Year 2, Issue 10

***********************************************************************

* ^^^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^

* ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

* ^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^^

* ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

* ^ ^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^

* The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition

* Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

* Basin Bird Highlights: "Inspector" Tom Nix

* Pilgrim's Progress Compiler: "Stoinking" Matt Medler

* Composite Deposit, Stat's All: Karl "Father of the Madness" David

* Evans Cup Compiler: "Bird Hard" Bard Prentiss

* The Yard Stick Compiler: Margaret "in Mansfield" Launius

* Bird Bits: Jay "Beam Hill Me Up, Scotty" McGowan

* Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer

* Dimmer Board Operator: Jeff Wells

****************************************************************

A lone Cupper stands on the lighthouse jetty in the wee hours of

morning. On the horizon, he scopes an incoming Whimbrel--he knows

this bird's a fly-by, but he's got to get other Cuppers onto it, and

fast. He pulls out a strange, beeper-like instrument, presses a

button, and within minutes, a chopper veers up behind him. Out of its

belly drops a flock of elite Cuppers, mini-parachutes cradling them

quickly but securely down onto the jetty. As the Whimbrel wings past,

a chorus of "Got it!"s echoes across Cayuga's vast waters. Thumbs-up

all around--another rare bird sighted, reported, and confirmed.

Who are these mysterious drop-in Cuppers? They're the brave and

dedicated members of the David Cup QuAC (Quick Action Confirmation)

team! And, starting sometime in November, QuAC team members (QuACkers)

could be landing for a bird near you.

The QuAC team has been outfitted with only the most effective high-tech

equipment: a peregrine-speed chopper (QuACCopter) complete with

parachutes, rapelling ropes, life rafts (stocked with water-proof

optics, field guides, and plenty of hot coffee), and inflatable survival

suits (for mid-lake drops), with a centrally located landing pad atop

the Lab of O. For by-land operations, there's the revolutionary new

QuACMobile--Bard Prentiss' Hippymobile with a facelift: flock-tracker

radar equipment, infra-red bird detectors, night migration sensors, an

up-to-the-minute weather systems analyzer, and plenty of hot coffee.

Offshore sighting? No problem! There's the QuACCanoe-cum-Speedboat,

an interchangeable flotation machine that can, in less than a wingbeat,

transform from Hog Hole-creeping canoe to gotta-be-at-Aurora-Bay-now

speedboat. And QuACkers are always ready for swift action with his/her

QuACker-As-The-Crow-Flies, a jet-propulsion unit that eliminates the

cumbersome problem of roads; its built-in bird-call-magnification

device enables QuACkers to pick up even the faintest calls of

high-flying crossbills and redpolls while blasting over Sapsucker

Woods on a mission to Mundy Wildflower Garden.

Have no fear, the FAIR (Fast Avian Information Relay) system will get

details to all other Cuppers almost immediately. With a simple press

of the handy-dandy CupMate (a technologically advanced beeper, soon to

be in the hands of all Cuppers), information about a sighting,

including time, location and species name, will be transmitted via

satellite to the Birdline, Cayugabirds, and any radio tuned to WICB's

"Jazz Impressions" from 12pm to 2pm weekdays.

So, in case you were wondering who mastered the seemingly impossible

task of placing that pumpkin on top of the Cornell bell tower...you

can keep on wondering. Because there is no QuAC team. No QuACCopter.

It was all just wishful thinking on the part of the editors, a vision

of the way life should be.

As consolation, we give you The Cup 2.10, and hope that it, at least,

is all it's quacked up to be.

@ @ @ @ @ @

NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

@ @ @ @ @ @

WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Can you believe it? Yet another

Basin dweller has been lured into the wild and whirling waters of the

David Cup! Of course, he hasn't sent us his totals yet, but at least

we've got him thrashing on the line! Those of you who know who it is

that took the bait, we need your help to finish the daunting job of

reeling him in. For those of you who have no idea who we're talking

about it, let's just he's one Big Fish!

WELCOME TO THE WORLD: Speaking of fish, a hearty Cup welcome to

Olivia Francis Rosenberg, who on October 3rd at 5:10am, came swimmingly

into the world--literally! Daddy Ken reports that wife (and fellow

Cupper) Anne James delivered safely--and easily--in a hot tub! Ken

says this was all part of the plan, that it's becoming more common in

the birthing process because it keeps the mom-to-be more relaxed. Papa,

on the other hand, is feeling a tad tense these days, since Olivia is

not showing strong signs that she's a birder, let alone a Cupper. "I

don't think she's actually seen a bird yet," he says, "but she's looked

at me, and I'm a birder, does that count? And she does do a pretty

good Hawaiian Crow imitation. When she cries, she does this wild

a-al-la' thing. Sounds just like a Hawaiian Crow." Hmm. No wonder

Ken's Dryden total is so high.

RELIANT UPON YOU?: Remember Matt Medler's "trusty" Reliant? Well,

turns out, that trust has been misplaced. The old car recently got all

steamed up about something--Matt's tardiness in getting the Pilgrim's

Progress totals to the Cup editors?--and blew it's top, or at least

its head gasket. Rather than dump an exorbitant amount of money into

a car that has seen better days--and better decades--Matt has decided

to look for a new vehicle. So if any of you Cuppers/Cup subscribers

know of a quality used vehicle for Matt (preferably one that's more in

keeping with his bad-boy image), he would like you to email him at

mdm2@cornell.edu. Just be sure the car is reliable, not Reliant,

okay?

"UNLIMITED" SUCCESS: At last the question has been answered: How

will the Lab of O fill the space left achingly vacant when its gift

shop, the Crow's Nest, flew the coop? Put in a ping pong table to

ensure Lab employees get a little exercise in the workplace? Or maybe

a jacuzzi (with views of the birdfeeding stations) as part of a radical

new experimental mind- focus program? Despite our best efforts to

convince them to host the 100 Club there, they went ahead and let Wild

Birds Unlimited take refuge in it. On the other hand, this means that

Cuppers will be able to bird Sapsucker Woods and then buy all sorts of

birder necessities that they can then donate to Cup Headquarters, all

in one easy trip. So if you haven't checked WBU out already, stop by

--the gift-giving season is fast approaching! As for the wishlist at

Cup Headquarters, how 'bout putting that jacuzzi in over here?

FEED, ER, WATCH: If your yard is vacant of birdfeeders, soar on over to

the aforementioned Wild Birds Unlimited. If your feeders area already

hung and filled, consider taking part in Project FeederWatch, a

"citizen science" program cosponsored by the Lab of O and National

Audubon. FeederWatch participants count the birds that visit their

feeders, from November to March, according to an easy-to-follow

protocol developed by the Lab of O. FeederWatchers help scientists

track changes in abundance and distribution, and they have fun doing

it. For you "family time" time Cuppers/Cup subscribers, this is a

great way to get the kids to learn and appreciate the birds in their

yards. And how's this: it's now on-line. For more info, call the

Lab of O's Project FeederWatch Coordinator/Cupper Margaret Barker at

254-2427.

DUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON: Newsweek has done it once again. They proved

(again) in their November 3rd issue that they are an inferior news

source compared to The Cup. Check out the "Perspectives" page: " I

look at gulls like teenagers in the mall. They come here to hang out

and eat good food.' USDA wildlife biologist Ken Preusser, on the

infestation of seagulls at one of New York's upstate landfills." Yo,

Newsweek, gulls at landfills is nothing new! Why, some of us have

been savoring our lunch hours gull-watching at landfills for years!

And we assume we're not alone in our offense at the word "infestation,"

which Webster defines as, "trouble or disturbance due to large

numbers." Obviously, the folks at Newsweek have yet to discover the

beauty of hordes of gulls tearing into bulging bags of smoldering

refuse. (And "seagulls"? Ha! Don't get us started!) Listen, don't

let their showy covers of never-before-seen photos of colliding

galaxies fool you into thinking Newsweek is anything more than a

showcase for editors suffering from Cup-envy.

MEGAN UPDATE: Looks like Megan's still on the move ... to catch her

daddy's David Cup score, that is: "Megan and I had a delightful

morning at Stewart Park last week. She isn't quite walking solo, but

she's happy to tromp all over the place if I hold both her hands. So,

we explored the various nooks and crannies of the park on foot. The

Ring-billed Gulls and Canada Geese were the most obliging, of course,

allowing us to march right into their midst. As we were swinging in

one of those chairs near the beach, a Snow Goose (white phase) flew

right over our heads, landing near the tennis courts. The chorus of

Fish and American crows caused Meg to look around quizzically from time

to time, unable to locate the source of the sounds. A sunny and warm

morning in October and a chance to enjoy the regular avian denizens of

the park. An added bonus--the Snow Goose was new on my McList (and

Meg's, too)!" Hmm. Who's holding whose hand here?

BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Cupper Andy Farnsworth is

not only an awesome birder and Coach (see Coach's Corner, this issue),

he's also one steamin' guitar player. In October, some of us caught a

Rongo performance of his band Mectapus, a rockin', stompin', funk-

infused, (at times) country-rock tempered, (at times) Latin-flavored

musical kaleidoscope. (Perhaps a co-listener put it best when he said,

"I have no idea what you call this kind of music, but I like it!")

Imagine a bird that's part Blue Jay, part Sandhill Crane, part Hoatzin,

part Western Kingbird, and part Jacana. You wouldn't let a rare bird

like that get away without your seeing--or hearing--it, would you?

Catch Mectapus Thur Nov 13 at Key West ($3-4) 10:30 PM; Sat Nov 15 at

The Rongo ($4-5) 10PM; Thur Nov 20 at Happy Ending in Syracuse ($8)

8-10PM, and/or Fri Dec 12 at Tinker Street Cafe, Woodstock ($5)

10:30PM.

SHAMELESS PLUG #1: "CDs should be available by the beginning of

December, I hope. Until then, we occasionally have tapes for sale at

gigs."

SHAMELESS PLUG #2: The Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band brings their swingin'

Big Band jazz and blues to the Rongo Friday, Nov 21, from 10pm to 1am.

Bring your dancing shoes or sit back, relax and tally your David Cup

lists. (Please be sure to mention that the kick-back from your $5 cover

charge should go to Allison Wells, not to Jim Lowe or Jeff Wells.)

:> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :>

BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS

By Jeff Wells, Sub

It's a toss up over whether or not the headlines for October should read,

"Scoters Rule!" or "Winter Finches Take The Cup!" But there's no question

that October was an incredible month for Basin birding. The Stewart Park

jettywatch team kept September's excitement going as they documented

large morning flights of waterfowl, including sizable flocks of Brant,

all three scoter species, Oldsquaw--I mean, Ice Duck (okay, Matt?)--and

a few Red-throated Loons among the early trickle of Commons. Bill Evans

must have felt a twinge of deja vu this past month when, as last year,

he spotted a jaeger on the lake, only to watch it fade in the distance,

unidentified to species.

Jettywatchers were also among the first to note the start of the

northern finch wave that has since swept us up with a nice current of

these often sought-after birds. Evening Grosbeaks arrived first with

scattered individuals, then flocks early in the month, becoming a

torrent by month's end. Common Redpolls were also noted by morning

lakewatchers midmonth, and reports became more numerous later, though

few if any Cuppers have yet had the pleasure of a redpoll flock

settling onto their feeders. A few White-winged Crossbills and Red

Crossbills also made an appearance for a lucky few.

Bard Prentiss and company played a hunch late in the month and

took a Sunday drive to the extensive spruce plantations of Summerhill,

east of Moravia. The gamble payed off in a big way when a lone

female-type Pine Grosbeak popped up in front of them among high bush

cranberries. The bird was seen for another day or two and delighted

observers with its typical tameness and subtle coloration.

Hawkwatchers had a few good October afternoons. Red-shouldereds

from Michigan Hill early in the month, a few Rough-legs on Mt. Pleasant,

a scattering of Golden Eagles, and a large Red-tail flight on the 26th

made some Cuppers hawk-happy.

All of this, though, was just a precursor to the great things to

come in November. See you then!

(Jeff Wells is Director of Bird Conservation for National Audubon. He

was thrilled to be forced, uh, invited to sub for Tom Nix, whose

computer crashed days before he was to sit down to write yet another

masterful Highlights column. He'll be at the Rongo in Trumansburg on

November 21, between 10pm and 1am, to answer any bird questions you

may have.)

100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

100 CLUB

100 100 100 100 100 100 100

SIGN ON THE 100 CLUB DOOR: "No new members admitted this month.

And if you're the foosball repair man, what took you so long?"

200 200 200 200 200 200

2 0 0

200 200 200 200

[Sign on 200 Club door]: "WARNING: BILL EVANS (still) INSIDE. Enter

at your own risk or send him off on a wild goose chase--to Seneca Lake."

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

by Matt Medler

What can we say about Stephen Davies? He's out there finding *the*

birds--first, the American Avocet, then the Cattle Egret, and most

recently, the Franklin's Gull. What better way to top off a splendid

year than to win the David Cup? After a one-month anomaly, he's back

at the top of the Cup heap, ready for a final charge to the finish line.

Things could heat up during these last two months, but my money is still

on Stephen to be the last one standing come New Year's.

1997 David Cup October Totals

238 Stephen Davies

236 Steve Kelling

235 Kevin McGowan

235 Allison Wells

232 Ken Rosenberg

231 Jeff Wells

231 Jay McGowan

230 Tom Nix

225 Karl David

221 John Greenly

221 Andy Farnsworth

219 Matt Medler

218 Chris Hymes

215 Meena Haribal

210 Bill Evans

210 Bard Prentiss

205 John Bower

202 Anne Kendall-Cassella

199 JR Crouse

198 Geo Kloppel

183 Chris Butler

181 Martha Fischer

158 Michael Pitzrick

150 Marty Schlabach

148 Margaret Launius

147 Anne James

141 Michael Runge

139 Jim Lowe

125 David McDermitt

111 Caissa Willmer

106 James Barry*

92 Casey Sutton

91 Andy Leahy

80 Cathy Heidenreich

68 Diane Tessaglia

67 Jane Sutton

64 Sarah Childs*

61 Rob Scott

59 Dave Mellinger*

46 Larry Springsteen*

42 Sam Kelling

40 Mira the Bird Dog*

37 Taylor Kelling

11 Kurt Fox

5 Ralph Paonessa*

0 Ned Brinkley*

*Currently living out-of-state but anticipate or have made a temporary

return to Basin within the 1997 David Cup year. Will accept any and

all in-Basin donations.

Congratulations to Steve Kelling, who has shattered Allison Wells'

1996 McIlroy Award record after a mere ten months!**

1997 McIlroy Award October Totals

201 Steve Kelling

200 Allison Wells

199 Stephen Davies

185 Jeff Wells

180 John Bower

178 Andy Farnsworth

168 Bill Evans

159 Kevin McGowan

156 JR Crouse

151 Karl David

150 Martha Fischer

148 Ken Rosenberg

141 Matt Medler

138 Jay McGowan

136 Tom Nix

123 Chris Butler

122 Michael Runge

116 Anne Kendall-Cassella

111 Jim Lowe

70 Casey Sutton

66 Jane Sutton

57 Dave Mellinger*

51 Rob Scott

50 Sarah Childs*

46 Larry Springsteen*

40 Mira the Bird Dog*

0 Ralph Paonessa*

0 Ned Brinkley*

*Currently living out-of-state but anticipate or have made a temporary

return to Basin during the 1997 David Cup year. Will accept any and all

in-Basin donations.

**Be sure to tune in next month to see if that sassy little remark has

cost Matt Medler his job at The Cup.

THE EVANS TROPHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Named in honor of the late Dick Evans--beloved local birder, Cayuga Bird

Club president, and friend to many--the Evans Trophy will be awarded to

the Cupper with the highest Dryden total, even though s/he will

nonetheless suffer the humiliation of totaling embarrassingly lower

than the winning McIlroy number.

October September

199 Ken Rosenberg 195 Ken Rosenberg

188 Kevin McGowan 186 Kevin McGowan

188 Bard Prentiss 186 Bard Prentiss

180 Jay McGowan 178 Jay McGowan

127 Anne Kendall-Cassella 127 Anne Kendall-Cassella

117 Matt Medler 117 Matt Medler

Kevin McGowan's Lansing total: October: 156 September: 152

THE YARD STICK ----------------------------

By Margaret Launius

The battle of the Yards is heating up as we head into winter and the

two months remaining in the 1997 Yard Bird competition! While many

Yardbirders had to be content with last months totals, several others

added Evening Grosbeaks and Pine Siskins. Highlights included a

Western Kingbird seen by John Bower and a Golden Eagle by Ken Rosenberg!

136 John Bower, Enfield, NY

135 Ken Rosenberg, Dryden, NY

133 Kevin & Jay McGowan, Dryden, NY

122 Sandy Podulka, Brooktondale, NY

120 Ken Smith, Groton, NY

111 Bill Purcell, Hastings, NY

106 John Greely, Ludlowville, NY

94 Nancy Dickinson, Trumansburg, NY

92 George Kloppel, Ithaca, NY

79 Sara Jane & Larry Hymes, Ithaca NY

76 Margaret Launius, Mansfield, PA

75 Jim Kimball, Geneseo, NY

73 Allison & Jeff Wells, Ithaca, NY

68 Darlene & John Morabito, Auburn, NY

67 Nari Mistry Family, Ithaca, NY

45 Mary Gerner, Macedon, NY

43 Cathy Heidenreich, Lyons, NY

LEADER'S LIST LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

By Karl David

Throw out all the old rules. Conventional wisdom (okay, my experience)

is that September produces a final bulge, a pale echo of May, in the

year list parade, followed by an inexorable decline of new birds from

October to December. But Stephen Davies, in reclaiming the lead from the

elder McGowan, turned that completely around by producing NINE October

birds, compared to only ONE in September. In the David Cup, no notion is

too venerable that it can't be challenged and found wanting! Not even,

perhaps, the apparent rule that the first four letters of the winner's

surname must be "Davi"?

Here are Stephen's birds through October:

R-t & C loons, P-b, Horned & R-n grebes, D-c Cormorant, A & L bitterns,

GB Heron, G & C egrets, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, T & M swans,

Snow Goose, Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, G-w Teal, A B Duck,

Mallard, N Pintail, B-w Teal, N Shoveler, Gadwall, E & A wigeons,

Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, G & L scaup(s?), Oldsquaw, B & W-w

scoters, C Goldeneye, Bufflehead, H, C & R-b mergansers, Ruddy Duck,

Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, S-s & C hawks,

N Goshawk, R-s, B-w, R-t & R-l hawks, A Kestrel, Merlin, P Falcon, R-n

Pheasant, R Grouse, W Turkey, V Rail, C Moorhen, A Coot, B-b, A G &

S plovers, Killdeer, A Avocet, G & L yellowlegs, So, Sp & Up sandpipers,

Sanderling, Se, Le, W-r & Pe sandpipers, Dunlin, St Sandpiper, S-b & L-b

dowitchers, C Snipe, A Woodcock, W's Phalarope, B's, R-b, H, I, L B-b,

G & G B-b gulls, Ca, Co, F & B terns, R & M doves, B-b & Y-b cuckoos,

E Screech-Owl, G H, B, L-e, S-e & N S-w owls, C Nighthawk, C Swift,

R-t Hummingbird, B Kingfisher, R-h & R-b woodpeckers, Y-b Sapsucker,

D & H woodpeckers, N Flicker,P Woodpecker, O-s Flycatcher,

E Wood-Pewee, Y-b, Al, W & L flycatchers, E Phoebe, GC Flycatcher,

W & E kingbirds, H Lark, P Martin, T, N R-w, Ban, C & Bar swallows,

B Jay, A & F crows, C Raven, B-c Chickadee, T Titmouse, R-b & W-b

nuthatches, B Creeper, C, H, W, S & M wrens, G-c & R-c kinglets, B-g

Gnatcatcher, E Bluebird, Veery, G-c, S's, H & W thrushes, A Robin,

G Catbird, N Mockingbird, B Thrasher, A Pipit, C Waxwing, E Starling,

W-e, B-h, Y-t, W & R-e vireos, B-w, G-w, Te & Na Warblers, N Parula,

Yel, C-s, Mag, CM, B-t B, Y-r, B-t G, Blackb, Pine, Prairie, Palm,B-b,

Blackp, Cer & B-and-w warblers, Redstart, Pro & W-e warblers, Ovenbird,

N & L waterthrushes, Mour Warbler, C Yellowthroat, Hoo, Wil's & Can

warblers, Sc Tanager, N Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, I Bunting, E Towhee,

A T, Chi, Fie, Ves, Sav, Gra, Hen's, Fox, Son, Lin's, Swa, W-t & W-c

sparrows, D-e Junco, L Longspur, S Bunting, Bobolink, R-w Blackbird,

E Meadowlark, Y-h & R blackbirds, C Grackle, B-h Cowbird, O & B orioles,

P Grosbeak, P & H finches, R Crossbill, C Redpoll, P Siskin,

A Goldfinch, E Grosbeak, House Sparrow.

Total: 238 species.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FATHER KARL'S COMPOSITE DEPOSIT

Stephen could still pick up a few of these 28 birds that others have

been lucky enough to see:

A W Pelican, Snowy Egret, W-f & Ross' geese, Surf Scoter, B's Goldeneye,

Black Vulture, Golden Eagle, Sora, Ruddy Turnstone, W, B's & B-b

sandpipers, R-n Phalarope, jaeger sp.,Laughing, Little, T's & S's gulls,

Snowy Owl, Whip-poor-will, Ac Flycatcher,N Shrike, Philly Vireo, O-c

& Ky warblers, Dickcissel, W-w Crossbill.

Grand Total: 266 species.

A Fatherly Note: our final tally for 1996 was 268 species. There are no

predictable species left to see, but the chances aren't bad we could tie

or exceed last year, if a few rarities (like a Franklin's Gull...fat

chance, hah-hah) show up.

(Karl David teaches mathematics at Wells College in Aurora and is

spending a sabbatical year at Cornell. Although he's a professor, he's

also a student in Bill Evans' course, "Lighthouse Jetty 101".)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

! KICKIN' TAIL! !

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What better way to prove October is a tail-kickin' month than by picking

up an unprecedented nine new birds, thereby landing yourself 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, finched, or otherwise made his/her way to the top of the

David Cup list.

This month's KT Leader demonstrates exquisitely what you do when you

fall off the horse (i.e., lose a turn as Kickin' Tail Leaders)? You get

right back on it, and in Stephen Davies' case, it's not a particularly

dark horse...

THE CUP: 238! That's a nine-bird increase from last month. Astounding!

How did you do it?

DAVIES: Well, we all know the real key to success. Like the main

man says: "Bird Hard!" And after all, fall really is the time to pull

out all the stops, right?

THE CUP: Absolutely. We agree whole-heartedly. (Uh, call us when you

find a Ross' Gull or a Gyrfalcon, will you? And make sure we can see it

from our cars.)

DAVIES: There's no doubt in my mind that fall is the most interesting

part of the year for a birder--the season with the most potential for

turning up rare stuff. Its just so unpredictable.

THE CUP: No kidding! Cuppers are so uptight at the homestretch, you

never know what desperate measures they'll go to in order to win. Oh...

you mean the BIRDS are unpredictable. Eh-hem.

DAVIES: I just feel so excited. It's like the rest of the year is mere

preparation for fall. Those first signs of southward movement are the

signal to go ballistic. Unfortunately for me, my fall migration got

kinda screwed by work through September, so October was my opportunity

to work out all that pent-up frustration and get out there as much as

possible.

THE CUP: If we've said it once, we've said it a million times: Cuppers

can't let jobs interfere with birding! Did any of those nine new

species take you by surprise?

DAVIES: The real, huge surprise for me was the second Western Kingbird--

the Bowerbird (the McWestern Kingbird!)--which was a lifer, too. My

miserable September resulted in my missing Bill's bird, which was a

major bite in the a__ [profanity censored to protect Cup-reading

children--Jay McGowan and Matt Medler] and very difficult to deal with

emotionally. I tried for it several times but without success--I was

just too late getting back on the scene.

THE CUP: You should have heard Kevin McGowan gloat.

DAVIES: The following weeks were tough--long sojourns down to the jetty,

winter finches and double doses of Prozac got me through. The scars

were just beginning to heal when I got John's message on the answering

machine. I was gripped by this intense mixture of excitement and

horror. I suddenly found myself thrust into this life or death

situation. If I saw the bird, the agony of Pilgrimport Rd would

quickly melt away. But to miss a second Western Kingbird would

certainly mean a return to the straightjacket and padded cell at least

until the end of the year.

THE CUP: Talk about tough birding conditions!

DAVIES: Fortunately for me, I managed to connect with this one and avert

an emotional catastrophe. I never thought I'd get a second chance at

Western Kingbird this year. Thanks John, I owe you one!

THE CUP: Now let's not get carried away, he did break a promise to a

certain Cup editor not to call Steve Kelling about it. Keeping with the

theme, how long do you think it'll take before one of your competitors

shoves you off the end of the jetty?

DAVIES: It's looking more and more likely, especially as my McIlroy

total closes in on hers.

THE CUP: If you're referring to Allison Wells, she would never do such

a thing (unless she was sure she could get away with it.) On the other

hand, did Kevin McGowan try to pull anything wiley as a way to keep

you from overtaking his lead?

DAVIES: McGowan made his move earlier this year when I was attacked by

a crack combat unit of cunningly trained crows while birding the

cemetery on University Ave. I was closing in on a Tennessee Warbler

when I was suddenly deafened and pinned to the ground by a squadron of

these black demons from above.

THE CUP: Oh, how awful for you (Kevin, the check's in the mail.)

DAVIES: I finally struggled to my feet and fought off the corvids from

hell with my tripod, by which time the Tennessee Warbler was nowhere to

be found. I am wise to this tactic now, so I'm always on the lookout

for rampaging flocks of Corvus mcgowani whenever I'm out and about.

I expect there may be more of the same in store before the year is out.

THE CUP: We know we're taking a terrible risk by asking you this,

considering that the last time we saw you, you were wearing that

rippin' leather jacket, had an earing through your eyebrow, and your

hair was spiked and Kool Aid green, but what CD is currently in your CD

player?

DAVIES: I must confess that "The Full Monty" got me jumping on the

'70s bandwagon along with everyone else, so Hot Chocolate have been

getting a lot of airtime in our house recently, especially "You Sexy

Thing". You know how it goes, right?:

"I believe in miracles,

Since you came along

You sexy thing!

Where did you come from, baby?"

You Franklin's Gull...err I mean

You sexy thing"

THE CUP: No, I'm afraid the '70 was before this interviewer's time.

DAVIES: When I've had enough of that, Green Day's "Dookie" provides

a good antidote, particularly their number, "Basketcase".

THE CUP: Hmm. Green Day. That makes sense: You're "Green" with envy!

Wait a minute...you're ahead.

DAVIES: Either that, or Moby's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"

gets me back into competitive David Cup mode.

THE CUP: It's shame you aren't more competitive, Stephen, you might

stand a chance at winning. You're certainly good at finding rarities:

Cattle Egret, American Avocet, and now the November Franklin's Gull.

What's your good luck charm, and was it in anyway inspired by Steve

Kelling's smelly good luck t-shirts?

DAVIES: I know I've had some good luck, and I largely attribute

this to my lucky camel, Ahmed, who sits on the ashtray in my car. Why

a camel? Real, live camels kick, bite and spit, and smell only

marginally better than Steve's T-shirts.

THE CUP: Sounds like any number of Cuppers we know.

DAVIES: Fortunately, Ahmed is of the stuffed variety, displays no

antisocial behavioural traits and stands about 4" tall. Katherine's

mother brought him back from Egypt for me and told me that the taxi

drivers there all carry them in their cabs for good luck. Figuring that

taxi drivers in Egypt must see all kinds of cool stuff, I quickly

installed him in my car, and as you can see, he's done me sterling

service so far. No Egyptian Vultures, Senegal Thick-knees, bulbuls or

babblers yet but I'm still hoping...

THE CUP: Not to pop your bubble or anything, but does your high score

this month suggest that you perhaps won't be so upwardly mobile in the

DC months ahead?

DAVIES: It will get tougher to add stuff in the next couple of months,

but I'm still excited about what remains of the year. Northern Shrike

was one I missed in the first winter period.

THE CUP: Stephen, you're probably not going to get one down at the

jetty...

DAVIES: So I'll be looking to pick up one. There's still a chance at

Golden Eagle, I guess--or am I clutching at straws? And then there's

the northern stuff we all hope will put in an appearance: finches,

Bohemian Waxwing, Snowy Owl, etc. Maybe even something more fanciful

than that.

THE CUP: What's your strategy for the upcoming month?

DAVIES: Of course, I'll be concentrating on getting out as much as

possible. Bird hard, right? There's still plenty of potential for

picking up cool stuff around the lake

THE CUP: "Cool" in more ways than one.

DAVIES: Purple Piper, Red Phalarope, kittiwake--so I'll be jetting out

to the Jetty as much as possible and checking the other lakeshore

hang-outs. Who knows what could show up? It's been a rip-roaring

rollercoaster of a fall so far. Then there's the passerine scene:

White-winged Crossbill--

THE CUP: Got it!

DAVIES: --is high on my wanted list, so I'll be hanging around the

conifers a bit. And with what seems like a preponderance of westerly

goodies this fall so far, who knows what else is out there? A Varied

Thrush, maybe?

THE CUP: Allison has gotten that for the last three years, right on

April 1, at the family feeders (the infamous fire escape, even!) Jeff

always manages to just miss it. She's afraid he may finally "get it"

this year, though.

DAVIES: I'll be checking out the waxwing flocks, of course. And then

gull study is an absolute must. Still plenty of things to keep me off

the streets.

THE CUP: If we can pull this Miss David Cup thing off, as mentioned in

The Cup 2.9, do you think you'd have a chance at winning?

DAVIES: Well, having not really seen the competition "in the flesh," as

it were, it's kinda hard to say. I hear Bill Evans has already booked

an appointment for a full body wax, and I've had great fun watching

Kelling perfect his "Funky Chicken" over at Stewart Park these last few

mornings.

THE CUP: He'll do anything for a new McIlroy bird!

DAVIES: I understand Ken Rosenberg recently made a bulk purchase of

Saran Wrap, and is it my imagination or has Tom Nix been plucking his

eyebrows of late? I'm getting the impression that this could be a

tough contest.

THE CUP: "Tough"--you ain't kiddin'. Thanks a lot, Stephen, and

good luck, but not too much.

DAVIES: Over and out.

THE CUP: Hey, what happened to "smoke me a kipper"? Never mind. We

probably don't want to know.

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

BIRDBITS

By Jay McGowan

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

Welcome to Birdbits! Here's a chance to test your knowledge of the

world of birds. Answers next month. (But if you happened to find me a

Common Tern or a Red-shouldered Hawk .)

1. What type of bird is a dikkop?

2. In Britain, what is the Lapland Longspur called?

3. What are the largest South American waterfowl?

4. Why do crossbills have crossed bills?

5. What do Townsend's Solitaires like to eat in the winter?

6. Which bird has to be removed from the New York checklist with the

recent changes by the AOU, and which bird will be put in its place?

7. In Florida, which icterid (in the blackbird family) feeds

extensively on snails?

8. Which bird's genus means rain?

9. Which bird's trivial (species) name means snow?

10. Which large wading bird preys on penguins?

ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH'S BIRDBITS:

1. Which bird migrates the farthest? The Arctic Tern, which flies

from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

2. Almost all birds that breed in North America winter in North or

South America or the Caribbean, but one land bird winters in Africa.

What is it? The Northern Wheatear.

3. What falcon times its breeding so it coincides with fall migration

so that it can feed migrating birds to its young? Elenora's Falcon of

the Mediterranean.

4. What South American bird periodically turns up in New York because

it gets turned around when trying to go home to Argentina from

Venezuela? Fork-tailed Flycatcher.

5. What North American hawk has the longest migration? Swainson's

Hawk. This western hawk winters in southern South America.

6. What three relatively common New York birds breed in the southern

hemisphere and winter in New York in their winter and our summer?

Greater Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, and Wilson's Storm-Petrel.

Cory's Shearwaters also breed in the southern hemisphere, but most of

the ones we see are young birds that have not yet bred.

7. Most of the spotted thrushes winter in Central and South America.

Which one winters in the U.S.? Hermit Thrush.

8. What occasional visitor to "The Basin" breeds in the high arctic and

usually winters in the Great Plains but sometimes turns up at feeders

here? Harris's Sparrow.

9. Which bird's name means "Wandering Thrush"? Turdus migratorius, the

American Robin, although it migrates the least of our thrushes.

10. What bird (besides Peregrine Falcon) has peregrinus in the name?

Tennessee Warbler (Vermivora peregrinus).

BONUS: Why do birds fly south for the winter? Because it's too far to

walk.

(Jay McGowan, age eleven, is home-schooled. He has a part-time job as a

stand-up comedian Saturday mornings at the lighthouse jetty.)

49087-908792x837-48576+5764.679/4905%8677-34566.578+0486940

STAT'S ALL, FOLKS

By Karl David

6879403+58-098%908773.6978/4857694~58674%x98458.6059679+697

December 31, 1986. On a gray day, I go out for a year-end run in

Aurora, half-hoping as well for a final year-bird to break the tie

(213) with 1985, my first full year of Basin birding. And there it is

at the south end of Lake Road, calmly watching me ascend the final hill

from Long Point, perched on the wires by the barn nearest Rt 90: a

Short-eared Owl! How sweet it is.

Fast forward to 1997: I missed the owls that put in only a brief

appearance earlier this year at their current Rafferty Road stronghold.

Unless they turn up by January 1--and I see them--there will be a blank

next to their name on my yearly Basin checklist for the first time,

ever.

Welcome to the strange, capricious and sometimes cruel world of

"never-missed" birds. I actually first got the idea for this from Greg

Butcher, who would always begin the Christmas Count compilation session

by running through the birds never before missed. As I remarked at one

such session, it's a list that can only grow shorter. And so it has, and

within my memory. I believe Ring-necked Pheasant, Brown-headed Cowbird

and Evening Grosbeak have all disappeared in recent years. And I suspect

Purple Finch should be off: there have been years when there were no

reports, except for a dozen at just one feeder. Hmmm ...

By the time I began paying attention to this list for myself, it

was 1990, and my 213 species for 1985 had already dropped to 171 for

1985-89. 1990 was also the year Dick Evans, Bill Evans and I realized we

were independently keeping year lists, and that we were virtually even.

I finished with 220, my best ever. What's more, for the first time [as I

reconstructed it] I lost no birds from the never-missed list.

That luck continued in 1991 and '92, and I began to think the

bleeding had stopped for good. Ah. hubris! In 1993, not one, not two,

but three birds vanished: Merlin, Tennessee Warbler, and Nashville

Warbler. I was a little bit stunned, but life went on. 1994 & '95 saw no

further losses. Then came last year, with the maximum effort in

successful pursuit of the coveted first David Cup. At 251, it was my

best ever by a considerable margin...but I couldn't turn up Olive-sided

Flycatcher to save my life, and that other list dropped one more,

to 167. You win one, you lose one.

This year could match the debacle of '93. Wilson's Phalarope is

as good as gone, and Short-eared Owl is in serious trouble. Most

embarrassingly, though, I still haven't turned up...Ruffed Grouse! Twice

on club field trips I've led to Conn Hill this year [for this list I

still count it], I've wandered off briefly in pursuit of dickey birds,

only to find the main group had had it while I was gone.

In going over my records while preparing this column, I've found

some surprises. Greatest perhaps is Philadelphia Vireo. I missed it

this year, but I wouldn't have believed that I've only missed it once

before that--way back in 1987.

And what do I think are my best streaks, and my worst misses?

The flycatcher and phalarope streaks WERE fairly remarkable, I think;

and so IS (he said, using the adverb correctly for once, hopefully) the

Short-eared Owl one. The best two that I've shepherded safely through

this year are Upland and Baird's sandpipers. Pine Siskin ain't bad

either--the only non-resident winter finch to survive the whimsies of

the annual cone crops. And how about the should-be-shot-for-missing

birds? This list of shame is headed by Solitary Sandpiper, Cliff Swallow,

Black-throated Blue Warbler [a breeder, for God's sake!], White-crowned

Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, i.a. What can I say? They were gone before I

even knew it.

If one really tried, I believe it wouldn't be too onerous a task to

keep this never-missed list for the Basin above 200 species almost

indefinitely. It might be fun to work out that absolutely irreducible

set of species, but I'll leave it to you as an exercise for whiling

away those long winter evenings that are about to descend upon us once

again. But don't get too comfy--you have to help me find those

Short-ears!

(Did we mention Karl David is a mathematics professor?)

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

SCRAWL OF FAME

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

"A Rebuttal to Insanity Allegations" (or "January Marshes")

By Kurt Fox

I sometimes ponder the "Kickin' Tail" interview with Tom Nix

(The Cup 2.2):

"THE CUP: After reading Kurt Fox's Scrawl of Fame last month, which

proves' 100 is possible in the Basin in January, what do you think,

is he brilliant or bonkers?

"NIX: Oh, there's such a thin line.... I think Kurt proved that in a

year with an unusual number of lingerers, a birder with unlimited time,

or perhaps the ability to be in more than one place at a time, could

come close to hitting the century mark for the month. Some of Kurt's

suggestions: Bittern, Virginia Rail(!), Sora(!!) strike me as, well,

fanciful.'"

Oh, I particularly love that quote! I was reminded of that just a

short while later, when I picked up The Kingbird (Summer 1997?) and

read the Region 3 report only to find, well, of all things, a SORA

"(!!)" in late-December (!!!!) in the Basin (!!!!!). It was found alive

in the marginal habitat at Hog-hole.

Nevertheless, I was curious as to how crazy I was (am?). I know that

Virginia Rail is regular in Region 2 in winter. I also know that there

have been a few years with overwintering American Bitterns in Region 2,

and several with Soras as well. So, I actually followed my own advice

(and Ned Brinkley's) in the Scrawl of Fame (see "A Basin Big January,

Part II: Strategies", The Cup 2.3). I spent a rainy weekend and a few

weeknights reading the past 31 Region 3 winter issues of The Kingbird. I

charted and tracked which species were seen in January and winter in

Region 3. I found some neat facts!

Regarding rails and bitterns in the past 31 winters, I have come up

with the following information for Region 3 and Cayuga Lake Basin: [all

CAPS are my emphasis]

American Bittern:

(The Kingbird - Jan 72, Feb 80, both MNWR) -"an overwintering bird

observed several times in early Feb [1980]" The Kingbird: Vol 30 No 2

King Rail (!): (The Kingbird - 31 Dec 1979, MNWR) - From Bull (1974,

p216), "Sedentary and migratory...perhaps overlooked. This species is

seen, caught alive, or found dead MORE OFTEN IN THE WINTER MONTHS than

at any other time of the year...18 winter specimens...7 caught in

muskrat traps...Three winter specimens from the interior: (1) freshly

killed, NY Thruway at the MONTEZUMA marshes, Jan 6, 1960 (GOS field

trip)". - From The Kingbird (vol 29 no 2), 31 Dec 1979 "located at

MNWR by trappers."

Sora: (The Kingbird - mid-Dec 1972, mid-Dec 1996)

-From Bull (1974, p 216), "Upstate: two specimen records caught in

muskrat traps at Montezuma, Jan 9, 1960. Breeding ... although fairly

widely distributed in suitable marshes, it is nowhere really common,

unless it be the vast MONTEZUMA and Oak Orchard areas."

-Perhaps the most difficult of the rails to find in winter? But, it has

also been found on a few occasions in winter near Rochester.

Virginia Rail: (The Kingbird - in Reg 3 in winter in 67; in CLB in Jan

in 69, 72 and 73; in CLB in winter on 28 Dec 1975).

- From Bull (1974, p 216), "The Virginia Rail is regular in the spring

and fall, but as it occurs both summer AND WINTER, it is difficult to

give arrival and departure dates... Breeding: Virginia Rails are

ESPECIALLY PLENTIFUL upstate in the extensive MONTEZUMA marshes"

- "one found dead last part of Jan, MNWR (1969)" The Kingbird: vol 19,

no 2

- "report by trappers that they are caught in traps REGULARLY in marshy

areas nearby is interesting" The Kingbird: vol 18, no 2

- "one Dec 3 (1969) dead on Cornell Campus" The Kingbird: vol 20, no 2

- "one trapped MNWR in early Jan by muskrat trappers" The Kingbird

The Virginia Rail is not as commonly reported as I would have hoped.

But, considering effort, I am pleased with the number of birds.*** BTW,

I have since learned that local birders often employ the use of tapes to

get this bird to respond in winter. I am not endorsing the use of tapes,

but since it is not the sensitive breeding season, considerate use of

tapes might be employed to confirm wintering species.

[*** Kingbird regional editors change throughout the years. A new editor

may not communicate with trappers and fewer recent reports may indicate a

communication issue, not a lack of rails. Also, a historical note: Back

when I was growing up, the fur market was booming. Then, animal cruelty

folks kicked up a fuss and the fur market plummeted in the late 1970s.

Many trappers shut down their traplines because it was no longer

economical. What does this have to do with anything? Well, few winter

rail records reported by trappers lately does not necessarily mean few

winter rails, but fewer trappers to record them. I still think that they

are out there. It seems to make sense that the rails are reported by

those who are most often in their habitat--the trappers! You can't expect

to find them at your Niger feeder. So, ask for some Swampers for

Christmas and get ready to head to the marshes in January.]

Yet, the rails were not the only surprises. There are plenty of

stories of odd birds (both Tree and Barn Swallows have been found in

January). Here are some other trends of note: Raptors (e.g. Bald Eagle)

have rebounded from DDT days in the late 1960s. Wild turkeys numbers

have exploded while RN Pheasant numbers have plummeted. Gulls numbers

have exploded since the mid-1970s. (I credit Ned Brinkley for solely

blowing the Larid variety right out of the water in Reg 3. Ned proved

that many species can be found right in the Basin. His favorite haunts

seemed to be landfills and Stewart Park). Fish Crow and Common Raven are

regular more recently.

What happened to snipes? They used to get Common Snipe almost

regularly from 1972 to 1983 and dogs used to kick them up. Maybe Mira

the bird dog is needed? LE Owl: there is a trend, but I won't reveal it

here due to the sensitivity of this owl. I'd say that it is probably

regular in January in winter. N. Saw-whet Owl is irregular. Probably

more common and more regular than found due to lack of owlers.

Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers have flipped regularity--about

1984. Past records of Red-headed were centered around Sheldrake and

Clyde (does anybody ever bird up there in January?), but a few scattered

reports from Aurora (right, Karl?). N. Mockingbird and Carolina Wren are

more common. House Finch numbers exploded.

But those are not really surprises. Now, to the things that

surprised me: Look at Merlin. It has been regular in the Reg 3 in winter

since 1991. (Four years in Jan in CLB, 2 in CLB in winter, 1 in Reg 3 in

winter). (I almost think that this is a widespread occurrence in Upstate

NY.) RC Kinglet: In Reg 2, this bird is occasional in winter. Yet, down

in the Basin/Reg 3, I find that it is irregular (recorded 1 every 2

years). Perhaps a one shot now-you-see-it,-now-you-don't bird but much

more common than I thought. Perhaps it should be targeted in CLB? YB

Sapsucker: I was surprised at how often it was recorded in the Basin. It

is almost regular! But, I think that you must network to get this one as

it can be hard to chase after-the-fact, unless visiting a suet station.

E. Towhee: almost exclusively a feeder bird in winter. Again, you MUST

network to get this one. Rusty Blackbird: bird of the marshes. I was

surprised at how often it was recorded in the Basin. I would tend to

think it is more regular in Reg 3 in January than in Reg 2. Does it have

something to do with the hills to the south, or the marshes in the

north? I'm not sure.

Things that really surprised me: Eastern Phoebe: Although not

providing any fuel to my comments below, I found that it has been found

*in January* four (!) times in the Basin (5 times in Reg 3). It has been

recorded 5 times in the past 7 years in Reg 3 from 1 Jan to 6 Feb since

1991 (!): In the winter of 1995-1996, it was found in Reg 2 on the LL

CBC and also in Reg 1 on the Beaver Meadow CBC. Outbuildings and

pavilions (places with spiders, cobwebs, etc.) seem to be better places

for these birds. Is it really becoming more common in winter? Marsh Wren:

Never recorded in the Basin in January! However, it has been recorded in

Reg 3 several times in Jan. Likewise, Reg 2 has several winter records

as well. Note: it is often in the same habitat as the rails and C.

Yellowthroat. Swamp Sparrow: This species is not recorded with the

regularity it is in Reg 2. I wonder why. In the "little finger lakes"

area of Reg 2 (read: the very same habitat that you have in Ithaca), it

was reported in numbers and trends like Reg 3 until the early 1980s.

Since then, it has become regular. I wonder if the wintering trend for

this species is changing, or the birders looking and finding it (!) more

often.

NOTE: It is often in the same habitat as the rails and C.

Yellowthroat. C. Yellowthroat: the 1997 bird, according to the Kingbird,

was reputedly the 7th winter record for Reg 3. However, in my 'research'

in just the past 31 years, I find it mentioned 9 times. That's 1 in every

3 years! Now, I ask: if you "beat" that habitat in winter, don't you

think it would turn up more often? I certainly do.

I find it peculiar that a Region with so many marshes (Montezuma,

Cayuga Marsh and Canoga, etc) and so many good birders find so few

marsh species (bitterns, rails, Marsh Wren, Swamp Sparrow,

C. Yellowthroat) in winter. I think this is an under-appreciated habitat

in January. I'd bet if you birded there on a sunny, non-windy day, you'd

turn up some surprises. Acre-per-acre, there is more food in marsh

habitat than any other habitat. Why would you think that would change in

winter? Snow may cover *open* fields and ice may cover *open* water, but

the vegetation (cattails) and decomposing (warm) muck and springs should

keep food available longer in marshes.

I am not trying to scorn anyone in this essay. I am just trying to

point out some, perhaps non-obvious, facts about winter (January)

birding. After rereading all the old Reg 3 winter Kingbirds and all

things considered, now more than ever, I think that the marshes in Reg 3

are underbirded in winter. I am reminded of the "Doubting Thomas" (pun

intended) :^) and fanciful thoughts of a recent December Sora. If a Sora

can stay alive in that small amount of habitat into late December,

imagine how many are running around at the north end of the lake in

those huge marshes and springs at Cayuga Marsh and Montezuma! I shudder

at the thought that nobody has even tried.

Am I brilliant or bonkers? I plead the fifth.

(Kurt Fox is a software engineer at Eastman Kodak Company. He been seen

wearing one of Stephen Davies coats--the rippin' leather wear or the

straight jacket? You decide.)

(If you have an opinion--or insider information--about the art, science,

and/or esthetics of birding or birding-related topics, write it up for

the Scrawl of Fame.)

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

< COACH'S CORNER <

< <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

< <

< <

< < < <

Who but Andy Farnsworth could write up a totals-smashing Coach's

Corner able to match what might well be the most intense month of birding

in the Basin this year (especially if Kevin McGowan and Stephen Davies

run into each other in a dark alley...or a dark jetty?) Able to scan

wind-whipped fields for high-flying Michigan Hill hawks, willing to scope

for fly-bys in the blistering chill of the jetty (yeah, and he's still

not ahead in the DC, can you believe it?), Coach Farnsworth offers here

his expert advice on finding those birds you have yet to see:

COACH FARNSWORTH: My first thoughts on November begin with a

bad cup of coffee, messy hair, dysfunctional fingers and fogged up

binoculars. A bad cup of coffee to start a morning that might not

otherwise have started for another several hours; messy hair because a

wool hat has not been invented that functions and is static-free;

dysfunctional fingers from gripping for dear life your binoculars that

are horribly fogged and colder to the touch than your core temperature.

Yes, November is not for the weak.

I am looking forward, truly, to standing out on the lighthouse jetty

in a blasting north wind, thinking about speaking to whatever brave souls

stand beside me, but then thinking better of it for fear of freezing the

entirety of my insides with a blast of cold air into my lungs and

freezing everyone else's insides as they try to respond to my coughs and

gags. But I also envision lifting my binoculars to my eyes and watching

a late Parasitic Jaeger cruise by at such high speed that its passage

shakes the very jetty on which we stand (a new land speed record set by

none other than...jaeger!) I imagine near tragedy as those same brave

souls cling to the jetty for dear life, barely avoiding a cold watery

grave while watching a transient Purple Sandpiper wonder how it ended up

in such a gray place (and subsequently leaving very quickly). And please

don't let me forget about all the ducks cruising overhead sparking grand

debate ("what do you mean swan?!?!?! that was a bufflehead!!! Hmmmm...)

I guess at that point I wake up happy from me dream.

But in all seriousness. Though November is cold, the chill is worth

it. Let me explain. The Mount Pleasant-Michigan Hill Factor: I seem to

speak about these places almost incessantly. Nonetheless...You can bet

that on days with northerly winds I will be freezing my tail at one of

these locations, watching the last of the Golden Eagles trickle through,

thanking the lone Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Goshawks for keeping

my company, hoping this day is THE day for that big Red-tailed Hawk

flight that is sure to come soon. In the morning, I plan to watch,

smiling all the while, as the number of redpolls, crossbills, grosbeaks

and siskins passing over increases logarithmically (but not so quickly to

force me to use calculus!). I anticipate with great fervor the handful

of Northern Shrikes that will fly by migrating south to marginally warmer

destinations, leaving us to wonder why marginally warmer is so much

better than McIllroy airspace. And I have been and will continue to wait

for the armada (can one bird be an armada if no man is an island??) of

Sandhill Cranes to fly over one of our hawk watches. It's going to happen

soon enough, why not this November?

Both Mount Pleasant and Michigan Hill offer commanding views of the

southern Basin's airspace. I cannot say enough good things about

migration watches at these spots. Though there certainly have been and

will continue days with seemingly no birds, the days that produce big

flights definitely make up for these more than amply.

Besides these places, the southern Basin has a number of other good

places to watch late hawk migration and waterfowl flights as well as

morning landbird flights. Sunset Park somehow always draws the shortest

straw on my birding priority list, but every time I have been recently,

I think to myself that I ought to bird there more often.

The Lake Vector: The final frontier. These are the voyages of

the..oops, just kidding. (A little too much TV and I don't mean Turkey

Vulture.) The lake will no doubt be a gold mine this month. With barely

a week gone by in the month we have already seen (at least some lucky

folks have ) the appearance of Franklin's Gull, three scoter species,

Brant, Red-throated Loon and Red-necked Grebe at various point on the

lake. Like the sky-watching migration sites of Mt Pleasant and Michigan

Hill, the lake needs major coverage this month.

The possibilities are not endless but they are very exciting. Gulls

are beginning to appear in large numbers at the north end of Cayuga Lake.

The time is now to begin looking for those sometimes elusive Lesser

Black-backed, Iceland, and Glaucous Gulls. A species we could easily be

overlooking at times is Mew Gull--again something to seek out in the

growing gull flocks. Black-legged Kittiwake no doubt drifts through the

Basin unnoticed on occasion. The moral: keep your eyes peeled and sharp

while watching gulls. Three words, if you will: COME ON, IVORY!!!

Waterfowl migration is now in full swing. I mentioned the scoters,

the Brant...also Oldsquaw, maybe a Harlequin Duck at Long Point or at the

Union Springs Railroad Crossing. And the big cheese - the spectacle of

the loons. Loon migration visible on this lake of ours is nothing short

of extraordinary. For the students of migration, a good loon flight

morning at Taughannock Falls State Park is a spectacle not to be missed.

And especially when you consider that one of these days a murrelet is

going to fly by (no doubt subject to the same frigid wind that will keep

binoculars from eyes and keep lips from speaking...well, maybe a bit

dramatic I know, but still!) I suggest watching for those sometimes

elusive north winds, getting mobilized pre-dawn when they finally arrive

and then dressing VERY WARMLY (bad cup of coffee not necessary although

it might make for a better story). And while watching the loons don't

forget to watch the huge numbers of blackbirds pouring overhead up in the

stratosphere (yes you too can dream about all the Brewer's and

Yellow-headed Blackbirds for the incredible price of sore eyes and a kinked

neck.)

Other places to watch: the bluffs above Aurora Bay. Though this

commanding view leaves you far above Cayuga's waters (pun intended),

there is something about the vista of the entirety of the bay before you.

You can scan everything with a scope easily and then make you choice as

to which flock warrants further inspection. May I suggest the one with

the Common Eider in it, if I may be so bold?

A further note: Once the icky fog begins to creep in and the low

ceiling becomes no ceiling at some point during the month even the

smallest pond or lake could have downed waterfowl swimming about. Though

the grebe spectacle of several years ago in upstate NY that brings this

to mind was brought about by a freeze some time during the winter I think

that on the horribly gray, foggy, drizzly days we should be out pounding

the water, if you will. That's when the crazy stuff will be out and

about.

Open Field, Closed Minds: With winter setting in the usual

assortment of open country birds is arriving. Snow Buntings, Lapland

Longspurs, and American Tree Sparrows have shown their faces. Northern

Shrikes are not far behind with several reports to our north in the past

weeks. No doubt they are scoping their hedgerows now. Rough-legged Hawks

are taking up their quarters.

Though the idea of standing out in a field during a morning snow

squall might not be appealing, in reality it is not appealing. Oh, did

I say that? Excuse me. I meant to say, "open country birding need not be

forgotten because of all the action in and around the lake." We know

Pine Grosbeak has been out and about; we know redpolls are about--so

mind those fields and shrubs. From all I have heard, Salt Road could be

a goldmine this winter for finches, or at least that's the word on the

street.

I almost forgot: It's time to watch those Cedar Waxwing flocks for

any straggling bigger friends that might associate with them. If you see

any of these stragglers, please remain calm. They are not dangerous. But

please report immediately to the proper authorities in the following

manner: THE BOHEMIANS ARE HERE, THE BOHEMIANS ARE HERE!!!!

It's also that time of the year to begin investigating conifer

groves and tangles for wintering owls. Long-eared, Northern Saw-whet,

and dare I say other owl species might be lurking in the thickest

vegetation you can find. But be warned, be mindful of private property-

-though that grove might look good, that sign most likely means business.

And most importantly: NEVER EVER DISTURB these birds if you do happen to

find one. On too many occasions have these birds been harassed to the

point of departing and maybe worse. Sorry for the politics. We now

return to our regularly scheduled silliness.

Finally, we have a very special category. I'd like to think of it

as the wildcard factor. Since birds have wings and are known to use them

(several people have told me this), there is no telling what could show

up in the Basin. What wish birds would I love to see appear at some point

during the month? Well...

How about Varied Thrush at a feeder in Cayuga Heights? Maybe a

Great Gray Owl somewhere south and east of Ithaca? Townsend's Solitaire

in the cedars in the vicinity of Long Point State Park? November could

be a great month for vagrants. Cape May has already seen a truly wild

bird in the form of Brown-chested Martin. Who knows?

As much as I always speak of crazy birds and wish lists and

possibilities, as much as I always think of new areas in the Basin that

might produce that true rarity, everything boils down to getting into

the field and searching high and low through the smallest patch of dead

goldenrod as well as the largest flock of starlings. The birds are out

there; all we have to do is find them.

I hope to see you all "out there."

(Andy Farnsworth leads professional bird tours when he's not touring

with his band, Mectapus [see Bird Cup Blues and All That Jazz, this

issue.] If you want to know the real Andy, go to his next gig and

request that "true" trucking song...)

mmmmm

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm McILROY MUSINGS mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

mmmmm

Despite her best efforts, Allison was unable to come up with a worthy

excuse to keep Steve Kelling out of McIlroy Musings this time around.

But there's always next month...

THE CUP: You've been leading in the McIlroy competition for the last

five or so months, yet you haven't been spending much time in the

McIlroy Musings. Are you just shy?

KELLING: NO! Actually, I have been the one being interviewed all these

times. Like last month...that was not Allison, that was me. And the

month before, that was not John Bower or Bill Evans (I get them

confused), that was me. A certain editor of this magazine asked me to

pretend to be someone else and to answer the questions as if I were that

person.

THE CUP: How reprehensible of Jeff to ask you to do something like that!

KELLING: The editor quit talking to me around August when the editor

realized that I was going to win AGAIN for the month.

THE CUP: We understood that that had something to do with you slicing

the tires on certain blue Nova? In fact, with you ahead in the McIlroy,

Stephen Davies leading in the David Cup, be honest, is there a Steves

Conspiracy?

KELLING: There is absolutely no difference between Stephen and I except

that 1) I can say mosquito properly 2) We have different parents 3) I

don't come from a country that is famous for it's jelly. Ken Rosenberg

realized there might be a problem, and very few people know this but in

fact several years ago we tried to get rid of the UK upstart. Remember

Linda's Junkyard Diner? It's the gas station-turned- restaurant near

MNWR. Ken and I took Stephen there and made him eat three WRECKER's

SPECIALS. We did not see him for about three years, but I guess he

eventually got over it.

THE CUP: We're not so sure. Have you seen his green hair?

KELLING: I think all this hoopla about first names is simply a trivial

blast from people who only wish they could get interviewed BECAUSE THEY

ARE IN THE LEAD, not because they are the editors and wish they could

get interviewed because they're ahead.

THE CUP: Hey, some people have fans that need the attention from the

Cupper of their affection. You just don't understand the pressure...

KELLING: For that matter, I think I am going to change my name to John

Evans--nah, Billy Bower . That has a better ring. Then you could

interview one of them---Evans or Bower--- and they can be in the lead

and DESERVINGLY get interviewed, not get interviewed simply because the

editor did not want to interview the rightful interviewee.

THE CUP: Ooh, the steam. Why, it's enough to boil the waters of

Cayuga Lake! Let'S change the subject: Did you expect to break Mc200

so soon?

KELLING: Sooner. I really thought I could get it by mid-June, but I fell

off the roof of my house the first of March.

THE CUP: Yes, that's right, you "fell" off. You were certainly not

pushed, no way. It was all an accident. (Could you sign these papers,

please?) Speaking of that, how has Allison been treating you since

you've broken her record from last year?

KELLING: "Allison--my aim is true." She gave me a goal...she was the

pioneer forging new possibilities.

THE CUP: AND let's not forget, she wasn't even trying. She stopped at

200 on purpose so SHE could break her record!

KELLING: What she did last year is similar to what Hillary Clinton has

done for the role of First Lady in the White House. Allison is clearly

a model to be followed...but from a distance.

THE CUP: Speaking of politics, who do you think will come out ahead,

Bill Evans or John Bower?

KELLING: Talk about a couple! Geesh, they even find the same good

bird. I think John Bower will win because he dresses more stylishly.

Actually, I think Bill Evans could win if he could simply look over the

edge and find enlightened harmony with his inner oneness. Are they

really two different people? I have never seen them both together.

THE CUP: Since we're already talking about children, what's Sammy's

newest favorite bird? And Taylor's?

KELLING: Sammy has been enjoying Wood Ducks. Taylor has moved to

primates...Bushbabies.

THE CUP: Oh, we hear they make great Christmas gifts, a real collector's

item. No, wait, that's Beanie Babies. We saw one in Stephen Davies

car--the rare and priceless camel model. Say, has working at the Lab

helped you at all, even though you're on the wrong side of the McIlroy

tracks?

KELLING: Yep, it has: Dickcissel at a BirdSource meeting. Woodcock

walking around the feeder area. Philly Vireo while talking on the phone.

THE CUP: Uh, Steve, your office is not in McIlroy territory, so we'll

have to ask you to take that vireo off your McList---which makes you

tied with, not ahead of, Allison Wells this month. Looks like we'll

have to scratch this whole interview! What'll be your next McIlroy bird?

KELLING: Northern Shoveler or Northern Shrike.

THE CUP: What do you think Allison's, uh, the winning McTotal will be?

KELLING: 208.

THE CUP: It's coming into focus even as we speak...in Allison's scope.

====================================================

BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH

By Caissa Willmer

====================================================

This month's bird brain has become an increasingly voluble and

arresting presence on Cayugabirds, one I always look forward to reading,

and I would imagine that he's streets ahead of anyone else in the

running for the Thoreau award. He is, of course, Geo Kloppel, a voice

from the "high hills around West Danby," about which he says, "I live in

a wildly rich and beautiful corner of the Basin, not at all well covered

by birders. Some of the interesting habitat is actually in Susquehanna

drainage, like Michigan Hollow, Bald Hill, and the North Spencer Marsh,

but there's plenty of Basin territory, too, and it deserves more

attention. The creation of the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve is

just a beginning, I hope."

Geo works at home "as a maker and restorer of bows for violins and

related instruments." His workshop is "out in the middle of nowhere,"

according to many of his clients, but he insists, "This place, my home

for about 25 years, most certainly is _somewhere_, and wherever that may

be precisely, I'm privileged to occupy the exact middle of it.

"When I'm not hunched over my workbench, I can look out across the

upper reaches of the Cayuga inlet valley to Thatcher Pinnacle. Within a

few steps of my door are old overgrown orchards, deep wooded ravines, a

secluded pond, groves of spruce and pine... and a few of my more

perceptive customers say 'I can see _why_ you live out here in the middle

of nowhere!'(Sigh!)"

I had long suspected that Geo might be a writer of articles and

essays, but he says, "No! I'm not any kind of writer. I just like to put

some of my enjoyment of birds into my posts, because I like it when other

people do so. In fact, the _pleasure_ of birding is very palpable on

Cayugabirds, and I owe my recent revival largely to the list, and

particularly to those who use it to express their delight in birds."

I think that most Cayugabirds listers would agree that when Geo

expresses his enjoyment of birds, it's a very infectious enjoyment and is

couched in apt and incisive language.

He began birding in 1964 or '65 when "my father introduced me to

one of the customers at his gas station in Watkins Glen-Jack Brubaker, in

fact. I suspect that my dad planned it, but it _seemed_ like a

spontaneous moment, and I don't even recall how it came about that a few

minutes later I was with Jack in the willow groves at the south end of

Queen Catherine marsh. I had been there before, of course, being very

keen on escaping from artificial environs at every possible opportunity,

although I didn't cultivate the fishing pretext traditional in our

family. But here was something new: a pretext,' if you will, for

retreat to nature that wasn't focused on killing wildlife. (I was 13 or

14 and had been carrying WALDEN in my back pocket for about a year. My

father and I had developed an unexpected communion in reading, and

his copy was as tattered as mine, and filled with exclamatory

underlinings! :-)

"So Jack pointed out titmice and woodpeckers, creepers, nuthatches

and finches, even the ears' of a Great Horned Owl protruding from the

broken-off trunk of a big blasted tree. I recall that hour like a door

opening up to let me out into the world.

"And that's a nutshell account of how I first was hooked. After

that I was the kid' member of the Schuyler County Bird Club for a few

busy years. Ironically, coming to Cornell in '69 pretty much coincided

with the end of my birding activity, but that's a different story."

He came back to birding when his daughter went off to college,

which "added degrees of freedom, but returning to work at home after a

few years in a big violin shop has been even more liberating, because I

choose my work hours again now.

"But self-employment poses problems as well as providing

opportunities. I have to play the part of critical supervisor as well as

compliant employee, and I'm still trying to figure out how best to manage

the inevitable conflict between the urge to get out in the field and the

need to knuckle down! My life has never been marked for successful

time-management. To tell the truth, I'm not at all sure that would be an

acceptable development, so perhaps I'm sabotaging the effort! :-)

"I was free to drop work, jump in the car, and head up to Lyons for

the Western Kingbird, but what a dither! All the way up conscience was

condemning me for irresponsible frivolity, although I knew that finding

the bird would switch the tables. When it turned out to be an

extraordinarily easy drive-up bird, the flip-flop was instantaneous, and

all the way back I was congratulating myself on having got my priorities

straight, and therefore deserving to succeed. No _wonder_ drivers turn

their radios up and zone-out!"

But when Geo frees himself to go out in the field, it's not just

because of the call of the birds. "I'm really enjoying exploring natural

areas that I have never visited before, almost regardless of what birds

might be present, and there are so many within the official Basin

boundaries, in spite of the vast degradation and destruction during the

two centuries since the Sullivan Campaign. I know Tompkins County fairly

well, but the northernmost reaches of the basin are largely terra

incognita to me. I have yet to experience Howland Island, for example, or

Tamarack Swamp, Crusoe Lake, the Galen Wildlife Management Area, Duck

Lake, Pond Brook, Cranberry Marsh, and on and on. I want to take in some

of those in 1998, when I'll be putting in my first full year of Basin

birding.

"But West Danby is my favorite area, and most of the birds I've

seen in '97 have been right around here. I know I'm missing lots, too."

When asked the inevitable question about lists and listing, he said,

"Writing lists and notes is about as foreign to my original nature as

wearing clothes, cooking food, or building a house, all alien customs

that I have found it expedient to adopt. It does seem to be second nature

to weave nets of abstractions and deploy them to catch and imprison

fleeting experience. Of course it ceases to be living at the moment it's

abstracted, but birders are well-protected by the nature of the activity

from the hazard of mistaking the lists and numbers for reality: people

continue to go outdoors to find wild birds because they want the wild,

live experience, even (or maybe especially) in cases where the

preoccupation seems to be all lists and abstractions. So I think that

listing is great, though it's not the form _my_ compulsions take.

"That said, I am finding it darned useful to keep a couple of

simple lists. It helps me to focus my wayward motivations by rewarding me

with a sense of accomplishment and the promise of more to come if I

persist. I can't imagine ever becoming an "avid" lister, but there's no

prediction to be inferred from that... I gather that these things

multiply insidiously, and I'm not much more than a neophyte!

When asked to describe some of his more memorable Basin birding

experiences, he said, "I've been birding actively in the Basin for about

six months, and I've written about all my encounters on Cayugabirds. I

have to insert here that I experienced nearly a 30 year remission from

the obsessive pursuit of birds."

Nevertheless, he finds it "curious that some of the things we're

apt to remember longest are things we wish we could forget. A couple of

minutes ago I told you about my very first birding experience, in which I

was shown a Great Horned Owl's tree, with the owl's ears' poking out.

Well, the shameful truth is that, wanting a better look, I went back

there a day or so later, and being unable to see anything of the owl

this time, in impatience I stepped up and kicked the base of the tree.

"That huge owl's silent explosion from the top of the tree was a

reproach I shall never forget, and a few moments later I realized that I

myself had just set the hook that I had only mouthed the previous day:

now I was in debt to owls."

He goes on to reminisce, however: "One evening in early September

'96, Pat and I were sitting on the grass up at the pond watching the dusk

groping up out of the valley to our east. The local contingent of Canada

Geese passed low overhead, honking as they descended toward the valley

kettles for the night. Frogs were singing, and the sky was very beautiful.

A Whip-Poor-Will began calling from among the trees at the far end of the

pond, and a few seconds later it appeared, still calling as it headed out

over the wooded slopes below us and dropped into the gloom. Something

stirred in me at that serene moment, something I had left on hold decades

ago. When Pat said, 'You should report that,' I was already thinking of

Cayugabirds.

"The next evening Allison and Jeff Wells were standing with us on

the dike. Astonishingly, the whole scene replayed itself for them.

Through the glow of their infectious delight, I remember answering their

questions to the effect that I had heard Whip-Poor-Wills here at some

previous time, but couldn't recall any details! Now there was a lesson

about the value of lists and notes!

When pressed for more birding wonders, Geo said, "I don't have space

enough here. I'll have to write an article for some future issue, if

Allison doesn't preemptively revoke my subscription!"

And I'm sure that the rest of the readers of The Cup will join me

in watching and hoping for that promised article.

(Caissa Willmer is a senior staff writer for the Cornell Office of

Development. She's also theater critic for Ithaca Times. A recent trip to

New York City may or may not be responsible for her totals this month...)

BIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRD

BIRD VERSE

VERSEVERSEVERSEVERSEVERSEVERSE

(your birdverse here)

@#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@(

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 recently saw the movie, "The Full Monty," at Cinemapolis Theatre in

Ithaca. While watching the boys dance, I suddenly realized I had seen

similar movements by a lone person out at the lighthouse jetty several

times. I got to wondering if maybe it was Stephen Davies (being a Brit

and all) out there doing the Full Monty. Or perhaps it was Bill Evans?

How can I tell which of them it is that's doing the Full Monty out there?

Is this behavior typical of Brits? If it is Stephen, why does he do it?

Does it help him add to his McIlroy total? Almost seems a little

dangerous on those cold October mornings...

--Envious in Enfield

Dear Envious:

I'm afraid you've given me too many questions and not enough information.

What was he wearing?

DEAR TICK:

Is it possible to get kicked out of the 100 Club?

--SMarty in Newfield

Dear SMarty

Longevity in the 100 Club relies solely upon what credentials you bring

to the Club (i.e., what food and beverages you keep in the kitchenette.)

For example, David McDermitt's Hirundinidae Soup is always a big splash

(although some say it's a bit hard to swallow.) Martha Fischer's Salmon

Souffle was hardly a flop (but from heron in, she may have trouble

getting the fisch, what with cold weather settling in.) On the other

hand, I'm told that Bill Evans has remained by virtue of his excellent

jokes: his David Cup and McIlroy scores.

DEAR TICK:

When you keep your money in a bank, you get interest on it--the bank is,

in a sense, borrowing that money. Well, between daylight savings time in

the spring and the return to standard time this fall, we Cuppers lost a

significant amount of birding time, especially when you figure in the

interest on that lost time. If we hear a Long-eared Owl whooing at

12:01 January 1, 1998, shouldn't we be allowed to count it for our 1997

David Cup totals, considering that it was time "borrowed" from us?

--Borrowing Owl in Brooktondale

Dear Borrowing Owl:

As you know, any excess revenues earned by the U.S. government goes

into paying off the national debt. Likewise, excess time accumulated by

Cuppers goes towards balancing the David Cup deficit, a time void caused

by Cuppers who spend too many hours working and not enough birding.

I suggest you hire a lobbyist to persuade Cuppers like Jim Lowe and Tom

Nix to trim those pork-barreled employment mandates and stop borrowing

against the already bloated Basin birding time deficit.

(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at jw32@cornell.edu)

""""""""" CUP QUOTES """"""""

"It must be flocking season--everyone seems to be bunching up! This

morning I had a flock of about 20 DE juncos feeding on the ground near

our feeders...Also, the titmice and chickadees have been coming out of

the woodwork (woods)!...Our M Doves duo has increased to 12 and our

single summer flicker has suddenly multiplied to 10--all feeding on the

lawn at once! I also had a pair of Snow Geese fly over honking this

morning--what an awesome sight against the morning sky with the sun on

their wings. Wow--it's fall!"

--Cathy Heidenreich

"Chris [Hymes] just told me that there are 5 Evening Grosbeak males in

our back yard, at the edge of the Etna Nature preserve, feeding on Box

Elders. Sorry, have to go home now!"

--Diane L. Tessaglia

"This Friday an extraordinary thing happened to me while taking a

stroll through the Etna Nature Preserve ... At one spot, I was observing

a Golden-crowned Kinglet and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets ... when I

suddenly heard about three Evening Grosbeaks calling overhead. I ran to

the nearest opening in the canopy to look for these birds flying

overhead. Standing there, hearing them again and still no sign, I was

perplexed. Then, almost directly over me in a nearby Box Elder a very

loud "Peeer!" emanated. I carefully stared and finally saw some slow

movement--there were Evening Grosbeaks feeding ... The entire time I had

been looking at the kinglets in the very same tree, these Grosbeaks had

been feeding slowly, methodically, and silently!

--Chris Hymes

"For those of you keeping track of the mini-invasion of Evening

Grosbeaks, they have now been seen on Hunt Hill Rd., east of Ithaca...

I guess I'll go stock up on sunflower seed this afternoon!"

--Laura Stenzler

"I have not seen the Evening Grosbeaks or Pine Siskins yet (hard to when

you are pressing grapes 24 hours per day)."

--Bill Retzlaff

"The Lincoln's were gratifying ...Their gray faces topped by reddish-

brown stripes just off-the-crown looked very much like immature

Swampies, but the very sharply and finely streaked buff breast ending

abruptly over a white belly gave them away. The abruptness was due to

the change of background color from buff to white, coinciding with the

termination of streaking, and in the frontal view was accidentally

suggestive (to me!) of Pectoral Sandpiper."

--Geo Kloppel

"Is a 'a frontal scope view' something like a Full Monty? Sorry!"

--Caissa Willmer

"I am sending this note to friends of mine I know to be of generally low

morals, to ask a favor that needs to be done TODAY: Please help me steal

the vote on the Internet for the special request song to be played by the

Rolling Stones at the concert in Charlotte tonight. I will be attending

with Cathy, and we want to hear "Far Away Eyes." (This is perfectly

moral in Cyberspace, since other people with even less character are

trying to steal the vote.)"

--Ralph Paonessa

"[How he got suckered to subscribe to The Cup] Yup, I guess it's time

for me to see what everyone else is talking about..."

--Fred Conner

"This weekend's goal was to see Dunlin and Evening Grosbeak for my David

Cup. So planned to join CBC trip on Saturday and later was planning to go

MNWR. All ready at 8.00 am, after scraping frost off my car windows, got

into car and started the engine. Car would not move. Checked if breaks

were on. No! Still, car refused to roll. Checked front wheel, Yes, it

was flat."

--Meena Haribal

"Just got back from a long fall-break weekend with Elaine in southeastern

Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan...I got to compare Horned and

Eared grebes...I feel much more prepared and confident now if that stray

Eared Grebe we dream about shows up on Cayuga Lake! I know I'll still be

grilled, but I should be ready, so watch out. We're gonna get that bird

here this fall, I just know it!"

--Karl David

"I'm glad Karl had the chance and the interest to look over those Eared

Grebes specifically with the idea in mind to translate that experience

back to the Basin. Go get'em Karl!"

--Kevin McGowan

"Please email me The Cup newsletter. I have been a modest lurker for

about a year, but cannot resist Coach McGowan's hints."

--Lee Boyd

"Speaking of Jeff, don't look now but my McIlroy number took a

significant move in his direction last month. I don't even worry about

Bill anymore--now I am getting psyched to catch Dr. Wells!"

--John Bower

"I spent most of the day on Saturday down on someone's patio off E

Shore Dr watching hawk migration down Cayuga Lake. I didn't plan on

spending the whole day on someone's patio but the flight was good and

consistent all day (plus who can resist the offer of can I get you

anything to eat?')"

--Andy Farnsworth

"Four Evening Grosbeaks and one Pine Siskin flew over my house on

Sunday morning. I was too busy to stay outside long, but it seemed like

lots of birds were moving around shortly after dawn. Among them were

many Juncos who invaded the feeders in large numbers for the first time

this fall. Can snow be far behind?"

--John Bower

May Your Cup Runneth Over,

Allison and Jeff