity in Virginia and missed it. It's a sore subject with him to
this day.
Some time afterwards Ned, ever the perfect southern gentleman,
removed two single-observer sightings from his list, making 254 the
magic number and Adam the co-holder of the unofficial record. The
late Dick Evans (former Cayuga Bird Club President) had once posited
250 as the upper limit for a Basin Big Year, and Ned and Adam, pushed
by Bill and yours truly, had shown that total to be more than possible.
Although the David Cup will generate its own measuring sticks, I should
point out that we made a decision not to count Mute Swan that year,
even though we all saw it. There was still a general feeling back
then that the origin of any Mute Swan found here was suspect. That's
still true of course, but now most of us feel as comfortable
including it as we do Ring-necked Pheasant or Rock Dove (aside: I
don't know why some people throw European Starling or House Sparrow
into the discussion at this point--that last starling you saw is no
more likely to be an escape or a release than the last robin).
So, to "level the playing field," I think we should hold 255 up as
the "magic number."  Whether we reach it or not hardly matters; both
1992 and 1996 are going to go down as amazing years in Basin birding
To wrap it up, some comparisons between what was seen four years ago
vs. now: 1992 rarities missing (so far!) in 1996 included: Eared
Grebe, White Pelican, Black Vulture, Gyrfalcon, Red Knot, Ruff,
Black-headed Gull, Snowy Owl (don't count it out yet!), Western
Kingbird, Sedge Wren, Kentucky Warbler and Brewer's Blackbird.
The most conspicuous misses were Prothonotary and
Worm-eating Warblers (Bill had not yet applied his considerable
ratiocinative powers to the deduction of the latter's presence). As
for winter irruptors, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged
Crossbill and Hoary Redpoll were missed (and only Adam had Common
Redpoll).  Both years saw birds such as Eurasian Wigeon and
Dickcissel recorded, and it appears likely that both will feature
Cattle Egret as an omission.
The Bird of the Year in 1992? Clearly, it has to be one all four of
us saw. In fact, my candidate was seen by most active observers in
the Basin at the time. I nominate Gyrfalcon for the honor. The memory
of that bird soaring over Cayuga Marsh ("Karl! It's right over your
head!" I can still recall Ned exclaiming) on a cold, snowy March day
still thrills me, as I'm sure it does everyone who saw it.
And hey--there's still several weeks left in 1996 to make it a
first-year David Cup bird. So let's get out there and find it!
(Karl David [a.k.a., "the Father of the Madness"] teaches math at Wells
College in Aurora. This past fall he devised ways of convincing science
professors to let him "chaperone" their field trips to Montezuma; he's
currently scheming for ways to incorporate jaunts to Aurora Bay into his
math courses.)
(If you have an opinion about the art, science, and/or esthetics of birding
or birding-related topics, write it up for the Scrawl of Fame.)
                     <  COACH'S CORNER        <
                    <           <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                    <           < 
                     <         <
                       < < < <
He had the first word as Cup Coach, who better to have the last?  Over the
past few months, his mantra, "Time in the field," has been repeated (in some
cases, bemoaned) by Cuppers everywhere.  In this, the last Coach's Corner of
the year, Coach Kevin McGowan again pulls no punches.  You better take
notes, the final exam is scheduled for December 31--and they'll be no
grading on a curve, no make ups, and definitely no retakes.
COACH MCGOWAN: Coaching in December should be easy; the battle plans should
be obvious.  The first thing to note is that the battle actually may already
be over.  In most years I add NO new species to my year list in December.
The strategies in this last month have to be fairly individual-specific.
Ask yourself, "What species am I missing that are still around?"
Are you missing any migrants?  Too bad.  Migration is essentially over; kiss
those babies goodbye.  Any warblers, shorebirds, or other passersby that you
didn't get  before this time are pretty hopeless causes now.  True, you
could get lucky and stumble on a Pine Warbler at a feeder in the snow, but
you can't count on anything like that.  The only migrant-like birds you have
any hope for are some waterbirds, like scoters or grebes, but even they will
be hard to come by.
Are you missing any permanent residents?  If so, you still have some hope
and your strategy should be pretty obvious.  If you don't have Ruffed
Grouse, you need to get out and hike some scrubby, grousy areas.  If you're
missing Barred Owl, you have to get out at night and hope to hear one
calling somewhere in the more southern hilly parts of the Basin.  Duh!
If you have all the permanent residents covered, how about the winter
visitors?  Some winter visitors are fairly predictable.  You know what kind
of habitat Short-eared Owls like, so go watch those fields at dusk.  We will
have SOME of them in the Basin this year; just where is not quite as
predictable.  Now is your chance to pick up those white-winged gulls you
missed last February.  Check out Seneca Landfill, and spend time scoping the
gulls that congregate at Stewart Park every evening.   Snow Buntings and
Lapland Longspurs are out in the fields somewhere.  Check the standby spots
like Center Road or King Road.  Look for manured fields, especially when
there is some snow cover on the ground.
Other winter visitors are less predictable.  These can be extremely
frustrating to find in off years, but on the flip side, they offer those
last rays of hope in a rapidly waning year.  We all want every year to be a
winter finch year, so we're hoping for White-winged Crossbills and Pine
Grosbeaks to show up.  Check the spruce groves with cones and watch the
fruit-bearing trees.  This is a Snowy Owl winter.  Snowies are being seen
all over the country, even in areas south of us.  Several dozen are in New
York state right now, so why not the Basin?  Cruise the back roads and check
out the fields for big, white birds.  (But watch out for gulls and white
garbage.  My first Snowy Owl was a McDonald's bag.)  Check the edges of the
main pool at Montezuma and watch along the lake shore.  But you never know
where these guys might turn up.  They have been seen on the Cornell campus,
and even on the clock/thermometer sign at the Triphammer Mall!
And what about the real vagrants?  Check those feeders.  Harris' Sparrow and
Varied Thrush have been here before, and could come again.  Boreal Owl isn't
on the Basin list, but it undoubtedly occurs here, and some have been seen
in the eastern states this year.  Check those small pine groves, looking for
whitewash and listening for mobbing chickadees.  Maybe you'll find a
consolation Northern Saw-whet Owl instead.
There is some hope for December.  That is one of the most fun things about
birding, namely, that you just never know what might turn up when.  Although
you can maximize your chances of seeing rare but predictable things, weird
birds do turn up.  So keep hoping and keep watching.  And plan for the next
I hope that you learned something by participating in the David Cup this
year.  I know I did.  So now that you've done it once, you should be better
prepared to do it again.  Go over your notes and see where you missed out.
What predictable birds did you miss?  Why did you miss them?  (Out of town
those weeks?  Too lazy in the fall to go birding?  Too wimpy to go out in
cold weather?)  Will you do better next time?  How many birds on your list
did you see only once or twice?  You got lucky with those.  How will you
make sure you see them again next year?  We had a fair number of "good" or
rare birds this year.  Don't count on Marbled Godwit or American Avocet
again next year (but keep looking for them!).  But, we will have some more
good things next year, too.  Especially if we have the excitement and
activity that we did this year.  An amazing number of people saw an amazing
number of birds this year.  Enthusiasm (that put alert people into the
field) and communication (that spread the word and got people on rare birds)
were responsible for this being an exceptional year for birding in the
Cayuga Lake Basin.  There is no reason why we cannot do it again.
(Kevin McGowan is Associate Curator of the Cornell Vertebrate Collections.
He does not have Golden-winged Warbler on his David Cup list, although his
ten-year-old son Jay does.)
mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
(An open letter to Santa from our McIlroy leader, Allison Wells:)
Dear Santa:
What I really want for Christmas this year is for my McIlroy list to reach
200.  I'm almost there, Santa.  I've been working hard, but I need your
help.  I've been very, very good, so I know you've probably been planning on
giving me a Jeep Cherokee or an all-expenses-paid trip to Aruba in January.
But Santa, a Snowy Owl and a Barrow's Goldeneye (both in McIlroy territory)
would make me very happy. A McNorthern Shrike, McBarred or McGreat Horned
Owl would also be appreciated.  Santa, I know how much you enjoy rewarding
good girls and boys, so if you really, really want to, you can make my 200th
McIlroy bird a Laughing Gull.  And throw in the trip to Aruba, too.
Thanks, Santa.  I'll be sure to leave you milk and cookies, though please
don't be upset if my two cats, Mimi and Teddy, drink the milk before you get
here.  They don't believe in you.
                        BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH             
As many of you already know, Bard Prentiss was recently elected to the
prestigious position of President of the Cayuga Bird Club. In tribute to his
success, we honored Bard by making him the Bird Brain for The Cup 1.11.
Amazingly, Bard agreed to an interview.  Now we're thinking, if we can get
Bard Prentiss, surely we can get former president (and birder) Jimmy
WE SAID: Congratulations!  What's your vision for the Cayuga Bird Club now
that you've taken over as Chief of State?
HE SAID: I'm still working on the vision thing. I don't want to even think
about bridges to the next century or returning to the glorious 50's. They
are both a little scary to contemplate. My vision remains a bit nebulous
and I very much welcome any visions from other Bird Club members who wish
to share them. I guess I'd really just like the Club to continue in its
long tradition as a wonderfully diverse group of people who like to do bird
stuff. We do have a few bumps to smooth out, like adapting to our new
meeting format. Working on that, plus assisting in the planning of
newsletters and programs, the Christmas Count, the UNA bird census, the
June Count, etc., should at least begin to keep me occupied during
non-birding hours.
WE SAID: What made you decide to take on the role of CBC president?
HE SAID: I was asked nicely and saw it as an interesting challenge. Also, it
comes at a time in my life when I might otherwise have fewer opportunities
for the kinds of stimulation that such an office can provide.
WE SAID: How long have you lived in the Basin?
HE SAID: Since January 1964. A very long time.
WE SAID: What's your favorite place to go birding in the Basin (not
the most species-productive place, but simply the most enjoyable for you?)
HE SAID: I thought long and hard on this one and I don't really have one.  I
guess it's wherever I am birding at the time.  I like the Dryden Linnier
Park from Weber Street to Willow Crossing, 3.5 miles, a lot.
WE SAID: Have you birded areas outside the Basin, and if so, where?
HE SAID: Cave Creek Canyon, AZ. The hills outside of Santa Fe, NM., New
Brunswick, the Adirondacks, etc.
WE SAID: How did you first get interested in birds/birding?
HE SAID: I have been casually interested in birds ever since my parents took
me birding in Elmira, in the early 40's.  They mysteriously stopped
birding when we left Elmira, and other things natural--trees, wildflowers,
mammals, reptiles and especially butterflies--took precedence for me until
about 1991. At that point I probably knew about 100 species of birds by
sight. In '91, I watched a Cooper's Hawk take a Rock Dove and then eat it in
the snow. That made a real impression on me, and I started paying more
attention to birds generally. Meeting and watching Ned, Adam, Bill and
Bernie id spots in the sky, at the hawk watch on Mt. Pleasant, helped a lot
too, as did joining the Cayuga Bird Club.
WE SAID: Do you have a favorite bird?
HE SAID: As a confirmed predator, I like all the raptors a lot.
WE SAID: We understand you recently retired.  What was your profession
this grand event?  What was the David Cup's role in this decision?
HE SAID: I retired from teaching Art and Art Education, and chairing the
Department of Art and Art History, at SUNY Cortland. Although the David Cup
was yet to be born, more time for birding was an important consideration in
support of retirement.
WE SAID: Why did you decide to join the race for the David Cup?
HE SAID: I just sort of fell into it. I was talking to Tom Nix and he
encouraged me to sign up. It sounded like fun. I figured it would get me
out more and I had nothing to loose so I jumped in. I'm very glad I did. I
am a better birder for it and have made lots of new friends. It's the most
friendy, least cut-throat, sharingest competition I have ever been a part
WE SAID: You will be attending the Cupper Supper, won't you?  With your
HE SAID: Yes to both parts.
WE SAID: Thanks, Bard.
HE SAID: Bird hard.
                              DEAR TICK
Because birders suffer so many unique trials and tribulations, The Cup has
graciously provided Cuppers with a kind, sensitive and intuitive columnist,
Dear Tick, to answer even the most profound questions, like these...
Tried to think of a Dear Tick on the drive in this morning. The best
I could come up with was rigging a Rube Goldberg contraption on the
Wood Duck box in Union Springs so that snow would fall on the screech
owl when it came out, in which case it would be a snowy owl and could
be counted as such.  Is that going anywhere, or should I scrap it?
                                  --Driving Myself Crazy along Cayuga Lake
Dear Crazy:
Since your mindless scribble above is all I received from you, I guess that
means you "scrapped it."  Too bad.  Your creativity was so ingenious--and is
such a fine example of your desperation--that I would have given you the
(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at
vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote
                CUPPER'S CHOICE AWARDS
vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote
Here's your chance to reflect on your experience and observations as a
Cupper in the 1st Annual David Cup/McIlroy birding competitions. Consider
what you've read in The Cup.  Consider what you've read on Cayugabirds.
Consider what you've seen, heard, and learned.  Now, if you're a Cupper,
cast your vote for the 1st Annual Cuppers' Choice Awards! Trophies will be
given out for each category at the Cupper Supper at the Wells' on January
18th.  (By the way, e-mail the editors if you need directions.)  Simply copy
this ballot form, paste it into a new message addressed to The Cup
(, and type in your nominees! All votes will be kept
confidential except when bribery prevails.  NOTE: You may make up your own
write-in category, but you must supply your own trophy.  Votes must be
received by January 13th, 1997. Have fun!
QUICK DRAW AWARD (to the fastest Cupper to post his/her sightings on
SLOW GIN AWARD (to the slowest Cupper to post sightings):
STRIKE OUT AWARD (to the Cupper who tried for certain birds but missed the
most times):
BEST DRESSED (not most appropriate for the weather, but who looked the
MOST MEMORABLE CAYUGABIRDS TYPO (what was the typo and who made it, to the
best of your recollection):
FAMILY TIME PRIZE (for the Cupper who demonstrated the best example of
birding time as "family time".  Please give the example.):
THOREAU AWARD (for the Cupper with the most creative postings--artistic,
humorous, etc.--be sure to specify):
TREKIE AWARD (most number of miles Cupped):
HOMEBODY AWARD (least number of miles Cupped):
UNDYING PATIENCE PRIZE (to the Cupper who spent the most time offering
insights, answering questions, etc., on Cayugabirds):
TEAM SPIRIT PRIZE (to the Cupper who best kept Cuppers going to the end!):
(Mail this ballot with your answers to:
           """""""""       CUP QUOTES      """"""""
Great job on the latest Cup!  It has that certain ... je ne sais quoi.
Tres oiseaux!"
                                                      --Ralph Paonessa
"A stitch!"
                                                      --Greg Budney
"Another outstanding edition I'm sure - wait what's this! Another quote of
mine is published! This could definitely improve my application for
promotion to Full Professor in 1998!"
                                                      --Margaret in
"It was a great Cup!  The amount of energy the two of you put in this
is an asset to the entire birding community.  Thanks-"
                                                      --Steve Kelling
"While waiting for the bus near the Greyhound Station (in Ithaca) between
7:50 and 8:05 am, I saw perhaps 400 loons.  The interesting thing was that
they were swirling around in a confused manner, apparently concerned that
the lake
had ended."
                                                      --Michael Runge
"Sunday Nov 10, 3:00 pm, Barnes Hall, Cornell Chamber Singers; Scott
Tucker, conductor.  On a Lark includes French choruses from Bernstein: The
Lark, Janequin: Le Chant des Oyseaux and works by other ornithologically
correct composers."
                                                      --Meena Haribal
"Bump me up one notch to 145 on the David Cup list... Ha det bra!"
                                                      --Matt Medler
"Uh-oh.  Ken has tied me in the David Cup, and Kevin has moved past me--way
past me--in the McIlroy!  Bill Evans is ahead of me now, too!"
                                                      --Jeff Wells
"Totals for November. Same as that for October, probably it will be same
for December also."
                                                      --Meena Haribal
"I hit that wall again.  Nothing new for November."
                                                      --Bard Prentiss
"Don't forget the Cayuga Bird Club's *First Annual Cider and Donuts
Thanksgiving Day Morning Loon Watch* event that will take place this
Thursday.  Be at Taughannock Park 15 minutes before dawn to watch a
potentially wonderful flight of migrating loons and enjoy the company and
refreshments provided by watcher Bill Evans.  Dress WARMLY!!! (This can't be
emphasized enough!
                                                      --Laura Stenzler
"To all you hardy souls who contemplate visiting the Taughannock Loonwatch
on Thanksgiving morning, I, Bill Evans, provider of hot cider and donuts, do
hereby personally guarantee that at least 50 Loons will be seen from the
Taughannock Loon Watch between 6:30AM-9:30AM.  If such a total is not
equaled or exceeded, I will be traditionally bound to perform a Swan dive
(in pike position) off the end of the pier into Cayuga's crystal depths."
                                                      --Bill Evans
"Okay, I'm not a Basin Dweller, but your teaser is just too intriguing.
Please send the latest Cup!"
                                                      --Randi Minetor
"Speaking of loons for Thanksgiving. . .as a write this I am watching a
Red-throated Loon swim north up Cayuga Lake just off my dock. I live about
one mile south of Taughannock State Park, so anyone interested in seeing
bird might want to scan south off that area this afternoon. Or, birders are
always welcome to bird from my dock as well."
                                                      --Andy Farnsworth
"On the Main Pool [at Montezuma], we had a few Wigeon, a Gadwall or two, and
a pair of male Pintail. The best birds of the day were a pair of
Scoters off Long Point. At May's Point we noted that the number of
Ross' Gulls was only about 1/3 as many as last year.:) (1/3 * 0 = 0)."
                                                      --Scott Mardis
"On Saturday we (Tom Nix, Stephen Davies, Sharon Skelly, Willi D'anna and
another individual whose name is lost in the mud of my brain) observed 11
species of gulls along the Niagara River...Believe it or not it was very
pleasant both birdwise and weatherwise on the river."
                                                      --Steve Kelling
"At 8:00 this morning a flock of about thirty dark-winged scoters went
by headed south at Myers Point. I think they were all or mostly
Black Scoters, although one or two Surf Scoters (which I still need!)
admittedly could hide undetected in a group this size. But I prefer
not to think about that possibility."
                                                      --Karl David
"By the way, my sister is NOT ahead of me in the football pool, my mother
and I are tied for the lead!"
                                                      --Casey Sutton
                                      (see byline, Casey's Call, The Cup
"After leaving the Thanksgiving Loon Watch (did Bill Evans ever take his
dive?), we scoped a large flock of CANADA GEESE (1000's) offshore from
Canoga on Route 89 at around 9 a.m.  In this group were at least two adult
and one immature white phase SNOW GEESE.  Hanging out with them was a fourth
adult-plumaged Snow-Goose-like bird, but it was noticeably smaller.  Because
of the distance and the fog on the lake, I couldn't make out any details
before we had to leave. Could the prodigal ROSS'S GOOSE have returned?"
                                                      --Ralph Paonessa
"How do I get a copy of The Cup?  I'm not in the Ithaca area, but
Corning, NY, isn't that far away either."
                                                      --James P. Manley
"Is the McIlroy Cup limited to birds seen within Ithaca city limits?"
                                           --Margaret in Mansfield,  PA
"The McIlroy Award boundaries are...strictly speaking...those of the City of
Ithaca, but allowances have been made for the environs of Sapsucker Woods,
which extend somewhat outside strict city limits. There's been a lot of give
and take on this one..."
                                                      --Caissa Willmer
"...I believe that certain areas [of the McIlroy map] have been designated
Ithaca which are in fact gerrymandering!!  I hear that next year the map
drawn for the town of Ithaca (the map used for the McIllroy Cup) will
include Rte 13 to Dryden, then up Beam Hill Rd., then down to Dryden Lake,
then over Hammond Hill, then briefly to Montezuma, with a stop at Montauk
along the way."
                                                      --Steve Kelling
"Thanks for all the neat info!  I had numerous replies to my query about
boundaries and have a much better idea (sort of) about the David &
McIlroy Cups I read about in The Cup.  I will plan on finding the book
about Birding in the Basin, too.  I'm thinking of asking Allison & Jeff
about having a separate contest for out-of-state birders on the
Cayugabirds list (which would limit my competition greatly!) HA HA.  I am
always amazed to read the variety of species found in this area."
                                         --Margaret in Mansfield, PA
"I'm hooked.  Please send me a copy [of The Cup]. Thanks."
                                                      --Linda Buttel
"Ah, umm, my mom is now ahead--way ahead, by five games--in the football
pool.  And my sister's in second place.  Jeff and I are tied for third.
Allison, you're in last place."
                                                      --Casey Sutton
"To follow up on the Wells' bluebird report- the roads that go down to the
lake along the stretch between Myers and Millikan Station have been good
hunting for wintering bluebirds fairly regularly in recent years. Yes-
what a treat to see and hear them against a bleak winter background!"
                                                      --John Greenly
"[Dennis], being from Sweden, didn't realize how rare a sighting of
Anhinga was, and so didn't make all the phone calls we would have liked.
(He didn't expect to see Great Egret here either.)  It is unlikely, however,
that even if he had called anyone would have gotten on the bird, as he saw
it fly away and never saw it again.  A number of Anhingas were reported in
the Northeast during that time, so it is highly probable that he was correct
in its identification.  What else have we missed this year?"
                                                      --Kevin McGowan
"A flock of nearly 300 Brant just, 3:50pm,flew over Dryden lake. They were
all calling and only 75/100 yds up. Awesome!! I only wish they had landed.
Tomorrow should be a great day."
                                                      --Bard Prentiss
May Your Cup Runneth Over,
Allison and Jeff