Year 3, Issue 11

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*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition.

* Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

* Basin Bird Highlights: "Thoreau" Geo Kloppel

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

* Leader's List, Composite: "Thoreau" Geo Kloppel

* Evans Cup Compiler: "Bird Hard" Bard Prentiss

* The Yard Stick Compiler: Casey "Sapsucker Woods" Sutton

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

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

* Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer

* Mobile Phone Supervisor: Jeff Wells

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"Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Cheery New Year!" That s what you expect

this time of year from a soft, mushy-gushy publication like The Cup, right?

Well, forget it! Our job is to push you, not mush you. These are trying

times, friends, the final days of the David Cup are upon us. And it s not

too late for any of you to break through the gate first Santa has pulled

off bigger miracles than that.

Well, maybe not.

Regardless, just quit with the caroling. Stop the shopping, forget the

eggnog, plum puddings, and those ridiculous candy canes. Certainly don t

wait for any holiday well wishing in The Cup 3.11. Get out there and bird,

bird, bird!

Oh, and Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Cheery New Year!

@ @ @ @ @ @

NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

@ @ @ @ @ @

WHERE S RALPH?: Remember Ralph Paonessa, the Cup s notorious stand-up

comedian? Well, he s back... sort of. Cup Headquarters received an email

from him recently, in which he gelled his lame excuse for the "0" next to his

name in the Pilgrim s Progress list down to rhyme and meter. Where is he,

and what s he been up to? Find out for yourself. Check out the Bird Verse

column, this issue. Meanwhile, Ralph, come home! There s an inflatable

Ross Goose waiting for you on the Christmas dinner table.

THE "INSIDE" SCOOP: What do you get when you take 50,000+ crows and put them

all together in a great, big roost in a small Upstate New York town? If

you re Cupper Kevin McGowan you get face time with a crew from National

Geographic Explorer! More impressively, you land in a segment for that

rag-tag, gossip-monger tabloid TV show, "Inside Edition." How did his

National Geo piece go? We don t know, it won t surface until spring. And

the IE segment that ran on Friday? Who knows! Our attempts to track down

the correct channel were in vain. But at least we got a few words from our

corvid crony: "It was exciting and an honor, I guess," says Kev, "but I was

really trying to get my NSF grants written." Fame. Ain t it a Red-nosed

Albatross.

HOOP SCHEMES: Why have the editors made such a fuss about the upcoming

Syracuse-Villanova basketball game (February 7)? Because TJ Couette,

an-off-the-bench hot-shotter for V, is a home boy! That is, he s from

Allison s home town of Winthrop, Maine. But that s only part of it. The

real fun will be hearing Casey Sutton and Matt Medler debating the

qualities or lack thereof, in Matt s opinion of the Buffalo Bills

during the car ride up. We ll let you know who wins. The basketball game,

we mean.

BI-BUY!: Great news! In 1999, you ll only have to put up with the drivel of

this rag-tag excuse for a newsletter every other month. That s right, we re

relegating the bashing and hashing to a bimonthly ritual. No more monthly

cleverless clutter in your e-mail box, no more sleepless nights wondering

if you ll be getting roasted in the upcoming issue. Of course, the down

side of this new format is that you ll have to work a little extra to stay

on top of your totals, since Matt Medler won t be there to hold your hand

every month. But think of the suspense! It ll be even harder to guess

who s pulled ahead of who. Anyway, look for the next issue in February. It

promises to be full of final totals, and of course, an in-depth report on

the fun, foolishness, and frivolous frolicking of the 3rd Annual Cupper

Supper!

YUP, ER, IT S THE CUPPER SUPPER: Leave late January and February open.

Cup Headquarters, posing as the Wells Birdland Bistro, will again host the

wild and crazy dish-to-pass Cupper Supper...we just aren t sure when yet.

Come put a face to those David Cup totals you ve been reading all year. Hear

the rompin stompin blues of DJs Kevin McGowan and Ken Rosenberg. And

don t miss the bestowing of the David Cup and other trophies. As always,

the Cup staff promises a few antics to warm up the crowd, and if Santa

bothers to read Allison s Christmas list, there ll be a ping-pong table ready

to smoke up the family room (remember, the Wells bought a house this summer,

so you won t have to eat out on the fire escape of the old apartment.)

Kids are welcome they make nice fuel for the fire (just kidding, right,

Jay?) Watch for upcoming notices to appear without warning in your e-mail box

...just when you thought you were cutting down on Cup clutter.

SAY NOT TO STARBUCKS: What to give that special someone for the holidays? Not

a gift certificate for Starbucks, apparently. This news item that came over

BirdChat may inspire you to take pen in hand: "Starbucks continues to resist

supporting shade-grown coffee. Shade-grown coffee provides valuable habitat

for songbirds in the neotropics, both for residents and for migrants from

the USA. Supporting shade-growth is even more important now than ever

before, as some of the recent hurricanes have devastated shade-growth farms

in some areas, and many farmers are replanting with sun-grown coffee to

recoup profits as fast as possible, with the birds paying the price for it.

So unless they start selling shade-grown (And they haven't yet), boycott

Starbuck's!" Remember, it doesn t do much good to

boycott a business if you don t tell them why.

BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: In the name of the Father, we re again

stretching this blues/jazz column to include...gulp...classical music.

Here s why:

"Not one, not two, but THREE Cuppers sang in the Ithaca Community Chorus and

Chamber Singers program of contemporary Eastern European Music in Sage Chapel

on December 5. They then winged to Elmira to repeat the performance the next

day. Well, Sue Kelling may not be a Cupper yet, but then neither was Kim

Kline until this year. Cupper spouses have a If you can't lick 'em, join

'em history, so look out, Sue, you may be next! Especially since you

tricked husband Steve into attending Saturday by promising salsa-influenced

classical music was on the program! Hard to believe he fell for that, but

expect to see yourself registered for the David Cup next year in

retaliation. Kim's husband and son, Kevin & Jay McGowan, excused themselves

from attending the premiere on some pretext of showing gulls to Cayuga Bird

Club members at Niagara Falls, but they (and daughter Perri) constituted a

significant fraction of the Elmira audience, so they are forgiven. And of

course my spouse was in Wisconsin and so couldn't be expected to attend,

right? As for the music ... no, it wasn't blues or jazz, but it had just as

much connection to birds as most of the programs the Editor[s] allow for

review, so [they] guiltily conceded that it ought to be mentioned in these

pages as well ..."

Karl David

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

BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS

By

Geo Kloppel

Like little Doug Flutie in the pocket, our eleventh month was bracketed by

archetypal specimens of the extra-large. On the first day of November the

three straggling AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS, which had loitered at

Montezuma since September, were still hanging around, though that date

was to mark the end of their stay. Then in the final days of the month a

SANDHILL CRANE, likewise a wanderer from the West, was spotted

several times in flight over the greater Montezuma area. That crane was

the only new addition for our Cayuga Basin year-list, although some

hoped-for rarities like Purple Sandpiper and Bohemian Waxwing were

reported extralimitally. Regionally, the biggest find of the month was an

unprecedented ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD. This exotic non-migratory West

Coast hummer made the newspapers as well as the regional RBAs, and

proved to be a real temperature-raising distraction on several counts, as if

the strangely persistent warm weather wasn't enough. Easy-off directions

to the backyard feeder frequented by the hummer were electronically

distributed to a wide audience of birders, luring motorized listers out

onto the interstate highways, but the trivial point that the bird appeared

out-of-Basin in downtown Binghamton was not entirely lost on this reporter

in all the excitement. Similarly, migrating gulls provided thrills in nearby

parts of Upstate New York, as for example three Franklin's Gulls at once in

Irondequoit Bay and those two Iceland Gulls visiting downtown Elmira day

after day, but the group generated no additions for our slumping Basin list.

Now I sure would like to see a couple more birds turn up to push us over

260, but rarities are only part of the game. At this stage the voids that

can still be filled in individual lists comprise much of the focus, and in

that context November did provide some gratification within bounds. A

GOLDEN EAGLE flying low over that justly-renowned Beam Hill

neighborhood on 11/2 resulted in some new ticks. Bob Meade's Loon Watch

had tallied 8382 COMMON LOONS by November 27th, a bit lower than

expected but still an amazing number. Lake-watchers (read Matt Young) at

Taughannock Point, Myers, Stewart Park and elsewhere also logged

RED-THROATED LOONS, BRANT, OLDSQUAW and all three SCOTER

species, most of the commoner waterfowl, BONAPARTE'S GULL and LESSER

BLACK-BACKED GULL. Hundreds of TUNDRA SWANS began to pile up

at MNWR. A lone GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE once again

very cooperatively mingled for a few days with the Canadas feeding in the

lawns at Stewart Park. A first NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen at the traditional

location in Matt's neighborhood. FOX SPARROWS peaked, and then dwindled

away.

Winter field-birds like SNOW BUNTINGS and HORNED LARKS were on the

increase, and several LAPLAND LONGSPURS were to be found keeping company

with them on plowed or manured lands south of Dryden Lake or atop Mount

Pleasant. TREE SPARROWS arrived in force. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS became

more numerous. A few EVENING GROSBEAKS briefly appeared, then

apparently headed farther south. Winter, which through much of November

seemed still to be far, far away, now looks like it's coming in after all.

Suits me

fine! A friend says that he wishes all those people who cheer about the

tropicalization of the temperate regions due to global warming would just

move to southern California immediately, and that it would then break off

from the added weight and sink! Ah, well, he's reached that retired age at

which good-humored cynicism is commonly given a generous interpretation.

(Geo Kloppel makes and repairs violin bows. At least, he uses that as an

excuse. He s really one of Santa s elves busily creating strange toys for

children who don t know the difference between a violin bow and a Game Boy.)

100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

100 CLUB

100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

"Hmmm...Somehow I think I've been reporting outdated information for several

months (bad statistician!). I actually broke into the coveted 100 Club in

late August, but have been too busy to fill out the application papers. Is

this such a heinous oversight that I'll be refused admission? Because, I

don't think I could take the rejection."

--Michael Runge

EDITORS NOTE: A quick survey of 100 Club members says to let Michael in,

but only if he agrees to wear a Santa suit and bring all the good Cuppers

a very special holiday gift...an Ivory Gull, preferably in Etna territory.

MICHAEL RUNGE S BIRD 100: " Birds 97-113 came in a flurry at Montezuma

on 8/30, so I can't be sure what the actual 100th was. Rather than report

#100 as Blue-winged Teal, I'd rather pick either LESSER GOLDEN-PLOVER (does

it have a new name now?) or WILSON'S PHALAROPE. The latter was a lifer, the

former was a satisfying identification (had to wait ~10 minutes before I saw

enough of the back and tail to make the call)."

EDITORS NOTE: Matt Medler, feel free to doc Mr. Runge one bird for making a

mockery of the festidious 100 Club entry process. Such an honorable system

must not be made afowl by such buffoonish record-keeping.

200 200 200 200 200

2 0 0

200 200 200 200

NOTE ON 200 CLUB DOOR:

"Dear Editors,

I was so mortified that Pat was not welcomed to the 200 Club with

the traditional Bird 200 citation (hers was a Peregrine, no less!) that

I'm stowing The Cup 3.10 away from her eyes in a password-protected

folder, hoping that she won't notice it's missing, and counting on you

to set right this oversight in The Cup 3.11"

to set right this oversight in The Cup 3.11"

--Geo Kloppel

[Overheard in 200 Club:]

[Allison Wells] "Jeff, what was that grumbling noise, thunder? It had sort

of a human voice quality to it, a very irate human voice."

[Jeff Wells] "Oh, it was just my stomach. I m really hungry. Hey, look, here

comes Pat Lia."

[Allison] "And what are the chances? There goes Geo. Good thing. He seems

upset. But whatever for?

[Jeff] " Pat, welcome to the 200 Club!" [As an aside to Allison:] "Did you

see that?

I think Geo just gave us a, er, certain bird.]

[Allison] "Can we count it for our David Cup totals?"

PAT LIA S BIRD 200: Peregrine Falcon

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

November 1998 David Cup Totals

By Matt Medler

It's down to the dog days of December. Who will emerge victorious?

Inquiring minds want to know. Will Matt perhaps spy a Golden Eagle atop

a windy Mt. Pleasant? Will Geo rush off in time to see a trio of beautiful

Long-tailed Ducks reported from Dryden Lake? Now for the real questions:

Will Geo ever find that elusive Lapland Longspur? Are enough saw-whets

tooting that Matt will get to hear one? And what about Iceland Gull?!

There must be at least one around, right Matt? The days are dwindling...

237 Matt Young

236 Geo Kloppel

231 Kevin McGowan

228 Jay McGowan

224 Ken Rosenberg

223 Chris Butler

220 Karl David

218 Meena Haribal

218 Jeff Wells

218 Allison Wells

213 Steve Kelling

212 Matt Medler

210 Matt Sarver

209 Tom Nix

206 Bard Prentiss

205 Stephen Davies

201 Pat Lia

191 Catherine Sandell

188 John Greenly

186 Anne Kendall

185 Jon Kloppel

183 Alan Krakauer

180 Nancy Dickinson

170 Martha Fischer

157 Ben Taft

157 John Fitzpatrick

153 Gary Chapin

152 John Morris

141 Perri McGowan

139 Marty Schlabach

134 Kim Kline

133 Steve Pantle

133 Jim Lowe

114 Michael Runge

103 Melanie Uhlir

98 The McGowan's Cat (Swift or Skeezix?) (DC Kitty Cup)

98 Anne James

97 Caissa Willmer

88 Tom Lathrop

84 Carol Bloomgarden

85 Ann Mathieson

68 James Daniel Phillip Barry*

57 Kylie Spooner

55 Mimi Wells (DC Kitty Cup)

48 Cathy Heidenreich

46 Dave Mellinger

45 Teddy Wells (DC Kitty Cup)

44 Tringa the McGowan Wonder Dog

42 Scott Mardis

39 Kurt Fox

34 Margaret Barker

26 Andy Leahy

20 Figaro (DC Kitty Cup)

0 Ned Brinkley*

0 Ralph Paonessa*

0 Larry Springsteen*

0 Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen*

*Currently living out-of-state and refuses to move back.

November 1998 McIlroy Award Totals

Compiled by Matt Medler

[Yawn.]

[Editor s note: Did you catch that, Santa?]

162 Allison Wells

146 Martha Fischer

145 Jeff Wells

144 Karl David

141 Kevin McGowan

121 Ken Rosenberg

120 Jay McGowan

111 Matt Medler

109 Stephen Davies

102 Jim Lowe

86 Ben Taft

84 Michael Runge

80 Anne Kendall

60 Stephen Davies

42 Dave Mellinger

0 Bill Evans*

*Nonetheless claims to be ahead.

November 1998 Evans Trophy Totals

Compiled by Bard Prentiss

196 Ken Rosenberg

193 Matt Young

176 Bard Prentiss

175 Kevin McGowan

170 Jay McGowan

109 Anne Kendall

November 1998 Lansing Totals

148 Kevin McGowan

122 John Greenly

November 1998 Etna Challenge

91 Allison Wells

82 Jeff Wells

18 Casey Sutton

November 1998 Yard Stick Totals

Compiled by Casey Sutton

[Actually, Casey didn t come to bat this time around, so those we reached

by phone are the only updated totals here. Sorry, but don t worry, we re

Sutton to get him back. We ll get him via next week s football picks AFTER

the games have already been played]

139 Ken Rosenberg, Dryden, NY

137 John Fitzpatrick, Ithaca, NY [self-declared "spiritual leader" for

having the "purist" list among

the Big Four]

125 Steve Kelling, Berkshire, NY

131 Kevin McGowan, Dryden, NY

116 Geo Kloppel, West Danby, NY

104 John Bower, Enfield, NY

95 Nancy Dickinson, Trumansburg, NY

70 Jeff and Allison Wells, Etna, NY

69 Ben Taft, Ithaca, NY

66 Darlene and John Morabito, Auburn, NY

64 John Greenly, Ludlowville, NY

53 Ann Mathieson, Scipio Center, NY

28 Susann Argetsinger, Burdett, NY

1 Casey Sutton, Ithaca, NY

LEADER'S LIST LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

By Geo Kloppel

Considering how many listers have become beneficiaries of Matt

Young's ferocious enthusiasm for finding really good birds, it's a

wonder that his own impressive list hasn't appeared in this column

before, but his moment to shine has come at last - Matt takes the lead,

finishing November with a very creditable tally of 237 species. Here's

the whole list:

R-t & C Loon,P-b,H & R-n Grebe,Am W Pelican,D-c Cormorant,

Am. Bittern,G Egret,G B & Green Heron,B-c Night Heron,T & M Swan,

S & C Goose,Brant,G W-f Goose,Wood Duck,G-w Teal,Am Black Duck,

Mallard,N Pintail,B-w Teal,N Shoveler,Gadwall,Am Wigeon,Canvasback,

Redhead,R-n Duck,G & L Scaup,Surf,Black & W-w Scoter,Oldsquaw,

C Goldeneye,Bufflehead,Hooded,C & R-b Merganser,Ruddy Duck,Turkey

Vulture,Osprey,Bald Eagle,N Harrier,S-s & Cooper's Hawk,N Goshawk,

R-s,B-w,R-t & R-l Hawk,Am Kestrel,Merlin,PeregrineFalcon,GYRFALCON,

R-n Pheasant,Ruffed Grouse,Wild Turkey,VA Rail,Sora,C Moorhen,Am Coot,

Am Golden,Bk-bellied & Semipalmated Plover,Killdeer,AM AVOCET,G & L

Yellowlegs,Solitary,Spotted & Upland Sandpiper,R Turnstone,Sanderling,

Semipalmated,Western, Least,W-r,Baird's & Pectoral Sandpiper,Dunlin,

Stilt Sandpiper,Short- & Long-billed Dowitcher,C Snipe,AmWoodcock,W's

Phalarope,B's,R-b,Herring,Little,L B-b & G B-b Gull,Caspian,C,

& Black Terns,Rock & Mourning Dove,B-b Cuckoo,E Screech-Owl,G

H,Barred,L-e,& S-e Owl,CNighthawk,Chimney Swift,R-t Hummingbird,

Belted Kingfisher,R-h & R-b Woodpecker,Y-b Sapsucker,Downy & Hairy

Woodpecker,N Flicker,Pileated Woodpecker,EWood-Pewee,Acadian,Alder,

Willow,Yellow-Bellied & Least Flycatcher,E Phoebe,G C Flycatcher,E Kingbird,

Horned Lark,Purple Martin,Tree,N R-w,Bank,Cliff & Barn Swallow,Blue Jay,

Am & Fish Crow,C Raven,B-c Chickadee,Tufted Titmouse,R-b & W-b Nuthatch,

Brown Creeper,Carolina,House,Winter & Marsh Wren,G-c & R-c Kinglet,B-g

Gnatcatcher,E Bluebird,Veery,G-c,Swainson's,Hermit & Wood Thrush,Am

Robin,Gray Catbird,N Mockingbird,Brown Thrasher,Am Pipit,Cedar Waxwing,

NShrike,Eurostarling,B-h,Y-t,Warbling,Philly & R-e Vireo,B-w,G-w,TN

&Nashville Warbler,N Parula,Yellow,C-s,Magnolia,Cape May,B-t blue,Y-r,

B-t Green,Blackburnian,Pine,Prairie,Palm,B-b,Blackpoll,Cerulean & B-and-w

Warbler,Am Redstart,Prothonotary Warbler,Ovenbird,N & LA

Waterthrush,Mourning Warbler,C Yellowthroat,Hooded,Wilson's & Canada

Warbler,Scarlet Tanager,N Cardinal,R-b Grosbeak,Indigo Bunting,E Towhee,Am

Tree,Chipping,Field,Vesper,Savannah,Grasshopper,Henslow's,Fox,Song,

Lincoln's,Swamp,W-c & W -t Sparrow,D-e Junco,S Bunting,Lapland Longspur,

Bobolink,R-wBlackbird,E Meadowlark,Rusty Blackbird,C Grackle,B-h Cowbird,

B & O Oriole,Pine Grosbeak,Purple & House Finch,Red & W-w Crossbill,

C Redpoll,Pine Siskin,Am Goldfinch,Evening Grosbeak,House Sparrow

COMPOSITE DEPOSIT

Our flagging 1998 composite may in part reflect a decline of enthusiasm, as

some have suggested, but to complement Matt's 237 species we do have the

list of 21 supernumeraries below, which helps to refurbish our collective

credit and put the absolute magnitude of the postulated decline in

perspective - clearly plenty of enthusiasm for birding went into finding

these additional species:

L Bittern,E Wigeon,BLACK VULTURE,Golden Eagle,Sandhill

Crane,Whimbrel,CURLEW SANDPIPER,Franklin's Gull,Glaucous Gull,

Iceland Gull,Forster's Tern,Yellow-billed Cuckoo,Snowy Owl,N Saw-whet

Owl,Whip-poor-will,Olive-s Flycatcher,Orange-crowned Warbler,

Worm-eating Warbler,Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow,Dickcissel,HOARY

REDPOLL.

Composite Total: 258 (an increase of just one from last month)

The gulls, the owls, and the eagle at least are in season during December,

so Matt still has a good chance to pick up some of these. Some

possibilities also remain for late additions to our composite total, but

whether we will reach 260 species for the Basin this year... well, that

could go either way. Only weeks remain, but two good finds would be all

that's needed, and just think how many of us there are to go out and

uncover them!

(You already know Geo. He s the one in the elf costume.)

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

< COACH'S CORNER <

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

< <

< <

< < < <

In all fairness to Jeff Wells, he s done little to earn his keep as Cup

Coeditor. Sure, he "proof reads" at midnight. He forwards totals

that come in over his e-mail. He draws the line in the sand when

his beloved Cup coworker wants to really heckle somebody...

then cheers her on when she crosses it.

Well, this month, in the spirit of the holiday gift-giving season,

our boy has slid down the chimney with his pom-poms to cheer

on Cuppers in their last hurrah for David Cup victory...or at

least a little respectability. Here s Coach Wells gift to all

Cuppers who read this column:

COACH WELLS: The land of milk and honey is just around the corner

yet Cuppers still find themselves struggling, dare I say, gasping for that

last spurt of energy to carry them across that finish line the David

Cup marathon finish line of midnight December 31. The beauty of the

DC is that, unlike the Ironman or the like, Cuppers begin the new race

the second they have ended the last. So as you struggle to stave off the

cramps and nausea of the end of the race, just remember a new day is

dawning for you on Jan. 1.

But still, what do you have left to look for in these last few days of

December? Winter finches? Fugetaboutit! They ain t HERE! And they

won t be! How about white-winged gulls? Yes, keep checking Stewart Park,

the Seneca Meadows landfill, and spots around the north end of the lake.

But don t hold your breath. So far this season the white-wings haven t

really materialized.

The neat thing this year for December birding is really the effect of

the warm weather. The loon and sea duck migration has extended well

into the month and there may well be opportunities for finding a scoter

or Oldsquaw, er, Long-tailed Duck, through the end of the month. We

have always known that Golden Eagles were late fall migrants but this

year they have been exceptionally late and should continue to be watched

for as they mosey on south. If for some reason you ve missed any of the

normally occurring waterfowl most species are still in the Basin. Even

Blue-winged Teal, a bird that winters into South America, has been seen

in the last week.

So squeeze in a little birding around your holiday shopping. It s

the only way to know just how good you ve really been!

(Jeff Wells is director of bird conservation for National Audubon of

of New York State. He s skulking his wife s Etna Challenge list

and checking it twice.)

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

! KICKIN' TAIL! !

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

What better way to prove you re worthy of de-Kickin the kickin -est

kicker of 1998 than by being featured in an interview exclusively for

The Cup? "Kickin' Tail" brings well deserved honor and recognition

to the Cupper who has glassed, scoped, scanned, driven, climbed, dug, or

found-the-most-rare-birds his/her way to the top of the David Cup list.

So much for mystery. With that kind of clue, guess you know our

featured Kicker this month is, at long last, Mighty Matt Young!

THE CUP: Jessica, er, Matt, you finally made it! You're finally on top! What

was the bird that got you here?

YOUNG: The bird that temporarily put me over the top was a lifer Lapland

Longspur.

THE CUP: What do you mean "temporarily." Doesn t this mean you'll take the

whole thing?

YOUNG: I don't know, since Geo has since tied me with an Oldsqauw that was

recently at Dryden Lake.

THE CUP: We told you not to post that to Cayugabirds. Sharing, generosity,

good-natured competition, it goes completely against the cut-throat rules

of The Cup!

YOUNG: It will probably come down to Geo's needed Lapland Longspur or my

needed Iceland Gull.

THE CUP: Cup money s on the longspur. But then, you managed to pull a

Greater White-fronted Goose out of thin air.

YOUNG: Geo also stands a chance at getting Brant (know how to spell it

now, thanks to Ken Rosenberg, i.e., Brandt). Boy, I'm now regretting that I

didn't

go to Geo's last winter to get saw-whet owl, which I didn't chase because I

didn't

know there was such a thing as the illustrious David Cup.

THE CUP: Blasphemy!

YOUNG: Geo even called to tell me he had one shacking up on his property

for weeks and that I should come over. Guess I can't cry over spoiled

cheese or is that milk! Boo hoo.

THE CUP: Do you and arch rival Geo ever go birding together?

YOUNG: Yes. In fact, we did just a few weeks ago. How can I spurn a man

that cleaned out a car seat so I could fix my jonesin when my car had

broken down?

THE CUP: Um, Matt, didn t you wonder HOW your car had broken down in the

first place?

YOUNG: In fact, we've shared hot tips on birding spots for specialties.

THE CUP: That s what he d have you believe. Haven t you noticed that the

CDs he s always got in his CD player are bands no one s ever heard of, that

we can t even pronounce?

YOUNG: I think I informed him on numerous birds (i.e., American Avocet, the

goose, Acadian Fly, Orchard Oriole, Red-headed Woodpecker and Long-eared

Owl). I've even tried to get him on my elusive friend, the Lapland Lonspur.

Don't know if I'll do that again, it depends if it means a tie or a win, if

it will help him win , I think I'll let him work, if it means tie, which I

hope we do (I'd hate for either one of us to lose at this point), I'll

almost certainly help.

THE CUP: Oh, please! A bitter pill to wash down the sugar! [Swallow] That s

better. Thanks, Karl. Matt, what's your favorite birding locale in the

Basin?

YOUNG: That's a tough one! I think I have three that I'm equally fond of

for various reasons. 1.Dryden Lake where else in the Basin can you have

great looks at waterbirds of such variety?

THE CUP: Ken Rosenberg s bedroom window. Never mind. They re one and the same.

YOUNG: In fact, out of some 35 species of waterbirds I've seen this year,

there are perhaps only five or six I haven't seen at Dryden Lake. It's

better than Cayuga Lake or MNWR, at least as waterbirds go.

THE CUP: Sit down!

YOUNG: 1A. Summer Hill -- I pick this spot because I love winter finches and

coniferous forest. Even though Summer Hill can be so painfully quiet, it

can also be a treasure. Summer Hill has provided treats such as, C Raven,

Northern Goshawk, Bald Eagle, red-phase Ruffed Grouse eating sumac, and of

course, Pine and Evening grosbeaks, and hundreds of Common Redpolls. This

year Bill Evans and I expect to turn up a Boreal Chickadee or Black-backed

Woodpecker here.

THE CUP: Who s Bill Evans?

YOUNG: As Ken Rosenberg once told me, if you don't think big, you won't get

the big one, or is it rare one? 1B. Last, but not least, Myers Point.

Somebody has to give this place its due, since Father Karl is supposed to

be leaving the Basin (ha). This spot has been a lucky one for me. Avocets

twice, Little Gull, and other uncommons such as Sanderling, Ruddy

Turnstone, Baird's and Stilt sandpipers and Golden Plover have delighted

the eye.

THE CUP: What's in your CD player?

YOUNG: Enya's "Shepherd Moons"!

THE CUP: Save face: What's your favorite color?

YOUNG: Pinkish-red of a Pine Grosbeak or White-winged Crossbill.

THE CUP: Very nice. With precious few weeks left, what's your strategy for

victory, and do you think Karl David has a chance?

YOUNG: A weekly trip around the lake in hopes of observing a white-winged

gull, occasional trips up to Mt. Pleasant for a late-migrating Golden Eagle

or an intermixed Bohemian Waxwing, and of course, some prayers for the

Lapland Longspur, that it continues its elusiveness.

THE CUP: Ouch!

YOUNG: As far as Father Karl catching the leaders, he'd have to have a

record-breaking finish. But, they don't call him Father Karl for nothing.

THE CUP: Did you enjoy this interview? Don't worry, we won't change your

answers.

YOUNG: Thoroughly, until I see your precious little quotes conveniently

sprinkled throughout.

THE CUP: Let it be known that we never put words in our interviewees mouths.

YOUNG: I LOVE THE CUP! THE CUP IS GOOD! I WORSHIP THE CUP!

THE CUP: No need to get carried away. What do you want for Christmas?

YOUNG: Books: Grant's book on gulls and the bibles on seabirds and shorebirds

(which I've already lost once).

THE CUP: Okay, but don t be TOO good. Remember, Santa s not the only one

watching!

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

BIRDBITS

By Jay McGowan

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

WHERE S JAY S BIRD BRAIN QUESTIONS? Perhaps

they are hung by the chimney with care...

492x837-48576+5764.679/4905%8677-34566.578+0486940

STAT'S ALL, FOLKS

By Karl David

6879403+58673.6978/4857694~58674%x98458.6059679+697

Well, as I threatened to do at the soi-disant "farewell supper" ("Never can

say good-bye," etc.), here it is: my official list of Cayuga Lake Basin

birds, 1985-1998.

But first, (more than) a few words of explanation. I arrived in the

Basin at the end of August, 1984, and of course did a lot of birding the

rest of that year. However, I have since re-seen all those birds, so for

uniformity I'm going to rewrite history and begin January 1, 1985. That way

you can see how my year-to-year effort correlates with the running total of

species seen overall.

And of course, 1998 isn't quite over yet, and I'd love to add a year

bird or two or, even better, one more new bird for the Basin ...

BECAUSE ... one more bird would give me a 280 official total species. I

say "official" because, like everyone else, I have a number of "private"

birds: unusual birds for which I either never submitted a report or had an

honestly-written report rejected (I have to work on doctoring my reports so

they'll be accepted). I accumulated 11 such species in the 14 years, but I

won't include them below. The yearly totals are also adjusted to remove

these birds.

I will also identify those species seen every year. By staying through

this fall and thus asking all those species to fly through this hoop one

more time, I had one casualty: Lincoln's Sparrow was lost! This is

definitely a "soft" list, since I wasn't consciously trying to keep it as

long as possible from the start. I'd probably been here four or five years

before I even thought about it. Thus perhaps a dozen or more "easy" species

(such as White-crowned Sparrow) had actually already been missed. This

list comes to an end at 164 species, so I estimate that it wouldn't be hard

for new observers in the Basin to keep it above 175 indefinitely if they

really wanted to.

First I'll give the yearly numbers, then the list of species. It would

also be interesting to track the never-missed list from year to year, i.e.

see at a glance how many birds were lost from it every year, and I did in

fact do that once before in Stat's All, but I didn't think to bring that

data in to my office with me, so we'll have to live without it. Here goes:

Year Year List Cumulative Total Species

1985 211 211

1986 213 228

1987 201 230

1988 202 235

1989 209 240

1990 220 249

1991 232 254

1992 243 262

1993 222 265

1994 231 268

1995 245 271

1996 251 276

1997 233 278

1998 221 279

Now, for the list of 279 species (the 164 never-missed birds are indicated by

an asterisk).

Red-throated Loon,*Common Loon,*Pied-billed Grebe,*Horned Grebe,Red-necked

Grebe,American White Pelican,*Double-crested Cormorant,American Bittern,Least

Bittern,*Great Blue Heron,*Great Egret,Snowy Egret,Tricolored Heron,Cattle

Egret,*Green-backed Heron,*Black-crowned Night-Heron,Glossy Ibis,*Tundra

Swan, Mute Swan,Greater White-fronted Goose,*Snow Goose,Ross'

Goose,Brant,*Canada Goose,*Wood Duck,*Green-winged Teal,*American Black

Duck,*Mallard,*Northern Pintail,*Blue-winged Teal,*Northern

Shoveler,*Gadwall,Eurasian Wigeon, *American

Wigeon,*Canvasback,*Redhead,*Ring-necked Duck,*Greater Scaup,

*Lesser Scaup,*Oldsquaw,Black Scoter,Surf Scoter,White-winged Scoter,*Common

Goldeneye,Barrow's Goldeneye,*Bufflehead,*Hooded Merganser,*Common Merganser,

*Red-breasted Merganser,Ruddy Duck,*Turkey Vulture,*Osprey,Bald

Eagle,*Northern Harrier,*Sharp-shinned Hawk,*Cooper's Hawk,Northern

Goshawk,Red-shouldered Hawk,Broad-winged Hawk,*Red-tailed

Hawk,*Rough-legged Hawk,Golden Eagle, *American Kestrel,Merlin,Peregrine

Falcon,Gyrfalcon,*Ring-necked Pheasant,*Ruffed Grouse,Wild Turkey,Yellow

Rail,Virginia Rail,Sora,Common Moorhen,*American Coot,

Sandhill Crane,*Black-bellied Plover,Lesser Golden-Plover,*Semipalmated

Plover, *Killdeer,American Avocet,*Greater Yellowlegs,*Lesser

Yellowlegs,Solitary

Sandpiper,Willet,*Spotted Sandpiper,*Upland Sandpiper,Whimbrel,Hudsonian

Godwit,Marbled Godwit,Ruddy Turnstone,Red Knot,Sanderling,*Semipalmated

Sandpiper,Western Sandpiper,*Least Sandpiper,White-rumped Sandpiper,*Baird's

Sandpiper,*Pectoral Sandpiper,*Dunlin,Curlew Sandpiper,*Stilt Sandpiper,Buff-

breasted Sandpiper,Ruff,*Short-billed Dowitcher,Long-billed Dowitcher,*Common

Snipe,American Woodcock,Wilson's Phalarope,Red-necked Phalarope,Laughing

Gull, Little Gull,*Bonaparte's Gull,*Ring-billed Gull,*Herring Gull,Iceland

Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull,Glaucous Gull,*Great Black-backed

Gull,*Caspian Tern, *Common Tern,Forster's Tern,*Black Tern,*Rock

Dove,*Mourning Dove,Black-billed Cuckoo,Yellow-billed Cuckoo,*Eastern

Screech-Owl,*Great Horned Owl,Snowy Owl, Barred Owl,Long-eared

Owl,Short-eared Owl,Northern Saw-whet Owl,Common Nighthawk,*Chimney

Swift,*Ruby-throated Hummingbird,*Belted Kingfisher,Red-headed

Woodpecker,*Red-bellied Woodpecker,*Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,*Downy

Woodpecker,*Hairy Woodpecker,*Northern Flicker,*Pileated Woodpecker,

Olive-sided Flycatcher,*Eastern Wood-Pewee,Yellow-bellied Flycatcher,Acadian

Flycatcher,*Alder Flycatcher,*Willow Flycatcher,*Least Flycatcher,*Eastern

Phoebe, *Great Crested Flycatcher,Western Kingbird,*Eastern Kingbird,Gray

Kingbird, *Horned Lark,*Purple Martin,*Tree Swallow,*Northern Rough-winged

Swallow, *Bank Swallow,Cliff Swallow,*Barn Swallow,*Blue Jay,*American

Crow,*Fish Crow,Common Raven, *Black-capped Chickadee,*Tufted

Titmouse,*Red-breasted Nuthatch,*White-breasted Nuthatch,*Brown

Creeper,*Carolina Wren,*House Wren, *Winter Wren,Sedge Wren,*Marsh

Wren,*Golden-crowned Kinglet,*Ruby-crowned Kinglet,*Blue-gray

Gnatcatcher,*Eastern Bluebird,*Veery,Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson's

Thrush, *Hermit Thrush,*Wood Thrush,*American Robin,*Gray Catbird,

*Northern Mockingbird, *Brown Thrasher,*American Pipit,Bohemian Waxwing,

*Cedar Waxwing,Northern Shrike,*European Starling,*Blue-headed

Vireo,*Yellow-throated Vireo,*Warbling Vireo,Philadelphia Vireo,*Red-eyed

Vireo,*Blue-winged Warbler,Golden-winged Warbler,Tennessee

Warbler,Orange-crowned Warbler,Nashville Warbler,Northern Parula,*Yellow

Warbler,*Chestnut-sided Warbler,*Magnolia

Warbler,Cape May Warbler,Black-throated Blue Warbler,*Yellow-rumped Warbler,

*Black-throated Green Warbler,Blackburnian Warbler,Yellow-throated

Warbler,Pine Warbler,Prairie Warbler,Palm Warbler,*Bay-breasted

Warbler,*Blackpoll Warbler, *Cerulean Warbler, *Black-and-white

Warbler,*American Redstart,Prothonotary Warbler,

Worm-eating Warbler,*Ovenbird,*Northern Waterthrush,*Louisiana Waterthrush,

Kentucky Warbler, Connecticut Warbler,*Mourning Warbler,*Common Yellowthroat,

Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler,Canada Warbler,Yellow-breasted Chat,*Scarlet

Tanager,*Northern Cardinal,*Rose-breasted Grosbeak,*Indigo

Bunting,Dickcissel, *Eastern Towhee, *American Tree Sparrow,*Chipping

Sparrow,Clay-colored Sparrow, *Field Sparrow, *Vesper Sparrow,*Savannah

Sparrow,*Grasshopper Sparrow,Henslow's Sparrow, Nelson's Sharp-tailed

Sparrow,*Fox Sparrow,*Song Sparrow,Lincoln's Sparrow,

*Swamp Sparrow,*White-throated Sparrow,White-crowned Sparrow,*Dark-eyed

Junco, Lapland Longspur,*Snow Bunting,*Bobolink,*Red-winged

Blackbird,*Eastern Meadowlark,Rusty Blackbird,*Common Grackle,*Brown-headed

Cowbird,Orchard Oriole,*Baltimore Oriole,Pine Grosbeak,*Purple Finch,*House

Finch,Red Crossbill,White-winged Crossbill,Common Redpoll,Hoary

Redpoll,*Pine Siskin, *American Goldfinch,Evening Grosbeak,*House Sparrow.

And there you have it. But hopefully the book isn't closed. There's always a

"wish list" of birds to add on future visits, so long as the rest of you do

>your job (at least when you know I'm coming!). I conclude by presenting you

with my "Dirty Dozen," my twelve most-wanted Basin birds. The idea behind

this constantly-revised list is to come up not with the most fantastic

birds I could see, but with the most overdue, pedestrian birds I've somehow

missed.

I don't include life birds in this list, so that eliminates Red Phalarope.

The only two of my hypothetical birds I could mention without raising

eyebrows, Little Blue Heron and Eared Grebe, also won't be on this list.

And it includes one bird I've technically seen ... Franklin's Gull ... but

after much soul-searching I decided I couldn't count it because all I saw

was a rapidly-receding gull that I was assured by the observers present was

a Franklin's Gull. That, Purple Sandpiper, and Harlequin Duck have been

seen in the state; the others would be state birds as well. All of these

birds have been seen, or at least reported, in the Basin since I've been

here, except for Purple Sandpiper. The "Dirty Dozen" are:

Harlequin Duck,Black Vulture,King Rail,Purple Sandpiper,Franklin's Gull,

Black-headed Gull,Common Barn-Owl,Whip-poor-will,Loggerhead Shrike,

White-eyed Vireo,Blue Grosbeak,Yellow-headed Blackbird.

As for my state list, eliminating the same eleven hypothetical Basin

birds from it puts it at 302 officially. Right now it looks like Great

Cormorant in Oswego Harbor could be the final addition before I leave, if I

get up there. The final list I present are the state/not Basin birds:

Wilson's Storm-Petrel,Sooty Shearwater,Audubon's Shearwater,

Tufted Duck,Harlequin Duck,Gray Partridge,American Oystercatcher,Purple

Sandpiper,Parasitic Jaeger,Long-tailed Jaeger,Franklin's Gull,California

Gull, Thayer's Gull,Sabine's Gull,Royal Tern,Least Tern,White-winged

Tern,Black Skimmer,Northern Hawk-Owl,Great Gray Owl,Anna's

Hummingbird,Fork-tailed Flycatcher,Harris' Sparrow.

Now ... how about Basin bird #280 as a going-away present before Christmas?

Anybody? Please? Oh well ... so long and the best in Basin birding to you!

(Karl David has been a Wells College mathematics professor on sabbatical at

Cornell. Karl, about the "so long." It sounds a little too convincing. Plans

are already underway to get someone [Geo Kloppel] to "fix" your car before

you leave.)

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

SCRAWL OF FAME

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

HAVE A VERY BIRDY NEW YEAR!

(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.)

mmmmm

mmmmmmmmmmmm McILROY MUSINGS mmmmmmmmmmm

mmmmm

We d thought we d kill this space by asking the leader in each category

why "their" category is really the most important one:

MATT YOUNG, DAVID CUP

"The reason leading the David Cup is the most important of all the

competitions is for the simple fact that all the other competitions are

really just components of the David Cup, except for maybe the Yard

Stick, but the Yard Stick has some dubious boundaries that vary greatly

from individual to individual. The David Cup competition also yields the

greatest amount of species (240-250)."

ALLISON WELLS, McILROY AWARD

"Actually, I no longer believe that the McIlroy Award is most

prestigious. I saw the light during the summer, I believe the day

was June 21...coincidentally, the very day we moved to Etna."

KEN ROSENBERG, YARD and EVANS TROPHY (DRYDEN)

"Of course the Yard List is all that matters. Anyone can run all over the

Basin ticking off easy stuff at Montezuma, Mt. Pleasant, or even Stewart

Park. But amassing a list that includes Golden Eagle, Oldsquaw, and

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher from a 1-acre plot of scrubby woods on a

hillside above Dryden requires true skill! Also, the Yard List

illustrates a correct balance of family values -- spending that precious

time outdoors with the kids, stacking wood, re-graveling the driveway --

all while contributing to the Basin's ornithological database.

Montezuma, anyone?"

KEVIN McGOWAN, LANSING LIST

Refused to respond to questionnaire, presumably because he s

still working on his NSF grants...or stuck up in some tree

in Auburn.

ALLISON WELLS, ETNA CHALLENGE

"Poor little Etna. With neither the Henslow s Sparrows nor the Upland

Sandpipers putting in appearances here this year, Etna has been shunned

rather, used and discarded like a ticket stub. I think Etna deserves better.

For many years, Etna yielded Henslow s and Uppies, and she remains a faithful

giver of unusual flycatchers, the highly coveted Golden-winged Warbler,

and most recently, a shrike. The fact that Dryden listers try to claim Etna

is all the more a testament to her worthiness and contribution to Basin

birding, and perhaps the biggest reason why she stands on her own.

P.S. The fact that this is where I live has in no way, shape, or form

biased my opinion."

=================================================

BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH

By Caissa Willmer

=================================================

This month s Bird is Jon Kloppel (with the vaguest of prodding and a

couple of commas from Caissa Willmer)!

"Without any excuses or explanation I must say I've done precious little

birding in many years. I am currently in a birding renaissance that I expect

will lead to a comfortable relationship with birding as a favored passion

for life.

"When I was a young boy I did some regular birding with the Schuyler

County Bird Club. I remember peaceful early morning walks with adults who

were happy to show me the wonders of the avian world. Today those people are

like legends to me, each with [her/] his own relationship to specific

families of birds. Jack Brubaker was the master birder. I especially

remember the way he would drive the edges of Seneca lake in winter in

search of the unusual grebe or loon, or the elusive Oldsquaw or pintail.

Betty Strath was in tune with the voices of all the singing spring warblers

in the way a mother knows her identical twins apart in the dark. It was

just magic to me, and I learned little but appreciation.

I was very young. Woodcocks flashed before us, and Ruffed Grouse drummed

because Art Cop was with us. And I tagged along with my big brother Geo,

whom you all know now for his prose, poetry, birding skills and tenacity, and

unlimited love of nature. I don't know what happened to all of that for

me, but now that I am stealing even the shortest moments to bird wherever I

may be, those days and those people are with me a great deal.

"I now work for Tompkins County Mental Health Services as a

caseworker. If you see a county vehicle driving erratically and a poorly

dressed scruffy-haired guy with binoculars gets out in the middle of the

road in a hurry to catch a glimpse of a hunting harrier, I don't know that

it can be any other than me. Just don't tell my boss.

"I live in Interlaken with my two children, Aaron and Rachel, and my

wife Cynthia. I have a great deal of trouble limiting the number of

different things that I do, but I think other than family and Cynthia, I

have resolved myself to two passions. I think birding is here to stay for

me, as I find myself projecting my experiences into the future, looking

forward to the kinds of opportunities for interaction with birds that will

develop as my skills develop. The other current passion is a new endeavor

of mine to start a small PC assembly business I call Hamguy Custom Systems.

"I like listing a great deal. I do understand why there is a

contingent that believes it degrades the art of birding, but I think for

people who are motivated by connections among things and goal orientation,

it is nothing but positive. It was when I got connected to e-mail and

realized there were fun people out there listing and mock-competing

(jab-jab) that I began to list birds. At first it was just in my head and

then on paper and then a geographically oriented paper list, the David Cup.

It gave me a different perspective on the Basin, a concept of where I live

based on watershed and habitat. I felt like I gained a home or began to

conceptualize one that was already there, and I began to bird. Four or

five trips a week or more to Shelldrake and Kidders. Stealing the twenty

minutes that the laundry was in to drive the back roads west and south of

Interlaken for bluebirds and to scrutinize the flocks of Horned Larks and

soak in the beauty of the Snow Buntings. Lunch breaks happened in the

city cemetery instead of the Chinese Buffet. I went out of my way wherever

I went and left early to make up for the stops on the way. My kids started

calling me "backroads jonny." I took my clients up to see the crossbills

and donated pints of blood to the Armitage mosquitoes. The list got me

doing all this and continues to motivate. When it doesn't, there's next

year's list. Maybe listing is a phase that leads to a more restful and

contemplative approach, but it's an essential phase and learning tool.

"I think my favorite basin birds for the year were the White-winged

Crossbills I found in the City Cemetery sitting on very low branches at eye

level-made special in part by Cynthia's presence. But then there was the

Short Eared Owl on the pole just a few miles south of Interlaken. The

light was still very good, and Rachel was with me for that one. I think

it was the basin first for '98. A Snowy Owl could still top the

list for me, though. I remember one north of Watkins Glen when I was about

13. I haven't seen one since then. But isn't it curious how once one

"breaks the ice" with a particular bird, that bird starts showing up all

the time?

"There are some things I will try to change about my overall birding

experience in '99. The first that comes to mind is hard work at warbler

song. I'm looking forward to the next chance to learn some of those spring

migrants, hoping that this year's experiences will carry over through the

snow and wind to become useful next spring. I suppose that's going to

depend in large part on my memory retrieval skills. Oh-oh!

I would also like to get out more with other birders. Most of my birding

has been alone at this point, and I think I will always enjoy birding

alone, but I'm sure I could benefit from birding with others. So I'm

thinking of the Christmas count and some of the walks offered by the Cayuga

Bird Club as possibilities.

"I've been tempted by the photography bug at different times during

the year in the field. I recently traded all my old camera equipment in for

not-quite-as-old camera equipment in an attempt to come up with something

that would be appropriate for some bird photography. I combined my 300-mm

lens with a scope eyepiece for a relatively primitive 30x scope. Maybe

that will get me those Iceland Gulls this January. The nice thing about it

is that as I get longer focal length lenses, I will also have the

possibility of

a higher-powered scope as a bonus. The photography has been very

difficult. Each time I think I have a nice shot, it turns out that my

subject is too distant to translate any of the excitement I felt when I

fired the shutter. I am learning by failure, but happy to be learning

after all.

[Aren't birders marvelously writerly people?!-CW]

(Caissa Willmer is a Senior Staff Writer for the Cornell Office of

Development and theater critic for the Ithaca Times.)

BIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRDBIRD

BIRD VERSE

> VERSEVERSEVERSEVERSEVERSEVERSE

Gambling in Havana

By Ralph Paonessa

I was gambling in Havana

I took a little risk

Send lawyers, guns, and money

And get me out of this.

I was hiding in Honduras

I'm a desperate man

Send lawyers, guns, and money

The bird poop's hit the fan.

I'm here in California

No Basin birds for me

I'm holed up with Roadrunners

They're not much company.

And so I must inform you

My David total's zip

But keep looking over your shoulder

If I get back from this trip!

@#$$%#%$^!(*$)%^@>(#?@<$&%^@(

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:

Surely you ve seen the trailers: a mutant gorilla thrashing through a

forest, climbing up a ferris wheel (yes, a ferris wheel), running down a city

street, jaws agape and baring fangs the size of a high-rise apartment

building. Although the movie s title is "Mighty Joe Young," could it

be that the title character is actually based on the David Cup s own

Might Matt Young? Witness who s Kickin Tail this month! As

always, your insight would be appreciated.

--"Mighty" Appreciative

Dear Mighty Appreciative:

>Yes, I ve seen the trailers. That oversized monkey is no where near as

ferocious as "our" Matt. Sure, he s got big teeth, but what are his

Cup totals? That said, I have been made privy to some insider

information. "Mighty Joe Young" is actually a composite, based on not

one but two maniacal Cuppers, Matt Young and Geo Kloppel. I asked

my Hollywood source why it wasn t spelled "Mighty Geo Young,"

and s/he said the suits were afraid people would think it was a movie about

an infant car (as in Geo Prizm) with extraordinary determination a

revision, perhaps, of some dud called "The Little Engine That Could."

I hear it was a real downer.

(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at jw32@cornell.edu)

""""""""" CUP QUOTES """"""""

"I got no new birds in November. Cornell is a cruel mistress jealous of

all that brings joy to my life. "

> --Ben Taft

"My total through November was a paltry 223. Life just gets way too crazy at

the end of the semester."

--Chris Butler

"I haven t eaten breakfast. I haven t had any coffee, and all I ve see are

Canada Geese. Can I have an ibuprofen?"

--Ken Rosenberg

( during a birding trip around Cayuga Lake)

"I need your help! I m only two birds behind Ken on the Yard List. Is there

some way you can maybe change the totals just a little?"

--John Fitzpatrick

"Sorry, you ll have to speak to Matt Medler about that. We like to pretend

he s in charge of the totals."

--Allison Wells

"The kids and I made the trek to Binghamton Saturday to see the hummingbird.

(My young daughter wanted to go because, according to the book, it had a

pink throat and forehead!) The bird obliged us with good looks, despite

the gray weather. We would like to extend our thanks to the property

owners and the people who have shared information and directions... This

was only the second species of hummingbird my avid birding children have

ever seen, and it was a beautiful male. As my son said, it was somewhat

weird to be heading out in the snow to see a new kind of hummingbird. That

alone made it a memorable experience. Seeing some downstate friends and

all the interested (and considerate) people added to the experience too.

Thanks to all for making this enjoyable experience possible!"

--Kevin McGowan

"Early this afternoon, Jo and I were on the deck at Dryden Lake when an

Osprey landed in one of the trees about 50 feet east of the deck. It then

took off and circled above the lake quite close to the deck, giving us

beautiful views. Then it crossed the lake and dove into the water, coming

up with a small fish, which it took somewhere toward the south end of the

lake."

--George Houghton

"A crow chased a screaming Pileated Woodpecker around and around, until

they both landed in my yard. I have seen Pileated Woodpeckers in the

neighborhood before, but this is a first for a yard bird. Thanks, crow!"

--Nancy Kelly

"The Greater White-fronted Goose continues at Stewart Park this morning

(Monday 11/23). At dawn it swam up into Fall Creek with several hundred

Canada Geese and climbed out on the east bank between the boathouse and the

suspension bridge with them to feed in the lawns. It's a far more beautiful

little goose than photos and paintings had led me to expect. Well worth a

trip down to the park at lunchtime.

--Geo Kloppel

"In my weekly trip around the lake(only made it up east side) to find a

few more David Cup birds (i.e., Bohemian Waxwing, Iceland and Glaucous

gulls or perhaps Sandhill Crane), I quickly aborted my attempt at

counting each individual bird (with the request from Mr. Wells--only

kidding), when I arrived at MNWR and found that almost all of the

waterfowl were on the other side of the main pool!! It was a frustrating

day, but fun as always."

--Matt Young

Allison and Jeff