Year 1, Issue 7
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* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy
* Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells
* Editorial Assistants: Sarah Childs, Justin Childs
* Costume Designer: Jeff Wells
* Laugh Track Engineer: Sarah Childs
* Catering Specialist: Justin Childs
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NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
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"It's like watching the David Cup!" These profound words were spoken by The
Cup's own Jeff Wells during the Olympic Women's Cycling recap. And he
wasn't kidding. The map was laid out, the competitors lined up then were
off and birding, er, cycling. There were the contenders, shifting positions
like so many Japanese Beetles maneuvering for your favorite rose. There was
the impeccable precision, a few wipe-outs--all there, every time, in fact,
that we tuned in for the grand Olympic Games. Jam-packed with adrenalin,
valiantly vim and vigorous, the 1996 Olympic Games were delightfully
dizzying, monstrously magnificent, giddyingly gargantuan, perfectly
patriotic, beautifully breathtaking. But there, friends, is where the
Because the Olympics are over. Gone. Poof. Vanished, in the flap of a
As for the David Cup/McIlroy competitions, they've merely bounded over one
more hurdle. Unlike the fly-by-night fun-and-games of the Olympics, the
David Cup is here to stay. Go ahead, gloat. You've trained hard for this
and now it's paying off. Cuppers have demonstrated the stamina to withstand
Sapsucker Woods in July, Montezuma in early August. They'll be no silver
medals here, we're going for the gold of a Golden Plover.
But don't be too hard on the Olympic athletes, though. They misguidedly
threw there lives away on more conservative sports--wrestling, boxing, the
hammer throw. In fact, it's in their honor that the editors of The Cup bid
you partake of The Cup 1.7. No, it has nothing to do with winning favor
with the Olympic Committee so that the David Cup will be officially included
in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sidney. Why, we'd have to go birding in
Australia! We ask you to read on in the name of good sportsmanship, to
prove that we can still be gracious, considerate, generous, even though our
sport soars high above all the rest.
WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Believe it or not, the David Cup Welcoming
Committee is still busy at the door. The latest to skitter in is one Mary
Catherine Heidenreich, who said, "I mistakenly thought since I work in
Geneva and live in Lyons that the Cayuga Lake Basin was out of my territory
so to speak, but I see from the map given in Steve K's web site that perhaps
I am not so far away from it as I first thought. Looks like Montezuma is
within the Basin--I go there quite often as well as to Waterloo, Seneca
Falls and Clyde. Perhaps I could be of help with sightings or even
participate in one of those 'friendly' list competitions after all."
Further, and more importantly, she had some kind words about The Cup, which
has resulted in her acquiring prime real estate in this issue's Cup Quotes.
Then there is Justin Childs, 10-year-old nephew to the Wells and cousin to
fellow Temporary Cupper Sarah Childs. Justin, who hails from Maine, has
learned some important things during his two-week visit in Ithaca: 1)
Cornell is a big, big school 2) Robert Treman Park is a fun place to swim 3)
visiting nieces and nephews either go birding whenever the notion overtakes
their beloved auntie and uncle or else find themselves tied to the hood of a
Chevy Nova and catching mosquitos with their entire bodies from here to
Myer's Point. Fortunately for Justin, he came at the end of July.
PRESIDENT CUPPER: Mary Catherine Heidenreich and Justin Childs weren't the
only ones trying to squeeze into the David Cup in this past month.
President Clinton begged for admittance into the competition when he
released a rehabilitated Bald Eagle into the air on the 4th of July, under
the guise of celebrating something or other at some fancy-pants military
academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Although he has gained some favor with
those Cuppers who don't yet have Bald Eagle for their lists, Maryland is
just too far outside the Basin for the tick, and Mr. President is still only
at the threshold of the competition. Sorry, Bill, maybe next month.
STOP, THIEF!: Imagine Justin Childs' surprise when he opened the door on the
morning of August 12 and came face to face with a cop--looking for his Uncle
Jeff! No kidding! For all of an hour and a half, Cupper Jeff Wells was a
wanted man. His story is that after buying $5 worth of gas at a local
convenience store, he was in such a hurry to meet his wife at the Dryden
garage where they were dropping off their "good" car, that he forgot to pay
for the gas. Of course, if his story were true, why, then, was he overheard
by Lab employees muttering, "I would have got away with it if it weren't for
that pesky clerk."
SPIES T: It didn't look good. Given the considerable drop in birding
activity again this past month, we at The Cup didn't think we were going to
get any tips about who was doing what in their David Cup T. But then our
spies happened upon Bill Evans at Purity Ice Cream a few nights ago. Bill,
they tell us, was pointing what was first thought to be a gun at a few of
the customers. Turns out, it was a microphone. Bill was apparently trying
to record a peculiar-sounding chip as part of his night migration recording
research. It wasn't until an angry customer shoved a two-scooper into
Bill's left ear that he realized Mint Chip is a flavor of ice cream, not a
description of a night flight bird call. Bill temporarily lost his hearing
in that ear, but at least his David Cup T was spared.
BIRD CUP BLUES: Karl David's no fool. He recently took his own advice
about combining "family time" and birding by checking out the Cupper-laden
Ithaca Ageless Jazz at Wagner Vineyards. There, he and his beloved Elaine
sampled not only the fruits of the vine but also, among other tasty jazz
styles, some steamin' blues. Here's Karl's obligatory report: "On Sunday,
July 21, with my beloved Elaine in tow, I bravely drove out of the Basin to
hear the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band play for the crowd at the Alta B Festival
at Wagner Vineyards in Lodi. Of course, I was happy to see Jim Lowe, Jeff
Wells and particularly Allison Wells on the bandstand, because (funny how
symmetry works) it meant they were out of the Basin, too. We merry
picnickers spread our blanket on the lawn, got out the food, bought some
wine and settled back to let the mellow tones of Jim's trombone and Jeff's
trumpet wash over them. But things really got hot during the second set,
when the band's torch singer, Allison, got up to give her sizzling rendition
of several avian favorites, including "I Can't Give You Anything but
Lovebirds, Baby" and "Making Whooper Swans". After the smoke cleared and
the set was over, we joined the band during its break and met Allison's
charming niece, Sarah, newest member of the David Cup clan. We were much too
polite to inquire after the state of her feet, she having just danced with
Jeff during the previous set, the damage of which being
well concealed under the game face she had on. We parted on good terms; any
Black Vulture or Mississippi Kite they wanted to see that close to the
shores of Seneca Lake was OK by me. We left, happy we'd come ... but the
band played on ." (And, as you'll find out in this month's Pilgrim's
Progress, so did Karl!)
:> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :>
After a month of sleep, trendmaster Steve Kelling's back and he's better
than ever. Maybe next month, we can convince him to use a little Scope, ah,
BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS
Birding highlights for July in the Cayuga Lake Basin can be summarized by
one word: shorebirds. The movement of shorebirds south from their breeding
grounds began early this year. Fifteen species of shorebird were reported in
July in the Basin. The first sightings were made at MNWR during the first
week of July. These included a Short-billed Dowitcher of the more inland and
western subspecies, hendersoni, which was observed by several up through
July 18th. Also of particular note was the American Avocet observed by Karl
David at Myers Point, and two Baird's Sandpipers again observed by Karl at
Myers, a very early date for Baird's. It should be noted that probably all
of the shorebirds observed in migration in July are adults. The juveniles
will begin to arrive in mid-August.
Now for a bit of controversy. About these Trumpeter Swans (4) seen at MNWR
in July: where did these things come from? Some evidence suggests that
these may be escaped birds from a local duck breeder. Evidently, there is a
fairly large private wildlife sanctuary north of MNWR, owned by one of the
Pyramid Mall developers. Trumpeter Swans were introduced there several
years ago and a population of about 18 currently exists on this preserve.
It is very possible that those swans appearing at the MNWR refuge are from
this preserve. Unfortunately, the
birds do not appear to be banded (at least I did not see any bands on two of
the birds), so there origins are difficult to trace. This may also explain
some of the other regional observations of Trumpeter Swans whose origins are
EDITORS' NOTE: Trumpeter Swans have also been introduced by government
officials in Ontario, another possible source for these visitors. The ABA
rules, which the David Cup would follow in this case, say that an introduced
species must be established for a certain number of years before it can be
counted. The David Cup committee will work to clarify countability of these
swans by the next issue of The Cup.
(Steve Kelling is the field notes editor for the Kingbird, Region 3. He
teaches Cornell undergraduates the mysteries of physics and one day expects
the outskirts of his property to be converted into a trailer park, overseen
by his son Sam.)
100 100 100 100 100 100 100
100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Before you all get too worried about why Tom Lathrop is still on the wrong
side of the 100 Club wall, let us assure you that at least now we know why:
his directions to the Club are kaflooey. For example, let's say he needs to
go out and get groceries. Tom, who lives in Rochester, has been heading off
on St. Paul Boulevard to the nearest Wegman's, in the heart of the city.
What he should be doing is taking Route 390 to the thruway (I-90),
continuing east to Montezuma, stopping at the main pool tower only long
enough to scope the waterfowl there, then bird-cruising the autoloop,
followed by a careful scan of May's Point Pool, zooming off on Route 89 to
Route 105 to the Savannah Mucklands for a shorebird check, then motoring
back to the thruway to Route 390 to St. Paul Boulevard to the nearest
Wegman's. If Tom did these simple directions every time he had an errand to
run, he'd be not only in the 100 Club but the 200 Club as well. Tom, stop
making this so hard for yourself. Hurry up and get in here--and bring some
more Molson, will you?
200 200 200 200 200 200
2 0 0
200 200 200 200
It was a real challenge getting Jay McGowan into the 200 Club this month.
Not because Clubbers didn't want him in there. Au contraire! They couldn't
wait to see what kind of cake he'd baked for the occasions. It was his dad,
Kevin, that was blocking the door. Kevin, who quit his job DJ-ing over at
the 100Club for the superior CD players at the 200 Club, was a little
nervous that the blues he's been playing here were a too risque' for his
son's tender ears--until Jay flatly reminded his dear old pop that it's the
same exact music he hears at home, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a
year. At least when his mom's not home.
All that, though, came after the Rite of Passage, which all 200 Club
candidates must endure (see The Cup 1.5). What was Jay's test of
--posed as a Stilt Sandpiper for three days in the hot sun at Canoga Bait
Ponds. NOTE: Jay got extra credit for successfully convincing at least one
of his authenticity. Cupper Ralph Paonessa recently reported Stilt
Sandpiper to Cayugabirds-l.
Bird 200: Great Egret
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, or how you play the game, as long as
you're in the David Cup race."
--Allison Wells, The Cup 1.2 (March,1996)
"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, or how you play the game, as long as
you're in the David Cup race...until you get bumped off by some pun-loving,
pseudo-feminist birding macho man."
--Allison Wells, The Cup 1.7 (August, 1996)
1996 DAVID CUP JULY TOTALS 1996 DAVID CUP JUNE TOTALS
231 Karl David 229 Allison Wells
230 Allison Wells 226 Karl David
227 Tom Nix 222 Tom Nix
224 Steve Kelling 221 Jeff Wells
224 Jeff Wells 220 Steve Kelling
221 Bard Prentiss 220 Bard Prentiss
220 Kevin McGowan 215 Scott Mardis
215 Scott Mardis 215 Kevin McGowan
214 Ken Rosenberg 210 Chris Hymes
212 Chris Hymes 202 Ken Rosenberg
212 Ralph Paonessa 195 Jay McGowan
201 Jay McGowan 193 Ralph Paonessa
191 Meena Haribal 185 Bill Evans
191 Casey Sutton 185 Casey Sutton
185 Bill Evans 184 Meena Haribal
182 Anne James 173 Anne James
176 John Bower 172 John Bower
173 Larry Springsteen 171 Larry Springsteen
168 Martha Fischer 168 Martha Fischer
154 Michael Runge 153 Diane Tessaglia
153 Diane Tessaglia 152 Rob Scott
152 Kurt Fox 151 Michael Runge
152 Rob Scott 144 Kurt Fox
124 Jim Lowe 124 Jim Lowe
105 Dan Scheiman 105 Dan Scheiman
93 Tom Lathrop 74 Tom Lathrop
77 Sarah Childs
34 Justin Childs
EDITORS' NOTE: Some totals include Trumpeter Swan; others do not (Karl's,
Allison's, Jeff's). Their's is not a political statement meant to influence
whether or not the swans should be counted, but rather a way to offer hope
to those of you counted but are still dragging behind.
1996 McILROY AWARD JULY TOTALS JUNE TOTALS
185 Allison Wells 184 Allison Wells
172 Jeff Wells 170 Jeff Wells
171 Kevin McGowan 167 Kevin McGowan
159 Ken Rosenberg 154 Ken Rosenberg
155 John Bower 152 John Bower
153 Larry Springsteen 149 Scott Mardis
149 Scott Mardis 149 Larry Springsteen
148 Jay McGowan 145 Jay McGowan
144 Karl David 142 Tom Nix
142 Tom Nix 140 Karl David
133 Casey Sutton 132 Martha Fischer
132 Martha Fischer 129 Casey Sutton
131 Chris Hymes 128 Rob Scott
128 Rob Scott 125 Chris Hymes
111 Jim Lowe 111 Jim Lowe
111 Michael Runge 111 Michael Runge
105 Bill Evans 105 Bill Evans
55 Diane Tessaglia 55 Diane Tessaglia
42 Sarah Childs
27 Justin Childs
LEADER'S LIST LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
We in the David Cup have become quite worried about Karl. His slacker
approach to birding has been increasing these last few months, and now he's
really become a peep on a log. Has anyone told him that twice a day at Myers
Point, weekly trips to Montezuma, that this just doesn't cut it? Karl, if
you're listening, please, start putting in some SERIOUS birding time. For
heaven's sake, you work at Wells College in Aurora, you're halfway to
Montezuma, you should be spending your lunch hour there! Any of the rest of
us would, you know. And have you considered pre-breakfast "family time"
with Elaine at Stewart Park? Good Glory, you're just up the hill from the
lake! Look, we'll run your Leader's List this month, but please keep in
mind that if you really want to win this thing, you're going to have to
start working for it.
C. 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, S. 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, 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,
R-n Pheasant, R. Grouse, W. Turkey, V. Rail, Sora, C. Moorhen, A. Coot,
B-b Plover, S. Plover, Killdeer, A. Avocet, G. Yellowlegs, L. Yellowlegs,
Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper,
Marbled Godwit, R. Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least
Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper,
Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, S-b Dowitcher, A. Woodcock,
Little Gull, B.Gull, R-b Gull, H. Gull, Iceland Gull, L. B-b Gull,
G. B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern,
R. Dove, M. Dove, B-b Cuckoo, Y-b Cuckoo, E. Screech-Owl,
G. H. Owl, S-e Owl, N. S-w Owl, 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, E. Wood-Pewee, 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, 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, Field
Sparrow, V. Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, G. Sparrow, Henslow's
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. Grosbeak, P. Finch, H. Finch, R. Crossbill, C. Redpoll, H. Redpoll,
P. Siskin, A. Goldfinch, E. Grosbeak, House Sparrow
Total: 231 species + Trumpeter Swan
Add to Karl's list (above) the following species and you'll have the
entire list of birds seen in January, February, March, April, May, June, and
Ross' Goose, Surf Scoter, Whimbrel, Stilt Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Laughing
Gull, Glaucous Gull, Barred Owl, Whip-poor-will, Olive-sided Flycatcher,
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo,
Total: 246 species (+ Trumpeter Swan)
! KICKIN' TAIL! !
What better way to prove that you deserve the title "Father of the Madness"
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, sleep-walked and otherwise made
his/her way to the top of the David Cup list.
At long last, Karl David, as in David Cup, is the whipped cream on top of
many Sundays of birding. Herewith, his chance to gloat, advise, enlighten,
and most importantly to him, to pun till his heart's content. WARNING: some
puns may not be appropriate for ages 31 and younger.
THE CUP: Okay, Karl, this monster, the David Cup, is named after you, yet
it's taken you till the lousy month of August to make it to the top. For
that, the rest of us deserve to know: WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?
DAVID: While other boys were discovering girls, I was discovering ...
I didn't have a serious girlfriend until I was 24, and I didn't get married
until I was 29. I'm a slow starter ... but look out for my finishing kick!
THE CUP: Perhaps we should ask Elaine about that? Maybe not. But since
we're already talking pressure to perform, tell us, has being irrevocably
crowned "Father of the Madness," forced you to carry the burden to excel?
DAVID: I don't know if I was kidding anyone, besides myself, when I
publicly proclaimed that my efforts last year had exhausted me and that I
would just be sitting back bemusedly to watch the fun this year. Actually,
I might have fooled Scott Mardis (see his Kickin' Tail interview, The Cup
1.4), but probably no one else. I really did hold to my resolve for a
while, and it shows in the fact that I missed Ross' Goose and Glaucous Gull
early on as a result of rather desultory efforts to find them. But I think
the fatal corner was turned when Steve and Tom found the Saw-whet Owl in
Canoga. I missed it last year, and once I got it there was no turning
THE CUP: Yes, and that commitment came through in a big way in your Coach's
Corner last month. Come to think of it, did being last month's Coach have
anything to do with your victory this month?
DAVID: Of course. If you reread the column, you'll see how I lulled the
leader into complacency by implying that Great Egret was just about the only
year bird you could reliably expect for the month. Was that prophetic,
THE CUP: Prophecy is in the eye of the beholder, and I've got a few of those
of my own. But I won't go into them now. Instead, why tell us about any life
birds you've gotten in the Basin this year?
DAVID: The closest to a life bird in the Basin has been Trumpeter Swan.
Otherwise, there's only the Tufted Duck in Rochester in January. So many of
us went to see it, I understand Rochester Harbor is being declared an
official Basin enclave for this year only. I certainly hope so, since it
would also give me Glaucous Gull.
THE CUP: You mean Ralph Paonessa's inflatable Glaucous Gull? Oh, that's
right, it wasn't a Glaucous Gull it was a Ross' Goose. Any new Basin birds?
DAVID: New Basin birds for me this year are American Avocet, Marbled Godwit
and Hoary Redpoll.
THE CUP: You mean the Stenzler's lifelike hand-carved Hoary Redpoll? I
decided not to count that and you shouldn't count it, either. By the way,
how does the amount of time you've spent birding this year compare to years
DAVID: I'm in heavy denial on this one.
THE CUP: You should make an appointment with my therapist, Dr. Birding N.
Lovinit [see The Cup 1.6]. I'll give you the number after the interview.
Anyway, you were saying?
DAVID: Let's call it "comparable" or "same order of magnitude" and not
question what that means too closely. Please.
THE CUP: I think we all know darned well what that means. Which leads to my
next question. We know from your Bird Brain feature [see The Cup 1.1] that
you're into statistics. Can you give us some of your interesting personal
DAVID: For a few years after moving to Ithaca and checking Myers Point
regularly, I thought I was onto something concerning Sanderling arrival
dates for the year: they were all concentrated in a very narrow window
around the end of July (and indeed, recall the two that were present on July
31 this year). But this pattern broke down the last couple of years, as I
started to also get them in the spring and again in early July. A pattern
that may mean more is that all of my spring arrival dates for Double-crested
Cormorant in the 90's are earlier than all such dates for the 80's. But
then again, as someone pointed out when I posted this observation, it may
well just represent expected random "noise" in the system. Collect enough
data and anomalies HAVE to manifest
themselves eventually. A similar seeming paradox concerns the sighting of
unusual birds: others are right to be skeptical of any particular such
on the other hand, a list compiled over many years that had no unusual
on it would in itself be most unusual. You can't predict which accidental
species will occur in a given year, but you can predict that some three or
four will in fact occur.
THE CUP: What's your favorite color?
DAVID: The beautiful charcoal gray on the upperparts of a Lesser
Black-backed Gull or the tail bands of a Merlin.
THE CUP: I wouldn't know, I haven't seen either yet this year. But I don't
suppose I need to remind you of that. So you think you can stay on top?
Oh, don't worry about being gracious. This is The Cup, remember.
DAVID: I may have a tough decision to make come September:
go for the win, or take my job seriously. Unfortunately for me, I've
been drafted to chair the major personnel committee this year.
THE CUP: All right! Yahoo! I mean, I'm sorry to hear that. Please, go on.
DAVID: My competitors need to pray for lots of political infighting at
this fall. Connecticut Warblers will be hard to spot in the shrubbery
outside the emergency meeting room windows, but that doesn't mean I
won't be trying (only during the coffee breaks, of course).
THE CUP: Of course. You know, for the June issue you wrote a Scrawl of Fame
where you almost pulled off a pro female-as-Kickin'-Tail-leader performance.
Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to just push that fragile woman
aside with that evil "ha!ha!ha!" you've been cackling all over the Basin
DAVID: Gee, I thought that was a very penetrating analysis I gave for the
Scrawl of Fame, the main thrust of which may be destined one day to be
called "seminal" in the emergent femi-birding literature. The way I see it,
the former leader needed a gentle, nurturing reminder that she's not home
free for the year just yet. As a teacher of young women, it's my job to
inspire them to reach for ever-greater heights. Sometimes you can only do
that by showing off a little yourself. But I agree with you, it's hard to
be seen as soaring like an eagle when you're cackling like a rooster all
over the Basin. I'll try to be more subtle.
THE CUP: Thank you. And by that I presume you mean we won't be interviewing
you for Kickin' Tail next month. But before you go, can you tell us, what
is the meaning of life?
DAVID: To give you hope that in your next incarnation, you'll be a bird.
THE CUP: Wow! Now here's that phone number I promised--Karl? Hey, Karl!
(We're talking HEAVY denial...)
??????????????????????? PIONEER PRIZE ????????????????????????????????
The editors of The Cup, through statistically significant birding polls and
by decoding slurps made by Cuppers sipping iced mochaccino, 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 on a Scrabble board.
We, the editors of The Cup, hereby bestow July's Pioneer Prize to Karl
David. Karl set an excellent example this month for other Cuppers by
proving that July is worth birding. At least, that Myers Point is. At
least, in the wee hours of morning, when everyone else is just dropping off
to dreamland after a sleepless night battling stifling heat.
Karl, your devotion to the sport--and rip-roaring desire to be Kickin' Tail
King once and for all--have paid off for you. In honor of your American
Avocet, Baird's Sandpipers, and minute-by-minute Myers shorebird reports, a
prestigious David Cup Pioneer Prize Pencil goes to you, this time, in teal
BLUE! (By the way, we appreciate your prompt notification, but next time
you find something unusual, would you please tether it down so the rest of
us can see it, too?)
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PHOTO NOT AVAILABLE
Make that, "Casey's Call is on a one-month hiatus. Look for it
next month, in The Cup 1.8"
(Casey Sutton, who initiated and writes this column on his own, will be a
seventh grader this fall at DeWitt Middle School. He is currently
unavailable for comment.)
< COACH'S CORNER <
< < < <
He was our very first fearless leader, and our third fearless leader, and a
strong David Cup contender every month since and in-between. Allison has in
fact been peering over her shoulder at him, trembling with panic, since
moving into medal contention, which, needless to say, enabled Karl David to
stride in closer to the gold and push her back to silver. But don't think
for a minute that Tom is out buying a new wardrobe to go with a bronze
medal. No, he may be this month's Coach, but he's also a player. Here's the
advice he's giving himself on how to go for the gold:
COACH NIX: Those of you who have kept up with the progress of the David Cup
competition may be wondering, why take advice from one who after good start,
has steadily fallen behind the leaders? Ah, yes! Good point, but you see,
this could be precisely the right place to be. In a maneuver something like
"drafting" in a bicycle race (the tactic of staying close behind the
competitor ahead of you to lessen wind resistance and thereby save energy),
one could shadow the David Cup leaders, letting them break trail and do the
heavy lifting. The problem is you have to get up pretty early in the
morning to shadow Karl "the Father of the Madness" David--see how he scooped
us all with an avocet (!) at Myers Point while we were all still deciding
what cereal to have for breakfast? Or note how recent front runner Allison
The Editor Wells made her move during torrential rains back on International
Migration Day while wimps sought shelter and the pros sought Jersey glory?
Finding the leaders in August will be easy--by day, they'll all be at
Montezuma. For in August, the trickle of shorebirds heading south swells
into a river, and if there is going to be any stopover habitat for
shorebirds in the Basin, 99% of it will be at the wildlife refuge at the
north end of the lake. As many as 25 species of sandpipers and plovers may
be seen at Montezuma in the month of August, and there is always the
possibility of a real rarity such as the Ruff found last year by the Editors
Wells on August 21. In recent years, the refuge managers have lowered water
in Mays Point Pool in mid-August to create that vast mud flat perfect for
such sought-after species as Stilt Sandpiper, a couple of phalarope
species, Black-bellied and Golden Plovers, and the long-winged peep
sandpipers, Baird's and White-rumped. And tick your Short-billed Dowitcher
this month; by September they may be gone for the year, being replaced by
On the way to and from Montezuma, be sure to check the spit at the end
of Salmon Creek in the Lansing Town Park in Myers. It's tiny, but it's a bit
of habitat and produces more than its share of rarities. And on the east
side of the lake are the Canoga Bait Ponds along side Seybolt Road in
Canoga. From the north, turn west off Route 89 to Cemetery Road and then
left on Seybolt. From the south, turn west at the main intersection, just
past the old diner, right in beautiful downtown Canoga. Respect the posted
signs. When one of the ponds alongside the road has been drained, birds can
be quite close to the road.
To my mind, perhaps the most beautiful group of birds, shorebirds, give
you the opportunity to slow down--slow way down--get small and look at the
details. We're talking individual feathers here. Are the scapular feathers
on that peep dark with chestnut fringes or chestnut with dark fringes?
Makes a difference. It's the opposite of looking at warblers, where you get
a second or two to absorb the color pattern of the little guy. With
shorebirds you get to, you've got to, study them for long periods of time,
checking every detail. It reminds one of why we look at birds.
Check the sky, too, since we're still waiting for that first Peregrine,
and during the last weeks of August the nighthawks will come through. Watch
for returning terns and dispersing egrets. And speaking of looking up, on
nights with favorable winds, check out the night sky for night-flying
migrants. After a day of scanning the flats of Montezuma, relax at the
observatory on Mt. Pleasant Road. It can be a wonderful place, if a bit
frigid at times, to listen for the flight calls of say, Grey-cheeked
Thrush (a bird that I for one missed in the spring). Land bird migration has
already begun, bringing the chance to start picking up, this month and the
next, those migrants missed in May. Its a little too early for Philadelphia
Vireo, but warblers have been reported on the move already.
OK, you got it? The July halftime rest is over, and things are gonna
start hoppin' again. We're a little behind, but if we can just stay close
we have a good chance to catch them at the finnish line. Montezuma by day,
Mt. Pleasant at night! Let's go!
(Tom Nix is the Building Inspector for the City of Ithaca. In the recent
past, he moonlighted as a hawk watcher while putting roofs on houses.)
mmmmmmmmmmmmmm McILROY MUSINGS mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Allison recently learned that her beloved spouse followed through on his
threat to publish limericks and other verse submitted by fellow Cuppers to
"honor" her continued McIlroy reign. Who'da guessed that Cuppers chase not
only birds but also their muse? One was even good enough to warrant, as
promised, a David Cup Poetry Pencil! However, all poems will be published
here. Allison, enjoy!
"The Tick King" "All Were Racin'"
By Ralph Paonessa By Kurt Fox
"There once was a girl who went ticking. "Birding in the Cayuga Basin
The men in pursuit took a licking. McIlroy runners all were racin'
Her husband serene 'Allison's tops,' they all
Said she still is his Queen 'seems like the only bird she
But the Queen again rules as the Tick King!" couldn't find
was an Albatross they called
"The Fervent Lister" Layson."
By Karl David "The Race"
"A fervent lister, Allison
Watched her yearly tally run By Ralph Paonessa
Toward that hope for nifty score
Of two hundred fifty-four, "Chasing
Whilst goading Jeff with: 'Rally, hon!'" After Allison
I fall down
In the mud.
And the Pencil goes to: Ralph Paonessa! Ralph's word play was exceptional,
crowning my wife both Queen and King, and getting that all-important word,
"ticking" in twice without sacrificing subtlety. Now if I can just convince
Allison to let me into her stash of David Cup Pencils...
BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH
"Birding is an addiction. That's what sets it apart from birdwatching. The
birder *has* to watch birds." Only the voice of experience could be behind
such a bold statement, and anyone who knows Ken Rosenberg will not be
surprised that it was he who uttered it. Ken's "addiction" has led him to
most of the finest birding spots in North America and beyond and has clearly
outlined his life's work since an early age. How many of us can boast a
North American list of more than 600 species and a lifelist of more than
Ken began birding while most of us were learning to differentiate mashed
potatoes from carrots. "I remember birds I saw when I was three," he says.
Ken's father was (and still is) a birder but Ken was the only one of the
three boys that caught the birding addiction so young. Later in life, Ken's
brother Gary also started birding and is now a well-known bird tour leader.
But it was Ken who first learned to juggle his heavy binoculars on his
father's birding forays to sites near their Long Island home and who reveled
in the many species he would see while on the family's summer road trips
throughout the U.S. and Canada. Since those early days, Ken has birded in
virtually every state and province of North America including Alaska and
Hawaii, most of Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.
Like many aspiring ornithologists, Ken was drawn to Cornell University after
high school. Although at that time he didn't have the McIlroy Award to
inspire him, Ken birded much of the campus and town on foot. He remembers
finding a Yellow-throated Warbler in Buttermilk State Park and a Red-headed
Woodpecker along Fall Creek. One May day in 1976 was particularly
memorable: "I didn't have a car, so I would go on long, all-day bird walks.
This day I left my apartment on Aurora Street, hiked up South Hill then cut
down through Lick Brook gorge to Cayuga Inlet. I had just made it to the
railroad tracks when I got caught in a freak snowstorm. In the midst of the
hail and snow I heard a buzzy song and looked up to see my life Cerulean
Warbler singing from the top of Sycamore."
From Cornell Ken went on to Arizona where he completed his Master's degree
and wrote a book, "The Birds of the Lower Colorado River Valley," based on
his and others many years of field work in the region. Trips to Mexico that
had begun during school breaks at Cornell continued increasing Ken's
interest in birds of the neotropics. This interest eventually led Ken to
Louisiana State University, the country's leading neotropical ornithological
research institution, where he completed his Ph.D. studying diet
relationships of birds in Peru. As a matter of fact, Ken's favorite birding
location is still the Tambopata Reserve in the rainforests of southern Peru
where he did most of his dissertation research. "I spent up to five months
there at a time and with over 500 species occurring in the area, almost
every day I saw something new."
Ken was drawn back north to the Cayuga Lake Basin when he became the Chief
Scientist in the Bird Population Studies Department at the Lab of
Ornithology in 1994. Since then Ken has become a fixture in the Basin
birding scene, and the captain of the Lab's World Series of Birding Team,
the Sapsuckers. When asked how it feels to participate in the World Series
Ken responds with characteristic enthusiasm. "I live for it. I look
forward to it all year. I love going to New Jersey, the competition, the
guys on the team. And the thought of doing it to raise $70,000 for the Lab.
It can't be beat!"
Recently Ken has taken on a new position at the Lab as Northeast Regional
Coordinator for Partners In Flight. In this role, Ken will help draft
regional bird conservation plans and assist in coordinating conservation
activities among states. With all this bird conservation work ahead of him,
Ken is glad to have the David Cup/McIlroy Award Competition to give him an
excuse to go birding and, he adds, "It's great to have everyone else out
there covering the Basin and seeing what's out there even when I can't
Now that Ken has convinced wife Anne to participate in the competition, many
have asked how long before he throws his not-yet-two-year-old daughter
Rachel into the fray as well. As he sees it, he won't have to force Rachel
to become a birder. "She's got great ears and quick eyes and spots birds
all the time. I figured out that she can identify 15 species including
several by ear--she's 20 months old." Such is the life of a parent.
And a birder.
Because birders suffer so many unique trials and tribulations--and with the
added strain of intense competition brought on by the David Cup/McIlroy
Award--The Cup has graciously provided Cuppers with a kind, sensitive and
intuitive columnist, Dear Tick, to answer even the most profound questions,
While cruising through town recently I saw an eagle ornamenting the hood of
a very expensive-looking car. The eagle was of a material that looked
golden. In other words, it was a Golden Eagle. Can I tick it off on my
--Cruising Through Life in Ithaca
No, because it wasn't a Golden Eagle, it was a gold eagle. Besides, what are
you doing out cruising the streets? That's a good way to get into trouble.
Since you're already cruising for a bruising in the David Cup, I suggest you
park it and throw away the key.
I've read about and been fortunate enough to see a few hybrid
warblers. I was wondering if other birds hybridize. In particular,
I was wondering if swans do. Suppose a Mute Swan and a Trumpeter
Swan were to mate and produce offspring. I imagine they'd look like
"swans," but I was wondering what type of vocalization the offspring
would make. Do you think it would have a jazzy tone to it, since
it's a muted trumpet? I'm always interested in new sounds...
--Charlie "Bird" P. At Myer's P.
If you're into new sounds, try listening to the sound of your hands picking
up your binoculars instead of scribbling out perverted questions like this
one. On the other hand, if it's jazz you want to be listen to, check out
the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band [see News, Cues, and Blues this issue].
They're playing on the Commons on August 22.
With the movie "Independence Day" breaking all sorts of records, I've been
thinking a lot about UFOs. Most people who see them swear they're
spaceships belonging to little green men and Ken Rosenberg. If they may be
so blatant in their claims, can't I by insisting the UFOs I see are
migrating birds I need for my David Cup list?
--Spaced Out in Seneca Falls
Dear Spaced Out:
Leave Ken out of this.
Recently a Cupper posted to Cayugabirds-l and was wondering if
one should "count" the Trumpeter Swans seen at Montezuma. The post
seemed to indicate that wild escaped or released birds and their
offspring might not be countable. Now, this Cupper is "up there" in
totals? In fact, I be- lieve that a Cup was named after this person
(coffee?, tea?, Americas?, well, for simplicity we'll call the Cupper
"Stanley"). I'm wondering if Stanley has not been ticking off species
like Starling, House Sparrow, Pheasant, Mute Swan, etc., because they
are not native. If so, isn't Ol' Stan getting a bit ridiculous? Also,
how are "unwashed masses" of Cupdom, like myself, ever supposed to
get half-way decent totals if Starlings, etc., aren't tickable? Is
Stanley off his rocker? Is he a cuckoo?
Dan (also writing for Jan and
Fran, but not Stan) in Lan(sing)
Dear Dan, etc.:
I have no idea who the "Stan" fellow is. Unless you can be more specific as
to his identification, I'm afraid I'll have to withhold my ruling.
I'm new to this Cupper thing, but I've heard my uncle and aunt use the word
"glass' sometimes when they talk about seeing birds. Like, "I've got a
Green Heron in the glass." They also have drinking glasses with birds
printed into them. Can't I count them for the David Cup and McIlroy
competitions? When I'm drinking out of one these glasses, I can honestly
say, "I've got a Scarlet Tanager in the glass."
--Troubled About Tanagers in Sapsucker
Dear Troubled About Tanagers:
It all depends on what you're drinking out of the glass. For example, grape
Koolaid renders the color of a Scarlet Tanager to a more purple hue. A less
experienced birder might then confuse the tanager with a Purple Finch, or
even a Purple Gallinule. Even ordinary water can cause distortion of body
shape and bill characteristics. Your Scarlet Tanager could easily end up
looking more like a Whooping Crane. By the way, may I suggest you buy your
aunt and uncle an attractive set of plastic cups? They don't break as
easily, and you won't feel as though you should be out birding every time
you get a drink.
(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup, care of Jeff's e-mail.)
""""""""" CUP QUOTES """"""""
"Great job on the Cup. I really enjoy reading its funny although sometimes
obscure notes, quotes, etc. 'Dear Tick' is a lot of fun, and being a new
birder I really enjoy Casey's column. Thanks, Casey, for the info. I
something new every time I read it! And Allison, keep up the good work! I'm
rooting for you!"
---Mary Catherine Heidenreich
"I just had to see some shorebirds this weekend. But where? Bombay Hook?
Flooded by Bertha. Churchill? Been there, done that. Montezuma? No luck.
Morehouse Bait Ponds? Yes! Site 59B Near Canoga in "Birding in the Cayuga
Lake Basin" (directions below) produced 8 species of shorebirds in one spot
easily seen from the road."
"The spruces at the end of the road (bordering the large fields) were chock
full of blackburnians today."
"Today during lunch time Mundy was screaming with birds...I saw
families of titmouses (at least 8 youngsters), Downy Woodpeckers (5
of them-- 3 youngsters and parents), House Wren family, Scarlet tanager
(all the 3 youngs were yellow), Red Eyed Vireos feeding their fledglings.
It looked like as if there was a family picnic to Mundy."
"The Acadian Flycatchers are still present on Salmon Creek Road but a four
hour trek through the rainy woods in West Danby on Saturday with Chris
did not yield any Worm-eating Warblers."
"In case you guys were wondering who that clown yelling to
you last Sunday as you turned onto Myers Road was, it was me."
"I can't stand it!!! What are the July standings in the Cup of David
Award of McIlroy competitions!????!!??!? I am going insane with the wait!
Theese eese like thee Chayneese watere torture!!!"
--Peter Lori Keet
"From the Main Pool Tower, I watched the swans and confirmed the field
marks of Jay and Kevin at quite a long distance."
"The only bird I've seen crunching a Japanese beetle was a mockingbird.
How come there aren't hordes of birds feasting on the poor roses that
have as many as six beetles on a flower? Maybe they taste yucky, or are too
"American Crows eat the [Japanese beetle] larvae quite a bit. That's one
of the things they're doing while they stalk across your lawns, as well as
"I see I was excoriated in this month's Cup [1.7] for not joining the
competition. I don't know my totals for the year, but I'll bet I wouldn't
even be in the 100 Club-I haven't been around the lake or up to MNWR all
"Prepared to identify the swans, and shorebirds and just
about anything else, I came to MNWR full of vim and vigor. But,
alas, there were few birds. No swans, no shorebirds - minus five
Killdeer, no Sedge Wren, no bitterns, no BCN Heron, not even a Bald
"I humble myself with mutterings and mumblings of half-hearted apologies."
"At that point Tom Nix, Jeff and Allison Wells, and Allison's niece
up and scared all the good birds away, so we had to switch our attention
to the UFO in the eastern sky that turned out to be Jupiter (complete with
"It is interesting how ephemeral the birds are on Myers Point.
Through the day I had heard that there were Bairds SP (3), Black-bellied
Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper. None of which were there
when Ken and I were."
"I was at Myers Pt at some point after Karl David was this morning.
The shorebird concentration had rocketed up to one Killdeer by 11:30."
"My David Cup total is now up to 93 species. Maybe I'll finally make it
into the 100 Club in August!"
"No change in my totals. Haven't been in the basin in over two months.
"Cup total for July is the same as June's total, which was the same as
and which will be the same as August's. Unless I can count Kent Island,
and Idaho birds?"
"Well, I've reached my personal goal of 150 basin birds, and I still have
five months left to frolic above that. Yippee."
"I never touched my binoculars in July so the totals are
the same as for June."
"Yes, Jay finally hit the big 200 (with a Great Egret at Myer's Point). He
didn't want his 200th to be just any bird (he was afraid it was going to be
Lesser Yellowlegs). He had big hopes for it to be American Avocet, but
since Karl didn't put any salt on its tail, Jay had to settle for the egret
that had scared the avocet away. He was satisfied with the egret's level of
"Well, it's not quite the end of the month, but this may be it for the
last-minute Cup frenzy for me this month."
May Your Cup Runneth Over,
Allison and Jeff