Resources‎ > ‎The David Cup‎ > ‎

Year 2, Issue 1

****************************************************************************
*       ^^^^^^^^^   ^     ^   ^^^^^^        ^^^^^^^    ^     ^    ^^^^^^^      
*           ^       ^     ^   ^             ^          ^     ^    ^     ^      
*           ^       ^^^^^^^   ^^^^^^        ^          ^     ^    ^^^^^^^      
*           ^       ^     ^   ^             ^          ^     ^    ^            
*           ^       ^     ^   ^^^^^^        ^^^^^^^    ^^^^^^^    ^            
* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition.
*       Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells
*       Highlights Editor : Inspector Tom Nix
*       Composite Deposit, Stat's All : Karl "Father of the Madness" David
*       Hair Stylist: Jeff Wells
*****************************************************************************
All good things must come to an end.  But this is only one reason why, after
its maiden voyage through 1996, The Cup is still around.  The other reason
is that the editors proved quite effectively to themselves that they could
in fact devote a few evenings each month to putting together an
action-packed, gossip-generated publication about the best thing to happen
to birding since John James Audubon stopped eating songbirds and still be
competitive in the David Cup and McIlroy races...except Jeff.  
 
However, in order to abide by the age-honored adage that all things old
shall be made new, we've incorporated some changes in The Cup this time
around.  Don't worry, your claim to fame, "Cup Quotes," survived the rocky
bluff of the New Year, as did your soulmate (or is it evil twin?), "Dear
Tick."  Although the Pioneer Prize was forced to walk the plank, and we may
be saying bon voyage to Casey's Call pending homework considerations (can
you believe it?) not to mention those pesky New York Knicks games, we've
netted others (they didn't fit out through the SED--Sucker Exclusion Device)
to take over the rigging elsewhere as we sail into another year of the David
Cup Information Age.  This of course means less birding time for them and
more for us, but we don't mind. 
 
So since we the editors didn't jump ship, we're trusting you won't either.
Furthermore, anything short of reading The Cup 2.1 will be considered
mutiny-- and this ain't The Bounty, mind you.  It's The Cup, and there ain't
no lifeboats...
 
                        @   @    @    @    @     @
                         NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
                          @   @    @    @     @     @
 
WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: As hoped, more David Cup benchwarmers are
already working up a sweat as 1997 David Cuppers!  After using the first
year as warm up, we have, as a power forward, Anne Kendall- Cassella.  Says
Anne, "I figured if I did this, I would get myself out birding a little more
often so that I at least have respectable totals to report - at least I
should get around the lake once this year to get those ducks!"  (She
reported at the Cupper Supper that she had, in fact, already accomplished
this. You go, Anne!)  Marty Schlabach will no doubt dazzle the crowd with
his unstoppable moves inside the key.  Jane Sutton will be busy in the
backcourt, and J.R. Crouse, as point guard, is already calling plays from
Stewart Park.  Another Cupper at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology post is
Margaret Barker; Margaret proved she can make impressive saves by getting
her total to The Cup just in the nick time!  Andy Farnsworth spent part of
the 1996 season as an invaluable member of the coaching staff  and has
apparently taken the advice of the other coaches by signing up this year as
a rotating player depending on whether or not he's in the country.  However,
he has withheld his January totals, presumably because he has hired a
surveyor to determine whether or not his home near Taughanock State Park is
in McIlroy territory (Bill Evans, would you please set him straight on
that?).  In the center position, it's Stephen Davies.  Davies effectively
guarded the lighthouse off Stewart Park last year, but that's not the only
reason they call him Stephen "Lighthouse Keeper" Davies!  Also covering
Stewart Park, as well as parts of Aurora Street, it's "Downtown" Caissa
Willmer.  Watch out, townies! And following the footsteps of Cornell Cupper
alum James Barry  is Chris Butler.  (That is, we understand he'll be taking
over James' former post as Host of High Teas.)  Ned Brinkley, owner of the
Basin's 254 Big Year Record and Cup Coach Extraordinaire, has thrown his
iron into the David Cup fire all the way from Virginia!  And Dave Mellinger
has become the Cupper Living Farthest From the Basin by signing up--in
California! Yes, the David Cup Team is looking good, but believe it or not,
there are still vacancies.  All of you reading this, your names are on the
roster.  Head for the locker room and suit up!
 
POPULAR SCIENCE: Remember almost-Cupper Shannon "I was very interested in
being a pioneer" Lucid (The Cup 1.9)?  She's the astronaut whose 67
million-mile mission landed her a 188-days-in-space U.S. record.  Well, she
was named one of People magazine's 25 most intriguing people of 1996, and
for a while it looked again like she might be trying to leave behind her
dull life of space exploration for the more exhilarating airwaves of the
David Cup.  In her People interview she said, "When I walked in the door,
everybody wanted to know what I was going to fix for supper."  Of course, we
assumed she was referring to the Cupper Supper, but she never showed up.
 
SAVE THE CROWN PILOT!: A recent National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast
informed that Nabisco has announced plans to discontinue the Crown Pilot, a
cracker distributed only in parts of New England.  The CP is popular in
stews, chowders, and soups, so Mainers in particular are protesting. The
editors of The Cup ask you to join them, not because they're native Mainers
but because if the Crown Pilot is on the way out, Nilla Wafers can't be far
behind. As you know, Nilla Wafers are the primary staple of birders; without
them, the David Cup competition might well come to a halt.  So get those
keyboards tapping. And don't forget to mention in your protest letter that
you read it, albeit second-hand, inThe Cup.  (No, this is not some pathetic
ploy on behalf of the editors to gain a little more national attention for
their humble publication.)  Oh, and don't forget to casually drop them our
email address.
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Happy Birthday from The Cup and its big Cupping family to
Megan Runge, born to Cupper Michael Runge and his wife Sharon on January
17--the only acceptable excuse for them to have missed the Cupper Supper.
"All is well," Michael reports.  "Sharon and I are enjoying ourselves
immensely, and little Megan is treating us well." When asked if there were
any indications yet of whether the stork delivered a birder--or better yet,
a Cupper--we were told, "The only indication so far is that Megan likes to
stare out the window.  The books say that babies like to look at bright
lights and strong contrast, but what do they know?  I think she's looking
for rare gulls, or possibly winter sparrows.  Of course, all of her
sightings so far have been McIlroy sightings, since she has yet to leave the
Ithaca environs.  I haven't decided whether to enter her in the Cup yet, not
wishing to place high expectations at too young an age.  The more pertinent
question is whether she will be supportive of her dad's participation.
We'll see.  I'm not making any confident predictions about my de-throning
any reigning champions at this point.  The McGowan rule still applies, and
unless I can put the Rosenberg strategy into place, I'm not going to be a
contender in 1997."  (Michael and Sharon, present this Cup birth
announcement wherever you take little Megan and, we guarantee, people will
coo and fuss and ask all kinds of questions about her.)
 
THE BRINKLEY REPORT: You all remember that in 1996 Ned Brinkley, the Basin's
wayward son, had been frantically trying to crack Virginia's state birding
record way open.  How did our boy fare when the Virginia Games came to a
close? "The previous *official* Big Year was 330 (three holders of that
number), but Abbott's 1986 "330" left off six introduced birds, one of which
is no longer nesting in the state (Ring-necked Pheasant), so that 336 was
the highest number to break -- not including, however, Bicknell's Thrush and
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, both regular, common migrants.  So 338 was
the real number to break. I hit 345 for the year in VA, with
last-half-o'-December miracles as
Black-tailed Gull (which I found while birding alone with no camera 27 Dec.,
but it slept on the Ches. Bay Bridge-Tunnel long enough to get photos of the
thing), Western Kingbird, 2 LeConte's Sparrows, Pacific Loon, California
Gull, Black-headed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Red-necked Grebes, both eiders and
Harlequin Duck, Rough-legged Hawks, Ross's Geese (3, 2 locations) -- all but
the Glaucous Gull with multiple observers, good studies, photos, etc.  The
one that got away?  A first-winter guillemot, presumably Black, that flew by
the CBBT minutes after we'd studied 4 Pomerine Jaegers migrating together, a
California Gull, a Thayer's Gull -- and we just kept thinking, 'Hmm,mmm....
looks funny for a Razorbill...'  Ach du lieber!  We put it down as 'alcid
sp.', more for the cleanliness of the list than anything else.  Rotten
little bird... Would I ever do a Big Year again?  Hell, naw.  And you should
take the David Cup and bury it!  Before you all go mad!!!
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Your Nutty Buddy, Neddo."
 
BIRD CUP BLUES: "Don't Lose the Blues," "Blues in the Night," "Blue Monk,"
"C-Jam Blues"--these are only a few of the hot blues numbers you'd have
heard from the beach-front resorts along the white sand beaches of Aruba if
you'd have joined the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band on their 1997 Caribbean Tour!
"The turquoise sea, the Bananaquits, Troupials all around, not to mention
the great music--knowing our Cupping pals weren't able to enjoy all that
with us, being stranded up here in frigid, gray Ithaca in January really
gave us the blues," says your esteemed coeditor/ IAJB member Jeff Wells.
And if you believe him, we had an Eskimo Curlew on our fire escape this
morning.
 
:>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>  :>
                         BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS 
                               By Tom Nix
Greetings Fellow Cuppers:
 
     It's a great honor to assume the mantle of writing this Highlights
column here at The Cup. My predecessor has indeed set a high standard,
taking record keeping in the Basin to heights undreamed of.  Thank you,
Steve. I hope merely to give herein just a taste of each month's Basin
birding bounty, to note the unusual occurrences and absences, give kudos to
the lucky Cuppers who saw the rarities and say "nyah nyah nyah" to those who
missed out.
     Remember January '96? Common Redpolls everywhere, Evening Grosbeaks
at feeders throughout the Basin, a record year for Northern Shrikes. Karl
David had Pine Grosbeaks, and there were a few Pine Siskin sightings. A
cooperative Northern Saw-whet Owl spent weeks in the same branch of a Red
Pine in Canoga. Bohemian Waxwings!! This January tells a very different tale.
Winter finches and other northern wanderers have generally stayed away from
the Basin's balmy weather. Instead, we find many lingering half-hardies.
Flocks of robins, a few cowbirds, Swamp and Song Sparrows, Winter Wren, a
few Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruddy Duck and Blue-winged Teal on the Christmas
Count, and Casey Sutton's extraordinary midwinter Gray Catbird at Sapsucker
Woods attest to the mild winter.
     As was the case last year, a 1st-winter Iceland Gull has been
present on the lake, pleasing McIlroy listers with appearances at Stewart
Park. Exciting and bizarre was Stephen Davies' daytime Long-eared Owl on
the ice at Stewart, bringing this year's Basin owl list to 5 species,
including the, um, single observer N Saw-whet found on the CBC. Karl found a
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the Wells College Golf Course for an early
start on his woodpecker list, and an immature Red-headed Woodpecker has
been tethered to a few dying Sugar Maples east of Union Springs all winter.
If you don't tick the Redhead on this year's Cup list you'll have no
excuse. Find Skillet and Ridge Roads in your DeLorme atlas, and look in the
trees just north of the intersection.
     It's been a good January for C Raven sightings, as usual from the
Hammond Hill area, but Mcsightings by Martha Fischer and Steve Kelling are
noteworthy. On the other hand, its been a mediocre month for manure birds.
Only one Lapland Longspur was found, at Center Road, and Horned Larks and
Snow Buntings have been scarce. As I mentioned above, winter finches have
been mostly absent. A notable exception has been Purple Finch, which
staged a major invasion late in the month with reports of 50 to 75 at some
feeders.
     The bird of the month, and therefore, the year so far? Well if I do
say so myself, it must be the Barrow's Goldeneye seen by a lucky three
Cuppers in a raft of 600 or so Common Goldeneyes at Sheldrake.
Unfortunately, the bird remained there for only one day after being found
and was not relocated. Keep checking those rafts of winter ducks, though.
Who knows when the Basin's first Tufted Duck will show up?
                                                                       
(Tom Nix is a Liberal Arts grad turned carpenter, now a Code Inspector for
the City of Ithaca.  He lives serenely within sight of the Seneca Street
parking garage, which may or may not be the reason for his most recent yard
bird: Common Raven.)
 
100      100      100      100      100      100       100       100
                             100 CLUB
100       100      100       100       100       100       100     100
 
                     "CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE"
 
200           200          200          200           200           200
                                2     0    0
     200             200                            200           200
 
                     "CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE"
 
No, it's not a mistake.  Having broken the safety code for number of persons
allowed on the premises, the 100 Club and 200 Club have been forced to shut
down.  No, Tom Nix had nothing to do with it.  In fact, he tried to pull
strings by finding, among other things, a Barrow's Goldeneye, but to no
avail.  So all members have been given the boot--and their binoculars
back--and will be forced to bird their way back to the Big 100 and 200 in
order to regain membership.  By the time that happens, the proposed
expansion on the clubs should be completed.  If not, build yourself a lean-to.
 
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
               1997 DAVID CUP TOTALS
 
84 Tom Nix
73 Stephen Davies
72 Karl David
65 Kevin McGowan
63 Steve Kelling
60 Bard Prentiss
59 Jeff Wells
56 Jay McGowan
54 Anne Kendall-Cassella
53 JR Crouse
53 Allison Wells
52 John Bower
49 Bill Evans
48 Martha Fischer
41 Ken Rosenberg
36 Casey Sutton
34 Jim Lowe
32 Margaret Barker
31 Rob Scott
30 David McDermitt
30 Michael Runge
28 Marty Schlabach
24 Chris Hymes
24 Matt Medler
20 Chris Butler
20 Meena Haribal
13 Cathy Heidenreich
13 Diane Tessaglia
 8 Jane Sutton
 5 Margaret Launius
 0 Ned Brinkley*
 0 Sarah Childs*
 0 Dave Mellinger*
 0 Ralph Paonessa
 0 Larry Springsteen*
 0 Mira the Bird Dog*
 
* Currently living out-of-state but anticipate return to Basin within the
1997 David Cup year.  They have faithfully opted to submit their totals and
do so with great pride. 
 
                 1997 McILROY TOTALS
 
51 John Bower
49 Stephen Davies
49 Bill Evans
49 Steve Kelling
45 Martha Fischer
44 Jeff Wells        
43 Karl David
41 JR Crouse
41 Allison Wells
36 Casey Sutton
30 Michael Runge
27 Jim Lowe
27 Rob Scott
26 Jay McGowan
22 Matt Medler
20 Chris Butler
14 Anne Kendall-Cassella
 8 Jane Sutton
 0 Ned Brinkley* 
 0 Ralph Paonessa
 0 Larry Springsteen*
 0 Mira the Bird Dog*
 
*Currently living out-of-state but anticipating return to McIlroy territory
sometime in the 1997 McIlroy year.  They have faithfully opted to submit
their totals and do so with great pride.
 
LEADER'S LIST  LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
 
By Karl David
 
Repeating his performance as "Mr. January" last year, Tom Nix was once
again well out in front of the pack as the first month of the second
David Cup competition came to its inevitable end. In fact, I would be
doing a disservice to my reputation as "Mr. Stats" if I didn't point
out that his January total, 84, puts him exactly one-third of the way
towards breaking last year's grand total of 251, and it beats last
January's 76 by a whopping 8 birds. Sorry, Tom, but I did once (1995)
have 86 at the end of January.  But this year's 72 is my next best
total, so anything in the 80's really does represent extraordinary
effort, especially in a winter when there seem to be so few birds
(waterfowl excepted) around. Here is Tom's list:
 
Common Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, D-c Cormorant, G B Heron,
Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Am Black Duck,
Mallard, N Pintail, Gadwall, Am Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n
Duck, G Scaup, L Scaup, Oldsquaw, Common Goldeneye, Barrow's
Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, R-b
Merganser, Bald Eagle, N Harrier, S-s Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, R-t Hawk,
R-l Hawk, Am Kestrel, Wild Turkey, Am Coot, R-b Gull, Herring Gull,
Iceland Gull, Great B-b Gull, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, E Screech
Owl, G H Owl, Barred Owl, L-e Owl, N S-w Owl, B Kingfisher, R-h
Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N
Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Horned Lark, Blue Jay, Am Crow, Fish
Crow, B-c Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch,
Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, G-c Kinglet, E Bluebird, Am Robin, Gray
Catbird, N Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Eur Starling, Y-r Warbler, N
Cardinal, Am Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, W-t Sparrow,
D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, B-h Cowbird, Purple Finch,
House Finch, Am Goldfinch, House Sparrow.
 
EDITORS' NOTE: A few of you asked what 1996 David Cup Champion Karl David's
winning bird was: Glaucous Gull, found at the Seneca Meadows Landfill
December 20. For his final Leaders' List, make the following substitutions
to Steve Kelling's November Leader's List (The Cup 1.11):   Drop
White-fronted Goose, Ross' Goose, Surf Scoter, Whip-poor-will, Olive-sided
Flycatcher, Clay-colored Sparrow: 252 - 6 = 246.  Add American Avocet,
Red-necked Phalarope, Forster's Tern, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pine Grosbeak:
246 + 5 = 251.
  
Allison's 200th Mclroy bird was Laughing Gull seen at the city golf course
on December 14th, 1996.
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++   FATHER KARL'S COMPOSITE DEPOSIT     ++++++++++
 
Tom ran out of gas money before he could track down the following
species, which completes the list of species seen in January:
 
R-n Grebe, G-w Teal, B-w Teal, W-w Scoter, Ruddy Duck, R-n
Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, B's Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Y-b Sapsucker,
E Phoebe, C Raven, W Wren, R-c Kinglet, N Shrike, E Towhee, Field
Sparrow, R-w Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, C Grackle, Pine Siskin,
E Grosbeak.
 
That's 22 more birds for a grand January total of 106. We didn't have
a Composite Deposit last January, but at the end of February it was
still only 102, so in effect we're already into early March when
comparing ourselves with last year. Way to go, gang!
 
(Karl David teaches mathematics to students at Wells College in Aurora.  His
favorite formula is the David Cup Victory Theorum: Drop White-fronted Goose,
Ross' Goose, Surf Scoter, Whip-poor-will, Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Clay-colored Sparrow: 252 - 6 = 246.  Add American Avocet, Red-necked
Phalarope, Forster's Tern, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pine Grosbeak: 246 + 5 =
251.)
 
                     !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                     !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !
                     !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
He's not called "Mr. January" for nothin'!  Tom Nix's fabulous first-month
total has not only earned him the admiration of his Cupping colleagues (Karl
was pretty gracious, don't you think?), it's also bestowed upon him The
Cup's first 1997 Kickin' Tail interview. 
 
THE CUP:  Eighty-four Basin birds in one month!  Did you ever in your
wildest bird dreams imagine you could do this?
 
NIX:  My goal for the month was 85. You asked last year whether I thought
100 was possible in January, and I still think not, but somewhere in the
90's is probably reachable, with maybe 100 as an upper limit.
 
THE CUP: Really.  What would the game plan be?
 
NIX:  The way to do it would be to go out January 2 and chase down
everything found on the Christmas count, and go on from there.
 
THE CUP: Last year's 76 was great, Tom, you were Kickin' some mighty Tail
back then, too.  What did you get this year that you didn't get last year?
And are there birds you're missing this year that you got last year?
 
NIX:  The big difference this year was that I was able to tick birds in January
that I didn't find last year until later, birds such as DC Cormorant, Great
Blue Heron, Oldsquaw, Iceland Gull, Red-headed Woodpecker, Am Robin, G
Catbird, Song Sparrow and the like. The only really great bird new to my list is
Barrow's Goldeneye, which is a state bird as well.
 
THE CUP: Congratulations.  We've been informed that Stephen Davies is still
frantically scouring for that bird.  He's gone quite out of his mind,
really.  What were your other moments of particular excitement?
 
NIX:  Finding N Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls was a thrill, too. Last year,
of course, we had all those northern visitors--C Redpoll, E Grosbeak, P
Siskin, Bohemian Waxwing, and Northern Shrike--that we're not finding now.
 
THE CUP: You ain't kidding.
 
NIX: Last year's list included a Wood Duck at Titus Avenue downtown and
Red-necked Grebe from Sheldrake.
 
THE CUP: Last year you started out strong, but in the end, you tied for
sixth with Kevin McGowan, who, we might add, spent a crucial part of the May
migration fiddling and diddling down in New Jersey.  Do you intend to really
go for it this year, to show Karl David, and that young upstart Stephen
Davies what
you're made of?
 
NIX:  Gosh, a year is such a long time, the earth travels all the way around the
sun before its over.
 
THE CUP: It does?
 
NIX:  It's so much easier just to try to be King of January.
It would certainly be presumptuous to try to show Karl, Godfather of Goals,
anything, but I do take great pleasure in being ahead of anybody named
Steve.
 
THE CUP:  How do you feel about Tim Allen playing your part in "Bird Hard:
the David Cup movie?"
 
NIX:  Hey, I wish I had his money!
 
THE CUP: Your prize money for being "Mr. January" should help.  Then there's
the royalties from the calendar, don't forget.  What do you eat for
breakfast that keeps your energy up and helps you maintain that movie star
physique?
 
NIX:  Like Karl Malone, I am a great believer in sticking to a ritual that seems
to work: same T-shirt--
 
THE CUP: Do you smell something...fowl?
 
NIX: --same snack food.
 
THE CUP: Ah, yes, the rugelah. 
 
NIX:  So this year I found Instant Grits down at Wegmans, and the first
morning I tried them I saw the Barrow's, so from now on on big birding days
it's two fried eggs, toast and a mess o' grits.
 
THE CUP: Mmmm (gag).  What do you predict the next "great" Basin bird will be?
 
NIX:  Oh, I don't know, how about Blue Grosbeak? Or Painted Bunting.
Something colorful would be nice.
 
THE CUP: There's hope.  At least you've given us a "colorful" interview.
Thanks, Tom!
 
NIX:  It's been my pleasure. See you next month?
 
THE CUP: We won't hold our breath (unless you're still wearing that same t-
shirt) but we may be "gritting" our teeth. 
 
????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????    PIONEER PRIZE    ????????????????????
????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
 
It's been the decision of the editors to retire this column.  The cost of
David Cup pencils was breaking The Cup's budget, with this expense totaling
a whopping $2.40 last year.  Besides, didn't you read The Cup 1.11?  You're
all pioneers!  Bird hard, bird easy.  Just bird.
 
: >: >  : >    : >     : >       : >           : >               : >
                       CASEY'S CALL
                          By Casey Sutton
: >: >  : >    : >     : >       : >           : >               : >
 
 
This column may be retired, pending homework considerations --and how well
the Knicks do this season.
 
492x837-48576+5764.679/4905%8677-34566.578+0486940
               STAT'S ALL, FOLKS
                 By Karl David
6879403+58673.6978/4857694~58674%x98458.6059679+697
 
Welcome to a new column in the Cup! The editors have foolishly
provided me with a forum to play my numbers games in, and I can't
wait to get started!
 
Q: What was the only bird added to the Cayuga Lake Basin Checklist in
1996? A: Anhinga! Yes, you may or may not have heard that a visiting
birder from Scandinavia saw one in June on Niemi Road; but not
realizing just how rare an occurrence it was, he didn't get the word
out for several months. The new Basin Records Committee accepted the
well-written report.
 
Anhinga is, however, already on the New York State Checklist. That
makes me wonder ... have any birds seen in the Basin constituted the
first record for the state? In perusing our checklist, I would guess
that the most likely candidates would be the two petrels on it:
Black-capped Petrel maybe, and Herald Petrel almost certainly. I
mean, how many Herald Petrels can have been seen in New York? But,
it's always possible that something else weird, like Green-tailed
Towhee or Purple Gallinule, was first seen in the Basin, especially
with all the activity here in the Allen/Kellogg/McIlroy days. Maybe
Dorothy herself has a first state record, for all I know.  If so, she
characteristically never talked about it in my presence.
 
To return to last year's competition, it's just in the nature of
things that everybody missed something they shouldn't have, no matter
how hard they tried. For example, I tried to compile a list from
memory of birds I'd seen 3 or more times before in the 11 previous
years but not last year. It came to 6 birds. When I checked the
records, it was indeed 6, but not the same 6. Two had actually only been
seen twice before: Sedge Wren and White-winged Crossbill. And two I forgot had
actually been seen 3 times: Cattle Egret and Whimbrel. The remaining
four were: Surf Scoter (4), Snowy Owl (5), Connecticut Warbler (7),
and ... most galling ... Olive-sided Flycatcher, for which a perfect
11-for-11 streak finally came to an end.
 
I even guessed the right number of sightings for Snowy Owl; heck, I
could even recall the five locations. You don't forget seeing that
bird. I thought I had more Surf Scoter sightings, but not so. On the
other hand, 7/11 times for Connecticut Warbler seems high, compared
to other folks' experiences. Could I in the early years, before I
became infallible, have miscalled some Mourning or Nashville
Warblers? Perhaps ... but then too, I could have had a McGillivray's
Warbler and not known it, so it kind of evens out, right?
 
One final note on this ... all 6 of these 3/11 or better birds were seen
by someone last year, while the two that ended up just 2/11 were not. 
The law of large numbers prevails once again!
 
The grand total for 1996 (which didn't make it into the Cup 1.12)
ended up at 268 species. To construct a complete official list (i.e.
I don't have the stamina to write it out here), take the Cup
1.11 totals and perform the following operations:
 
(1) REMOVE Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Clay-colored Sparrow. Steve
(the latter) and I (the former) decided to remove those birds from
our lists after review from the Basin Checklist Committee.
 
(2) ADD Anhinga and Snowy Owl. The latter was the only new bird in
December.
 
In addition (if it matters), Parasitic Jaeger becomes jaeger sp., so
you can argue into the small hours of the night whether the total
should be 257 or 258 (257.5 by the editors' way of reckoning). Either way,
it was a great year, and that's a wrap on it, and from here on in this
column will look ahead to 1997 and beyond as the David Cup crosses
that infamous  bridge into the 21st Century!
 
"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
                          SCRAWL OF FAME
"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
                   THIS PARKING SPACE RESERVED
 
(A reminder that this is YOUR space.  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        <
                    <           <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                    <           <  
                     <         < 
                       < < < <
 
Last year in this column, The Cup's coaches birded you through the Basin,
giving  you month-by-month insider tips on where to find what.  Well, that
was just the tip of the Rosenberg.  This time around our coaches will give
you up-to-the- minute help on everything from identifying tough species to
how to make a great peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.  In other words,
they'll be going the extra mile for you--again--and again, they won't put up
with any pushing and shoving.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines...
 
COACH ROSENBERG: Can you believe we're actually doing this again?  Given the
awards I won at the Cupper Supper (Family Time Prize and Homebody Award),
it's a surprise that I was asked by the editors to write another Coach's
Corner.  Then again, coming in fourth in the overall competition with the
strategy of looking out my window maybe isn't all that bad.  As I see it,
the key to planning your David Cup year, especially for those of us who must
balance family, work, and precious birding time, is knowing exactly where to
go, when to go, and what birds to look for versus when it's best to stay
home and watch another episode of Winnie the Pooh.  At this early stage in
the David Cup game, there aren't very many birds in the must-see-now
category.  The year's total so far is made up mostly of common winter birds
that can be seen at your leisure for the next month or two, and which we
will all have another chance at next December. For example, don't expend
precious energy chasing Yellow-rumped Warbler at Hog Hole or that Red-winged
Blackbird hanging around the Lab of O.   There are a few birds currently
with us, however, that you should not take for granted; these are the ones
you should make every effort to see.  Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gull
have been frequent on the ice around Cayuga Lake, and Tom Nix's Red-headed
Woodpecker near Union Springs is not to be taken lightly.  These birds are
certainly not a given in any year.  Make sure you tick off  Purple Finch
while the species is so common at area feeders; these have been entirely
absent in some years. February is also the best month to bin out a Lapland
Longspur, Red-necked Grebe and such rarities in recent years as Ross's and
Greater White-fronted Goose, and Pine Grosbeak.  The top bird this year,
seen by only a lucky few, was the Barrow's Goldeneye.  Tom Nix found this
bird because he was paying attention to detailed field marks and because he
was always on the lookout for the unusual among the common.  It's this
strategy that separates finders of great rarities from the rest of us (like
me) who end up chasing other people's birds.  So don't let yourself be
complacent during these winter doldrums.  Sharpen those identification
skills; search through those rafts of scaup to find the Lessers among the
Greaters--look for the more peaked head shape and shorter wing stripe as the
birds take flight.  Pick through those female mergansers for the occasional
Red-breasted--look especially for a lack of contrast between where the
reddish tufted head meets the grayer breast. Check every loon for the
slightly smaller Red-throated--pay attention for the whiter face and the
up-turned bill. Don't forget:  February and March are the best months to
hear calling owls because these birds typically breed much earlier than
other birds. Barred Owls have been heard recently at Sapsucker Woods and
Ringwood Preserve, and the Mundy Eastern Screech-owl has been making its
presence known.  One final note: don't be deterred by those who have run
around ticking off eighty species in January.  They're having fun doing it,
but they're not as far ahead of the rest of us as one might think. 
 
As for me, I'll just keep looking out my windows at home and work, hoping
for that fly-by Gyrfalcon. 
 
(Ken Rosenberg is the northeast regional coordinator for Partners in Flight,
a coalition of bird conservation groups including the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology. He always spreads peanut butter onto his bread before putting
jelly on the other slice.)
 
                                mmmmm
         mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
                                mmmmm
 
"Most Likely to Succeed in Winning the McIlroy Title in 1997?"  You all
remember this category from the voting ballot for the 1996 Cuppers' Choice
Awards?  Well, no Cupper voted for themselves there...except JOHN BOWER!
Yes, yes, we know it's a democracy and all voting was to be kept secret.
But he's ahead right now and must be stopped.  Spilling the Bower, shall we
say, wasn't the only way we exacted revenge for ringing in ahead of our
McChampion (who just happens to be editor of The Cup--ha!).  Take a read of
what we put him through...
 
THE CUP: John, you've been drooling over the prospect of being McIlroy
leader since this whole thing began.  You've been boastfully projecting
yourself as
victor, cackling maniacally at the idea that anyone but you would be in the
lead in the new year.  How does it feel to finally be here?
 
BOWER: It feels big and like its getting even bigger!  You see, last year I
didn't even start counting until late February.  Using simple math I figure I am
51 divided by 0 times ahead of last year.  Multiplying that by the 12
months of 1997 gives me a really big number (I think).
 
THE CUP: We at The Cup don't do math.  We subcontract it out to
professionals like Karl David.  What was your strategy (i.e., how do you
intend to repay your dog, Tucker, for giving you an excuse to get out?)
 
BOWER: Well, it helped that Allison and Bill Evans were out of town for half
the month (I heard they went together )
 
THE CUP: Really!  Bill must have been trying to lure some McIlroy secrets
from her.
 
BOWER: (--but I wouldn't want to start any rumors) and, of course, having
the flexible schedule of a busy grad student procrastinating before writing
his thesis was helpful. 
 
THE CUP: Yes, the thesis should be secondary.
 
BOWER: Seriously, the key was when I made the commitment to Tucker that I
would only count birds that we both see.  He is really into it!  You should
see him pouring over the bird books on his dog bed at night.
 
THE CUP: Sounds like he could give Mira Springsteen a run for "top dog." Did
you go birding anywhere in January besides your house?
 
BOWER: I go to my neighbor's to borrow some sugar once in awhile.
 
THE CUP: That's sweet.  How does it feel knowing Sylvester Stallone will be
playing your part in "Bird Hard: the David Cup movie"?
 
BOWER: At first I didn't understand why Sylvester was cast for me.  Then as I
spent more and more time in front of the mirror I started to see the
resemblance.  Excellent casting, I must say.
 
THE CUP: What was your "best" McIlroy bird in January?  What do you guess
your best Mcbird will be for the year?
 
BOWER: I didn't see anything too outrageous (that I'm willing to admit to).
I've been enjoying a dozen Purple Finches at my feeders for the last two
weeks. I  guess the pine siskin that spent two days at my feeders was pretty
good, given how few of them seem to be around.  As for my guess, it's got to
be the Golden Eagle who has made my yard list for three years in a row.
 
THE CUP: Sure, rub it in.  John, now listen.  You've got tough McIlroy
competition.  You read in the last issue of The Cup that Bill Evans was
voted most likely to succeed in 1997; you know reigning McIlroy Champion
Allison Wells lives next door to Sapsucker Woods, and that Steve Kelling and
Stephen Davies are all but tethered to Stewart Park.  How, John, how do
you intend to keep ahead of these vicious cut-throats?
 
BOWER: First off, you've got to realize that those guys you mention are all
really old (I've never met Allison but judging by how old Jeff looks she must be
getting on also). 
 
THE CUP: I hear he robbed the cradle.
 
BOWER: If they try to match my pace I fear the Cayuga
Medical Center will be getting a lot of business.  Stewart Park is the key
of course, and some tricks my grandmother taught me should help.  They
mostly involve sand and nails and gas tanks and tires.  My grandmother used
them to dissuade hunters from returning to her posted property, but I bet a
few cleverly placed nails might slow traffic at the lakeshore.  See you
there, Steve(s).
 
THE CUP: We'll have to find out what kind of car you drive, John. But
meanwhile, you realize you haven't officially been interviewed until you
answer our most popular question: What's your favorite color?
 
BOWER: Blood red.
 
THE CUP: You mean CARDINAL red, right?  RIGHT?  Thanks for the interview,
John. 
 
BOWER: Fun questions!  You weren't too hard on me.
 
THE CUP: Wait till next time...if there ever is a next time for you.
 
     ======================================================
                     BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH              
     ======================================================
                         Caissa Willmer
 
You know her as the eloquent theatre critic for the the Ithaca Times. You
know her as the Emily Dickinson of Cayugbirds-L.  Well, starting next issue,
you'll also know her as the Bird Brain Editor for The Cup!  After counting
the ballots for the 1st Annual Cuppers' Choice Awards, we felt obliged to
ask Caissa Willmer to join our editorial staff.  Why, she came in a close
second in the hotly contested Thoreau Award category for most artistic
Cayugabirds postings--and she wasn't even a Cupper then! Given her
outstanding Bird Brain credentials, we asked her to join the Cupping elite
by granting us an interview.  Amazingly, she conceded.
 
WE SAID: First of all, welcome to the 1997 David Cup!  Last year you watched
(and posted) from the sidelines.  What made you decide to become a
full-fledged Cupper this time around?
 
SHE SAID:  Actually, I signed up last year for the David Cup and then slunk
away when I realized how fierce the competition was going to be. (And that
might happen again this year--I haven't been birding at all yet in 1997--and I
hesitate to tell you that because you might revoke the invitation to write
the Bird Brain column. I signed up because I wanted to feel like I belonged
to "the gang" that contributes so blithely to the Cayugabirds listserv!)
I'm a classic example, I'm afraid, of what Steve Kress has dubbed
"a listless birder," in both senses of that phrase. I bird by car and back
porch mainly and IF I have a list at all, it's of those birds that I
consider my "familiars," in the sense both of intimacy and the
witch-craftier implications of that word. I don't count a bird as "mine"
until I know it well, have had a chance to observe it at some length.
Seeing a new (to me) species of sandpiper through a scope at an impossible
distance just doesn't cut it for me, and I don't count it as in any way
"mine," unless I should have the happy occasion of being somewhere where
that bird struts about within a few feet of me and lets me note it at some
length. THAT'S when I consider it my "familiar," and I take its coming
close to me as a sign that the spirit of that bird had decided to reveal
itself to me and to grace my orbit of consciousness.
     That is what I love about birding--the sharpening of the
awareness of my surroundings. I spent ten days in a small village in Mexico
(Ajijic--where D. H. Lawrence wrote one of his most mystical novels)--and
found that a tree outside my house was visited every evening by a raucous
crew of Groove-billed Anis, and I could count them as familiars. Similarly, on a
power line that I could see from the garden, a Vermilion Flycatcher
appeared frequently doing its lovely fly-catcher thing, and I could count
it, too, as my familiar.
        Gosh, I could go on and on like this about the odd bird here and
there that has added color and detail to the routine rhythms of my
existence, but I'd better get on with some other of your questions. But
before I do, I want to share one birding dream I have: a little over a year
ago, I spent a couple of weeks in Antigua, Guatemala, which is marked by
the dramatic presence of Boat-tailed Grackles. They whistle there in a way
that I haven't noticed elsewhere. The first time I heard it, I thought some
person was whistling to gain the attention of a friend down the street, but
it was a grackle, strutting regally and imperiously whistling, and I
thought that I'd like to learn to record bird sounds just to capture the
sound of grackles in Antigua, Guatemala.
 
WE SAID: How and when did you first become interested in birding?
 
SHE SAID: I only know that it wasn't soon enough. I have had the privilege
of living in some pretty marvelous places--West Africa for ten years, for
one--and I was totally oblivious of the birds! This is something that I have
had on my conscience for a long while, and I have finally found the painful
courage to confess it! I am grieved by the knowledge--but I guess I just
wasn't "ready."
Perhaps the birds themselves found me unworthy of their attention! Anyway,
they certainly didn't reveal themselves to me, and there must have been
some marvelous avifauna there.
     I became interested in birding at a very late age--having raised four
children and separated myself from domestic obligations--while living on my
own for the first time in my life and finding myself in a second-floor
apartment in Cortland (mind you). Just outside my kitchen window (and
visible, too, from a substantial porch) was a tall old blue spruce with
sagging arms that sheltered three or more families of house finches every
spring, one robin family, and at the very top, a Blue Jay family. I called
it my bird tenement. And I have written an essay on it, which pleases me
much, but which I've never tried to publish. Also, just outside my "work"
window was a rainspout in which a starling family thrived each year, and on
the far side of the blue spruce ran Otter Creek, which attracted
grackles--I seem to have an affinity for grackles. My familiars from my
Cortland days were those I've already mentioned plus the Northern Flicker,
the redstart, both varieties of kinglet, house sparrows, of course,
white-throated sparrow, and at the feeders on my porch goldfinches, pine
siskins, evening grosbeaks, and chickadees. AND I was content to be excited
about those birds, when I found out about Steve Kress's spring field
course, which I took for three springs running, and it almost ruined my
birding! Oh, I had a wonderful time. I haunted the shores of the
lake--spring and fall--and just about all of the ducks that I could be
expected to find became my familiars, but my house finches became "only
house finches" and my grackles became "only grackles" and the blazingly
handsome blue jays became "only blue jays," and I've had to bring myself
back to a more stubborn celebration of the birds that most closely inform
my everyday existence!
 
WE SAID: Where are you from originally, and how does the birding there
compare with the birding in the Cayuga Lake Basin?
 
SHE SAID: My origins are banal: I grew up in Westport, Conn., unconscious of
the birds except for the robin that always nested in the cedar tree underneath
the upstairs bathroom window. My grandmother put out feeders and used to
croon, "Oh, you beauty," whenever she saw a robin or a thrush, but that's
as close as I got to birding when I was young.
 
WE SAID: What's your favorite place to bird in the Basin?
 
SHE SAID: My favorite place "to bird" when I go out deliberately "to bird"
has been until recently the lake--up the east side on a weekend morning and
round
MNWR then down the west side in the afternoon. BUT since last spring's
remarkable proliferation of warblers in the Stewart Avenue cemetery, that
will certainly be the place that I will haunt this spring--it's all-but-in
my back yard, so all its avian offerings could become my familiars if I
would apply myself--and this is one aspect of birding that I do want to
apply myself to. I do want to get to know "my" warblers. I'm woefully bad at
it so far, however.
 
WE SAID: You recently went to Mexico, although not specifically for birds,
is this right?  Did you in fact get any life birds while you were there?
 
SHE SAID: When I went to Mexico in the early part of January, I had hoped to
do some birding birding after all, but I needed to be able to hook up with
someone knowledgeable, or find some agency conducting tours. I failed on both
counts, however, and sadly. My major aim in going, however, was to be part
of a Spanish language immersion program, and that was a truly extraordinary
experience, and I hope to go again next year. I will have to make some more
inquiries about birding tours or guides, however, because I do not have the
physical capacity to just hike out on my own.
 
WE SAID: You came in second for the Thoreau Award, in the 1996 Cuppers'
Choice Awards. How do you feel about this?  On average, how much time do you
put in on your Cayugabirds postings? 
 
SHE SAID: Ah, my second place in the Thoreau Award--that was heart-warming,
truly. My postings, which you may realize by now, are my way of recording a
new familiarity with some bird or some aspect of a bird that I've had an
opportunity to watch closely--such as those young Mallards that will insist
on making like diving ducks before they learn their rightful place. Some
more circumspect listers wonder at my willingness to exhibit my bird
ignorance so glaringly--I guess I often tend to ask some embarrassingly
obvious questions--but when I get some nice patient answer from Kevin
McGowan or Tom Lathrop I realize that there are others out there who are
grateful that I had the naivety to ask the question after all. And I hope
that my enthusiastic ignorance isn't too galling to the many on the list
who are so avianly expert!
 
WE SAID: You've generously agreed to be The Cup's Bird Brain Editor,
starting next month. Will you be keeping up The Cup's tradition of paying
Bird Brains large sums of money to get them to talk?  If you're not, do you
have other methods to get them to cooperate?
 
SHE SAID: Well, as for compensating future bird brains--silver shekels are
not my thing, BUT I picked up a great number of interesting objects on my
trip to
Mexico--I did all my Hanukkah shopping (for two lovely granddaughters) for
the Hanukkah that's a year away, and picked up a number of other exotic and
colorful items--SO, I may dangle the lure of a hand-carved wooden hot
chocolate beater and a few cakes of marvelous Mexican chocolate before
prospective birders, or I may just tempt them with honeyed words to submit
to their five minutes of fame.
 
WE SAID: We, the editors, are very appreciative of your taking on the
column, but surely there must be something in it for you other than
martyrdom.  After all, you're theatre review column in the Ithaca Times has
already made you a household name.  So pray tell, in what ways do you expect
being Bird Brain Editor to affect opportunities--employment, social,
etc--for you in the future?
 
SHE SAID:  I'm hoping that when Cayugabirders realize how bird brained the
bird brain editor is, they might take pity on her and give her some rigorous
field lessons in warbler identification this spring. I need a teacher much
like John Bower, however, who has a happy way of matching his pace to mine
and has infinite patience.
 
WE SAID: Are you having fun so far, being a Cupper?
 
SHE SAID:  I've been having fun ever since Rob Scott put up the
listserv and gave me something to come to work for. (I won't tell you how
much time I spend on average devising postings for the list!)
 
WE SAID:  What's your favorite bird?
 
SHE SAID: It could be the pair of guinea fowl out on Neimi Road extension or
the pink plastic flamingo up on the silo of the barn that's there, too. But
in the last year or so I've become enamored of Kevin's crows, and I dawdle
on my way to work many mornings, taking a variety of byways that might yield
crow congregations so I can note wing tag numbers and send Kevin a report.
 
WE SAID: Thanks, Caissa!
 
SHE SAID: Hope you're not sorry you asked! Cheers!
 
                         @#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@(
                                   DEAR TICK
                         @#%$^!)$(%*&^>$*%?<!>*%^#*%(*&
 
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...
 
DEAR TICK:
 
I was talking to a friend and fellow Cupper who had recently seen a
Red-winged Blackbird.  No biggy except that it was early January, when
blackbirds are supposed to be down south.  Is there extra credit given to
seeing out-of-season birds?
                                       --Lobbying at the Lab of O
 
Dear Lobbying:
 
Are you sure you want to pursue this?  Look at all the trouble President
Clinton has gotten himself into, with all those foreign lobbyists, I mean,
"guests" making visits during his reelection campaign.  If you want to lobby
for something, lobby for televised coverage of the David Cup--something that
won't complicate your life and that you actually stand a chance of getting.
 
DEAR TICK:
 
I just read everybody's David Cup and McIlroy Award totals. Truly awesome.
I have a question, though. How did Bill Evans get his .5 bird (his David
Cup total=221.5, McIlroy Award total=184.5) Whenever I see .5 bird,  I can
usually identify it and count it as 1.0 bird...especially when the .5 was
the front .5. I have a harder time identifying the bird from its other .5,
but maybe I ought to be giving it a stab (i.e., my best guess) and counting
that as my .5 bird. Or maybe he counted a dream bird? Or maybe out of just
one of his eyes?
                                         --Sleepy in Ithaca
Dear Sleepy:
 
Dream birds are just that: dreams.  They're not gonna get ya .5, .25, or
anything else.  To even suggest they're worth anything more than a few hours
sleep is  preposterous. We've had this discussion before, Sleepy.  Didn't
somebody read my fax at the Cupper Supper? Now, as I understand it, Bill
Evans' .5 bird was one of two situations: 1)  Evans captured a strange sound
on one of his night migration tapes, and uncertain whether the noise was a
truck backfiring or the call note of a Connecticut Warbler, gave the bird
only a half-tick, or 2) he saw a bird that he could identity to genus but
not to species (say, a jaeger species).  From what I hear about Evans, the
first option seems more likely.
 
(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at jw32@cornell.edu)
 
 
            """""""""       CUP QUOTES      """"""""
 
"Thanks for yet another spectacular effort on The Cup!  I look
forward to it every month....Birding in California will definitely not
be as good, even if by chance I do see more birds."
 
                                        --Dave Mellinger
 
"Super edition! I loved it!!! But check out this list:
TOM HANKS as Ralph Paonessa
MCCAULEY CULKIN as Jay McGowan
JIM CAREY as Chris Hymes
JERRY SEINFELD as Larry Springsteen
BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD as James Barry and Matt Medler
BART SIMPSON as Justin Childs
Does it strike you as odd that all us  whipper-snappers' are played by
comedians? Just what are you trying to imply?  :^)  P.S.. Robin Williams? Ya
think so? As in  Dead Poet's Society' or  Mrs. Doubtfire'?  Hopefully *NOT*
 Mork-and-Mindy'.   :^)"
                                                     --Kurt Fox
 
"I am dying to see [ Bird Hard: the David Cup movie' See The 1.12].  I heard
that the actors playing Beavis and Butt-head got nominated for Oscars..."
 
                                                     --James Barry (Beavis)
 
"About Sylvester Stallone.   Well, I guess being played by him is not
so bad, at least in the physical aspects.  Susie might even prefer him to
the real thing!"
                                                      --John Bower
 
"I was chatting with my friend Dan Scheiman this evening, when he
proudly announced that his part in the upcoming movie  Birdhard' would by
played by Michael J. Fox. Seeking an explanation, I ambled on over to his
computer and looked at his e-mail. I read The Cup 1.12 - it was
fantastic! I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed some more. ;) Anyway,
this competition sounded sort of interesting, so I thought that I'd like
to join too. Sign me up please!"
                                                       --Chris Butler
 
"Your tantalizing notices finally got me hooked. I understand that
both the David and McIlroy cup boundaries have been interpreted with
enterprise, and as a Town of Ithaca taxpayer in the greater Cayuga Lake
Basin (ie, Atlantic watershed), I humbly submit this petition for
provisional permission to share in the readership of your exalted journal."
                                                        --Randy Little
 
"Now you have really done it.  Not often do I take time to read for the joy
of reading, William Safire's column excepted.  Now I am inexorably com-
pelled to make a second exception: The Cup.  Can just imagine the chaos
in Birdland Bistro, though it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish fact from
fiction at this distance..."
 
                                                        --Randy Little
 
"Saw your CAYUGABIRDS-L message saying [The Cup's] out there,
but nothing yet in my mailbox...Address has changed recently, so maybe
that's got something to do with it. Please send pronto, as I can hardly
contain myself with anticipation for knowing the final results."
                                                         --Andy Leahy
 
"I've been standing on the sidelines too long. Sign me up for the 1997
David Cup!  I'll only be here until July, but I could see a lot of birds
before then.  So, why not? Thanks for your great effort in making
The Cup one of my favorite monthly readings!  Bon Voyage to Aruba!"
 
                                                         --J.R. Crouse
 
"Hey, welcome back to the Great Gray North, you fools - don't you wish you
could just get stranded down there in Paradise?"
                                                         --Tom Nix
 
"Of course, I re-up for David and McIlroy for 1997 ... especially
since I already have Barrow's Goldeneye, hah-hah, thanks to Tom Nix."
 
                                                          --Karl David
 
"Hi Tom, thanks for the Barrow's...For those still looking
an additional aid that helps differentiate between the Common and the
Barrows is to stand your Peterson Guide up and walk 10-15 feet away.
A naked-eye look from that distance helps you to better understand what
you are looking for. I recommend extreme patience. It took
me 3 hours to get a really good look."
                                                          --Bard Prentiss
 
"My David Cup aspirations are being overshadowed at the moment
by a tormenting desire to add Northern Saw-whet Owl and Barrows Goldeneye
to my life list.  Looks like Tom Tix is the birder to watch - most of my
year birds have come as a result of chasing his finds! By the way, I've
really enjoyed The Cup so far. It's a lot of fun to read. "
                                                          --Stephen Davies
 
"Would you believe that I saw THREE birds on 1 Jan that would
have been additions to my 1996 McIlroy list!?  THREE!!!!  Fortunately,
I still managed to stay ahead of Bill Evans!"
                                                         --Kevin McGowan
 
"Welcome back from warmer climes.  While you have been gone I have been
racking up an insurmountable McIlroy lead, but we'll leave that till later."
 
                                                         --John Bower
 
"Cool!  My office feeder is a McFeeder!!!  So I have McPUFIs :-)...
but here are my otherwise lame totals.."
                                                         --Rob Scott
 
"After several minutes of calculations, I have been able to demonstrate
that my David Cup total for 1/97 is ... zero! The derivation of my
McIlroy Cup totals is left as an exercise for the reader."
 
                                                         --Ralph Paonessa
 
"Yup, I'd like a copy of  the rules'.  Guess I should make sure I know what
I've gotten myself into.  Can't bend the rules if you don't know what they
are.  Like they say: Rules are like a rubber band.  A little stretching is
good and intended.  But if stretched too far, they break."
 
                                                         --Marty Schlabach
 
"What?!  There are  rules' for the David Cup and McIlroy Award?  I
thought it was just a big free-for-all."
                                                         --Matt Medler
 
"Great fun watching sleeping scaup bobbing in the waves and being
twirled about by wind gusts- they looked just like my son's bathtub toys
when he decides to make stormy weather."
                                                         --John Greenly
 
"I'll have to contact Ken Rosenberg to get tips on  Family Outings'
--I wonder if he has special ideas for birding with an infant (perhaps,
 Stroller Rides' at Stewart Park that might coincide with the
appearance of an Iceland Gull?)"
                                                         --Michael Runge
 
"We have a flock of around 50 Purple Finches coming to
our feeder now...Also, 25 Mourning Doves and loads of very
piggy Bluejays."
                                                         --Laura Stenzler
 
"This is the best list I've had in January in years!"
 
                                                   --Anne Kendall-Cassella
 
"An FYI - my last name is spelled Launius not Lanius (though
Bruce assures me the name really is spelled w/o that first u; he just
want's to be a SHRIKE)."
                                            --Margaret (Launius) in Mansfield
 
"There was a second year Bald Eagle, soaring along the shoreline,
putting up the ducks. I followed it north to Levana in my truck and
was amazed to follow it for perhaps a mile as it flew, without flapping
at all, into the wind, at an average of 20 miles an hour. Tell me again
how they do that?"
                                                          --Tom Nix
 
"Flubber."
                                                          --Steve Kelling
 
"My January total is 20! That excludes all the birds I saw in Venezuela."
 
                                                          --Meena Haribal
 
"It's kind of tough when your not in the Basin for the entire month!"
                                                          --Larry Springsteen
 
"We will not be able to attend the Cupper Supper (sigh, sigh). Although
we know we are missing the ultimate chance to make our premier
entrance into the coveted birding circle of the Cayuga Basin and meeting
all of the folks who binned and scoped their way to the top- we had prior
plans and will be out of town (sniffle, sniffle, sob....sigh). We'll be
enviously thinking of you all and wishing we were there- we've already
blocked off the month of January 1998 so we won't miss the 2nd annual Cupper
Supper-and who knows...with a new pair of bins...maybe...maybe...top of the
heap
here I come!"
                                                         --Cathy Heidenreich
 
"...A hearty round of applause.  [The Cupper Supper] was the social event of
the season!"
                                                         --[Dr.] Beloved Elaine
 
"I've gleaned highlights of the competitions and Cup articles from various
sources, but now my curiosity has gotten the better of me.  I need to
subscribe to find out who was Best Dressed (probably Bill Evans), etc.
Subscribe me!!"
                                                         --Annette Finney
 
"Please subscribe me to The Cup. Your posts on Cayugabirds are just
too interesting to pass up, even though I already get more mail than I can
read. Thanks."  
                                                         --Michael Thomas
 
"Sign me up for the David Cup/McIlroy Award contest.  In the past, I've
refused to do any listing, but have now decided it can't be all bad.
January total: 0.  Just wait 'til February!"
                                                          --Dave Mellinger
 
May Your Cup Runneth Over,
 
Allison and Jeff