Year 2, Issue 1

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* 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

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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 <

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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