Year 4, Issue 5-6
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*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition.
*Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells
*Basin Bird Highlights, Leader's List, Composite Deposit:
* "Thoreau" Geo Kloppel
* Pilgrim's Progress: "Stoinking" Matt Medler
* Evans Cup: "Bird Hard" Bard Prentiss
* Stat's All: Karl "Father of the Madness" David--NOT!
* Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer--TRY AGAIN!
* Animation Supervisor: Jeff Wells
Wanna know the real reason behind all the Women's World Cup hoopla?
it has nothing to do with a bunch of lady jocks kicking a ball around a
over wheatfield. Truth is, there wouldn't be such soccer fanaticism if it
weren't for...the Matts. That's right, THE Cup, the David Cup, would be the
cup featured on magazine covers, news broadcasts, and talk shows if it
weren't for the "M" word. The strategies, the adrenaline, the bin-to-bin
competition -- Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, and Matt got the crowd wound up and
then...fzzzzz. Like so much hot air slinking out of a sorry tire. What else
was the world to do?
With all that pent-up energy and no Matts to get giddy over, Mia and the
galloped into the spotlight.
Commend us for doing our part, will ya? In the midst of the merciless
slow-burn of summer, we steadfast staffers (minus Caissa -- tssk! -- and
you guessed it, Matt) bring you The Cup 4.5 & 6. We do a little kickin'
around in this issue ourselves, and you won't see Jeff prancing about in a
black sports bra just to get on the cover of Newsweek. And don't look for
us on Oprah's overstuffed couch, either.
On the other hand, you just might catch us on Springer...
@ @ @ @ @ @
NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
@ @ @ @ @ @
WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Who the heck is Ben Fambrough?
A question better answered by Matt Medler, who received a Cup commission
reeling in this latest fish and freeing him in the David Cup sea. Of
course, we could have asked Ben himself, but he might say something about
himself that's actually true, and we have The Cup's reputation to protect.
We'll say only that we think he's a student at Cornell. Other than that,
all bets are off. Welcome to The Cup, Ben. That is your name, isn't it?
RADIO KILLED THE BINOCULAR STAR? Actually, no. In fact, it may have
saved the likes of Geo Kloppel and others. Some guy at some company built
some binoculars that have some kind of radio in them. So what if it's
supposed to be for fans of less popular sports than birding (baseball,
football)? You know, so those poor duds that have seats on the moon but
like the idea of being "in the stadium" can actually see AND hear what's
going on with the game. We at The Cup prefer the image of Geo Kloppel
wandering around his vast Danby yard tracking down Golden-winged Warblers
with the fife and drums of "The Thistle and Shamrock" lilting from the
innards of his Swarovskis. No more excuses like, "I didn't go look for
Ken's Tricolored Heron at Montezuma
because Garrison Keiler was actually funny this week and I wanted to
whole show." Now, if we can just get bins with a built-in TV, Geo won't
to choose between birding and "Xena, Warrior Princess."
"SHOT" IN THE DARK: Speaking of Geo, seems Mr. Kloppel was dropped
from the subscribers list of The Shotglass last issue. What was Shot
compiler Matt Medler trying to hide from Geo? Geo's got a pretty good
idea what happened: "Possibly he only wanted to protect me from the
disappointment of discovering that I had slipped down to fourth place. Or
perhaps he was disgruntled over my failure to provide him with that West
Whip-poor-will he so eagerly anticipated - you know, he instructed me to
call him instantly when it arrived, even if it was in the middle of the
night! Apparently someone out in Etna heard one on the roof in the wee
hours and didn't even think of getting out of bed to phone him - imagine
that!" Matt, don't hold the Wells' Whip-poor-will against poor Geo. After
all, they don't call 'em goat "suckers" for nothing.
BASE REMARKS: Geo wasn't the only Cup subscriber sending along
juicy, trouble-starting notes last month. Consider this zinger from
Jeff's own brother in Boise, Idaho: "Matt: Please relay to Jeff and Allison
Wells that they seem to be slacking. I base this on their totals for the
few months. Jeff's slacking is especially alarming. Allison might need
to find a birding partner with more stamina and gusto! Thank you for
relaying this message. -- Tim Wells" Tim, if you're still out there, we
promise we'll do better...just as soon as you start sending in the "yard
totals" from your Buckin' Bagel shop. And by the way, could you
Fex Ex a half-dozen sesame bagels and a large coffee with extra caffeine?
ROCKY MOUNTAINS HIGH!: Have you given a listen to "Bird Songs
of the Rocky Mountain States and Provinces," the new audio production
from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Library of Natural Sounds? The
CD features many bird vocalizations captured on no other audio guide. You
can sample the CD at the Lab's web site <http://birds.cornell.edu>. The
CD is available at Wild Birds Unlimited of Sapsucker Woods (Ithaca),
(607) 266-7425, and also through the ABA and other outlets. Whether
you're planning on birding in the Rockies or just dreaming about it --
or would just like to listen to some really cool bird vocalizations,
get your copy today!
BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Ever been to Nacho Mama's
Mexican Restaurant and Blues Cantina? Neither have we, but it calls itself
"The Finger Lakes Home of the Blues, Where National Recording Artists
Play!" Since Cupper Catherine Sandell was the one who dropped the flier
off at Cup Headquarters, we're assuming she's given it a taste and, more
importantly, a listen. We'll try and harangue her into writing a review for
an upcoming issue, but if you're ansy to try it yourself before then, it's
located at 93 Seneca St., Geneva. Don't worry, although the menu items
are in Spanish, there's an English translation, so you won't wonder if
"Aves" is Eskimo Curlew. It's actually starling.
:> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :>
BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS
The people of Finland name their country, Suomi, "The Bog" or
"The Marsh". They're justified. The glacial landscape of the arctic
paradise nation is richly pocked with wetlands. Among them is Torronsuo,
a 26-square-kilometer peatbog filled in springtime with cranes, curlews,
lapwings, wood sandpipers and golden plovers. During the May mating
season the Ruffs become conspicuous there, like bright little cockerels
among the shorebirds. And it was the arresting white plumage of a
vagrant RUFF that caught the eyes of David Gooding and Mike Tetlow as
they scanned the broad, exposed bottom of the shrinking Main Pool at
MNWR on May 2nd. Happily, the transatlantic visitor was a male - a
female might have escaped notice at that season. Even the Ruff seemed
to find acceptable stand-ins for females of its own species among the
numerous Pectoral Sandpipers.
If a Ruff in breeding dress, lingering day after day, wasn't enough to
get you going, two gorgeous male EURASIAN WIGEONS were also present
on the main pool. Add a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE feeding
in the lawn at the visitors center, plus the chance to see numerous UPLAND
SANDPIPERS at the nearby Seneca Falls Fairgrounds, and you had a
birding opportunity that was almost impossible to credibly excuse yourself
from, whether you had to call in sick, cut classes, or even ride a bicycle
up the lake.
We know one birder who had to muscle the long miles to the Refuge, but
others found it was possible to view these drive-up birds in
air-conditioned comfort. A stretch of easy going with great birds is always
welcome in our potentially arduous sport. But seldom can one advance the
cause of cushy birding as decisively as Allison Wells did, detecting a
WHIP-POOR-WILL in her yard early on May 4th without even the necessity
Of getting out of bed. Jeff achieved nearly the ultimate in effortless
birding, merely rousing to an elbow in the ribs long enough to hear the
call and note the time: it was 2 AM.
Within the next several days Chris Hymes had found a LITTLE GULL at
Montezuma, Meena Haribal and David McDermitt had a KENTUCKY WARBLER
At Mundy, Kevin and Jay McGowan alerted us to a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED
GOOSE at Stewart Park, this writer enjoyed a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER
in his yard in West Danby, and Ben Fambrough showed us that AMERICAN
BITTERNS were continuing at Jennings Pond, almost as if they'd had warning
that the main pool at Montezuma was going to become inhospitably dry this
year. On the 11th Kevin found an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER in his yard
on Beam Hill. West Danby replied next day with its established specialty, a
WORM-EATING WARBLER. Exiled Cupper Karl David submitted trademark
wordplay with reference to his past glories, writing from afar with a
47 Avocets at Myers, but of course we're still waiting for our first
American Avocet of the year.
The month of May being what it is, we had plenty of other birds of
interest: BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, COMMON NIGHTHAWKS,
WHIP-POOR-WILL, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, one GRAY-
CHEEKED THRUSH and a few PHILADELPHIA VIREOS, to name just some of them.
Goodson relocated last year's LAWRENCE'S WARBLER along the South Hill Rec
Way, Matt Young heard an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER near Lake Como, Marva
Gingrich offered us a SANDHILL CRANE at MNWR, and for a great capper on t
he final day of May, Kevin and Jay discovered a GLOSSY IBIS at Tschache
The spring shorebird migration came to a close with a flock of 15
SANDERLINGS at Myer's Point on June 3rd. The very successful Ithaca June
Count, held on the 13th, set a few records and firsts, including 2 SOLITARY
SANDPIPERS, possibly the first fall migrants. Matt Young found NASHVILLE
WARBLER and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on Hammond Hill, and Ken
Rosenberg had a single fly-over RED CROSSBILL. A SANDHILL CRANE showed
itself again at Montezuma. UPLAND SANDPIPERS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS
and HENSLOW'S SPARROWS continued in some old locations, and turned up in
some new ones, too. A BREWSTER'S WARBLER was found along Caswell Road.
Otherwise June was pretty humdrum. Some big storms to liven things up would
be a nice touch about now.
(Geo Kloppel makes and repairs violin bows. He'll let you know
how those radio binoculars work. That is, if you want to buy him
100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
SIGN ON 100 CLUB DOOR: "Where are the rest of you turkeys?"
200 200 200 200 200
2 0 0
200 200 200 200
Sign on 200 Club door: "We predict Jay McGowan will be the
next Cupper through the door. Oh, er, never mind. There he is,
over in the corner, throwing kitty treats out the window to Swift."
Geo Kloppel's BIRD 200: Least Sandpiper
Chris Tessaglia-Hymes' BIRD 200: Black Tern
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
June 1999 David Cup Totals
Compiled by JEFF WELLS - NO KIDDING!
224 Matt Young
217 Matt Sarver
213 Geo Kloppel
209 Matt Medler
205 Kevin McGowan
204 Jay McGowan
203 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes
194 Meena Haribal
194 Ken Rosenberg
190 Steve Kelling
185 Allison Wells
184 Matt Williams
184 Jon Kloppel
183 Ben Fambrough
183 Anne Kendall
163 Jeff Wells
154 Pat Lia
157 Rachel Kloppel
157 Tringa "the Yellow-legged" Dog
146 Nancy Dickinson
138 Marty Schlabach
134 Ben Taft
127 Jim Lowe
125 Anne James
121 Brian Mingle
120 Carol Bloomgarden
119 Bard Prentiss
119 Melanie Uhlir
114 John Fitzpatrick
111 Terry Mingle
107 Aaron Kloppel
103 Catherine Sandell
102 Jeremy Mingle
100 Chris Butler
99 Sam Kelling
96 Taylor Kelling
95 Kim Kline
90 Tom Nix
79 Bill "Still making my push" Evans
73 Swift "the Catbird" McGowan
69 Perri McGowan
63 Andy "Come here my band Mectapus" Farnsworth
57 Martha Fischer
51 Teddy "I'm a better catbirder than Mimi" Wells
48 Mimi "I'm a better catbirder than Teddy" Wells
44 Ramona "I'm gonna beat the McGowan & Wells critters" Kloppel
21 Rob Scott
0 Ralph Paonessa
June 1999 McIlroy Award Totals
NOT compiled by Matt Medler
140 Kevin McGowan
138 Allison Wells
137 Jay McGowan
120 Jeff Wells
118 Ken Rosenberg
112 Matt Medler
106 Jim Lowe
66 Bill Evans
53 Martha Fischer
37 Chris Butler
June 1999 Evans Trophy Totals
NOT compiled by Jeff Wells
184 Matt Young
174 Ken Rosenberg
168 Kevin McGowan
164 Jay McGowan
135 Allison Wells
128 Matt Medler
105 Jeff Wells
97 Bard Prentiss
NOT compiled by Jeff Wells or Matt Medler
83 Kevin McGowan
44 Matt Williams
Compiled by Allison Wells
Carol, welcome to the only competition that REALLY counts!
68 Allison Wells
61 Carol "I've got an Etna Uppy and you don't" Bloomgarden
0 Matt Young
114 John Fitzpatrick, Ithaca, NY
100 Geo Kloppel, West Danby, NY
80 Kelling Family, Caroline, NY
79 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden, NY
79 Rosenberg/James Family, Dryden, NY
63 Wells Family, Etna, NY
61 Carol Bloomgarten, Etna, NY
50 Fredericks Family, Van Etten, NY
47 Nancy Dickinson, Mecklenberg, NY
46 Jeff Holbrook, Canton, NY
38 Melanie Uhrlir, Etna, NY
88 Wes Hochachka & friends (including Ken Rosenberg?) , Green Trailer,
Lab of O
46 Steve Kelling & friends, Tan Trailer, Lab of O
27 Allison Wells, Main Building, Lab of O
26 Melanie Uhlir, Tan Trailer, Lab of O
3 Matt Medler, Windowless cave of LNS, Lab of O
LEADER'S LIST LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
By Geo Kloppel
I don't need to introduce him, our leader has been untouchable for months.
We're still not sure how far ahead the Mighty one actually is today, but he
sent in the following list of 224 species for the end of June:
C & R-t Loon,P-b,R-n & H Grebe,D-c Cormorant,Am Bittern,Great Blue
Heron,Great Egret,Green Heron,B-c Night Heron,T & M Swan,G W-f Goose,
Snow Goose,ROSS'GOOSE,C Goose,W Duck,G-w & B-w Teal,Am Black
Duck,Mallard,N Pintail,N Shoveler,Gadwall,Eu & Am Wigeon,Canvasback,
Redhead,R-n Duck,G & L Scaup,KING EIDER,L-t Duck,Surf & W-w
Scoter,C Goldeneye,Bufflehead,H,C & Rb Merganser,Ruddy Duck,T Vulture
Osprey,Bald Eagle,NHarrier,Sharp-shinned,Cooper's & N Goshawk,B-w,R-s,R-t,
& R-l Hawk,Golden Eagle,Am Kestrel,R Grouse,W Turkey,R-n Pheasant,V-Rail,
Sora,C Moorhen,Am Coot,B-b & Semi Plover,Killdeer,G & L
Yellowlegs,Sol,Spotted,Upland,Least,Semi,W-r & Pect Sandpiper,R
Turnstone,Dunlin,RUFF,C Snipe,Am Woodcock,W Phalarope,Bonaparte's,
R-b,H,I,LB-b,G & GB-b Gull,Casp,Common,Forster's & Black Tern,R & M Dove,
B-b & Y-b Cuckoo,E-Screech,G-H,Barred,S-e & S-w Owl,Ch Swift,R-t
B Kingfisher,R-b,D,H & P Woodpecker,N Flicker,Y-Bellied Sapsucker,O-s,Y-b,
Ac,Al,Wi,L & G-c Flycatcher,E Phoebe,E W Peewee,E Kingbird,H Lark,Tree,
N.R-w,Bank,Cliff & Barn Swallow, P Martin,B Jay,Am & F Crow,Common Raven,
B-c Chickadee,T Titmouse, R-b & W-b Nuthatch,B Creeper,Carolina,H,M &
W Wren,G-c & R-c Kinglet, B-G Gnatcatcher,E Bluebird,H,W & Sw Thrush,
Veery,A Robin,G Catbird, N Mockingbird,Brown Thrasher,Am Pipit,BOHEMIAN
WAXWING, C Waxwing,N Shrike,E Starling,B-h,W,R-e & Y-t Vireo,B-w,Tenn &
Nash Warbler,N Parula,Yellow,Ch-s,Magnolia,Cape May,B-t Blue,Y-r,B-t
Green,Blackburnian,Pine,Prairie,Palm,Bay-b,Blackpoll,Cerulean & B&w
Warbler,Am Redstart,Protho & W-e Warbler,Ovenbird,L & N
Waterthrush,Mourning Warbler,C Yellowthroat,Hooded,Wilson's & Canada
Warbler,S Tanager,N Cardinal,R-b Grosbeak,I Bunting,E Towhee,Am
Tree,Chip,F,V,Sav,Grasshopper,Henslow's,Fox,Song,Swamp,W-c & W-t
Sparrow,D-e Junco,L Longspur,S Bunting,Bobolink,E Meadowlark,R-W,Rusty &
YELLOW HEADED BLACKBIRD,C Grackle,B-h Cowbird,Balt & Orchard
Oriole,H Finch,Purple Finch,Red Crossbill,Am Goldfinch,House Sparrow
COMPOSITE DEPOSIT CT CT CT CT CT CT CT CT CT
Composite total as of 6/30/99: 241
Compare with 6/30/98: 243; 6/30/97: 242; 6/30/96: 240 (that was the year
in which Allison Wells set the Cup-record that still stands today: 229
species by the end of June)
Matt will undoubtedly continue on the look-out for every one of the
Glossy Ibis,Black Scoter,Peregrine Falcon,Merlin,Sandhill
Crane,Sanderling,Short-billed Dowitcher,Little Gull,Thayer's
Gull,Long-eared Owl,Common Nighthawk,Whip-poor-will,
Gray-cheeked Thrush,Golden-winged Warbler,Kentucky Warbler,
Lincoln's Sparrow,Evening Grosbeak
I'm going to go WAY out on a limb here, and predict that no matter how hard
he searches, he doesn't stand a chance of finding them all! I guess that
about five of these will escape him; but then, he's capable of finding
replacements. I still think 240 is a possible winning tally for the year.
If anyone can do it, it's the Mighty Chuwee!
(You already know Geo. )
< COACH'S CORNER <
< < < <
Shucks, it's been too darned hot to go traipsing across the Internet in
search of Cup Coaches. One of Jeff's predictions have already been
realized. Since his previous column, a lost Tricolored Heron made an
appearance in the Basin, although who could have predicted that Ken
Rosenberg would actually go
birding in June? Let's see if Jeff can work his magic in the
upCupping months as well...
COACH WELLS: It's shorebird time! And this year we have the added bonus of
the main pool drawdown at Montezuma. "Sure," you say, "July and August is
always shorebird time, but I can find most of the species I want to see
cooler fall months. Why go out and try to identify distant peeps
through sweltering heat waves with sweat dripping into my stinging eyes?"
Here are several good reasons why you should suck it up and go
shorebirding in the heat and humidity of July and August:
1) American Avocet - Unless my memory fails me, the last three records of
this rare (and beautiful) Basin visitor were all in July. In two separate
years, single birds have appeared ever so briefly at Myer's Point - only
Cuppers present early in the morning saw the birds. However, the third
involved a bird that spent much of a day loafing on the breakwater off
the Stewart Park lighthouse. This is definitely a bird to watch for around
the lake. One was already spotted earlier in July over at Dunkirk Harbor
in the western part of the state.
2) Ruff - Sure, we've already had one in the Basin this year, but for those
who were unfortunate enough to miss the spring bird at Montezuma, now's
the time to find another (and can you really get enough of a bird this
fantastic?) Ruffs (and the female Reeves) often appear more
frequently in July and August in the northeast U.S. Many years ago, when
the main pool was drained more often, shorebirders regularly found this
species. You are less likely to see the extravagantly plumaged males, since
they may have already molted, but keep your eyes out for an oddly-shaped
silhouette among the yellowlegs.
3) Marbled Godwit - This striking bird would seem hard to misidentify unless
at a very great distance. I can't remember of a Basin record of this
species in the last ten or so years but a wondering individual from the
Midwest is not out of the question. Watch for it on the muddy shores of
the Main Pool.
4) Curlew Sandpiper - I was out-of-town when the Curlew Sandpiper was found
last year at Montezuma across from Benning Marsh so I don't remember the
exact dates. In any case, finding one will be much easier when it still
retains some breeding plumage. It happened last year - why not again?
5) How about a stint? - Stints (Rufous-necked and/or Little) are found
annually at this season in a couple of East Coast shorebird hotspots.
Usually only 1-4 birds are found each season and it is usually during
the early part of the shorebird season - that is, July and August. This
may be because unless the birds are in at least partial breeding plumage,
they are very, very difficult to identify. (They are only "very difficult"
to identify in breeding plumage). When you find a group of peeps that are
relatively close, look through them closely. Last week, a Little Stint
was in residence at Cape May for a few days.
(Jeff Wells is director of bird conservation for National Audubon of
of New York State. He's come to be known around these parts now as
"The Unbearded Man"...not to be confused with Northern Beardless
! KICKIN' TAIL! !
What better way to prove your name is Matt than by being featured in an
interview exclusively for The Cup, even when you aren't leading the pack?
"Kickin' Tail" brings well deserved honor and recognition to the Cupper who
has glassed, scoped, scanned, driven, climbed, dug, or right time/right
his/her way to the top of the David Cup list. We bring, for the first
the KT column, Matt Sarver!
THE CUP: So what's the deal with Mr. Young? Has he gotten lost in the upper
reaches of Basin while working on the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project?
SARVER: Young's been lost for a long time....but we won't talk about that.
No actually, he's not been in the Basin much from what I hear. I'd say
you're on the right track, there.
THE CUP: Do you think he should shave his mustache and gotee? He's looking
mighty hot with the facial hair, during rare Lab appearances.
SARVER: What, Young shave? That's like asking the Pope to play with a
board or something!
THE CUP: Then again, you could use a razor yourself. Aside from being ahead,
the most important thing about being a Cupper is looking good.
SARVER: Of course I could use a shave, but I probably won't do it.
I'm more worried right now about all the hair that's falling out
of the TOP of my head.
THE CUP: Yes, Cup spies tell us Cornell sent your mama a plumbing bill for
clogged drains during your freshman year. Are you lonely with the
other Matts also out of town -- Medler in Costa Rica, Williams in MA,
and the new fella, Victoria, traipsing all over NY, for grassland birds?
Has this broken your spirit? Is this why you aren't posting to Cayugabirds
SARVER: "I'm blue and I'm lonesome, too" - that's a song, eh?
THE CUP: Plagiarized.
SAR VER: Appropriate for the weekend that Phish plays Oswego, but I'm
not going since nobody seems willing to get off of their keysters and go
with me. Oddly enough, I haven't even met "Matty V" yet!
THE CUP: Intentional, probably. Scaredy cat.
SARVER: As for why I sailed off the edge of the local birding world, that
would have something to do with the fact that I haven't gone birding in
month - call it burnout, call it apathy, or call it lazy, but I haven't
had the time or energy to seek out all those rare Basin breeders.
THE CUP: How ever will you explain this to Matt Medler (who will receive the
news with great joy -- he aims to slide in ahead of you at all cost --except
giving up Costa Rica, of course).
SARVER: I boasted earlier that I thought I had a legitimate shot at the
record this year, but I've let that all go down the toilet now. (Is that
technically known as Evans syndrome?) I'm working full-time with Prof.
Bernd Blossey's Purple Looserstrife biocontrol project, and I've actually
spent some time out of the Basin for that. In fact, I'm leaving tomorrow
for another week at Fort Drum.
THE CUP: Well, at least you're working for a good cause. Long live native
grasses! So you didn't go looking for Ken's Tricolored Heron?
SARVER: If I hadn't been five or six hours away in PA, that might
have been the spark to get me back on my listing horse for the year.
Unfortunately, I was at home for the week.
THE CUP: How does that song go? "Go on home, your mama's calling you"
If this were a real, bona fide KT interview, as opposed to us killing a
little space because Young's had enough glory for a while, what would you
like to say?
SARVER: The government is implanting chips in our heads to control our
thought and action. Soon, we won't even be sure whether the birds we see
are real. We must do something before it's too late!! Meet me at the
flagpole at midnight with rope and baseball bats.....
THE CUP: Is that all? How about something a little more scandalous.
What's in your CD player?
SARVER: Let's see - well most of my music is on vinyl these days. Much
cheaper, sounds better, too. But I think my CD player might currently hold
a Thelonious Monk album, as well as two classics by Uncle Tom,
"Wildflowers" and "Full Moon Fever", "Beyond this Point" the debut
album of local funk-masters Nozmo King, with some old-school Beastie Boys
Phish's "Story of the Ghost", and/or Old and In the Way's bluegrass
release from '73 entitled "High Lonesome Sound" after Peter Rowan's
THE CUP: Sounds like you're having an identity crisis.
SARVER: I just picked up a nice selection of albums at a yard sale this
morning: Beatles, Dead, Nat King Cole, The Chieftains, etc. By the way, I'd
also LOVE to be at the Winterhawk bluegrass festival over in the Berkshires
THE CUP: Say "hi" to Heather Dunbar for us. When will you be submitting
one of your poems to The Cup's Bird Verse column?
SARVER: I've never really written any poems specifically about birds, so
probably not any time soon.
THE CUP: They don' have to be "bird poems." BORING! Just include some
reference to birds or birding. That goes for the rest of you, too, Geo
Meanwhile, who's your favorite poet? And don't say Geo Kloppel. And
definitely don't say Ralph Paonessa.
SARVER: Favorite poet is probably one of the editor's cats - they've got
good material, I hear. Actually something like Shakespeare, Milton,
Keats, Ammons, Thoreau, or a few others would be in the running. My
local favorite is Cornell MFA grad Angela Shaw.
THE CUP: Umm, Ammons is local. I went to a New Orleans-style dinner at
his house a while back. His wife, Phyllis, is a phenomenal cook. But you'd
have to shave to make that scene. You also have to actually write (and not
be afraid to publish) poems...
SARVER: Maybe this is the time to make the threat of [CENSORED].
THE CUP: Sorry, Matt. Looks like The Cup censors board wouldn't let that
one pass. There are kids who read this, you know. What'll be your next new
Basin bird this year?
THE CUP: Probably something I see in December. No, actually, it'll either
be a shorebird that I haven't gotten yet, or Red-shouldered Hawk, which I
to go find one of these days.
SCRAWL OF FAME
Some time ago, there was discussion on Cayugabirds about what to
call various groups of animals, including birds, wasn't there? Anyway,
we just found this in The Cup mailbox. It's from a post to
A worm of robins
A paddling of ducks
A Dan of quail
A cord of wood thrushes
A litter of catbirds
A string of kites
An asylum of loons
A rattle of kingfishers
A heraldry of kingbirds
A college of cardinals
A race of swifts
A ball of waxwings
A scoop of pelicans
A gulp of swallows
A hanky of mourning doves
A donkey of pintails
A splattering of starlings
A knee-slapper of laughing gulls
A barber of redpolls
A schnozzola of grosbeaks
A dash of bitterns
A decoration of buntings
An Internet of chats
A zipper of flycatchers
A road crew of shovelers
A cable of falcons (for Outer Bankers)
A fishing line of knots
A tank of petrel (a British term)
Okay, okay, so Caissa Wilmer could have done better with one hand behind
her back. We just wanted to get rid of the ghastly thing once and for all!
Now, on a more pressing note, this from Ralph Paonessa, who's still out
there lurking somewhere in Birdland:
Dear Editors of The Cup;
O Rapture! The Cup has arrived. These moments are all too
far and few Between (or whatever). But today, I heard
something that stopped me cold in my tracks (as cold as
I could get in the 95 degree desert heat, anyway):
There is another!!
A "The Cup," that is. And all this time, I thought that THE
"The Cup" was our last hope. Now I understand what Yoda
was saying to Obi-Wan in his intonations (insquawkations).
The other The Cup to which the dyslexic Jedi Midget
Master referred is none other than a new film, made on
location in Tibet. It is the true story of Buddhist monks
who will stop at nothing in their quest to watch World
Cup Soccer on TV. If you think I'm making this
up (moi?!?!), I actually heard it on BBC World Report
(who did not even mention the movie's putative namesake).
Shangri La, Myers Point -- could these be two opposite
poles of the same force? Karl David and the Dalai Lama B
the same person? Food for thought, anyway.
May The Cup Be With You!
EDITORS' NOTE: Be assured, The Cup will be pressing charges.
If you'd like to contribute to our fund to hire hot-shot lawyer
Jackie Chiles, please send cash to Cup Headquarters, or make
check payable to Allison and/or Jeff Wells.
(If you have an opinion--or insider information--about the art,
science, and/or aesthetics of birding or birding-related topics,
write it up for the Scrawl of Fame.)
mmmmmmmmmmmm McILROY MUSINGS mmmmmmmmmmm
ALLISON: Remember the good old days? Vinyl records, Pong, and when
you were ahead in the McIlroy?
JEFF: Me? You must really be feeling the pressure, being a three-time
ALLISON: Why do you think I dumped that pot of spaghetti over your
head last night, just because I love you?
JEFF: I thought maybe you were trying to keep me from seeing a Blue
Grosbeak at our feeder.
ALLISON: No, birds like that only show up at the McGowan's feeder.
Speaking of which, Kevin would be well pleased to hear us bickering like
this. You know, divide and conquer.
JEFF: I'm more concerned about what this all says about us.
ALLISON: You mean...you're afraid the passion is gone?
JEFF: Well, when was the last time we got crazy?
ALLISON: What about that trip to Montezuma, the triple-doozy?!
JEFF: Yeah, but it was all planned. We knew exactly what we were going to
ALLISON: I know what you mean. Where's the spontaneity, the free-spirited
get-aways, the giddy anticipation...
JEFF: Okay, let's not get too carried away.
ALLISON: Worst of all, we don't have any kids to blame it on.
JEFF (looking very sly): That's right...we don't.
ALLISON: Oh, my! You're not suggesting (giggle).
JEFF (Gives an Elvis growl): Caswell Road. Tonight. After dark.
ALLISON (tossing her head back in girlish delight): You think?
JEFF: I'll bring the sign for the window: "If the car's a-parkin', we're
Henslow Sparrowing, not meadowlarkin'!"
BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH
Caissa was very, very bad this time around.
No Bird Brain for you!
(Caissa Willmer is a Senior Staff Writer for the Cornell Office of
Development and theater critic for the Ithaca Times.)
Hey, Sarver, we're waiting...
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...
Being both a birder and a gardener, the month of May tugs in both
directions. Spring migration is in full swing (is that a music
metaphor?) and most risk of frost is past. But, I'm not asking for
advice on that dilemma, because I am sure of a birder-biased response. I
find my own balance between the two. Many of my first-of-the-year birds
are heard or seen while planting the broccoli or weeding the perennial
bed. In another attempt to extend the integration of my two pasttimes,
though, I have not met with success. It is in this arena that I welcome
advice. You see, the last couple of years I have planted birdseed in my
garden but as yet the yield has not included birds. Just like other seed
packets which feature pictures of carrots and tomotoes, the bag of
birdseed has a variety of colorful birds prominently displayed, but
inspite of careful cultivation, I have not been able to grow birds in my
garden. What am I doing wrong?
--Disappointed in Newfield
Don't be! You sound like an expert gardener (i.e., you keep a keen
eye and ear out for birds as you toil away in your little earthly plot).
Therefore I suspect that you're doing everything correctly with your
birdseed plantings. Bear in mind, though, that birds ripen at night, so
you're probably just missing them. If you want to enjoy the feathers
of your labor, you must sit up into the wee hours with an ear to the
sky listening for "zweep"s and "tseep"s as the birds take to the air
after sprouting from your garden. Bill Evans has had particular
success with this; in fact, if he hadn't been growing and releasing
birds himself, he wouldn't have nearly the collection of nocturnal
calls he currently has. I suggest you mentor with Bill. Just remember:
Bill never sleeps.
Yes, I remembered to count up all the species I remembered to count, and
according to my memory, I remember that I've got a total of 120 species for
the Basin, and 61 species for my Etna and yard lists (I don't remember if
they're separate or not). Of course there's no way I can remember which
species was my 100th, since I never (nearly never) remember to keep track.
You'd think that with a wonky memory like mine, I'd at least try to
remember to write things down, but that interferes with the thing itself
I'm trying to remember, and hence I forget. Got it? Now what was that I
was gonna say? I forgot.
--Forget-me-not in Etna
Fortunately, you have the likes of Dear Tick to tell you precisely what
you were going to say. And here it is: "You deserve a lot of credit for
putting up with the silly nonsense you have to put up with in your column.
We come to you with our plights and gripes as bad as Achilles and you are
always so kind and generous in response. You should get a big raise.In
fact, I'm going to head up a committee to see that that happens, if I have
to go to each and every Cupper individually for donations. Unfortunately, I
can't remember who any of them are..." Smart alleck.
(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
""""""""" CUP QUOTES """"""""
"After two more visits and a lot of patience....goodness, it was hot
by 8:00 this morning..."
"My few Memorial weekend birding tidbits were highlighted by a singing
Henslow's Sparrow at the 'traditional' Caswell Rd fields. I was rewarded
with crippling Swarovski 60-x looks as the little guy 'tsi-licked' from the
top of a weed at 6 am Monday."
"No, I'm not trying to best Ken in the better-late-than-never category,
but I haven't been around the office for more than a few nanoseconds all
week due to having my head crammed with matrix algebra and related
statistical machinery. Anyway, on a hike along the Abbott Loop of the
Finger Lakes Trail we heard an Acadian Flycatcher last Sunday."
"I thought this was interesting that Matt V. and I had a nearly identical
shorebird count from Benning Marsh."
"It's all part of the Matt Mystique."
"I thought I'd say hi, send along my totals and tell you about la pura
vida aquí en Costa Rica. I've been having a great time here.
Here are some of the highlights: Thicket Tinamou, King Vulture,
Crane Hawk, Mangrove Black-Hawk, Laughing Falcon, Great Currasow,
"P.S. Don't forget to dock me for rubbing it in about all the good birds
--okay, so the editors added the P.S.
"The weather conditions were right, we had a great number of participants
who spent the entire day in the field, and the result was the highest
species count (134) and birds tallied (23,544) for an Ithaca June Count."
"Just a couple hundred feet north of the sharp eastward bend, at which
the road-name changes to Gunderman, a single Henslow's Sparrow
was singing in the moonlight."
"Come commiserate with fellow birders about warbler neck and other
avian-induced aches and pains tonight at the Cayuga Bird Club
"Just yesterday I was considering posting an ode to all the joyous new life
around the farm - the young bluebirds everywhere being fed by their doting
parents, the fox grazing on wild strawberries, the peeping from all the
trees as nests are attended to, the activity at three swallow-filled
nestboxes, deer with their fawns glowing red in the sunshine, the croaking
of green herons in the spruce grove, the scolding of orioles chasing jays,
the busy drinking and dipping at the birdbath, the hungry woodpeckers at
the apples and oranges, the constant singing of vireos, waxwings, and
wrens, the ticking of chimney swifts circling the house..."
May Your Cup Runneth Over
Allison and Jeff