Year 1, Issue 7


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*  The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy


*         Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

*         Editorial Assistants: Sarah Childs, Justin Childs

*         Costume Designer: Jeff Wells

*         Laugh Track Engineer: Sarah Childs

*         Catering Specialist: Justin Childs




                               @   @    @    @    @     @

                                NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

                                 @   @    @    @     @     @


"It's like watching the David Cup!"  These profound words were spoken by The

Cup's own Jeff Wells during the Olympic Women's Cycling recap.  And he

wasn't kidding.  The map was laid out, the competitors lined up then were

off and birding, er, cycling.  There were the contenders, shifting positions

like so many Japanese Beetles maneuvering for your favorite rose.  There was

the impeccable precision, a few wipe-outs--all there, every time, in fact,

that we tuned in for the grand Olympic Games.  Jam-packed with adrenalin,

valiantly vim and vigorous, the 1996 Olympic Games were delightfully

dizzying, monstrously magnificent, giddyingly gargantuan, perfectly

patriotic, beautifully breathtaking.  But there, friends, is where the

similarities end.


Because the Olympics are over.  Gone.  Poof.  Vanished, in the flap of a



As for the David Cup/McIlroy competitions, they've merely bounded over one

more hurdle. Unlike the fly-by-night fun-and-games of the Olympics, the

David Cup is here to stay.  Go ahead, gloat.  You've trained hard for this

and now it's paying off. Cuppers have demonstrated the stamina to withstand

Sapsucker Woods in July, Montezuma in early August. They'll be no silver

medals here, we're going for the gold of a Golden Plover.


But don't be too hard on the Olympic athletes, though.  They misguidedly

threw there lives away on more conservative sports--wrestling, boxing, the

hammer throw.  In fact, it's in their honor that the editors of The Cup bid

you partake of The Cup 1.7.  No, it has nothing to do with winning favor

with the Olympic Committee so that the David Cup will be officially included

in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sidney.  Why, we'd have to go birding in

Australia!  We ask you to read on in the name of good sportsmanship, to

prove that we can still be gracious, considerate, generous, even though our

sport soars high above all the rest.


WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Believe it or not, the David Cup Welcoming

Committee is still busy at the door.  The latest to skitter in is one Mary

Catherine Heidenreich, who said, "I mistakenly thought since I work in

Geneva and live in Lyons that the Cayuga Lake Basin was out of my territory

so to speak, but I see from the map given in Steve K's web site that perhaps

I am not so far away from it as I first thought. Looks like Montezuma is

within the Basin--I go there quite often as well as to Waterloo, Seneca

Falls and Clyde.   Perhaps I could be of help with sightings or even

participate in one of those 'friendly' list competitions after all."

Further, and more importantly, she had some kind words about The Cup, which

has resulted in her acquiring prime real estate in this issue's Cup Quotes.

Then there is Justin Childs, 10-year-old nephew to the Wells and cousin to

fellow Temporary Cupper Sarah Childs.  Justin, who hails from Maine, has

learned some important things during his two-week visit in Ithaca: 1)

Cornell is a big, big school 2) Robert Treman Park is a fun place to swim 3)

visiting nieces and nephews either go birding whenever the notion overtakes

their beloved auntie and uncle or else find themselves tied to the hood of a

Chevy Nova and catching mosquitos with their entire bodies from here to

Myer's Point. Fortunately for Justin, he came at the end of July.


PRESIDENT CUPPER: Mary Catherine Heidenreich and Justin Childs weren't the

only ones trying to squeeze into the David Cup in this past month.

President Clinton begged for admittance into the competition when he

released a rehabilitated Bald Eagle into the air on the 4th of July, under

the guise of celebrating something or other at some fancy-pants military

academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  Although he has gained some favor with

those Cuppers who don't yet have Bald Eagle for their lists, Maryland is

just too far outside the Basin for the tick, and Mr. President is still only

at the threshold of the competition.  Sorry, Bill, maybe next month.


STOP, THIEF!: Imagine Justin Childs' surprise when he opened the door on the

morning of August 12 and came face to face with a cop--looking for his Uncle

Jeff!  No kidding!  For all of an hour and a half, Cupper Jeff Wells was a

wanted man.  His story is that after buying $5 worth of gas at a local

convenience store, he was in such a hurry to meet his wife at the Dryden

garage where they were dropping off their "good" car, that he forgot to pay

for the gas.  Of course, if his story were true, why, then, was he overheard

by Lab employees muttering, "I would have got away with it if it weren't for

that pesky clerk."  


SPIES T: It didn't look good.  Given the considerable drop in birding

activity again this past month, we at The Cup didn't think we were going to

get any tips about who was doing what in their David Cup T.  But then our

spies happened upon Bill Evans at Purity Ice Cream a few nights ago.  Bill,

they tell us, was pointing what was first thought to be a gun at a few of

the customers.  Turns out, it was a microphone.  Bill was apparently trying

to record a peculiar-sounding chip as part of his night migration recording

research.  It wasn't until an angry customer shoved a two-scooper into

Bill's left ear that he realized Mint Chip is a flavor of ice cream, not a

description of a night flight bird call.  Bill temporarily lost his hearing

in that ear, but at least his David Cup T was spared.


BIRD CUP BLUES:  Karl David's no fool.  He recently took his own advice

about combining "family time" and birding by checking out the Cupper-laden

Ithaca Ageless Jazz at Wagner Vineyards.  There, he and his beloved Elaine

sampled not only the fruits of the vine but also, among other tasty jazz

styles, some steamin' blues.  Here's Karl's obligatory report: "On Sunday,

July 21, with my beloved Elaine in tow, I bravely drove out of the Basin to

hear the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band play for the crowd at the Alta B Festival

at Wagner Vineyards in Lodi.  Of course, I was happy to see Jim Lowe, Jeff

Wells and particularly Allison Wells on the bandstand, because (funny how

symmetry works) it meant they were out of the Basin, too.  We merry

picnickers spread our blanket on the lawn, got out the food, bought some

wine and settled back to let the mellow tones of Jim's trombone  and Jeff's

trumpet wash over them.  But things really got hot during the second set,

when the band's torch singer, Allison, got up to give her sizzling rendition

of several avian favorites, including "I Can't Give You Anything but

Lovebirds, Baby" and "Making Whooper Swans".  After the smoke cleared and

the set was over, we joined the band during its break and met Allison's

charming niece, Sarah, newest member of the David Cup clan. We were much too

polite to inquire after the state of her feet, she having just danced with

Jeff during the previous set, the damage of which being

well concealed under the game face she had on.  We parted on good terms; any

Black Vulture or Mississippi Kite they wanted to see that close to the

shores of Seneca Lake was OK by me.  We left, happy we'd come ... but the

band played on ."   (And, as you'll find out in this month's Pilgrim's

Progress, so did Karl!)


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

After a month of sleep, trendmaster Steve Kelling's back and he's better

than ever.  Maybe next month, we can convince him to use a little Scope, ah,



                              BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS


                                  Steve Kelling


Birding highlights for July in the Cayuga Lake Basin can be summarized by

one word:  shorebirds.  The movement of shorebirds south from their breeding

grounds began early this year. Fifteen species of shorebird were reported in

July in the Basin.  The first sightings were made at MNWR during the first

week of July. These included a Short-billed Dowitcher of the more inland and

western subspecies, hendersoni, which was observed by several up through

July 18th.  Also of particular note was the American Avocet observed by Karl

David at Myers Point, and two Baird's Sandpipers again observed by Karl at

Myers, a very early date for Baird's.  It should be noted that probably all

of the shorebirds observed in migration in July are adults.  The juveniles

will begin to arrive in mid-August.


Now for a bit of controversy.  About these Trumpeter Swans (4) seen at MNWR

in July:  where did these things come from? Some evidence suggests that

these may be escaped birds from a local duck breeder.  Evidently, there is a

fairly large private wildlife sanctuary north of MNWR, owned by one of the

Pyramid Mall developers.  Trumpeter Swans were introduced there several

years ago and a population of about 18 currently exists on this preserve.

It is very possible that those swans appearing at the MNWR refuge are from

this preserve.  Unfortunately, the

birds do not appear to be banded (at least I did not see any bands on two of

the birds), so there origins are difficult to trace.  This may also explain

some of the other regional observations of Trumpeter Swans whose origins are



EDITORS' NOTE: Trumpeter Swans have also been introduced by government

officials in Ontario, another possible source for these visitors. The ABA

rules, which the David Cup would follow in this case, say that an introduced

species must be established for a certain number of years before it can be

counted.  The David Cup committee will work to clarify countability of these

swans by the next issue of The Cup.


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

teaches Cornell undergraduates the mysteries of physics and one day expects

the outskirts of his property to be converted into a trailer park, overseen

by his son Sam.)


100      100      100      100      100      100      100     

100       100

                                        100 CLUB

   100      100       100      100       100       100       100       100


Before you all get too worried about why Tom Lathrop is still on the wrong

side of the 100 Club wall, let us assure you that at least now we know why:

his directions to the Club are kaflooey.  For example, let's say he needs to

go out and get groceries.  Tom, who lives in Rochester, has been heading off

on St. Paul Boulevard to the nearest Wegman's, in the heart of the city.

What he should be doing is taking Route 390 to the thruway (I-90),

continuing east to Montezuma, stopping at the main pool tower only long

enough to scope the waterfowl there, then bird-cruising the autoloop,

followed by a careful scan of May's Point Pool, zooming off on Route 89 to

Route 105 to the Savannah Mucklands for a shorebird check, then motoring

back to the thruway to Route 390 to St. Paul Boulevard to the nearest

Wegman's.  If Tom did these simple directions every time he had an errand to

run, he'd be not only in the 100 Club but the 200 Club as well.  Tom, stop

making this so hard for yourself.  Hurry up and get in here--and bring some

more Molson, will you?


200           200          200          200           200           200

                                    2     0    0

     200             200                            200           200


It was a real challenge getting Jay McGowan into the 200 Club this month.

Not because Clubbers didn't want him in there.  Au contraire!  They couldn't

wait to see what kind of cake he'd baked for the occasions.  It was his dad,

Kevin, that was blocking the door.  Kevin, who quit his job DJ-ing over at

the 100Club for the superior CD players at the 200 Club, was a little

nervous that the blues he's been playing here were a too risque' for his

son's tender ears--until Jay flatly reminded his dear old pop that it's the

same exact music he hears at home, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a

year.  At least when his mom's not home.


All that, though, came after the Rite of Passage, which all 200 Club

candidates must endure (see The Cup 1.5).  What was Jay's test of



--posed as a Stilt Sandpiper for three days in the hot sun at Canoga Bait

Ponds.  NOTE: Jay got extra credit for successfully convincing at least one


of his authenticity.  Cupper Ralph Paonessa recently reported Stilt

Sandpiper to Cayugabirds-l.


Bird 200: Great Egret


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

"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, or how you play the game, as long as

you're in the David Cup race."

                        --Allison Wells, The Cup 1.2 (March,1996)


"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, or how you play the game, as long as

you're in the David Cup race...until you get bumped off by some pun-loving,

pseudo-feminist birding macho man."


                        --Allison Wells, The Cup 1.7 (August, 1996)





    231  Karl David                       229  Allison Wells

    230  Allison Wells                    226  Karl David

    227  Tom Nix                          222  Tom Nix

    224  Steve Kelling                    221  Jeff Wells

    224  Jeff Wells                       220  Steve Kelling

    221  Bard Prentiss                    220  Bard Prentiss

    220  Kevin McGowan                    215  Scott Mardis

    215  Scott Mardis                     215  Kevin McGowan

    214  Ken Rosenberg                    210  Chris Hymes

    212  Chris Hymes                      202  Ken Rosenberg

    212  Ralph Paonessa                   195  Jay McGowan

    201  Jay McGowan                      193  Ralph Paonessa

    191  Meena Haribal                    185  Bill Evans

    191  Casey Sutton                     185  Casey Sutton

    185  Bill Evans                       184  Meena Haribal

    182  Anne James                       173  Anne James

    176  John Bower                       172  John Bower

    173  Larry Springsteen                171  Larry Springsteen

    168  Martha Fischer                   168  Martha Fischer

    154  Michael Runge                    153  Diane Tessaglia

    153  Diane Tessaglia                  152  Rob Scott

    152  Kurt Fox                         151  Michael Runge

    152  Rob Scott                        144  Kurt Fox

    124  Jim Lowe                         124  Jim Lowe

    105  Dan Scheiman                     105  Dan Scheiman

     93  Tom Lathrop                       74  Tom Lathrop

     77  Sarah Childs

     34  Justin Childs


EDITORS' NOTE: Some totals include Trumpeter Swan; others do not (Karl's,

Allison's, Jeff's).  Their's is not a political statement meant to influence

whether or not the swans should be counted, but rather a way to offer hope

to those of you counted but are still dragging behind.




    185  Allison Wells                     184  Allison Wells

    172  Jeff Wells                        170  Jeff Wells

    171  Kevin McGowan                     167  Kevin McGowan

    159  Ken Rosenberg                     154  Ken Rosenberg

    155  John Bower                        152  John Bower

    153  Larry Springsteen                 149  Scott Mardis

    149  Scott Mardis                      149  Larry Springsteen

    148  Jay McGowan                       145  Jay McGowan

    144  Karl David                        142  Tom Nix

    142  Tom Nix                           140  Karl David

    133  Casey Sutton                      132  Martha Fischer

    132  Martha Fischer                    129  Casey Sutton

    131  Chris Hymes                       128  Rob Scott

    128  Rob Scott                         125  Chris Hymes

    111  Jim Lowe                          111  Jim Lowe

    111  Michael Runge                     111  Michael Runge

    105  Bill Evans                        105  Bill Evans

     55  Diane Tessaglia                    55  Diane Tessaglia

     42  Sarah Childs

     27  Justin Childs





We in the David Cup have become quite worried about Karl.  His slacker

approach to birding has been increasing these last few months, and now he's

really become a peep on a log. Has anyone told him that twice a day at Myers

Point, weekly trips to Montezuma, that this just doesn't cut it?  Karl, if

you're listening, please, start putting in some SERIOUS birding time.  For

heaven's sake, you work at Wells College in Aurora, you're halfway to

Montezuma, you should be spending your lunch hour there!  Any of the rest of

us would, you know.  And have you considered pre-breakfast "family time"

with Elaine at Stewart Park?  Good Glory, you're just up the hill from the

lake!  Look, we'll run your Leader's List this month, but please keep in

mind that if you really want to win this thing, you're going to have to

start working for it.


C. Loon, P-b Grebe, H. Grebe, R-n Grebe, D-c Cormorant, A. Bittern,

L. Bittern, G. B. Heron, G. Egret, G. Heron, B-c. Night-Heron, Tundra

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

A. Black Duck, Mallard, N. Pintail, B-w Teal, N. Shoveler, Gadwall,

E. Wigeon, A. Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, G. Scaup,

L. Scaup, Oldsquaw, W-w Scoter,  C. Goldeneye, Bufflehead,

H. Merganser, C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, T. Vulture,

Osprey, B. Eagle, N. Harrier, S-s Hawk, C. Hawk, N. Goshawk, R-s Hawk,

B-w Hawk,  R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, G. Eagle, A. Kestrel, Merlin,

R-n Pheasant, R. Grouse,  W. Turkey, V. Rail, Sora, C. Moorhen, A. Coot,

B-b Plover, S. Plover, Killdeer, A. Avocet, G. Yellowlegs, L. Yellowlegs,

Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper,

Marbled Godwit, R. Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least

Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper,

Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, S-b Dowitcher, A. Woodcock,

Little Gull, B.Gull, R-b Gull, H. Gull, Iceland Gull, L. B-b Gull,

G. B-b Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Black Tern,

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

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

Hummingbird, B. Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, R-b Woodpecker,

Y-b Sapsucker, D. Woodpecker, H. Woodpecker, N. Flicker,

P. Woodpecker, E. Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher,

Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, E. Phoebe,  G. C. Flycatcher,

E. Kingbird, H. Lark, P. Martin, T. Swallow, N. R-w Swallow,

Bank Swallow, C. Swallow, Barn Swallow, B. Jay, A. Crow, F. Crow, C. Raven,

B-c Chickadee, T.  Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch, W-b Nuthatch,

B. Creeper, C. Wren, H. Wren, W. Wren, M. Wren,

G-c Kinglet, R-c Kinglet, B-g Gnatcatcher, E. Bluebird,

Veery, G-c Thrush, S. Thrush, H. Thrush, W. Thrush,

A. Robin, G. Catbird, N. Mockingbird, B. Thrasher, A. Pipit,

Bohemian Waxwing, C. Waxwing, N. Shrike, E. Starling, S. Vireo,

Y-t Vireo, W. Vireo, R-e Vireo, B-w Warbler, G-w Warbler, T. Warbler,

N.  Warbler, N. Parula, Yellow Warbler, C-s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler,

C. M. Warbler, B-t Blue Warbler, Y-r Warbler,  B-t Green Warbler,

Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm

Warbler, B-b Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, B-a-w

Warbler, A. Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler,

Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, L. Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler,

C. Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada

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

Grosbeak, I. Bunting, E. Towhee, A. T. Sparrow,  C. Sparrow, Field

Sparrow, V. Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, G. Sparrow, Henslow's

Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's. Sparrow, Swamp

Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland

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

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

P. Grosbeak, P. Finch, H. Finch, R. Crossbill, C. Redpoll, H. Redpoll,

P. Siskin, A. Goldfinch, E. Grosbeak, House Sparrow


Total: 231 species + Trumpeter Swan





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

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



Ross' Goose, Surf Scoter, Whimbrel, Stilt Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Laughing

Gull, Glaucous Gull, Barred Owl, Whip-poor-will, Olive-sided Flycatcher,

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo,

Yellow-headed Blackbird.


Total: 246 species (+ Trumpeter Swan)



                              !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !



What better way to prove that you deserve the title "Father of the Madness"

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, sleep-walked and otherwise made

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


At long last, Karl David, as in David Cup, is the whipped cream on top of

many Sundays of birding.  Herewith, his chance to gloat, advise, enlighten,

and most importantly to him, to pun till his heart's content.  WARNING: some

puns may not be appropriate for ages 31 and younger.


THE CUP: Okay, Karl, this monster, the David Cup, is named after you, yet

it's taken you till the lousy month of August to make it to the top.  For

that, the rest of us deserve to know: WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?


DAVID:  While other boys were discovering girls, I was discovering ...


I didn't have a serious girlfriend until I was 24, and I didn't get married

until I was 29.  I'm a slow starter ... but look out for my finishing kick!


THE CUP: Perhaps we should ask Elaine about that?  Maybe not.  But since

we're already talking pressure to perform, tell us, has being irrevocably

crowned "Father of the Madness," forced you to carry the burden to excel?


DAVID:  I don't know if I was kidding anyone, besides myself, when I

publicly proclaimed that my efforts last year had exhausted me and that I

would just be sitting back bemusedly to watch the fun this year.  Actually,

I might have fooled Scott Mardis (see his Kickin' Tail interview, The Cup

1.4), but probably no one else.  I really did hold to my resolve for a

while, and it shows in the fact that I missed Ross' Goose and Glaucous Gull

early on as a result of rather desultory efforts to find them.  But I think

the fatal corner was turned when Steve and Tom found the Saw-whet Owl in

Canoga.  I missed it last year, and once I got it there was no turning



THE CUP: Yes, and that commitment came through in a big way in your Coach's

Corner last month.  Come to think of it, did being last month's Coach have

anything to do with your victory this month?


DAVID: Of course.  If you reread the column, you'll see how I lulled the

leader into complacency by implying that Great Egret was just about the only

year bird you could reliably expect for the month.  Was that prophetic,

or what?


THE CUP: Prophecy is in the eye of the beholder, and I've got a few of those

of my own. But I won't go into them now. Instead, why tell us about any life

birds you've gotten in the Basin this year? 


DAVID:  The closest to a life bird in the Basin has been Trumpeter Swan.

Otherwise, there's only the Tufted Duck in Rochester in January.  So many of

us went to see it, I understand Rochester Harbor is being declared an

official Basin enclave for this year only.  I certainly hope so, since it

would also give me Glaucous Gull.


THE CUP: You mean Ralph Paonessa's inflatable Glaucous Gull?  Oh, that's

right, it wasn't a Glaucous Gull it was a Ross' Goose.  Any new Basin birds?


DAVID: New Basin birds for me this year are American Avocet, Marbled Godwit

and Hoary Redpoll.


THE CUP: You mean the Stenzler's lifelike hand-carved Hoary Redpoll?  I

decided not to count that and you shouldn't count it, either.  By the way,

how does the amount of time you've spent birding this year compare to years



DAVID:  I'm in heavy denial on this one.


THE CUP: You should make an appointment with my therapist, Dr. Birding N.

Lovinit [see The Cup 1.6].  I'll give you the number after the interview.

Anyway, you were saying?


DAVID: Let's call it "comparable" or "same order of magnitude" and not

question what that means too closely.  Please.


THE CUP: I think we all know darned well what that means.  Which leads to my

next question.  We know from your Bird Brain feature [see The Cup 1.1] that

you're into statistics.  Can you give us some of your interesting personal

birding stats?


DAVID:  For a few years after moving to Ithaca and checking Myers Point

regularly, I thought I was onto something concerning Sanderling arrival

dates for the year: they were all concentrated in a very narrow window

around the end of July (and indeed, recall the two that were present on July

31 this year). But this pattern broke down the last couple of years, as I

started to also get them in the spring and again in early July.  A pattern

that may mean more is that all of my spring arrival dates for Double-crested

Cormorant in the 90's are earlier than all such dates for the 80's.  But

then again, as someone pointed out when I posted this observation, it may

well just represent expected random "noise" in the system. Collect enough

data and anomalies HAVE to manifest

themselves eventually.  A similar seeming paradox concerns the sighting of

unusual birds: others are right to be skeptical of any particular such


on the other hand, a list compiled over many years that had no unusual


on it would in itself be most unusual.  You can't predict which accidental

species will occur in a given year, but you can predict that some three or

four will in fact occur.


THE CUP: What's your favorite color?


DAVID: The beautiful charcoal gray on the upperparts of a Lesser

Black-backed Gull or the tail bands of a Merlin.


THE CUP: I wouldn't know, I haven't seen either yet this year.  But I don't

suppose I need to remind you of that.  So you think you can stay on top?

Oh, don't worry about being gracious.  This is The Cup, remember.


DAVID:  I may have a tough decision to make come September:

go for the win, or take my job seriously. Unfortunately for me, I've

been drafted to chair the major personnel committee this year.


THE CUP: All right! Yahoo! I mean, I'm sorry to hear that.  Please, go on.


DAVID: My competitors need to pray for lots of political infighting at


this fall. Connecticut Warblers will be hard to spot in the shrubbery

outside the emergency meeting room windows, but that doesn't mean I

won't be trying (only during the coffee breaks, of course).


THE CUP: Of course.  You know, for the June issue you wrote a Scrawl of Fame

where you almost pulled off a pro female-as-Kickin'-Tail-leader performance.

Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to just push that fragile woman

aside with that evil "ha!ha!ha!" you've been cackling all over the Basin

ever since?


DAVID:  Gee, I thought that was a very penetrating analysis I gave for the

Scrawl of Fame, the main thrust of which may be destined one day to be

called "seminal" in the emergent femi-birding literature. The way I see it,

the former leader needed a gentle, nurturing reminder that she's not home

free for the year just yet.  As a teacher of young women, it's my job to

inspire them to reach for ever-greater heights. Sometimes you can only do

that by showing off a little yourself.  But I agree with you, it's hard to

be seen as soaring like an eagle when you're cackling like a rooster all

over the Basin.  I'll try to be more subtle.


THE CUP: Thank you.  And by that I presume you mean we won't be interviewing

you for Kickin' Tail next month.  But before you go, can you tell us, what

is the meaning of life?


DAVID: To give you hope that in your next incarnation, you'll be a bird.


THE CUP: Wow!  Now here's that phone number I promised--Karl?  Hey, Karl!

(We're talking HEAVY denial...)



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



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

by decoding slurps made by Cuppers sipping iced mochaccino, 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 by

spelling it out on a Scrabble board.


We, the editors of The Cup, hereby bestow July's Pioneer Prize to Karl

David.  Karl set an excellent example this month for other Cuppers by

proving that July is worth birding.  At least, that Myers Point is.  At

least, in the wee hours of morning, when everyone else is just dropping off

to dreamland after a sleepless night battling stifling heat.


Karl, your devotion to the sport--and rip-roaring desire to be Kickin' Tail

King once and for all--have paid off for you.  In honor of your American

Avocet, Baird's Sandpipers, and minute-by-minute Myers shorebird reports, a

prestigious David Cup Pioneer Prize Pencil goes to you, this time, in teal

BLUE!  (By the way, we appreciate your prompt notification, but next time

you find something unusual, would you please tether it down so the rest of

us can see it, too?)


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

                          CASEY'S CALL

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



                       PHOTO NOT AVAILABLE


Make that, "Casey's Call is on a one-month hiatus.  Look for it

next month, in The Cup 1.8"


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

seventh grader this fall at DeWitt Middle School.  He is currently

unavailable for comment.)



                     <  COACH'S CORNER        <

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

                    <           < 

                     <         <

                       < < < <


He was our very first fearless leader, and our third fearless leader, and a

strong David Cup contender every month since and in-between.  Allison has in

fact been peering over her shoulder at him, trembling with panic, since

moving into medal contention, which, needless to say, enabled Karl David to

stride in closer to the gold and push her back to silver.  But don't think

for a minute that Tom is out buying a new wardrobe to go with a bronze

medal.  No, he may be this month's Coach, but he's also a player. Here's the

advice he's giving himself on how to go for the gold:


COACH NIX: Those of you who have kept up with the progress of the David Cup

competition may be wondering, why take advice from one who after good start,

has steadily fallen behind the leaders?  Ah, yes!  Good point, but you see,

this could be precisely the right place to be.  In a maneuver something like

"drafting" in a bicycle race (the tactic of staying close behind the

competitor ahead of you to lessen wind resistance and thereby save energy),

one could shadow the David Cup leaders, letting them break trail and do the

heavy lifting.  The problem is you have to get up pretty early in the

morning to shadow Karl "the Father of the Madness" David--see how he scooped

us all with an avocet (!) at Myers Point while we were all still deciding

what cereal to have for breakfast?  Or note how recent front runner Allison

The Editor Wells made her move during torrential rains back on International

Migration Day while wimps sought shelter and the pros sought Jersey glory?


Finding the leaders in August will be easy--by day, they'll all be at

Montezuma.  For in August, the trickle of shorebirds heading south swells

into a river, and if there is going to be any stopover habitat for

shorebirds in the Basin, 99% of it will be at the wildlife refuge at the

north end of the lake.  As many as 25 species of sandpipers and plovers may

be seen at Montezuma in the month of August, and there is always the

possibility of a real rarity such as the Ruff found last year by the Editors

Wells on August 21.  In recent years, the refuge managers have lowered water

in Mays Point Pool in mid-August to create that vast mud flat perfect for

such sought-after species as Stilt Sandpiper, a couple of phalarope

species, Black-bellied and Golden Plovers, and the long-winged peep

sandpipers, Baird's and White-rumped.  And tick your Short-billed Dowitcher

this month; by September they may be gone for the year, being replaced by



On the way to and from Montezuma, be sure to check the spit at the end

of Salmon Creek in the Lansing Town Park in Myers. It's tiny, but it's a bit

of habitat and produces more than its share of rarities. And on the east

side of the lake are the Canoga Bait Ponds along side Seybolt Road in

Canoga. From the north, turn west off Route 89 to Cemetery Road and then

left on Seybolt. From the south, turn west at the main intersection, just

past the old diner, right in beautiful downtown Canoga. Respect the posted

signs.  When one of the ponds alongside the road has been drained, birds can

be quite close to the road.


To my mind, perhaps the most beautiful group of birds, shorebirds, give

you the opportunity to slow down--slow way down--get small and look at the

details. We're talking individual feathers here. Are the scapular feathers

on that peep dark with chestnut fringes or chestnut with dark fringes?

Makes a difference. It's the opposite of looking at warblers, where you get

a second or two to absorb the color pattern of the little guy. With

shorebirds you get to, you've got to, study them for long periods of time,

checking every detail. It reminds one of why we look at birds.


Check the sky, too, since we're still waiting for that first Peregrine,

and during the last weeks of August the nighthawks will come through. Watch

for returning terns and dispersing egrets. And speaking of looking up, on

nights with favorable winds, check out the night sky for night-flying

migrants. After a day of scanning the flats of Montezuma, relax at the

observatory on Mt. Pleasant Road. It can be a wonderful place, if a bit

frigid at times, to listen for the flight calls of say, Grey-cheeked

Thrush (a bird that I for one missed in the spring). Land bird migration has

already begun, bringing the chance to start picking up, this month and the

next, those migrants missed in May. Its a little too early for Philadelphia

Vireo, but warblers have been reported on the move already.


OK, you got it? The July halftime rest is over, and things are gonna

start hoppin' again. We're a little behind, but if we can just stay close

we have a good chance to catch them at the finnish line. Montezuma by day,

Mt. Pleasant at night! Let's go!


(Tom Nix is the Building Inspector for the City of Ithaca.  In the recent

past, he moonlighted as a hawk watcher while putting roofs on houses.)



               mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



Allison recently learned that her beloved spouse followed through on his

threat to publish limericks and other verse submitted by fellow Cuppers to

"honor" her continued McIlroy reign.  Who'da guessed that Cuppers chase not

only birds but also their muse?  One was even good enough to warrant, as

promised, a David Cup Poetry Pencil!  However, all poems will be published

here. Allison, enjoy!


    "The Tick King"                                   "All Were Racin'"


    By Ralph Paonessa                                 By Kurt Fox


"There once was a girl who went ticking.   "Birding in the Cayuga Basin

 The men in pursuit took a licking.         McIlroy runners all were racin'

 Her husband serene                         'Allison's tops,' they all


 Said she still is his Queen                'seems like the only bird she

 But the Queen again rules as the Tick King!"                couldn't find

                                            was an Albatross they called

    "The Fervent Lister"                                           Layson."


        By Karl David                                   "The Race"

                                                        (A Haiku)

"A fervent lister, Allison                                              

Watched her yearly tally run                        By Ralph Paonessa 

Toward that hope for nifty score                           

Of two hundred fifty-four,                          "Chasing

Whilst goading Jeff with: 'Rally, hon!'"             After Allison

                                                     I fall down

                                                     Face first

                                                     In the mud.



And the Pencil goes to: Ralph Paonessa!  Ralph's word play was exceptional,

crowning my wife both Queen and King, and getting that all-important word,

"ticking" in twice without sacrificing subtlety.  Now if I can just convince

Allison to let me into her stash of David Cup Pencils...



                              BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH             



                                  Ken Rosenberg


"Birding is an addiction.  That's what sets it apart from birdwatching.  The

birder *has* to watch birds."  Only the voice of experience could be behind

such a bold statement, and anyone who knows Ken Rosenberg will not be

surprised that it was he who uttered it.  Ken's "addiction" has led him to

most of the finest birding spots in North America and beyond and has clearly

outlined his life's work since an early age.  How many of us can boast a

North American list of more than 600 species and a lifelist of more than



Ken began birding while most of us were learning to differentiate mashed

potatoes from carrots.  "I remember birds I saw when I was three," he says.

Ken's father was (and still is) a birder but Ken was the only one of the

three boys that caught the birding addiction so young.  Later in life, Ken's

brother Gary also started birding and is now a well-known bird tour leader.

But it was Ken who first learned to juggle his heavy binoculars on his

father's birding forays to sites near their Long Island home and who reveled

in the many species he would see while on the family's summer road trips

throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Since those early days, Ken has birded in

virtually every state and province of North America including Alaska and

Hawaii, most of Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.


Like many aspiring ornithologists, Ken was drawn to Cornell University after

high school.  Although at that time he didn't have the McIlroy Award to

inspire him, Ken birded much of the campus and town on foot.  He remembers

finding a Yellow-throated Warbler in Buttermilk State Park and a Red-headed

Woodpecker along Fall Creek.  One May day in 1976 was particularly

memorable: "I didn't have a car, so I would go on long, all-day bird walks.

This day I left my apartment on Aurora Street, hiked up South Hill then cut

down through Lick Brook gorge to Cayuga Inlet.  I had just made it to the

railroad tracks when I got caught in a freak snowstorm.  In the midst of the

hail and snow I heard a buzzy song and looked up to see my life Cerulean

Warbler singing from the top of Sycamore."


From Cornell Ken went on to Arizona where he completed his Master's degree

and wrote a book, "The Birds of the Lower Colorado River Valley," based on

his and others many years of field work in the region.  Trips to Mexico that

had begun during school breaks at Cornell continued increasing Ken's

interest in birds of the neotropics.  This interest eventually led Ken to

Louisiana State University, the country's leading neotropical ornithological

research institution, where he completed his Ph.D. studying diet

relationships of birds in Peru.  As a matter of fact, Ken's favorite birding

location is still the Tambopata Reserve in the rainforests of southern Peru

where he did most of his dissertation research.  "I spent up to five months

there at a time and with over 500 species occurring in the area, almost

every day I saw something new."


Ken was drawn back north to the Cayuga Lake Basin when he became the Chief

Scientist in the Bird Population Studies Department at the Lab of

Ornithology in 1994.  Since then Ken has become a fixture in the Basin

birding scene, and the captain of the Lab's World Series of Birding Team,

the Sapsuckers.  When asked how it feels to participate in the World Series

Ken responds with characteristic enthusiasm.  "I live for it.  I look

forward to it all year.  I love going to New Jersey, the competition, the

guys on the team.  And the thought of doing it to raise $70,000 for the Lab.

It can't be beat!"


Recently Ken has taken on a new position at the Lab as Northeast Regional

Coordinator for Partners In Flight.  In this role, Ken will help draft

regional bird conservation plans and assist in coordinating conservation

activities among states.  With all this bird conservation work ahead of him,

Ken is glad to have the David Cup/McIlroy Award Competition to give him an

excuse to go birding and, he adds, "It's great to have everyone else out

there covering the Basin and seeing what's out there even when I can't

get out."


Now that Ken has convinced wife Anne to participate in the competition, many

have asked how long before he throws his not-yet-two-year-old daughter

Rachel into the fray as well.  As he sees it, he won't have to force Rachel

to become a birder.  "She's got great ears and quick eyes and spots birds

all the time.  I figured out that she can identify 15 species including

several by ear--she's 20 months old."   Such is the life of a parent.


And a birder.



                                    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...




While cruising through town recently I saw an eagle ornamenting the hood of

a very expensive-looking car.  The eagle was of a material that looked

golden.  In other words, it was a Golden Eagle.  Can I tick it off on my



                                   --Cruising Through Life in Ithaca

Dear Cruising:


No, because it wasn't a Golden Eagle, it was a gold eagle. Besides, what are

you doing out cruising the streets?  That's a good way to get into trouble.

Since you're already cruising for a bruising in the David Cup, I suggest you

park it and throw away the key.




I've read about and been fortunate enough to see a few hybrid

warblers. I was wondering if other birds hybridize. In particular,

I was wondering if swans do. Suppose a Mute Swan and a Trumpeter

Swan were to mate and produce offspring. I imagine they'd look like

"swans," but I was wondering what type of vocalization the offspring

would make. Do you think it would have a jazzy tone to it, since

it's a muted trumpet? I'm always interested in new sounds...


                        --Charlie "Bird" P. At Myer's P.

Dear Charlie:


If you're into new sounds, try listening to the sound of your hands picking

up your binoculars instead of scribbling out perverted questions like this

one.  On the other hand, if it's jazz you want to be listen to, check out

the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band  [see News, Cues, and Blues this issue].

They're playing on the Commons on August 22.




With the movie "Independence Day" breaking all sorts of records, I've been

thinking a lot about UFOs.  Most people who see them swear they're

spaceships belonging to little green men and Ken Rosenberg.  If they may be

so blatant in their claims, can't I by insisting the UFOs I see are

migrating birds I need for my David Cup list?


                                --Spaced Out in Seneca Falls


Dear Spaced Out:


Leave Ken out of this.




Recently a Cupper posted to Cayugabirds-l and was wondering if

one should "count" the Trumpeter Swans seen at Montezuma. The post

seemed to indicate that wild escaped or released birds and their

offspring might not be countable. Now, this Cupper is "up there" in

totals? In fact, I be- lieve that a Cup was named after this person

(coffee?, tea?, Americas?, well, for simplicity we'll call the Cupper

"Stanley"). I'm wondering if Stanley has not been ticking off species

like Starling, House Sparrow, Pheasant, Mute Swan, etc., because they

are not native. If so, isn't Ol' Stan getting a bit ridiculous? Also,

how are "unwashed masses" of Cupdom, like myself, ever supposed to

get half-way decent totals if Starlings, etc., aren't tickable? Is

Stanley off his rocker? Is he a cuckoo?

                              Dan (also writing for Jan and

                                   Fran, but not Stan) in Lan(sing)

Dear Dan, etc.:


I have no idea who the "Stan" fellow is. Unless you can be more specific as

to his identification, I'm afraid I'll have to withhold my ruling.




I'm new to this Cupper thing, but I've heard my uncle and aunt use the word

"glass' sometimes when they talk about seeing birds.  Like, "I've got a

Green Heron in the glass."  They also have drinking glasses with birds

printed into them.  Can't I count them for the David Cup and McIlroy

competitions?  When I'm drinking out of one these glasses, I can honestly

say, "I've got a Scarlet Tanager in the glass."


                                  --Troubled About Tanagers in Sapsucker



Dear Troubled About Tanagers:


It all depends on what you're drinking out of the glass.  For example, grape

Koolaid renders the color of a Scarlet Tanager to a more purple hue.  A less

experienced birder might then confuse the tanager with a Purple Finch, or

even a Purple Gallinule.  Even ordinary water can cause distortion of body

shape and bill characteristics.  Your Scarlet Tanager could easily end up

looking more like a Whooping Crane.  By the way, may I suggest you buy your

aunt and uncle an attractive set of plastic cups?  They don't break as

easily, and you won't feel as though you should be out birding every time

you get a drink.


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


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


"Great job on the Cup.  I really enjoy reading its funny although sometimes

obscure notes, quotes, etc. 'Dear Tick' is a lot of fun, and being a new

birder I really enjoy Casey's column.  Thanks, Casey, for the  info.  I


something new every time I read it! And Allison, keep up the good work! I'm

rooting for you!"

                                    ---Mary Catherine Heidenreich


"I just had to see some shorebirds this weekend.  But where?  Bombay Hook?

Flooded by Bertha.  Churchill?  Been there, done that.  Montezuma?  No luck.

Morehouse Bait Ponds?  Yes!  Site 59B Near Canoga in "Birding in the Cayuga

Lake Basin" (directions below) produced 8 species of shorebirds in one spot

easily seen from the road."

                                     --Ralph Paonessa


"The spruces at the end of the road (bordering the large fields) were chock

full of blackburnians today."

                                     --Jim Goodson 


"Today during lunch time Mundy was screaming with birds...I saw

families of titmouses (at least 8 youngsters), Downy Woodpeckers (5

of them-- 3 youngsters and parents), House Wren family, Scarlet tanager

(all the 3 youngs were yellow), Red Eyed Vireos feeding their fledglings.

It looked like as if there was a  family picnic to Mundy."

                                     --Meena Haribal


"The Acadian Flycatchers are still present on Salmon Creek Road but a four

hour trek through the rainy woods in West Danby on Saturday with Chris


did not yield any Worm-eating Warblers."

                                     --Jeff Wells


"In case you guys were wondering who that clown yelling to

you last Sunday as you turned onto Myers Road was, it was me."


                                     --Larry Springsteen


"I can't stand it!!!  What are the July standings in the Cup of David

and the

Award of McIlroy competitions!????!!??!?  I am going insane with the wait!

Theese eese like thee Chayneese watere torture!!!"


                                     --Peter Lori Keet


"From the Main Pool Tower, I watched the swans and confirmed the field

marks of Jay and Kevin at quite a long distance."


                                     --Tony Ingraham


"The only bird I've seen crunching a Japanese beetle was a mockingbird.

How come there aren't hordes of birds feasting on the poor roses that

have as many as six beetles on a flower? Maybe they taste yucky, or are too


                                     --John Greenly


"American Crows eat the [Japanese beetle] larvae quite a bit.  That's one

of the things they're doing while they stalk across your lawns, as well as

scarfing earthworms."

                                      --Kevin McGowan


"I see I was excoriated in this month's Cup [1.7] for not joining the

competition. I don't know my totals for the year, but I'll bet I wouldn't

even be in the 100 Club-I haven't been around the lake or up to MNWR all



                                     --Anne Kendall-Casella


"Prepared to identify the swans, and shorebirds and just

about anything else, I came to MNWR full of vim and vigor.  But,

alas, there were few birds. No swans, no shorebirds - minus five

Killdeer, no Sedge Wren, no bitterns, no BCN Heron, not even a Bald


                                     --Kurt Fox


"I humble myself with mutterings and mumblings of half-hearted apologies."


                                      --John Bower


"At that point Tom Nix, Jeff and Allison Wells, and Allison's niece

Sarah came

up and scared all the good birds away, so we had to switch our attention


to the UFO in the eastern sky that turned out to be Jupiter (complete with



                                      --Kevin McGowan


"It is interesting how ephemeral the birds are on Myers Point.

Through the day I had heard that there were Bairds SP (3), Black-bellied

Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper.  None of which were there

when Ken and I were."

                                      --Steve Kelling


"I was at Myers Pt at some point after Karl David was this morning.

The shorebird concentration had rocketed up to one Killdeer by 11:30."


                                      --Larry Springsteen


"My David Cup total is now up to 93 species. Maybe I'll finally make it

into the 100 Club in August!"

                                      --Tom Lathrop


"No change in my totals.  Haven't been in the basin in over two months.



                                      --Dan Scheiman


"Cup total for July is the same as June's total, which was the same as


and which will be the same as August's.  Unless I can count Kent Island,


and Idaho birds?"

                                      --Diane Tessaglia


"Well, I've reached my personal goal of 150 basin birds, and I still have

five months left to frolic above that. Yippee."


                                      --Kurt Fox


"I never touched my binoculars in July so the totals are

the same as for June."

                                      --Jim Lowe


"Yes,  Jay finally hit the big 200 (with a Great Egret at Myer's Point).  He

didn't want his 200th to be just any bird (he was afraid it was going to be

Lesser Yellowlegs).  He had big hopes for it to be American Avocet, but

since Karl didn't put any salt on its tail, Jay had to settle for the egret

that had scared the avocet away.  He was satisfied with the egret's level of


                                      --Kevin McGowan


"Well, it's not quite the end of the month, but this may be it for the

last-minute Cup frenzy for me this month."

                                      --Karl David


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff