Year 1, Issue 6


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* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy


*         Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

*         Script Writer: Jeff Wells


"BO-ring!  BO-ring!  BO-ring!"  Like a basketball team that wastes the clock

as a stall tactic to victory, the editors of The Cup have been subjected to

this same incessant sing-song from birders protesting the way the mighty

Basin handled the David Cup competition in June.  Cuppers seemed to have

forgotten that WE weren't the ones fiddling and diddling.  Heck, we weren't

even the referees!  We are, in fact, merely humble scribes reporting on the

action.  True, our jobs were a little easier this month, despite Coach

Kelling's valiant attempt to keep his team on the offensive and to maintain

Cupper morale.  Truth is, birding in June was like, well, for us reporters,

it was like getting the scoop on the latest round of the PGA after covering

the NBA finals.


Keep in mind, though, that hundreds, thousands--millions?--read all about

their beloved golf tournaments as soon as the stats hit the stands.  You

should be no less faithful to the David Cup competition by devouring The Cup

1.6 now that it's in all the smoke shops.  True, there weren't a lot of

"hole-in-one" rarities, and a good many of us already have our eagles, but

at least by reading this issue of The Cup you'll know how many have made it

to the green and are perfectly positioned for a good birdy!


                          @   @    @    @    @     @

                             NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

                            @   @    @    @     @     @


WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: It looked good for Anne Kendall-Casella for a

while--the David Cup hung before her like a sweet, juicy apple, ripe and

ready for the plucking.  But her hungry palm stopped short.  (Perhaps she

mistook Dear Tick for a worm?)  And Marty Schlabach, while tiptoing

skillfully around the rim, nearly lost his balance and fell butt-over-bins

into the David Cup.  In the end, it was the editors very own niece, Sarah

Childs, visiting from Winthrop, Maine, for the next few weeks, who said, "I

may be cuckoo but at least I'm not chicken!"  (The threat of having to sleep

out on the fire escape every night of her visit had nothing to do with it.)

So, should you see a sharp-scoping thirteen-year-old scanning the Savannah

Mucklands with Allison, Jeff, and Casey Sutton, be sure to welcome her to

the David Cup, and to point out any Northern Lapwings that may be there.


SPIES T: Many of you are aware that Martha Fischer took on the role of

Assistant Coach for the David Cup in June (see Cup Quotes, this issue).  You

probably aren't aware of just how seriously she took this job.  According to

our sources, Martha, while wearing her  David Cup T one day at Cass Park

this past month, became slain by the spirit and began soliciting prospective

Cuppers who were wasting their time jockeying about on a tennis court.  She

was overheard orating on the dangers of tennis elbow to future Cupping

possibilities.  Our sources tell us that Martha's argument was very

persuasive; after the first few naysayers found themselves belly flopping

into the kiddie pool, the others were scrambling for her every word.

Although none have officially signed up yet, we expect the phones here at

Cup Headquarters to be ringing off the hook anytime now.


TICKS COUNT: "The number of expected to be especially high this

year," scientists were quoted as saying in an article that ran in the Ithaca

Journal in June.  People like Andrew Spielman of the Harvard School of

Public Health in Boston claim that this is because of an unusually high

population of infected mice in the northeast.  However, if the reporter had

been up to snuff, he would have found that the real reason for the increase

in ticks is due to the David Cup/McIlroy competitions, which has led to

Cuppers ticking day and night, all over the Basin.  We can only assume that

Dr. David Persing of the Mayo Clinic was referring to Karl David's, Bill

Evans', Adam Byrne's, and Ned Brinkley's pre-David Cup ticking expeditions

when he announced, "The last couple of years have been a real eye-opener.

This has been occurring as an undercurrent longer than we realize."


THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST?: Once again, it's the goody-goody gabfest

hosts that are getting national face time.  First, it's Ann Landers on

Dateline, now it's Marilyn Vos Savant squeaking into Reader's Digest--but at

least this time the face ain't so pretty.  Vos Savant was once listed in the

Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest measured I.Q. and as a

result gets to flaunt her alleged intelligence in a question-answer column

for Parade magazine.  Well, the Digest dug up some questions that left

bright star in the dark.  To show Cuppers how good they've got it (and to

rub it in to Parade magazine that The Cup's got the real genius), we've

asked our own Dear Tick to respond to a few of the toughest stumpers:


        Q: If you melt dry ice, can you swim in it without getting wet?

       DT: Try it and see.

        Q:  Do fish have necks?

       DT: Do Long-billed Green Sunbirds have lips?

        Q: Is there any significant reason for having gums?

       DT: No.

        Q: Why do cockroaches turn over onto their backs when they die?

       DT: Because it's in the script.


OLYMPIC-SIZED SNUB: For the last few months, the David Cup committee waited

expectantly by the phones for the call from Atlanta, telling us that the

David Cup/McIlroy competitions would be official Olympic sporting events.

The call never came.  So what'll the world do when they tune in for some

real pulse-jolting, neck-and-neck competition and all they get is the

mamby-pamby Dream Team lallygagging around a basketball court?  Suffice to

say that in another four years, it won't be Michael Jordan and his ho-hum

same-old same-old they'll be watching on the tube but rather Karl David

triathaloning (rowing the length of Cayuga Lake, mountaineering the sheer

face of the Biosphere Preserve, then hightailing it through the trails of

Sapsucker Woods) across the Basin.  Expect to see Karl, not Michael,

standing proudly on the highest riser, a pair of gold Elites around his

neck.  After all, Michael may own the court, but have you ever heard of the

Jordan Cup?


BIRD CUP BLUES: Three days of nonstop blues!  Fifteen different bands,

including CJ Chenier, Mississippi Heat, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown!

Eight thousand tickets sold!  We're talking the North Atlantic Blues Rockland, Maine.  Too bad.  Well, pity the editors most of

all.  They were, after all, visiting their native Maine during the big blues

chabang.  So close and yet so far.  The best they could muster was an

unnamed blues band jamming beneath them while they partook of lobsters and

steamers and sipped white zinfandel on the deck of a pleasant restaurant

overlooking rustic New Harbor.  Poor things.


By the way, since many of you have inquired about upcoming performances of

the Cupper-heavy Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band (Jeff and Allison Wells and Jim

Lowe are all members), which is respectably into the blues for a 20-piece

big band, we've obliged by noting here several fast-approaching public gigs:

the Watkins Glen Arts & Crafts Festival on July 20 (12:30pm to 2:30), Alta B

Day at Wagner Winery's Ginny Lee Cafe on July 21 (1:00pm-5:00), Speedie Fest

and Balloon Rally at Tricities Airport in Endicott on July 27

(11:00am-12:30), and at Taughannock Park August 3 (7:30pm-9:30).  E-mail any

of us for more info.  See ya there!


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Yes, there were highlights in June.  No razzle-dazzle bingo birds like we've

had in months past, but hey, it's June, time to smell the roses (i.e., get

to know your family again).  We hope you took the long way home. Bins in

tow, of course.


                          BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS


                             Steve Kelling (Correction: Jeff Wells.  We

found Steve in a deep, summer slumber and couldn't wake him in time for him

to write up his column.)


Migrants, especially northern breeders, continued to trickle in over the

transom of early June, with species like Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Gray-cheeked

Thrush, and Swainson's Thrush being heard nocturnally.  An unusually late

1st summer Iceland Gull put in an appearance at Myer's Point on June 2, and

Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin, and White-rumped Sandpiper lingered into the

second week of June at Montezuema.  But it is, of course, the breeding

species that we focus on in June.  Happy news was Bard Prentiss' discovery

of a colony of Cliff Swallows, which have in recent years almost disappeared

as breeders in the Basin.  Bard found the colony nesting on a barn in

Freeville.  Another species that is essentially gone from the Basin as a

breeder is Upland Sandpiper.  This year a pair set up residence in a field

complex in Etna, though breeding was not confirmed.  Acadian Flycatchers

were found in at least 3 locations, the most obliging being the pair on

Salmon Creek Road.  Orchard Orioles were in residence not only at the

traditional Sheldrake location but also in at least 3 locations on the east

side of Cayuga Lake.  The Prothonotary Warbler that appeared in May at

Stewart Park continued singing vigorously into June, raising hopes that it

would find a mate and breed but it was not to be--the bird was gone by the

June 15 summer count.  More difficult to get to were the approximately 5-6

territorial Worm-eating Warblers along the ridges of West Danby, located by

Chris Hymes and Steve Kelling.  Chris was able to confirm breeding in at

least one pair in the Biodiversity Preserve.  Several sites in the Basin

held breeding populations of Cerulean Warblers and Henslow's Sparrows.  Both

species have been identified by Partners In Flight and the U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service as species of management concern. The Salmon Creek location

that harbored the Acadian Flycatcher hosted at least 7 singing Cerulean

Warblers and good numbers were noted at several sites within Montezuema NWR.

Finally, the Henslow's Sparrows on Caswell Road in Freeville numbered a

minimum of 5-7 singing males


(Steve Kelling is the field notes editor for the Kingbird, Region 3.  He

teaches Cornell undergraduates the mysteries of physics and often calls

fellow Cuppers to make sure they're still alive, even when he's less so

himself.  Jeff Wells is New York State Important Bird Areas Coordinator for

National Audubon Society.  He learned just how out of shape he is while

chasing the nimble Chris Hymes' Worm-eating Warblers at the Biosphere



     100      100      100      100      100      100      100     


                              100 CLUB

   100      100       100      100       100       100       100       100



(Overheard from inside the 100 Club:)


"Wow, this is some hopping place, huh?" "Good food, good friends, and now

that we've fired the DJ and Kevin McGowan's taken over the turntable with

his inexhaustible blues collection, good music!"  "I'll say!  And it gives

me a warm feeling to know that every  Cupper has made it into the Club."

"Yeah.  We're all just one big, happy--wait a minute.  Where's Tom Lathrop?"

"Hmm.  I thought I saw him at the bar, exchanging bird travel tales with

Meena Haribal--no, that was Ralph Paonessa.  Gosh.  I guess Tom's not in the

Club."  "Not in the Club?! But any birder who's any birder is in the 100

Club!"  "Poor Tom.  He lives in Rochester, you know, WAY outside the Basin."

"Poor Tom."  "Do you think he'll EVER make it in?"  "I don't know.  I just

don't know."


200           200          200          200           200           200

                                  2     0    0

     200             200                            200           200


"We hear ya knockin' but ya can't come in!"  That's the song that's been

wearing out the sound system over at the 200 Club.  Yes, Clubbers there are

rubbing it in to those Cuppers lined up outside to get in.  Cuppers like Jay

McGowan, Ralph Paonessa, Casey Sutton, Bill Evans.  Word has it, Ralph is so

desperate to crash the 200 Club party that he tried to get his new pet,

Pete-Pete the Polar Bear, to knock down the door.  Since Pete-Pete is still

just a cub, his attack merely knocked off the door knob, making it that much

harder for Cuppers to get in.  Which is why, we assume, no Cuppers gained

entry in June.  We can only hope Ralph gets the door knob replaced by the

end of July.


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

Getting Cuppers to confess their June totals was no easy task.  Embarrassed,

no doubt, by their minimal progress--indeed, one can hardly call them

"Pilgrims"--several downright refused to send in their tick tallies. Of

course, they were in South America, Massachusetts, and elsewhere out of

state, but The Cup accepts no excuses.





    229  Allison Wells                       225  Allison Wells

    226  Karl David                          220  Karl David

    222  Tom Nix                             219  Tom Nix

    221  Jeff Wells                          215  Jeff Wells

    220  Steve Kelling                       213  Steve Kelling

    215  Scott Mardis                        212  Bard Prentiss

    215  Kevin McGowan                       207  Kevin McGowan

    212  Bard Prentiss                       205  Scott Mardis

    210  Chris Hymes                         202  Ken Rosenberg

    202  Ken Rosenberg                       200  Chris Hymes

    195  Jay McGowan                         185  Jay McGowan

    193  Ralph Paonessa                      180  Ralph Paonessa

    185  Bill Evans                          174  Casey Sutton

    185  Casey Sutton                        173  Anne James

    184  Meena Haribal                       172  John Bower

    173  Anne James                          168  Martha Fischer

    172  John Bower                          167  Meena Haribal

    168  Martha Fischer                      165  Bill Evans

    163  Larry Springsteen                   163  Larry Springsteen

    153  Diane Tessaglia                     153  Diane Tessaglia

    152  Rob Scott                           152  Rob Scott

    151  Michael Runge                       131  Michael Runge

    144  Kurt Fox                            120  Jim Lowe

    124  Jim Lowe                            112  Kurt Fox

    105  Dan Scheiman                        105  Dan Scheiman

     74  Tom Lathrop                          49  Tom Lathrop




    184  Allison Wells                       181  Allison Wells

    170  Jeff Wells                          164  Jeff Wells

    167  Kevin McGowan                       161  Kevin McGowan

    154  Ken Rosenberg                       154  Ken Rosenberg

    152  John Bower                          152  John Bower

    152  Tom Nix                             149  Scott Mardis

    149  Scott Mardis                        149  Larry Springsteen

    149  Larry Springsteen                   140  Jay McGowan

    145  Jay McGowan                         132  Martha Fisher

    140  Karl David                          132  Karl David

    132  Martha Ficher                       131  Tom Nix

    129  Casey Suton                         128  Rob Scott

    128  Rob Scott                           126  Casey Sutton

    125  Chris Hyms                          125  Chris Hymes

    111  Jim Lowe                            108  Jim Lowe

    111  Michael Runge                       105  Michael Runge

    105  Bill Evans                          103  Bill Evans

     55  Diane Tessaglia                      55  Diane Tessaglia





Welcome to the David Cup Leader's List Gallery.  Thanks to an extension of

her grant by her generous sponsor, this month the gallery will again feature

the artful list of Allison Wells.  For your viewing convenience, she only

slightly expanded her list from last month.  And again, Ms. Wells gave us

the honor of  marking her McIlroy birds with that thought-provoking "M".

With any luck, Ms. Wells list will be on display next month as well.

Meanwhile, enjoy your visit.


C. Loon (M), P-b Grebe (M), H. Grebe (M), R-n Grebe, D-c Cormorant (M), L.

Bittern (M), G. B. Heron (M), G. Heron (M), B-c. Night-Heron (M), Tundra

Swan,  M. Swan (M), S. Goose (M), Brant, C. Goose (M), W. Duck (M), G-w Teal

(M), A. Black Duck (M), Mallard (M), N. Pintail (M), B-w Teal (M), N.

Shoveler (M), Gadwall(M), E. Wigeon, A. Wigeon (M), Canvasback (M), Redhead

(M), R-n Duck (M), G. Scaup (M), L. Scaup (M), Oldsquaw, S. Scoter (M), W-w

Scoter, C. Goldeneye (M), Bufflehead (M), H. Merganser (M), C. Merganser

(M), R-b Merganser (M), Ruddy Duck (M), T. Vulture (M), Osprey (M), B. Eagle

(M), N. Harrier (M), S-s Hawk (M), C. Hawk (M), N. Goshawk, R-s Hawk (M),

B-w Hawk (M),  R-t Hawk (M), R-l Hawk (M), G. Eagle, A. Kestrel (M), R-n

Pheasant, R. Grouse,  W. Turkey (M), V. Rail, Sora (M), C. Moorhen, A. Coot

(M), B-b Plover, S. Plover, Killdeer (M), G. Yellowlegs (M), L. Yellowlegs

(M), Solitary Sandpiper (M), Spotted Sandpiper (M), Upland Sandpiper,

Marbled Godwit (M), R. Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least

Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, S-b

Dowitcher, C. Snipe (M), A. Woodcock (M), Laughing Gull, Little Gull, B.

Gull (M), R-b Gull (M), H. Gull (M), Iceland Gull (M), Glaucous Gull (M), G.

B-b Gull (M), Caspian Tern (M), Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern, R.

Dove (M), M. Dove (M), B-b Cuckoo (M), Y-b Cuckoo (M), E. Screech-Owl (M),

G. H. Owl, S-e Owl, N. S-w Owl, C. Nighthawk (M), C. Swift (M), R-t

Hummingbird (M), B. Kingfisher (M), Red-headed Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker

(M), Y-b Sapsucker (M), D. Woodpecker (M), H. Woodpecker (M), N. Flicker

(M), P. Woodpecker (M), E. Wood-Pewee (M), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (M),

Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher (M), Willow Flycatcher (M), Least

Flycatcher (M), E. Phoebe (M),  G. C. Flycatcher (M), E. Kingbird (M), H.

Lark, P. Martin (M), T. Swallow (M), N. R-w Swallow (M), Bank Swallow (M),

C. Swallow (M), Barn Swallow (M), B. Jay (M), A. Crow (M), F. Crow (M), C.

Raven (M), B-c Chickadee (M), T.  Titmouse (M), R-b Nuthatch (M), W-b

Nuthatch (M), B. Creeper (M), C. Wren (M), H. Wren (M), W. Wren (M), M.

Wren, G-c Kinglet (M), R-c Kinglet (M), B-g Gnatcatcher (M), E. Bluebird

(M), Veery (M), G-c Thrush (M), S. Thrush (M), H. Thrush (M), W. Thrush (M),

A. Robin (M), G. Catbird (M), N. Mockingbird (M), B. Thrasher (M), A. Pipit

(M), Bohemian Waxwing, C. Waxwing (M), N. Shrike, E. Starling (M), S. Vireo

(M), Y-t Vireo (M), W. Vireo (M), Philadelphia Vireo (M), R-e Vireo (M),

B-w Warbler (M), G-w Warbler (M), T. Warbler (M), N.  Warbler (M), N. Parula

(M), Yellow Warbler (M), C-s Warbler (M), Magnolia Warbler (M), C. M.

Warbler (M), B-t Blue Warbler (M), Y-r Warbler (M),  B-t Green Warbler (M),

Blackburnian Warbler (M), Pine Warbler (M), Prairie Warbler (M), Palm

Warbler (M), B-b Warbler (M), Blackpoll Warbler (M), Cerulean Warbler, B-a-w

Warbler (M), A. Redstart (M), Prothonotary Warbler (M), Worm-eating Warbler

(M), Ovenbird (M), N. Waterthrush (M), L. Waterthrush (M), Mourning Warbler

(M), C. Yellowthroat (M), Hooded Warbler (M), Wilson's Warbler (M), Canada

Warbler (M), Yellow-breasted Chat, Sc. Tanager (M), N. Cardinal (M), R-b


(M), I. Bunting (M), E. Towhee (M), A. T. Sparrow (M),  C. Sparrow (M),


Sparrow (M), V. Sparrow (M), Savannah Sparrow (M), G. Sparrow (M), Henslow's

Sparrow, Fox Sparrow (M), Song Sparrow (M), Lincoln's. Sparrow (M), Swamp

Sparrow (M), W-t Sparrow (M), W-c Sparrow (M), D-e Junco (M), Lapland

Longspur, Snow Bunting, Bobolink (M), R-w Blackbird (M), E. Meadowlark (M),

R. Blackbird (M), C. Grackle (M), B-h Cowbird (M), Orchard Oriole, N. Oriole

(M), P. Finch (M), H. Finch (M), R. Crossbill, C. Redpoll (M), P. Siskin

(M),  A. Goldfinch (M), E. Grosbeak (M), House Sparrow (M)


Total: 229 species (DC), 184 (Mc)





Add to Allison's list (above) the following species and you'll have the

entire list of birds seen in January, February, March, April, May, and June:


American Bittern, Great Egret, Ross' Goose, Merlin, Whimbrel, Lesser Black-

backed Gull, Barred Owl, Whip-poor-will, Olive-sided Flycatcher, White-eyed

Vireo, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Pine Grosbeak, Hoary Redpoll.


Total: 240


                              !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !



What better way to prove that history doesn't necessarily repeat itself


by being featured in an interview exclusively for The Cup--two months in a

row?! KICKIN' TAIL brings well-deserved honor and recognition to the Cupper

who has glassed, scoped, scanned, driven, climbed, dug, sun bathed, and

otherwise made his/her way to the top of the David Cup list.


Much to my chagrin, the editors got their grubby paws on the audio tape of

my last session with my psychotherapist, Dr. Birding N. Lovinit.  Rather

than sue, I decided to go ahead and let them run it here, as a way of

proving that being the Kickin' Tail Queen is not unlike being a supermodel:

life isn't ALL glamour and glory.


DR. LOVINIT: Now, tell me how you've been doing this week.


WELLS: Well,  I just found out that I'm the Kickin' Tail Leader again this



DR. LOVINIT: Congratulations.  That's something to feel good about.


WELLS: I...guess.


DR. LOVINIT: Is there some reason why you wouldn't be pleased?


WELLS: I don't know.  I think I may be having trouble getting in touch with

my true feelings.  I thought I'd be really happy about winning but I'm not

and I don't know why.


DR. LOVINIT: Hmm.  Let me see.  You must be the middle child.




DR. LOVINIT: And, have you had any dreams involving stampeding elephants and

talking birds?


WELLS: Well, yes...


DR. LOVINIT: What else can you tell me?


WELLS: In eighth grade, I told Heidi Pratt the answer to question nine on

our vocabulary test.


DR. LOVINIT: I see.  And did you give her the correct answer?




DR. LOVINIT: Mmm hmm, just as I suspected.  You're transferring your

deep-seated, long-lived guilt for helping someone cheat on a test to your

trouncing of the big boys in the David Cup race.  Now that you've freely

admitted your eighth-grade wrong doing, you can focus again on your feelings

about staying in the lead.


WELLS: You're right, Doctor!  I feel better already!  Ha! Those poor fools

don't stand a chance, and I don't feel guilty about it in the slightest.  In

fact, I feel confident that I'll be ahead next month, too.  But, Doctor, if

for some reason I'm not...




WELLS: I may need an extra session.  Can you give me a birder discount?



??  ???????????????????????    PIONEER PRIZE  




The editors of The Cup, through statistically significant birding polls and

by snooping through Cupper diaries, have determined that recognition is in

order for the Cupper who has braved wind, rain, ice, and snow in a quest for

new David Cup birds for us all to enjoy.  Equally weighty in this award

category is prompt notification to other Cuppers of said sightings, be it

via e-mail, phone line, dramatic hand signals, or bathroom graffiti.


We, the editors of The Cup, hereby bestow June's Pioneer Prize to Chris

Hymes.  Chris put the little town of West Danby on the birding map by

turning up not one pair of breeding Worm-eating Warblers in the area but

four!  Having hiked ("bellied-up," seems a more accurate term) the almost

impossibly steep slopes of the Biosphere Preserve ourselves, we appreciate

the determination (and foolhardiness requisite for any true pioneer) Chris

embodied in order to locate those birds.  Further, he generously ensured

that any who wanted to accompany him on his survey had that opportunity,

even though it meant single-handedly hauling Scott Mardis up on a pulley and

clearing a big enough splotch for Steve Kelling to land his hang glider.

Chris, your (second!) David Cup Pioneer Pencil awaits!


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>              : >


There was rugged competition this month, with breeding Worm-eating Warblers

in West Danby, breeding Orchard Orioles at Sheldrake, Myer's Point, and

Salmon Creek, breeding Acadian Flycatchers near Salmon Creek, a brilliant

sparkle from a Prothonotary Warbler, and an improbable summer visit from an

Iceland Gull.  But the bird Cuppers had to work their butts off most for was

the Prothonotary Warbler.  The singing bird, found by Allison and Jeff

Wells, hung out in the Cajun swamp wannabee of Stewart Park.  The thing that

made this bird a dandy was that it was a McIlroy Can't Missum.  The male of

the species, which is what everybody saw besides me, is yellow-orange with

blue-gray wings.  The female appears similar but duller.  Fortunately for

me, I still heard its song, although it was disappointing not to see the

bird.  The song is a ringing sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet.  The flight song

resembles a canary's song, and the call is a metallic "chip."  Prothonotary

Warblers lay 6 white eggs with purple spots.  The most common nesting spot

is a hole in a tree or stump, but they will also nest in a mailbox or

birdhouse.  They breed as far south as central Florida, as far north as

southern Michigan, as far west as central Texas, and as far east as the east

coast.  The wintering range is the tropics of Central America and northern

South America.


(Casey Sutton, who initiated and writes this column on his own, will be a

seventh grader this fall at DeWitt Middle School.  He has a mean 3-point

shot and made 9 out of 10 foul shots during basketball camp in June.)



                              SCRAWL OF FAME



I have always wondered what it would be like to be a Cupper.  Now that I

will be spending a few weeks in Ithaca, I actually get to find out.  I want

to tell you what it is like, whether you want to hear it or not (I am trying

to keep this piece in traditional Cup fashion).  First of all, I want to say

that whenever my grandmother is around, keep your precious David Cup

anythings out of her reach.  She tried to keep me from the honors of The Cup

by shrinking to minimal size my David Cup T.  However, after many minutes of

stretching, it is nearly back to its original size.  Who knows what she will

do to my bird lists when I get back to Maine?


Back to the program.  I wanted to be a Cupper because I have always found

birds interesting, and since nobody in Maine has thought long enough to

start something like this, all us bird admirers have to suffer.  Plus the

fact that my aunt and uncle (to you it's Allison and Jeff) wouldn't take no

for a suitable answer, I must do this.  Besides, I DID, after all, spend

hours birding as a little kid, so who knows?  Maybe I'll remember three



It feels kind of weird just being thrown into this big thing all of a

sudden, in almost the middle of the month.  I know that I probably won't

even make the 100 Club.  But I already have how many?  Let me see.  1-2-3?

Oh, no.  I forgot, it's four.  Well, gotta go to where the bird calls.  I'll

see YOU in the David Cup races.



(Sarah Childs will be in the eighth grade at Winthrop Middle School in

Winthrop, Maine, in the fall.  Despite what her aunt and uncle say, she

insists that she will not go on any roller coasters this summer.)


If you have an opinion about the art, science, and/or esthetics of

birding or

birding-related topics, write it up for the Scrawl of Fame.



                     <  COACH'S CORNER        <

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

                    <           < 

                     <         <

                       < < < <


You're no doubt wondering why we waited till now to bring Karl David into

the coaching game.  He is, after all, the "David" in David Cup.  Well, with

July being possibly the hottest month of the year temperature-wise and one

of the coolest bird-wise, we knew Cuppers would need a coach who could

sympathize with them, someone who's been there before and can lend a

nurturing hand, a coach who's not afraid to say, "Mardis, how could you have

missed that Wilson's Warbler at Mundy?!  The bird practically flew up your



COACH DAVID: June 30...back to the locker room for a short halftime breather

before Coach yells at you for all your mistakes in the first half and

tries to

fire you up for the second by screaming platitudinous exhortations

just inches from your ear:   "Mardis, how could you have missed that

Wilson's Warbler at Mundy?  The bird practically flew up your nose! And you,

Rosenberg! Maybe you think your fly-by Whimbrel at dusk will help you

renegotiate your contract, but what good does it do for the rest of the

team? Nix--Tom, Tom, Tom ... walking up the steps of City Hall with your

head down, just as a Merlin was approaching!  What's with you guys?"  Blah,

blah, blah.


Yes, the opening of the second half is a tough time in the

competition, believe me.  Last year, after more or less finishing my spring

clean-up on June 10 with Acadian Flycatcher, my next yearbird

was an overdue back-ordered Sora on June 30, and then nothing

whatsoever until Great Egret finally showed up at Montezuma on July

31.  So, what should you do this month to avoid total frustration?


Well, it depends on what you need.  If there's still a missing

warbler or two that's known to be around, go for it.  If a blank on

your checklist besides a rail or bittern still grates, try driving

the auto tour route at Montezuma very slowly and very early.  As the

month progresses, these birds tend more and more to be sitting out in

the open, as the stress and strain of raising young begins to lift

for them.  But don't bother in the heat of midday, the place is

generally stultifyingly dead then.


Another thing you can do is explore new areas under the guise of going

for a walk or a jog, perhaps with a nonbirding spouse, partner or

friend, someone who feels like you've been sorely neglecting them

because of the competition.  You'll score needed points with them,

but you'll be carrying your binoculars "just in case" and will have

your ears open.  After all, if your normal rounds haven't yielded up

a Sedge Wren or Dickcissel yet, they probably won't, so your only

chance is to go somewhere you haven't been.


As I suggested above, most of us still need Great Egret, and its

arrival usually heralds the beginning of fall migration.  The

earliest I've had it is July 6, an unforgettable sight, as three

birds flew across the Thruway at Montezuma, backlit by the lightning

flashes of an approaching thunderstorm.  However, that was

exceptional. The last week of July (and alas, sometimes the first week

of August) is more typical.  This is a nice bird to

start the fall with since it's big, spectacular and hard to miss if

it's there.


Shorebirds also begin arriving in July.  Here, it depends on what you

still need.  Leasts and the Yellowlegs tend to show up first, often

as early as the Fourth of July.  The year Ned, Adam, Bill and I found

that year's Prothonotary Warbler at a nest on Armitage Road, we had

Lesser Yellowlegs as well, and it wasn't even quite the end of June yet.

Pectorals and Short-billed Dowitchers also show up sometime in July.

And though the data is perforce spotty because of the bird's rarity,

there's some indication that late July is as likely a time as any to

find Whimbrel.


In any event, if you spend most of the month resting, with a few

judicious trips to M.N.W.R. or Myer's Point for shorebirds, you

should pick up a year bird or two ... just enough to get you psyched

for the great shorebird bonanza of August and September.  Here's

hoping for an early drawdown at the Refuge.  See you then, at the



(Karl David teaches mathematics at Wells College and is widely known as the

Father of the Madness.  He can often be seen wandering Star Stanton road,

demanding repeatedly, "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?" late into

the night.)



mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



                   Ode to Allison


                   Jeffrey Wells


           There once was a woman from Ithaca

           Who was one hell of a tickeruh

           She counted them all

           then said "What a ball!"

           Until her spouse cried, "I'm sick a' hurh."


[Poet's note: imagine last line with a Long Island accent]


(If Allison is ahead next month, be forewarned that I will be soliciting


limericks on this dastardly subject.  I may even give a personalized David

Cup Pencil to the limerick I like best--don't tell Allison! You don't even

have to be a Cupper, merely a Cup subscriber, to enter.)



                   BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH             



The David Cup glass ceiling was blown to bits when Allison Wells kicked it

in as Leader.  Now we're using that same glass to showcase another femme

fatale, Meena Haribal.


Although Meena's been a birder for eighteen years, it's nothing short of a

miracle that Meena Haribal is a Cupper today.  You see, she doesn't know how

she got interested in birds.  "As far as I know none of my family members

were or are interested in birds."  Gasp!  "Maybe it was innate genetic

inheritance from some distant ancestor."  That's better.  "Also I remember

reading a phantom comic when I was in school and in that a professor and his

student go into Denkali jungles to search for some extinct animal.  I felt

at that time I should also go to these places and look for wildlife."


She has certainly done that.  Although Meena is from India (home to about

2000 species and subspecies of birds), she has by no means confined her

birding to that country.  England, France, Nepal, and Costa Rica are among

the other places Meena has visited with her bins.  Obviously, she's spent

considerable time birding in the U. S as well (she says she particularly

enjoyed birding in Texas and Florida, though we have no idea why, what with

the Basin right here in Upstate New York.)


Birds aren't the only wildlife she pursues.  Meena is a bug watcher by

profession.  "I study how they (mostly butterflies) recognize their host and

how they decide on which plants to lay their eggs.  I correlate this with

the chemistry of the plant."  Meena admits that she is fortunate to combine

her hobby with her profession.  "My butterflies wake up as late as around

10am and sleep by late afternoon, like 4;30pm, so all the remaining time I

can bird."


It was this work that brought Meena to Ithaca (Cornell University), and she

has adjusted very well.  "Ithaca to me is like my dream place, where my

professional and personal interests are being fulfilled.  But," she says, "I

miss my country, the bugs and the birds.  Whenever anybody visits here from

India, I tell them to say hi to my bugs and birds!"


Birding here in Ithaca, she says, is very different than in India.  "There

were no heavy competitions in India, although [birders there] are interested

in seeing rare birds and reporting them.  It was more leisurely.  Besides,

we do not have good guides and bird call tapes, so we have to learn them

ourselves in the field.  I was fortunate, for I belonged to Bombay Natural

History Society and my gurus were all expert in the field of natural

history.  Also, we have one of the best collections of Indian birds in the

whole world, so if I had questions regarding ID, I would just go to the

curator and he would show me all possible birds and plumages.  That's how I

learned about variations in birds and habits, etc."


She's been fostering this same thirst for birding knowledge here in Ithaca,

and one way was by signing up for the David Cup.  "I thought it would be a

good way to get to bird with some experts, so I could learn from them.  I

also thought it would be fun and would get me out birding."  So far, so

good, though she laments that she has not seen Common Redpoll yet in the

Basin.  She would also like to see Henslow Sparrow, which, as yet, she has

only heard.


Just the same, she has an impressive life list totaling more than 1000

birds.  Of all the birds of the world that she has seen, Atlantic Puffin is

at the top of the list of favorites.  "The first book on birds that I read

was Birds of Britain by Francis Pitt--I read the whole book in two days.  I

loved the part on puffins.  That night, in fact, I dreamed that lots of

puffins were sitting along my college campus road."  About three years ago,

she says, during her trip to England, she made a special trip to Bempton

Cliffs to see puffins, which left a memorable enough impression on her that

she now would like to travel both U.S. coasts to see puffins.


Meena spends about three or four weekday hours per week birding, and has

been known to spend whole weekends birding during migration.  Of course,

some of this time is also spent studying her beloved butterflies, which

means she's not a TOTAL birdbrain.  But, hey, she's close enough for us.



                                   DEAR TICK



Because birders suffer so many unique trials and tribulations--and with the

added strain of intense competition brought on by the David Cup/McIlroy

Award--The Cup has graciously provided Cuppers with a kind, sensitive and

intuitive columnist, Dear Tick, to answer even the most profound questions,

like these...




Last month there was mention of the Wells' niece becoming a temporary Cupper

when she comes for her summer visit.  This got me thinking.  In baseball,

there are pinch hitters--players who go to bat for other players for various

reasons.  Can't we have pinch Cuppers?  For example, when this temporary

Cupper returns to her homeland, can someone pinch-bird for her here in the



                                          --Batter Up in Ithaca


Dear Batter Up:


Baseball players make millions of dollars--even pinch hitters.  Is this

temporary Cupper prepared to pay a fellow Cupper big bucks to pinch bird?

Then there is the matter of arbitration.  Is the would-be pinch Cupper a

free agent?  Is s/he willing to go on strike, even if it means giving up an

entire birding season and disappointing the millions who "watch" the

competitions via The Cup?  Who, pray tell, will draw up the contracts?

Cuppers--even the ever dutiful Jim Lowe--can't be expected to give up

valuable birding time bogged down in the "wherefores" and "therefores" of

vast legal documents.  As self-appointed David Cup Commissioner, given the

havoc the baseball strike caused the entire nation a few years back, I'm

ruling against your petition for pinch birders.




I think the rows of shoes, owls and bins [at the bottom of the David Cup


wearing mine as I type this] prophesize that the winner will be the one who

wears out six sets of shoes trekking around the Basin. The winner shall

search and find all eight species of owls (which are, of course, Great

Horned, Screech, Barred, Saw-whet, Long-Eared, Short-Eared, Snowy and Barn).

The winner owns three pairs of bins: for the home (feeder), for the office

(lunch hour musings) and for the car.  Am I right? Do I get more David Cup

pencils for solving this hieroglyphic mystery?


                                           --Rumenating in Rochester


Dear Rumenating:


No, you're wrong.  You may try again, but you should know that it will cost

you one tick for every wrong guess from here on in.  As for getting more

David Cup pencils, I believe it was Alice, sitting at the Madhatter's tea

party, who said, "I can't very well have more tea when I haven't had any at

all."  Now spit out that cud and move on to greener pastures--it's not too

late to earn yourself a David Cup pencil.





Do we have to pay any late fee for sending in totals late?



                                                 --Penniless near Penny



Dear Penniless:


Yes, you do have to pay, but not in cash.  You pay by having to live with

the guilt of having held up production of The Cup.  But let me say this:  if

the Domino's delivery boy arrives at your door with twelve large pizzas with

extra cheese and anchovies, I had nothing to do with it.




I was out birding a few months ago with some fellow Cuppers.  We were in hot

pursuit of a Lincoln's Sparrow.  At one point, two of my pals and I finally

tracked it down and had tickable views of the bird.  But one of the Cuppers

was on the other side of some brush so his/her view was obstructed.

However, s/he could clearly see the bird's reflection in some water in front

of the brush.  S/he saw the buffy breast, the grayish face, the fine breast

streaks--everything the rest of us were seeing, only his/her view was a

reflection instead of the bird itself. Can s/he tick it?



                                                    --Reflecting in Romulus


Dear Reflecting:


I'm sorry, no.  In fact, I'm inclined to tell you all to erase your tick,

too. I'm very suspicious that the narcissistic Lincoln's Sparrow wasn't a

bird at all but rather, Fabio in disguise, trying to cash in on a little

David Cup adoration.  Next time you see a bird admiring itself in puddles

the way this one apparently did, don't be so quick to assume it's the real





Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!! Or, at least in the

McIlroy Award boundaries. About two months ago there was a "big stink"

about the boundaries when a certain participant was able to tick off

a couple of shorebirds due to "peculiarities" in the actual boundaries.

The participant made the mistake of bragging about this to Cayugabirds-l.

There followed a storm of postings and complaints, several lame excuses

from the McIlroy Boundary Committee.  Now, everything has pretty much

settled down. But there are disturbing parallels between what has

happened here and the standard operating procedure of most governments. I

hate to be a conspiracy monger, but if you follow me through the "looking

glass" for a few minutes, I'm sure you'll understand the depth of the



The McIlroy Boundry Committee, to my knowledge, consists of two

amiable Lab of O researchers that everyone thinks of as pretty decent

human beings. As far as most of us know, these guys would never have

some hidden agenda or make decisions in an arbitrary manner (much less

engage in cronyism, etc.). This is why the excuses offered to the list

were so readily accepted--the odd boundaries, which were finally be-

coming public knowledge, would work in favor of "everyone". Well, DT,

they've been playing us for fools! The only reason that the boundaries

are now public knowledge is that the Cupper who made the shorebird coup

was crazy enough to brag about it in public. This is often the downfall

of those who try to take advantage of the rest of us. I recently came into

possession of a "smoking gun". It seems that back in 1991, one of the MBC

members and a certain cup participant worked together on a Fish Crow


As usual, there was a paper trail to follow... I have a photocopy of a


article with their names on it! That past relationship, in and of itself, is

certainly no breach of ethics. However, the co-author just so happens to be

the one who benefited from the boundry irregularities! Why wasn't this close

past relation-ship acknowledged? What were they trying to hide? Just what

else are they

hiding? If this comes out in the open, what do you bet that the second

MBC member, let's call him "Slim", takes the heat? The abusers of the

system always have a "patsy" to take the fall!  DT, I know this is

opening up a

can of worms, but if anyone can get to the bottom of Boundarygate, you can.

I just hope they haven't gotten to you yet...

                                               --"Oliver S."  in Hollywood


P.S. That's not my real name!


Dear "Oliver S.":


Sure it's not your real name.  You think I don't know who you are?  Huh!

You're right, I am in the know about this whole McIlroy conspiracy, but if

you think I'm going to spill the beans in the pages of The Cup so you can

go and make yourself another little movie, well, don't get the cameras

rolling just yet.  Unless, of course, you're willing to fork over big money

for the rights, and I don't mean the spare change you paid for "JFK".  If

you get you're wallet walkin', then maybe I'll do some talkin'.



(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup, care of Jeff's e-mail.)


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


"This is THE BEST CUP EVER--it runneth over..."


                                             --Ned Brinkley

                                         (after perusing The Cup 1.5)


"While Jay and I were doing our Lansing portion of the Christmas in June

count, we found a singing Yellow-breasted Chat on Cherry Road

northwest of the airport...Unfortunately, 3 subsequent visists (2 in late

afternoon, 1 this morning) were entirely chat-less."


                                            --Kevin McGowan


"[My total] would have been higher but...a polar bear ate my list.  Yeah,

that's right, a great, big polar bear."


                                            --Ralph Paonessa


"All is sweetness and light again, as I heard the Salmon Creek Acadian

Flycatcher yesterday afternoon, just before Chris Hymes showed up to

also log it in."


                                             --Karl David


"I'm up to a whopping 74 birds for my David Cup list as of the end of June.

But watch out, Allison! I've got 19 new species for July already. I'm

gaining on you!"


                                             --Tom Lathrop


"To confirm the rumor:  The lonely male Prothonotary Warbler was still

easily heard and seen along the swampy inlet next to the 8th tee on Newman

Golf Course as of Saturday (6/8) at 5 pm."


                                             --Michael Runge


"A walk in search of the Prothonotary Warbler at the North end of the

Newman Golf Course produced no ProWar; however, we did get to see an

adult Black-crowned Night-heron in hot pursuit by an adult male

Red-winged Blackbird."


                                             --Chris Hymes


"I always see my first Bobolinks (still calling like R2D2 as of last


at the fields near Monkey Run..."


                                              --Rob Scott


"David Cup total: 222 (sigh)."


                                              --Tom Nix


"As the weather was wonderful, I decided to take a walk along South Monkey

Run from Varna side. It seemed to me amazingly quieter than last year...

But best of all was a find of very tattered female Pieris virginiensis

butterfly. I could catch it with my hand to look at the markings. It is a

rare butterfly in Ithaca area found only in few patches. Hope a viable

population exists in Monkey run."


                                              --Meena Haribal


"Although none of our views were quite crippling, many were painful and

some were partially debilitating."


                                             --Scott Mardis


"Use my totals from May...Who has time for birding?  Certainly not me, it's

FeederWatch Time."


                                             --Diane Tessaglia


"I might be able to drag a sharp-eyed grown daughter along to help me

spot things."


                                             --Caissa Willmer


"I enjoy 'The Cup' even though I am not a participant.  It makes me smile

and it adds a bit of lightness to something which sometimes seems heavily

competitive.  Nice work."


                                             --Marty Schlabach


"It was a nice, humble breeze through the Basin--tally another 34 birds to

my Basin list.  Sound impressive? No, I haven't had a visit to the

Basin since early May and that 34 included things like E. Kingbird,

E.Towhee (yes, Casey is right, the name is now 'blah') and Chipping



                                              --Kurt Fox


"We had to work fairly hard for the few additions we got.  Jay is

disappointed he didn't make the 200 Club this month, but he'll just have to

wait on the shorebirds.  He did manage to pick up a life birds in June and

is closing in fast on the magic 300 (he's at 291).  So not a total wasteland

of a month after all."


                                             --Kevin McGowan


"What with positive feedback being the one and only coin in the volunteer's

realm, I just wanted to tell you two how much I've (remotely, enviously,

voyeuristically) enjoyed reading about the David/McIlroy goings-on via your

electronic newsletter."

                                        --Andy Leahy


"I have no total update.  I'm out of the Basin for the summer."


                                           --Dan Scheiman


"I second Ned's thoughts on The Cup.  And congratulations to Allison Wells

with an outstanding month of May - does this woman do anything but bird?

With 225 species in the Basin at the end of May, there's no doubt in my mind

that Ned and Adam's record of 255 species will be broken.  With Karl David

and Tom Nix hot on her heels at 220 and 219 species respectively, followed

closely by Jeff, Steve Kelling and Bard Prentiss, the competition is fierce

indeed.  With so many more people intently birding, there is greater

potential for turning up those rarities that will be needed to exceed 255.

Go get 'em!  We observers are enjoying this as much as the participants--

and seeing some birds we might not have seen otherwise as well."


                                             --Anne Kendall-Casella


"My June totals were David 124 and McIlroy 111.  You'll never catch me now!"


                                             --Jim Lowe


"We go to zee birds, and zee birds, zay come to us."


                                             --Casey Sutton


"Well, I guess I'm too late to be quoted in this month's issue of The Cup

(PHEW!), but I do happen to remember the bird--Hermit Thrush.  At the

time I thought it was pretty exciting, but of course by now, 100 species

seems like chicken feed.  I guess migration makes you greedy..."


                                            --Anne James


"My favorite bird was the one I called the 'phantom-of-the-opera bird'

[Common Yellowthroat]."


                                            --Sarah Childs


"Last night while taking a breather from playing volleyball at Lansing

Middle School, I stepped outside and noticed numerous chimney swifts flying

around--and down into--the chimney of the school.  I don't know who it was

that recently mentioned the lack of swifts at Belle Sherman School;

obviously the swifts have 'graduated' and have now 'fledged' to a school of

'higher learning'!"


                                            --Sara Jane Hymes


"This  is all very interesting, but can you explain to me a little more


being a Cupper?"

                                      --Susan Winkler (Jeff Wells' sister)


"Anyone who is a runner or competes in other individual (as

opposed to team) sports knows that if you're faster in the most recent race

than you were in the last one, then you're winning. And I guess that's how

I feel about the David/McIlroy competition.  It's given me something to

work toward, and consequently, I've been out birding more often and just

plain ol' paying more and better attention to birds I see and hear. The

competitive side of me is embarrassed to admit that at the end of May, I was

behind the Cup leaders by some fifty (eeeesshhh) species. But dang, I sure

have learned a lot, and I'm actually quite pleased with my Basin Bird List.

So, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you 'observers' to

jump into the David Cup and/or McIlroy Award 'competitions.' Yea, it's June,

but you can be assured that you *will* tick a greater number of species

during the next 6 months than will the hottest competitor out there. And

besides, it's fun."

                                       --Martha Fischer


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff