Year 3, Issue 7&8
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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 Deposit: "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
* Copyright Clerk: Jeff Wells
Oh, the harassment! The incessant teasing--we just aren t used to that here
at The Cup. So imagine the scene at Cup Headquarters when, upon returning
from a restful, family-filled--and very birdy--vacation to our precious Maine
in August, we got walloped with slander like this: "Slackers! How dare you
put off an issue of The Cup just for a vacation!" "You re too cowardly to
bird the Basin, that s it, right?" and worst of the pile, "The Etna Challenge
stinks!" We were like potoos caught in a flashlight.
Honestly, had we any idea there d be so much outrage over our blowing off
an issue of this hapharzardous publication, we d surely have not gone running
off to Maine. No puffins, no shearwaters, gannets, or guillemots in the
rain off Pemaquid Point. No Uppy Sandpipers atop scenic Appleton Ridge.
No frolicking in the waves at warm, sandy Goose Rocks Beach with much
missed nieces and nephews. Oh, no. You can bet your bins we d have been
right here, sweltering in the heat and humidity of Basin, cranking out
issue 3.7/8 for you, our loyal readers.
Mark our word, we promise never to pull that stunt again...until next time!
Till then, here s The Cup 3.7/3.8. And when next time rolls around, we ll
make sure to have Cup mail held...and discarded.
@ @ @ @ @ @
NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
@ @ @ @ @ @
WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN?: Who is that mysterious "Young" man
who suddenly began posting up a storm over the last few months? It s Matt
Young, who would have been a Cupper long ago if he d joined the rest of the
world and gotten online earlier. He s been birding the Basin avidly for a
long time, as his Basin totals can attest. How does it feel, Matt, to
finally be a Cupper?: "You won t be hearing from Matt for a while. He
fried his modem." --Geo Kloppel
BYE-BYE BIRDER: Who are the latest Cuppers to slink out of the Basin for
good (or not so good)? Alan "no relation to Jon as in Into Thin Air "
Krakauer has this excuse: "I will be starting grad school at UC Berkeley
this fall! This year has been so much fun for me! The birds have been
great--dozens of life species (shrike, redpoll, Upland Sandpiper, Henslow's
Sparrow, just to name a few), as well as great looks at birds I was not
real familiar with (CROSSBILLS!). I could not have stumbled across half of
these without the help of all of you on the [Cayugabirds] list...Even
better is the supportive atmosphere I've found for a semi-serious birder
like myself (ok, maybe I've upgraded to semi-hardcore now). My only regret
(besides being a day late for the Gyrfalcon) is that I didn't get on this
list years ago when I first came to Cornell!"
And, sadly, the John Bower-Bill Evans McIlroy feud has come to an end:
"I'm off to the land where dozens of Bald Eagles concentrate along salmon
runs, and auklets swim offshore - Bellingham, Washington, where I will be
starting as assistant professor at Fairhaven College, a part of Western
Washington University. Have been saying goodbye to many of the local
songbirds. Hard to imagine living without the sounds of the Louisiana
Waterthrush, the Veery and Wood Thrush (though I will probably one day feel
that way about the songs of Dippers and Swainson's Thrush). I will miss
them and will miss you all. And look forward to visiting soon..."
Good luck and best wishes to Alan and John from your fellow Cuppers.
And remember: once a Cupper, always as Cupper.
DAVID AND CONQUOR: Not everyone who says they re leaving the Basin
actually leaves. Karl David, for example. Although we know the real
reason why (what, the Father of the Madness leave in the middle of a Basin
year? Never!), Karl offers up these non-parting words: "Now that Matt Young
has taken over from me as the birder perpetually camped out at Myers, it
would seem the appropriate time to say farewell. After all, we've already
had the farewell party ...BUT: just as anyone who took RMN seriously when
he said they wouldn't have him to kick around anymore, anyone who thinks
they're finally rid of me is wrong! I have accepted an offer I couldn't
refuse to stay at Cornell for the fall, so I'll be here through the
holidays putting the fear of God into Geo, Kevin and Jay for the Cup race!
go to Wisconsin as planned, I promise. Swear to God." Stay, Karl, stay.
MAKING THE D-LIST: Have you heard? Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is
proposing to remove the Peregrine Falcon from the Endangered Species list!
You probably recall that during the 1960s and 70s, peregrines suffered
serious population declines due to use of DDT and other pesticides (which
caused them to lay thin-shelled eggs that broke during incubation, resulting
in serious reproductive failure). Congress passed the Endangered Species
Act in 1973 to help species in decline. The Peregrine Falcon was listed in
the early 1970s, when the population in the eastern United States was
decimated and western populations had declined by as much as 80 to 90
percent below historical levels. By 1975, the population reached an all
time low of 324 nesting pairs in North America. The banning of DDT, coupled
to protect the birds' nesting sites and habitat, has led to a strong recovery.
Currently, at least 1,593 pairs breed in the U.S. and Canada, well above
the overall recovery goal of 631 pairs. Although delisting the peregrine
would remove it from the Act's protection, peregrines would still be
protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In addition, the Service will
work with state wildlife agencies to monitor the status of the species for
a minimum of five years, as required by the Endangered Species Act. If it
becomes evident during this period that the bird again needs the Act's
protection, it would be relisted.
MUCKING THINGS UP: The 2nd Annual Muckrace mucked up great success for
conservation projects at the Montezuma Wetland Complex, raising $1625.
Fourteen teams competed in the midnight-9pm birding competition on
September 12, each vying to see which could identify the most bird species
during that time. Three teams tied for first place with 116: the
Cupper-filled Wild Birds Unlimited Goatsuckers; some hot-shot birders from
Buffalo, and the Cornell Lab of O Sapsuckers. Rest assured, The Cup was a
proud sponsor, even if co-coordinator of the project Jeff Wells (who also
happens to be coeditor of this fine publication) forget to plug us on the
t-shirt. (Jeff has "volunteered" to pencil in our name on your t-shirt, if
you ll bring it by his office.) Congratulations to everyone who
participated in and supported another fun Muckrace!
THE "AD"VANTAGE: Is that Kevin McGowan in the new Polo Sport print ad?
Well, no, but it is a birder...sort of. At last, the fashion industry is
catching on that to be truly fashionable, one must be a birder. So, along
with a he-man in a kayak and a plaintive woodswoman, the ad series includes
a guy with a pair of bins. Of course, there s no strap on them, and we can
only guess what he s REALLY looking at...
HAWKING HAWKS: BirdSource <http://birdsource.cornell.edu> continues to
monitor migrating birds. Warbler Watch is still gathering info on the
movements of warblers, and now the International Broad-winged Hawk Survey
is collecting reports of Broad-wings as they return to their wintering
areas in Central and South America. Animated maps show the day-to-day
movements based on reports. If you see warblers or Broad-wings, please take
a minute to enter your records into the database. It s fun, and it s for
BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: No wonder nobody went to the
Syracuse Jazz Festival. You re all saving your "family time" for the Bermuda
Jazz Festival! If you didn t know already, it ll take place October 16 &
17 and will feature Lee Ritenour, The Rippingtons (with bassist Russ
Freeman), Jonathan Butler (possibly related to Chris, who we re told
actually plays the euphonia), The Manhattan Transfer, Kevin Eubanks (you
know, the guy from the Tonight Show band who s always pretending to laugh
at Jay Leno s jokes). For more info, or to buy tickets for your faithful
editors, call 1-800-BERMUDA.
:> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :>
BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS
I received notice of the suspension by editorial fiat of the July
issue of The Cup just as I was concluding that I needed to cook up some
serious filler for that month's Basin Bird Highlights. This is hardly the
case for August, so I guess I'll thank the editors for saving me the
trouble, though it was obvious enough what THEY were cooking up. Later,
about what fine Cayuga Birds they must have missed while playing hookey, I
realized that here was a fit, almost Homeric subject for verse.
Actually I only did this in order to taunt them, but now it seems that
I've been conscripted to write this month's Composite Deposit and Leader's
List, too! Probably the draft is just an ill-concealed attempt to betray
the sham behind my quiet, self-effacing personality, by obliging me to blow
my own trumpet about still being the leader. Anyway, with school
string-programs starting up everywhere, I'm so busy that I don't have time
something more prosy, so I suppose this poem'll just have to be circulated
as the Highlights!
(The proper tune to accompany this is "Stick To The Creature")
"STICK TO THE BASIN!"
To the editors:
It's tempting to dish you for dumping last issue,
Oh didn't we miss you, Cup-editors dear!
So now in the Highlights you're lined-up in my sights,
and YOU know that by rights you should have been here.
Oh yes, you defected, you cannot dispute,
You might have elected to telecommute.
So here's my submission, display some contrition:
enlarge my commission, cause I'm destitute!
So stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
are those that are gracin' our home-turf this year.
You went to the sea-coast, where you longed to be most,
deserted your e-post for some salty pier!
Let's start with a few words about all those new birds
our keen Cuppers skewered sometime in July.
I flagged all their writings with yellow highlightings,
remarkable sightings were in short supply.
It's plain July offered us nothing too prime.
It all neatly fits in this recycled rhyme:
"We tallied some breeders, filled hummingbird feeders,
kept tabs on the leaders and bided our time."
So stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
are those that are gracin' our shorelines this year.
You went to see puffins? No time to draft rough-ins?
The Cup rated sluffin', it's perfectly clear!
As August unloaded, the cold fronts foreboded
that we'd be commoded with listables choice.
Sandpiper-additions made great-expeditions
and short Myers-missions both cause to rejoice.
Beside misty mudflats The Cup-lists evolved
as each morning's fogbank was newly dissolved.
Matt Young strove to topple his rival Geo Kloppel.
It's sure he won't stop till the race is resolved.
So stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
are rare ones that somewhere near home must be hid.
The marks of Matt's tires were all over Myers
while you peered at flyers off Point Pemaquid.
Now here my averred aim shall be no dull word game,
To rhyme every bird name would be too extreme!
My duty's to list em, cause you might've missed em,
but I will not twist em to fit the rhyme-scheme.
With rhyming the warblers, why, yes I could cope,
but what would I do with Wil-SON'S Phala-ROPE?
In poetic slurry a MERLIN's no worry
but FRANKLIN'S GULL surely would lead me to grope!
SANDERLINGS, AVOCETS, WHIMBRELS and GREAT EGRETS,
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and GOLDEN ones too,
DOWITCHERS multiple, TURNSTONES and LITTLE GULL,
STILT PIPERS, PEREGRINES, NIGHTHAWKS on cue!
Some WESTERN and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were found.
The SEMI-PALMATED and LEAST ones abound!
And when we weren't starin' at BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON,
we nabbed a few BAIRD'S by their looks and their sound.
So stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
come visit us here while you're off on the brine.
Oh you can vacation all over the nation
but your Basin-ration is sure to decline.
You'll scarce need reminding the consummate finding
of August's unwinding was up in the north.
To know a Eurasian without hesitation
demands cultivation - the Irish stepped forth.
That CURLEW SANDPIPER dropped out of the skies
To prove Gerard Phillips has some pair of eyes!
Although he's no Cupper, you'd think at the Supper
he ought to be up for some kind of a prize.
Yes stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
may come and then go like a flash in the pan.
So if you MUST wander far-off away yonder,
Oh don't stay too long, come back quick as you can!
The taunt in my song is admittedly strong, yes,
but don't get me wrong, it's delightful you're back!
Despite all the chaff, oh we owe you a laugh - "ho!"
You've given the staff so much more time for slack.
And if you would like to vacation again,
submit a request first, and I'll tell you when.
(I guess I should clue you, the dates offered you two
will hinge on what's due through the Basin just then!)
So stick to the Basin, the best birds for chasin'
are apt to arrive in the late-summer shine.
Yes, Maine can be jolly in August by golly,
but travel is folly - the Cup's on the line!
(Final note: Earning special kudos in August were Matt Young, for
finding _TWO_ AMERICAN AVOCETs plus a Little Gull at Myers Point, and
Gary Chapin for Franklin's Gull and Cupper-to-be Gerard Phillips for that
electrifying CURLEW SANDPIPER, plus the second Whimbrel report of the
month, all at MNWR.
(Geo Kloppel makes and repairs violin bows. He was up for the Pulitzer Prize
in Poetry this year until Cup editors pulled strings. Need you ask why?)
100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Sign on 100 Club Door:
"No G.E. Kloppel Poetry Allowed"
200 200 200 200 200
2 0 0
200 200 200 200
Sign on 200 Club door:
"No G.E. Kloppel Poetry Allowed"
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
1998 David Cup August Totals
Compiled by Matt Medler
229 Geo Kloppel
228 Matt Young
215 Ken Rosenberg
212 Kevin McGowan
211 Jay McGowan
209 Allison Wells
207 Karl David
205 Jeffrey Wells
201 Chris Butler
193 Pat Lia
192 Matt Sarver
190 Matt Medler
189 Jeff Wells
186 Meena Haribal
183 Alan Krakauer
182 Pat Lia
184 Anne Kendall
176 Steve Kelling
167 Nancy Dickinson
160 Jon Kloppel
154 John Greenly
153 Ben Taft
152 John Morris
146 Nancy Dickinson
145 Gary Chapin
141 John Fitzpatrick
139 Marty Schlabach
137 Perri McGowan
133 Steve Pantle
132 Jim Lowe
131 Kim Kline
120 Gary Chapin
115 Martha Fischer
112 Stephen Davies
102 Tom Nix
99 Melanie Uhlir
96 John Bower
85 Michael Runge
85 Caissa Willmer
84 Carol Bloomgarden
75 Swift McGowan (DC Kitty Cup)
72 Anne James
85 Ann Mathieson
68 James "Birdy" Barry*
57 Kylie Spooner
54 Mimi Wells (DC Kitty Cup)
48 Cathy Heidenreich
46 Dave Mellinger
43 Teddy Wells (DC Kitty Cup)
42 Scott Mardis
39 Kurt Fox
35 Tom Lathrop
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, for some reason, proud of it.
1998 McIlroy Award August Totals
Compiled by Matt Medler
161 Allison Wells
151 Jeff Wells
132 Kevin McGowan
131 Jeff Wells
125 Karl David
112 Ken Rosenberg
110 Jay McGowan
99 Jim Lowe
93 Martha Fischer
91 Matt Medler
89 John Bower
82 Michael Runge
80 Anne Kendall
74 Ben Taft
60 Stephen Davies
42 Dave Mellinger
**Nonentheless claims to be ahead.
1998 Evans Trophy August Totals
NOT compiled by Bard Prentiss
(Get onto him!)
1998 August Lansing Totals
134 Kevin McGowan
122 John Greenly
1998 August Etna Challenge!
80 Allison Wells
72 Jeff Wells
17 Casey Sutton
THE YARD STICK ----------------------------
By Casey Sutton
120 Steve Kelling, Berkshire, NY
117 Ken Rosenberg, Dryden, NY
116 Geo Kloppel
111 Kevin McGowan, Dryden, NY
110 John Fitzpatrick, Ithaca, NY
104 John Bower, Enfield, NY
83 Nancy Dickinson, Trumansburg, NY
80 Jeff and Allison Wells, Etna, NY
65 Darlene and John Morabito, Auburn, NY
64 John Greenly, Ludlowville, NY
52 Ben Taft, Ithaca, NY
50 Ann Mathieson, Scipio Center, NY
44 Jeff and Allison Wells, Etna, NY
28 Susann Argetsinger, Burdett, NY
LEADER'S LIST LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
By Geo Kloppel
Hard to believe, but I'm still in the lead! I added 17 birds between the
last issue of The Cup and the end of August, for a total of 229. The
remaining possibilities are relatively few now, but I'm still keen to
pursue them. Here's the complete list:
R-t & C Loon,P-b,H & R-n Grebe,D-c Cormorant,Am & L Bittern,
G Egret,G B & G Heron,B-c Night Heron,T & M Swan,S & C Goose,
Wood Duck,G-w Teal,AmBlack Duck,Mallard,N Pintail,B-w Teal,
N Shoveler,Gadwall,Am Wigeon,Canvasback,Redhead,R-n Duck,
G & L Scaup,Surf & W-w Scoter,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,Peregrine,R-n Pheasant,Ruffed Grouse,Wild Turkey,
VA Rail,C Moorhen,Am Coot,Am Golden,Bk-bellied & Semi Plover,
Killdeer,AM AVOCET,G & L Yellowlegs,Solitary,Spotted & Upland
Least,W-r,Baird's & Pectoral Sandpiper,Dunlin,CURLEW SANDPIPER,
Stilt Sandpiper,Short-&Long-billed Dowitcher,C Snipe,Am Woodcock ,
W's Phalarope,B's,R-b,Herring,Iceland,L B-b & G B-b Gull,Caspian,
C,F's & Black Tern,Rock & Mourning Dove,B-b & Y-b Cuckoo,
E Screech-Owl,G H,Barred,L-e,S-e & N S-w Owl,CNighthawk,W-p-w,
Chimney Swift,R-t Hummingbird,Belted Kingfisher,R-h & R-b Woodpecker,
Y-b Sapsucker,Downy & Hairy Woodpecker,N Flicker,Pileated
Woodpecker,E Wood-Pewee,Acadian,Alder,Willow & 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,T Titmouse,R-b & W-b Nuthatch, Brown Creeper,Carolina,
House,Winter & Marsh Wren,G-c & R-c Kinglet, B-g Gnatcatcher,E Bluebird,
Veery,Hermit & Wood Thrush,Am Robin,Gray Catbird,N Mockingbird,
B Thrasher,Am Pipit,C Waxwing,N Shrike,Euro Starling,B-h,Y-t,Warbling,
Philly & R-e Vireo,B-w,TN &Nashville Warbler,N Parula,Yellow,C-s,
Magnolia,B-t blue,Y-r,B-t Green,Blackburnian,Pine,Prairie,B-b,Blackpoll,
Cerulean & B-and-w Warbler,Am Redstart,Prothonotary & W-e Warbler,
Ovenbird,N & LA Waterthrush,Mourning Warbler,C Yellowthroat,Hooded,
Wilson's & Canada Warbler,Scarlet Tanager,N Cardinal,R-b Grosbeak,
I Bunting,E Towhee,Am Tree, Chipping, Field, Vesper, Savannah,
Grasshopper,Henslow's,Fox,Song,Swamp & W-t Sparrow,D-e Junco,
S Bunting,Bobolink,R-w Blackbird,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,E Grosbeak,H Sparrow.
The following additions, reported by others, bring the year's Basin total
thus far to 252. I sure hope to see some of these in the months to come:
Brant,E Wigeon,Oldsquaw,Black Scoter,BLACK VULTURE,Golden
Eagle,GYRFALCON,Sora,FRANKLIN'S GULL,Little Gull,Glaucous Gull,Snowy
Owl,Olive-s & Y-b Flycatcher,G-c & Swainson's Thrush,Golden-w,Cape May &
Palm Warbler,Lincoln's & W-c Sparrow,Lapland Longspur,HOARY REDPOLL.
(You already know about Geo. Quite a poet, ain't he? *#*$%*$^#$!)
< COACH'S CORNER <
< < < <
Where is Bill Evans? Some say Cape May, NJ; others say he s off harassing
John Bower out in Washington (thereby providing himself with an excuse for
when his Basin and McTotals fall far short of his earlier prognosis). Still
others say he s right here in the Basin, following the advice he doled
out to Cuppers last year at this time. If it s good enough for Bill, it
may or may not be good enough for the rest of us, but we re going to
go ahead and run it anyway:
COACH EVANS: Fall migration is the home stretch in the David and
McIlroy Cup competitions, and the long-awaited period from mid-September
through mid-October is when some of our region's premier species can be
found. Even if one is well behind the leaders in Cup competition, finding
a rarity can rev the engine of inner satisfaction to realms of victory.
Though species are equally weighted in the competition, a qualitative
difference in their value exists. In fact, there is a ranking to the
ticks not formally recognized by the competition but one that is valid and,
in a sense, superior (i.e., it's the quality of the tick that counts!).
For example, finding your own bird is better than seeing a "chased
bird." No doubt, the personal experience of finding the regionally rare
American Avocet would rank higher than rushing to see the bird after
finding out about it from another birder.
Of course, Cup bureaucrats might say that swinging this unofficial
sword of quality is the kind of psychological tactic Coach Evans must wage
when his Cup totals are so far off the pace of the leaders. The truth is
Below are species that top my list of rarities to be found in the
Cayuga Lake Basin during the mid-September through mid-October period,
along with strategies for finding them:
1) Dickcissels are on the move late-September through mid-October, and
though they migrate at night, they are prone to continuing their migration
in the morning. Cayuga Lake acts as a catcher's mitt for diurnal-migrant
songbirds in fall migration (robins, jays, waxwings, etc.). As the
eastern lake shore curves southeastward, many southbound birds don't want
to cross the lake for fear of being picked off by a Merlin or sharpy, so
they fly along the shore and round the lake's south end, flying over the
Ithaca City Golf Course and Stewart Park. Listening for the distinctive
call note of the Dickcissel (example on the Stokes audio field guide)
at these locations or along the eastern Cayuga Lake shoreline in the
morning hours during favorable migration weather could very well yield a
2) LeConte's Sparrow is a potential fall migrant through the Cayuga Lake
Basin. Typically, they select upland hayfields with long grass as
stopover sites. For example, the extensive fields where a Sedge Wren
was found two summers ago is excellent LeConte's habitat. The best time to
check this habitat for a migrant LeConte's is during the first week or so of
October. One strategy might be to get a line of birders (each birder
standing maybe 20 yards apart) and sweep through fields of this long grass
habitat listening for the thin, high-pitched, down-slurred contact call of
LeConte's (also on Stoke's audio guide). Pishing is often successful to
bring this species up into view. If enough acreage is covered, I wouldn't be
surprised if another rarity turned up--a Yellow Rail! Both these species
are probably regular fall migrants through the Cayuga Lake Basin but their
habitat rarely gets covered.
3) Connecticut Warbler is one of the most savored fall migrant wood
warblers passing through the Cayuga Lake Basin, and it is well known that
mid-September is the peak time for finding them. Local wisdom tells us
to search patches of Jewel Weed for this gem of a skulker. Yet a few
years ago I spoke with Paul Kerlinger, then director of the Cape May Bird
Observatory. He said that for years at Cape May, their banding operations
captured very few Connecticuts and they didn't understand why because the
species was seen regularly in morning flight at the Higbee dike migration
count. Then one year they put some nets across hedgerows and banded over
50 Connecticuts in three weeks, by far their highest season total. Maybe
we would have better luck finding this species if we checked hedgerows
with Jewel Weed.
(Bill Evans is a Lab Associate at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
He has heard the "voice of God" while conducting his night-migration work.)
! KICKIN' TAIL! !
What better way to prove that you can stay on top of your game, even when Cup
editors show they can t stay on top of theirs, 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 oded his way to the top of the David Cup list.
THE CUP: It was looking mighty close for a while this month. Were you
working up a sweat about that upstart Matt Young catching up to you?
KLOPPEL: Matt's got all my enthusiasm and then some, plus the advantages of
youth and a more extensive life-list! He was a force to be reckoned with. I
knew that desperado measures were called for, and when his car died I saw my
THE CUP: We thought you said it was his modem that got fried? Ah, same diff.
KLOPPEL: I cleaned out the back seat of my Volvo, which was still crammed
with all my Howland Island gear from July (bicycles, head nets, saddlebags,
waterbottles and more), creating a space just big enough to stuff a body
into, then I called him up and innocently asked if he'd like to go birding
with me... (pregnant pause) We had a great time, and became birding
buddies. Matt's challenge is a nice change. The competition has been
somewhat tame lately.
THE CUP: Hear that, Kev?
KLOPPEL: But I expected my comfortable margin to evaporate in the fall,
and various participants to be poised for a sprint. Some are doing this now:
Lists are filling up with the warblers that so many Cuppers missed in the
spring, the shorebird migration has peaked, and the Muckracers have done
their big day. The head-table at the 200 Club is going to become crowded.
It only seats ten, you know.
THE CUP: We can always drag people away from it at random, like we did
last year. Poor Matt Medler.
KLOPPEL: Frankly I'll be pleased if I can retain my place there for the
remaining months, and not be obliged to relocate to a lower seat at one of
the side tables as various seasoned Cuppers overtake me.
THE CUP: You say that all the time, yet Rosenberg, Kelling, not even Father
Karl ever seem to pull it off.
KLOPPEL: Not that I ever sought to take the Cup myself, mind you! What,
after all, would I do with the thing? It was hardly a serviceable
receptacle for beer
THE CUP: Hey, we thought Karl did okay with it two years back. Sure, we
were sponging up the rug for a month after the Cupper Supper, but he did
manage to get a drop or two in his mouth.
KLOPPEL --even before perching for six months on Stephen Davies' dashboard.
I briefly indulged in a day-dream that I might install a flashing light
(blue) in it and keep it on MY dashboard, held at the ready for signaling
motorists that they should yield to my emergency bird-response vehicle. But
everyone by now has noticed that those who once win the Cup relax the pace
THE CUP: Or they go and do something like get married and leave the Basin.
KLOPPEL: In fact, a lot of those who DON'T win the Cup ease-up after a
serious try. You can tell they've read their Kenn Kaufmann, and know that a
big year is actually only a good beginning or a refreshing interlude - once
it's over, win or lose, it's time to go back, take one's time and enjoy
getting to know the birds better.
THE CUP: Aw, what does Kaufmann know about birding? Anyway, what did
you do all last month, since you didn't have The Cup to mull over?
KLOPPEL: C'mon! I never spend any time to speak of on that [witness the poem
in this month s Highlights!] But I do think about the game at times,
mulling over the development of the play, or the philosophy behind the
rules. Take the rule against "trading" birds, for example. At first glance,
it looks like the organizers intended the lists to realistically reflect
individual experience - to list a bird, participants must encounter it in
person. But as I thought more about it I came to see that the rules of the
David Cup competition are superior to mere realism. "Realism" is
corporations trading the Pollution Credit Allowances doled out to them like
monopoly-money in anticipation of toxic events.
THE CUP: Uh, Geo-
KLOPPEL: It's the courts bartering immunity in exchange for evidence.
THE CUP: [Embarrassed laugh] That s right, Geo. Now--
KLOPPEL: It's the twenty-year wait before chemical products demonstrated
to cause extensive wildlife mortality stand a significant chance of being
banned by legislation.
THE CUP: Geo! There, that s better, now. (Sorry, ladies and gentlemen)
KLOPPEL: By Cup rules, I'm not permitted to barter a few birds with my
fellow Cuppers? Now that's IDEALISM! But even though I can't pick up a
few birds in trade, I CAN tap the skills and enthusiasm of fellow birders,
and that's a big part of the beauty of the game and the genius of the Cup
THE CUP: Amen!
KLOPPEL: I owe many of my best August birds to my fellow Cuppers.
August is a busy month in the shop because schools are preparing to
open, and people want to get their bows refurbished. But after work, chasing
shorebirds and early migrants was what I was mostly about, and I eventually
added 13 species, including two American Avocets (thanks to Matt Young,
who telephoned me from the point!), Sanderling, Western Sandpiper (thanks to
Ken & Steve for showing me this one, though I take credit myself for
tailing them to May's Point), Baird's Sandpiper (thanks to John Hall),
Curlew Sandpiper (Thanks to Gerard Phillips, and to the folks who spread
the news promptly), Whimbrel (entirely my own find, but I'm glad Gerard saw
one a few days later. I've been meaning to ask him if he had company, which
would liberate another "free bird" in my list, but nobody has seen him
lately, and there's a rumor circulating that he had to get a job. What a
waste!), Stilt Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher,
and Peregrine Falcon.
THE CUP: Sure, rub it in some more. Okay let s have it out: [Posed
pre-highlights poem...] Is there anything you'd like to say to the editors
for blowing off the last issue...in favor of a vacation?!
KLOPPEL: Ah, they'll get a good ribbing, alright, but I don't blame them for
taking off. I know they had some really nice days, and saw some birds of
which I'm envious. In fact I came very near to making a trip to Maine
myself, but in the end I decided to let Pat go off without me. Even if I
had been there, I probably couldn't have prevented her field guide and
Cup-list from going overboard. They now lie at the bottom of Casco Bay.
THE CUP: What a shame. But think of what a nice find they ll be to some
unsuspecting scuba diver some day.
KLOPPEL: List-reconstruction is a good exercise for her! As for the editors,
who are far more efficient birders than I am, I'm expecting that many of the
Basin birds I worked so hard for will now fall quickly to them. But not ALL
of them, I trust.
THE CUP: One can only hope. What was your favorite birding moment this
KLOPPEL: There were many great moments. Most were shared by others, like the
convocation to view male and female avocets at Myers Point, and the great
gathering on the dike at MNWR for the Curlew Sandpiper. That would have
been unbeatable for favorite moment, until the evening I came all alone
upon a Whimbrel at Mays Point. Not nearly as splendid a find as Gerard's,
but it's just a fabulous feeling to discover a lifer that's instantly
recognizable, that you don't have to study closely in order to convince
yourself you have a new bird. Only eight minutes I allowed myself to drink
in the sight before heading for a telephone, but how memorable!
KLOPPEL: You re a good guy. Okay, we're asking you this only because you'll
hit us up in the Highlights column again if we don't: What s in your CD
KLOPPEL: Today it's KAUSTISEN KORIALLA TYYLILLA, a collection of
solo performances by more than 20 fiddlers from the vicinity of the village
of Kaustinen, Finland.
THE CUP: That s what s in ours!
KLOPPEL These were selected from the archives of a much larger recording
project recently conducted by the KANSANMUSIIKKI INSTUTUUTTI, the
national Folk Music Institute, originally undertaken in order to document
stylistic individualities before the standardizing influence of written
music and large joint performances quietly obliterates them. Kaustinen is the
historic center of Finnish fiddling and home of the greatest annual
folk-music festival in Scandinavia, as well as the national Folk Music
Institute. They produce a lot of great stuff there! But I swear that the
next time I go to Finland I'm taking my birding gear, not just my fiddle.
THE CUP: Meanwhile, we d like to borrow that CD...
By Jay McGowan
Jay blew us off this month. His Big Daddy was in South Africa,
remember? So he wasn t online. Forgive him. But not Bard.
STAT'S ALL, FOLKS
By Karl David
Father Karl is always the first to send in his totals at the beginning of
the new month. He s also never missed sending in a Stat s All column since
its inception. What are the chances that he d finally let his die-hard Cup
fans down after a month off, even! You do the math
(Karl David is [still] a mathematics professor on sabbatical at Cornell.
His lack of a column this month could in fact be the result of the Wells
faulty at-home email. Or maybe not.)
SCRAWL OF FAME
(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.)
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm McILROY MUSINGS mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
We told you, to heck with McIlroy Award (even though our champion still
leads!). Let s talk about the Etna Challenge...
THE CUP (Allison): Why Etna?
WELLS (Allison): I ve conquered Ithaca not once but twice. I decided to move
out of town so someone else could have a chance at McGlory. Etna s the
perfect place to move on to because no one else birds here except Chris and
Diane Tessaglia-Hymes, and they re expecting a baby soon.
THE CUP (Allison): We heard Bill Evans bought you that house as a strategy to
get you out of Ithaca. Can you confirm this?
WELLS (Allison): No, that s a rumor. He did offer to buy us a house, but
it was in Cleveland. We decided ultimately to stay in the Basin. This
particular house nearly abuts the grassland area where the Henslow s
Sparrows bred until it got too shrubby the last few years. There were
Upland Sandpipers practically in the backyard here last year. Plus,
there s a
tennis court just up the street.
THE CUP (Allison): What does a tennis court have to do with the Etna
WELLS (Allison): I ve kicked Matt Medler around on it pretty bad. He s got
a nice dropshot, but it doesn t compete with my serve. This humbles
Matt and siphons his confidence in all of the competitions. Of course, until
he gets his priorities straight and stops running off to the Adirondacks at
the drop of a hat, he ll never be a competitor, anyway. Bill, on the other
hand, has been inviting himself to dinner quite often, but we ve been able
to put him off so far.
THE CUP (Allison): What s your "best" Etna bird so far?
WELLS (Allison): We heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo earlier in the summer, a
nice surprise. The very day I put up the bird feeder (June), a Pine Siskin
made a visit. Oh, when the house inspector made his tour last January, a
flock of 32 Evening Grosbeaks flew over the house. (That clinched it as
our dream house, even though it has no plumbing and the electricity is
shorting out even as I write.)
THE CUP (Allison): Hey, you can t let silly things like modern conveniences
interfere with a good yard list.
WELLS (Allison): We ve also had Common Raven and Northern Goshawk
from our yard. And it s a nice location to listen to night migrants.
THE CUP (Allison): Do you think you can break 100?
WELLS (Allison): In Etna? Uunless you count the stream that runs through
our neighbor's yard after particularly heavy rain, we're lakeless. Even
though we re technically in Dryden, we re still a tad too far to see Dryden
Lake from our rooftop -about six miles away. Of course, this would be no
probelm for Ken Rosenberg.
THE CUP (Allison): Good luck in the Etna Challenge. It s been good talking
WELLS (Allison): Thank you, it was a pleasure talking with you, too.
BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH
By Caissa Willmer
This month's Bird Brain rose from a bed of illness and exhaustion to
answer the questions put to him about his birding persona. The exhaustion
was generated by his efforts as a member of the Goatsuckers team in
Montezuma Muck Race '98--a team that tied for first place with 116 species.
This month's Bird Brain is one of the many ornithological Matts that seem
to be drawn to Cornell and the Lab of O--this time, it's Matt Sarver,
recent winner of the Lillian Stoner Award, which will be taking him off to
the upcoming Federation of New York State Bird Clubs' conference.