Year 2, Issue 12


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

*    Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

*    Basin Bird Highlights: "Inspector" Tom Nix

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

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

*    Evans Cup Compiler: "Bird Hard" Bard Prentiss

*    The Yard Stick Compiler: Margaret "in Mansfield" Launius

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

*    Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer

*    Crane Grip: Jeff Wells


Huh! So you thought you were getting away with something, eh?  You

thought you had escaped the final edition of The Cup--no ranting, no

gloating, no high-fallutin ideas from the editors and their coconspirators

this month.  That's what you thought.  But you were wrong.  You were very

wrong.  True, most of our regular columns have been bumped this time

around. Nonetheless,  The Cup 2.12 is even more crocked than usual,

because...IT'S THE SPECIAL YEAR-END ISSUE, which includes all the gossip,

foolishness, and howdy-rowdy details from the 2nd Annual Cupper Supper!

Okay, not ALL of them, but enough (we hope) to make you wish you'd been



And if you HAD been there, you'd already know the answers to such

mind-burning questions as, Who took home the BirdMobile Trophy (for most

"distinguished" Cupper vehicle)?  Who would Kevin McGowan be, if Cuppers

were rock stars? What were 1997's Top Ten Reasons to be in the David Cup?

And who won the crazy, back-bustin' David Cup this year, anyway?


It's all here, in The Cup 2.12.


But before you start slurping up the soup, accept our ("our" as in,

everybody who's currently in the David Cup) invitation to join the David

Cup family this year.  You've been reading about it, for how long?  You

know what it's all about: watching birds, sharing interesting

observations, and, big deal, keeping track of the number of different

species you see (is that so hard?  Good heavens, people have walked on

the moon!)  (Well, okay, so its main purpose is to foster discontentions

between Bill Evans and John Bower.)  Now forget the "I don't have time!"

excuse. Most Cuppers have families (a few even have newborns!),

jobs, and the challenge of having to resist televised New York Nicks

games.  The David Cup asks only that you keep track of what you see,

regardless of how much time you spend watching birds, and send them in to

The Cup.  So come on, join the fun!  Who cares if you don't win the

David Cup? In the very least, you'll stand a chance at scooping the

"Homebody Prize"!  Email the editors with your January totals, and you'll

be all set for a year of fun, informative birding adventure!


Speaking of adventures, The Cup 2.12 awaits...



!              BASIN BIRD YEAR-END HIGHLIGHTS               !



If Dateline NBC can do it, why can't The Cup?  Besides, we

needed some excuse to put into service all those emails that have

been gobbling up valuable space in The Cup mailbox throughout

the year.  Although we surely have (not purposely) omitted some

important dates here, we hope the 1997 David Cup Timeline (which

you Cupper Supper attendees remember from the walls of Jeff and

Allison's Birdland Bistro) will help you put the past year in

perspective...or at least remind you of all the good birds you missed.




1/5/97: Tom Nix finds BARROW'S GOLDENEYE among 600 Common Goldeneye at


1/6/97: Karl David and Bard Prentiss rush up to Sheldrake, spend hours

sorting through the Common Goldeneyes and finally find the BARROW'S.  They

are the last two to see the bird.

1/12/97: LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL found at Stewart Park.

     Allison and Jeff Wells arrive back from Aruba.  The real

competition starts!

1/13/97: ICELAND GULL spotted at Stewart Park.

1/17/97: Megan Runge born to Cupper Michael and wife.

1/18/97: 1st Annual Cupper Supper held at Jeff and Allison's Birdland

Bistro. Awards are bestowed, Karl David performs a victory tap dance on

the coffee table, and Stephen Davies is knighted.

1/20/97: Spring comes early as Casey Sutton finds Am ROBINS and a GRAY

CATBIRD in Sapsucker Woods.

1/97: John Greenly makes a daring lunge into Cup waters, much to Matt

Medler's later frustrations.

     Steve Kelling tries for Family Time Prize by signing up sons Taylor

and Sam.


2/14/97: Jazz saxophone great Phil Woods gives free concert at Ithaca

College. At least 3 Cuppers attend.   The show is fabulous.

2/15/97: Ken Rosenberg gets in "family time" by taking wife-Cupper Anne

James and daughter Rachel "sledding" at Lounsbury Rd. cemetery--where

a SNOWY OWL had been reported earlier.

2/16/97: Anne Kendall-Cassella picks up lifer LAPLAND LONGSPUR on Irish

Settlement Rd.

2/17/97: Casey Sutton wowed by two lifers, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (at

Seneca landfill) and CAROLINA WREN (Hog Hole).

2/19/97: Allison and Jeff Wells try--and fail--for Stewart Park L B-b GULL.

2/22/97: Allison and Jeff Wells try--and fail--for Stewart Park L B-b GULL.

2/23/97: Allison and Jeff Wells try--and fail--for Stewart Park L B-b GULL.

2/24/97: Allison and Jeff Wells try--and fail--for Stewart Park L B-b GULL.

2/22/97: Pennsylvania Cupper Margaret Launius picks up an astounding 41

Basin birds.

2/23/97: Tom Nix finds EURASIAN WIGEON in Canoga.

2/28/98: Cupper-forever Scott Mardis and wife Heather welcome son Stover

Clark into the world.  Sadly, they're all now living in Massachusetts,

preventing little Stover from being lured into the David Cup.

2/?/97: Tom Nix finds WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE at north end of lake.

2/?/97: New England Patriots lose to Green Bay Packers in Superbowl.  All

Cuppers are distraught.


3/15/97: Allison and Jeff Wells finally see L B-b Gull at Stewart Park.

3/21/97: Kevin McGowan finds THAYER'S GULL at Stewart Park.  Many Cuppers

show up to see it.  Stephen Davies is not one of them.

     Woody Herman's Thundering Herd gives jazz concert at historic State

Theatre.  At least three Cuppers attend.

3/21/97: Stephen Davies leaves Basin for Wales to recover from having

missed the THAYER'S GULL, under the guise of his sister's wedding.

3/30/97: Michael Pitzrick jumps into the Cup.


4/97: Cuppers Diane Tessaglia and Chris Hymes announce engagement!


5/20/7: Stephen Davies ticks off AMERICAN and LEAST BITTERNS while

"mincing through the mud in [his] new stilettos" at Montezuma.

5/23/97: Matt Medler, Allison and Jeff Wells find a kitten stranded on a

piling in the river at "the Prothonotary Warbler spot" north end of lake.

"Phoebe" is saved, now living happily with Matt's parents and the

family's other cat, Bear, in Schenectady.

5/97: Cuppers-forever Larry Springsteen and Scott Mardis skip back to the

Basin for a little Cupping catch-up.  Larry does not bring Mira the Bird

Dog, fearing too much competition.


6/3/97: Chris Hymes finds SEDGE WREN on east side of lake.

6/19/97: Kevin McGowan finds WHITE-EYED VIREO in Sapsucker Woods.  The Lab

of O empties as employees rush to go see--or rather, hear--it.

6/97: Geo Kloppel gulps down the Cup.  Cayugabirds is changed (for the

better) forever.

     Maine Cupper Sarah Childs returns to her job as Cup Summer Intern

and the integrity of The Cup (i.e., the editors' work load) improves



7/16/97: Stephen Davies and or Steve Kelling find AMERICAN AVOCET on the

jetty breakwater.  A life bird for Allison Wells and others.

7/21/97: Koko Taylor comes to a jazz festival on Seneca Lake--and no

Cuppers go.  All are docked one bird.

7/97: Cup Intern Sarah Childs heads back to Maine.  Cup Headquarters



8/12/97: Stephen Davies finds CATTLE EGRET at Stewart Park, a New York

first for Steve Kelling and others.


9/97: By now, Cup editors have successfully sucked in current (well paid)

staff: Tom Nix, Karl David, Caissa Willmer, Jay McGowan, Matt Medler,

Bard Prentiss, and Margaret Launius.  The editors have a great laugh over

a cold one up at Myer's Point while other staffers sweat away back at Cup


9/6/97: 1st Annual Montezuma Muckrace held.  The Sapsuckers do not win.

9/97: Syracuse Cupper Andy Leahy Muckraces himself into the David Cup.

9/97: Former Cup whipping boy James Barry comes back to the Basin, if

only to check up on Matt Medler's "trusty Reliant".


10/97: Matt Medler's "trusty Reliant" dies.

10/3/97: Olivia Frances Rosenberg born to Cuppers Ken Rosenberg and Anne

James--in a hot tub! Liv impresses her daddy with a great imitation of

Mexican Crow.


11/5/97: Stephen Davies follows hunch and finds a FRANKLIN'S GULL at

Myer's Point.

     Jeff Wells and Ken Rosenberg are at a meeting in Albany.  Karl David

arrives just in time to be told by Matt Medler that the white speck flying

off over the fields is the gull.  It is not seen again.

11/97: John "Director of the Lab of O" Fitzpatrick is pulled into David

Cup waters but saves face by giving "only yard totals".


12/4/97: Olivia Rose Fox born to Rochester Cupper Kurt Fox and wife

Jeanine.  Reportedly shows vague signs of bird interest.

12/20/97: Cuppers Chris Hymes and Diane Tessaglia become husband and

wife.  Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band performs at reception.  Among other guests,

ten Cuppers attend.

12/97: Cupper Supper plans are finalized for 1/24/98.  The evening turns

out to be a big...



     #           THE NUMBERS GAME              #



To prove to you Cuppers that you're more than just the sum of your DC

totals, we thought we'd look at the deeper meaning of your life: how you

add up in the numbers game of David Cup statistical lure, uh, lore.


Number of Cuppers signed up for the David Cup by January 31, 1997: 36

Numbers of Cupper signed up by December 31: 49


Number of male Cuppers: 35

Number of female Cuppers: 14


Number of Cuppers who live out-of-Basin New York: 7

Number of Cuppers who live out-of-state: 7


Number of Cuppers aged 15 or under: 5 (assuming Mira the Bird Dog isn't

one of them--in doggy years)


Number of Cuppers who saw visits from the "stork" in 1997: 4


Number of Cuppers who tied the "knot" in 1997: 2


Number of Cuppers who work at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: 14


Number of non-human Cuppers: 1, Mira the Bird Dog Springsteen (unless you

count "superhuman" in this category, too, in which case, add Karl David)


Despite their hard-nosed rules when it comes to the competition ("no

counting the fowl in the frozen food section of Wegman's; no tick-trading

["I'll trade you one of my Lesser Black-backed Gulls for one of your

Icelands"]) the David Cup committee tends to get mushy and sentimental

by year's end, and this year is no exception.  Once again, they've

submitted a little love letter to all Cuppers brave and brash enough to

sign up for David Cup 1997. We've reprinted it below, albeit drastically

edited to exclude all the "we love you"s and "you mean so much to us"s.

We can't have Cup readers crying--or getting sick--all over their nice

office furniture.


"To All Cuppers


You survived again!  This, in itself, is much to be proud of.  But your

49-bin salute is in recognition of far more than this.  By being part of

David Cup 1997, you have enhanced the fun-loving spirit and appreciation

for all things bird throughout the Cayuga Lake Basin, the Cayugabirds

listserv, and, of course, to a  competition' that is mostly about

friendship and the bond that unites all birders, no matter where they

live.  You saw the challenge (how many birds can be seen in one year,

given time and geographic limitations), met it, and, we hope, had a great

time doing so.  We hope you will all join us in 1998 for another year of

observation, insight (or is that incite?), good-natured ribbing, and

birder camaraderie.  Good luck in the David Cup year already upon us, and

remember, just by signing up, you've already won!


remember, just by signing up, you've already won!


                                               --the David Cup Committee


                               o  THE  o     

                             o  WINNERS'  o

                              o  CIRCLE  o                        

                                 o  o


Sure, we all know that the David Cup is a fun-filled free-for-all. But that

doesn't mean we don't want to win, right?  Well, guess who wanted to win

more than anybody else?  Besides Bill Evans, that is.  Hint #1: He has a

Welsh accent Hint #2: In the spring, he drives around with a ladder on top

of his car. Hint #3: He sometimes birds in stiletto heals. Hint #4: His son

writes the Bird Bits column.  So who's our 1997 David Cup Chump, uh, Champ?


                    :< )      Stephen Davies     ( >:




                                Kevin McGowan


                            with a grand total of




                          Cayuga Lake Basin birds!


No kidding, the 2nd Annual David Cup competition ended in a tie!

Congratulations to you both on a fine, fine year of birding in the Basin.

Good luck in 1998!


Now, last year, we ran a copy of the acceptance speech in The Cup 1.12.

But this year's winners spoke impromptu--no wonder they won the David Cup,

huh?  So unless you were at the Cupper Supper, you'll never know what they

said (yet another reason to become a Cupper!) Suffice to say there were no

Monica Lewinski jokes, no proposals on how to spend the 1997 David Cup

budget surplus.  (There was, however, a wonderfully lilting rendition

of a very birdy Bobbie Burns poem, in honor of the Scottish poet's

birthday, by Stephen Davies.)  Both were gracious, to each other and to

Cuppers and birders everywhere. Of course, they bickered over who would

take home the trophy.  Although Karl David brought along a saw to cut the

thing in half, it was decided that Stephen will trophysit for the first

half of the year and Kevin the last half.  Karl relinquished his beloved

block of wood with great emotion (relief, perhaps? This is one honkin'

block of wood!)


THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED:   A block of wood (we weren't kidding), with the

look and texture of a lovingly sanded and lacquered slab of tree trunk,

with a round "cup" sunk in the center.  Father Karl was kind enough to

have a plaque (albeit with his own name and  96 total) engraved in it,

with room for recognition of our new champs.  (Trophy courtesy Steve





By Karl David


Having to sort out the mess of a three-way tie for the lead in November

made my year-end job parsing the Davies-McGowan tie a piece of cake. In

short, they had 233 species in common:


R-t & C Loon,P-b, H & R-n grebes,D-c Cormorant,Am & L bitterns,G B Heron,

G & Cattle egrets,Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, Tundra Swan,Mute Swan,S

Goose, Brant,Canada Goose,Wood Duck,G-w Teal,Am Black Duck,Mallard,N

Pintail, B-w Teal,N Shoveler,Gadwall,Am Wigeon,Canvasback,Redhead,R-n

Duck,G & L scaup, Oldsquaw,Black Scoter,Surf Scoter,W-w Scoter,C

Goldeneye,Bufflehead, H, C, & R-b mergansers, Ruddy Duck,T Vulture,

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

B-w Hawk,R-t Hawk,R-l Hawk, Am Kestrel,Merlin,Peregrine Falcon, R-n

Pheasant,R Grouse,Wild Turkey,Va Rail, C Moorhen,Am Coot,B-b Plover,

Am Golden-Plover,Semipal Plover,Killdeer, AM AVOCET,G & Yellowlegs,

Solitary Sandpiper,Spotted Sandpiper,U Sandpiper, Sanderling, Semipal,

Least, W-r & ,Pectoral sandpipers,Dunlin,Stilt Sandpiper, S-b & L-b

dowitcher,C Snipe,Am Woodcock,FRANKLIN'S GULL, Bonaparte's Gull,

R-b, Herring,Iceland,Lesser B-b Gull, Glaucous Gull, & Great B-b

gulls,Caspian, Forster's, & Black Tern,Rock & Mourning doves,B-b Cuckoo,

E Screech-Owl, G H, Snowy,Barred, S-e, & N Saw-whet owls,C Nighthawk,

C Swift,R-t Hummingbird, B Kingfisher, R-h Woodpecker,R-b Woodpecker,

Y-b Sapsucker,D& H Woodpecker, N Flicker,Pileated Woodpecker,E

Wood-Pewee,Alder, Willow, & Least flycatchers, E Phoebe,G C Flycatcher,

W KINGBIRD,E Kingbird,Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Tree, N R-w,Bank,

Cliff, & Barn swallows,B Jay,Am Crow,Fish Crow,C Raven, B-c Chickadee,

T Titmouse, R-b Nuthatch,W-b Nuthatch,B Creeper,Carolina, House Wren, &

Winter wrens, SEDGE WREN,Marsh Wren,G-c & R-c kinglets,B-g Gnatcatcher,

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

Am Robin, G Catbird,N Mockingbird,Brown Thrasher,Am Pipit,C Waxwing,

N Shrike,Euro Starling, W-E VIREO, B-h, Y-t, Warbling, & R-e vireos,

B-w,G-w Warbler,Tn, & Nashville warblers, N Parula,Yellow, C-s,Magnolia,

Cape May,B-t Blue,Y-r,B-t Green,Blackburnian,

Pine,Prairie,Palm,B-b,Blackpoll,Cerulean, & B-and-w warblers,Am Redstart,


Warbler, Ovenbird,N & La waterthrush,Mourning Warbler,Common

Yellowthroat, Hooded,Wilson's, & Canada warblers,Sc Tanager,N Cardinal,

R-b Grosbeak,Indigo Bunting,E Towhee,Am Tree Sparrow,Chipping, Field,

Vesper, Savannah,Grasshopper,Henslow's,Fox,Song,Lincoln's,Swamp,W-t, &

W-c sparrows, D-e Junco,Lapland Longspur,Snow Bunting,Bobolink,R-w

Blackbird, E Meadowlark,Y-H BLACKBIRD,Rusty Blackbird,Common Grackle,

B-h Cowbird, Orchard Oriole,Baltimore Oriole,Pine Grosbeak,Purple

Finch,House Finch,C Redpoll, Psiskin, AmGoldfinch, Evening Grosbeak,

House Sparrow.


Nine species were Stephen's alone: Eurasian Wigeon,Wilson's

Phalarope,Common Tern,Y-b Cuckoo,L-e Owl,O-s Flycatcher,Y-b Flycatcher,

W-e Warbler,Red Crossbill.


Kevin and Stephen traded crossbills, so Kevin also came up with nine solo

species, whence the historic tie at 242: Golden Eagle,Sora,Ruddy Turnstone,

Baird's Sandpiper,R-n Phalarope,THAYER'S GULL,Acadian Flycatcher,Philly

Vireo, W-w Crossbill.




Sixteen more species were reliably reported in the Basin in 1997, for a

grand total of 267, one shy of last year's effort. We never got that

Bohemian Waxwing! Other notable misses included Hudsonian Godwit,

Connecticut Warbler, and Y-b Chat. The remaining species seen (not

necessarily by Cuppers): Am White Pelican, Snowy Egret, Greater W-f

Goose,Ross' Goose,Barrow's Goldeneye,Black Vulture,Western

Sandpiper,Buff-breasted Sandpiper,jaeger sp.,Laughing Gull, Little

Gull,Sabine's Gull, Whip-poor-will,Orange-crowned Warbler,Kentucky

Warbler,Dickcissel. Many of these birds, of course, also deserve

boldfacing. Great job, everybody!




And who nudged you out of your seat this year?  Shame if that seat would

have placed you in the David Cup Top Ten, because, as promised, these

hard-birding (or just plain lucky) Cuppers each got a fabulous prize:

their very own trophy!  That's right, all top-ten finshers got a

"tie-dyed" birthday candle representing their final place in the David

Cup (Tom Nix, for example, got a "4" candle).  And warm congratulations

are extended to the rest of you, too, for your own efforts this year in

making the Basin birding scene a well birded one.


Here's the remaining final tallies, compiled by Matt Medler (so if your

final tally is wrong, his email is...):


241 Steve Kelling

240 Allison Wells

238 Tom Nix

237 Ken Rosenberg

235 Jay McGowan

234 Jeff Wells

234 Karl David

226 John Greenly

224 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes

224 Matt Medler

221 Andy Farnsworth

221 Bard Prentiss

219 Meena Haribal

216 Bill Evans

209 John Bower

207 Geo Kloppel

205 Anne Kendall-Cassella

199 JR Crouse*

199 Chris Butler

181 Martha Fischer

158 Michael Pitzrick

151 Anne James

150 Marty Schlabach

149 Margaret Launius

143 Michael Runge

141 Jim Lowe

139 Diane Tessaglia-Hymes

126 David McDermitt

118 John Fitzpatrick

111 Caissa Willmer

106 James Barry*

96 Andy Leahy

92 Casey Sutton

81 Cathy Heidenreich

67 Jane Sutton

64 Sarah Childs*

61 Rob Scott*

59 Dave Mellinger*

52 Ralph Paonessa*

46 Larry Springsteen*

42 Sam Kelling

40 Mira the Bird Dog*

37 Taylor Kelling

32 Margaret Barker

11 Kurt Fox

0 Ned Brinkley*


All Cuppers received an official David Cup certificate bearing their name

and their final David Cup total (and in some cases, graffiti), presented

with pride--and a lot of zingers--by DC compiler Matt Medler. Each was

signed by one or both 1997 David Cup champions. If you weren't at the

Supper and would like yours, email us and we'll work something out, even

if it means your sending us large boxes of expensive chocolates.


*Currently living out-of-state but made or hoped to have made at least one

trip into the Basin in 1997.  Although none were able to make an

appearance at Cupper Supper  97, to the supreme delight of Cuppers,

Ralph Paonessa, currently living in Virginia, sent along a message that

was read at the Supper.  We include it here:


     "It is with greatly mixed emotions that I report to you my Final

Total for the 1997 David Cup competition: 52 species of birdies.

     "As you may know, I have only spent about two days in the Basin

during 1997, and so my total is pretty small. Size matters. I have

previously been unwilling to divulge this teeny total. I noted that you

[at The Cup] were able, using advanced computer modeling techniques, to

deduce that I have seen at least five species, and you have been

broadcasting this to the entire civilized world (assuming that civility

and The Cup readership are one and the same).

     "But I can sit idly by no longer. It is quite one thing to have the

world think that I have seen fewer Basin species than young Taylor

Kelling, or Mira the Wonder Dog. But fewer birds than Kurt Fox?? I don't

THINK so!!

     "So for those who'd thought perhaps I'd traveled to the edge of the

Basin World and fallen off ... well, I think the great French philosopher

said it best:  Je Cup, donc, je suis!'

                                       Cherchez la Cup!



Aw, to heck with the David Cup, who won the McIlroy?  Despite all the

hoopla about David Cup glory, the McIlroy Award is where the real action

was. There was Steve Kelling parked down at Stewart Park every morning,

trying for that would-be fly-by King Eider.  Stephen Davies all but set

up tent at the lighthouse jetty, dreaming of fly-over winter finches (he

got a good many this way!) and goodness knows what all else.  There was

the "brotherly shove" between Bill Evans and John Bower.  It's a wonder

there were any survivors in this year's McIlroy race at all!  Yet not

only did our glorious 1997 winner emerge relatively unscathed, she also

shattered last year's record by an incredible seven species!

Congratulations go to reigning McIlroy Champion,


                        ^ ^     ALLISON WELLS   ^ ^

                         V         who saw       V


                                 McIlroy Birds!


Although Allison's speech was written out and could be easily cut and

pasted here, we refuse to do so, since we didn't run the David Cup

speeches. More importantly, we don't want to make Bill Evans cry again.


THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED: A flashy (old) white high-top leather sneaker.

This year it came with scribbling on it that reads, "Allison Wells, 1996:

200".  Now it also reads "Allison Wells 1997: 207" (Trophy courtesy Jeff



Congratulations to all other McCuppers as well, two of whom also smashed

the 1996 McIlroy record:


Remaining 1997 McIlroy Award totals (Compiled by Matt Medler):


203 Stephen Davies

203 Steve Kelling

190 Jeff Wells

185 John Bower

178 Andy Farnsworth

171 Kevin McGowan

168 Bill Evans

157 Karl David

156 JR Crouse

150 Martha Fischer

148 Ken Rosenberg

144 Jay McGowan

142 Matt Medler

136 Tom Nix

124 Chris Butler

124 Michael Runge

117 Anne Kendall-Cassella

113 Jim Lowe

70 Casey Sutton

66 Jane Sutton

57 Dave Mellinger*

51 Rob Scott

50 Sarah Childs*

46 Larry Springsteen*

40 Mira the Bird Dog*

0 Ralph Paonessa*

0 Ned Brinkley*




Okay, so the competition wasn't as fierce for the Evans Cup.  That's

because only a handful of Cuppers were foolish enough to think they could

compete with Ken Rosenberg and his killer bedroom-window view of Dryden.

Is it any big surprise then that the first-ever Dryden competition, named

in honor of beloved Cayuga Basin birder and former Bird Club president,

the late Dick Evans, goes to

                 . .                            . .

                   >         Ken Rosenberg        >

                  U                              U

                            for his total of




THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED: A hand-crafted miniature Wood Duck box, like the

one named for Dick Evans at Dryden Lake.  (Trophy courtesy Bard

Prentiss--Allison wants to trade her McIlroy sneaker for it.)


Congratulations to the rest of the foolhardy Evans pack (compiled by Bard



194 Kevin McGowan

193 Bard Prentiss

182 Jay McGowan

128 Anne Kendall-Cassella

111 Matt Medler



By Margaret Launius


It was a very tight race for top yard list in 1997, with the winner only

taking a commanding lead in the month of November. Leading for most of

the year was John Bower of Enfield, NY. Close on his heels were Ken

Rosenberg and Kevin McGowan, both living on Beam Hill Road in Dryden, NY.

In November, Ken discovered a glitch in his listing program, which had

omitted several species, and with a flurry of recalculations was able to

mount a last-minute comeback to claim the title of YARD STICK CHAMPION:


            --------           Ken Rosenberg       --------        



THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED: A yard stick, with the names of totals of Yard

Birders at the top!  (Courtesy Margaret Launius)


Other yard birders measured up as follows:


138     John Bower, Enfield, NY

134     Kevin & Jay McGowan, Dryden, NY

127     Steve Kelling, NY

123     Sandy Podulka, Brooktondale, NY

126     Ken Smith, Groton, NY

118     John Fitzpatrick, Ithaca, NY

114     Bill Purcell, Hastings, NY

109     Mary Gerner, Macedon, NY

107     John Greely, Ludlowville, NY

 96     Nancy Dickinson, Trumansburg, NY

 95     George Kloppel, Ithaca, NY

 87     Joanne Goetz, Fredonia, NY

 82     Sara Jane & Larry Hymes, Ithaca, NY

 78     Jim Kimball, Geneseo, NY

 78     Allison & Jeff Wells, Ithaca, NY

 77     Margaret Launius, Mansfield, PA

 70     Darlene & John Morabito, Auburn, NY

 69     Nari Mistry Family, Ithaca, NY

 45     Cathy Heidenreich, Lyons, NY

 44     The Childs Family (grandparents of Cup Intern Sarah), Winthrop, ME

 41     Lois Chaplin, Ithaca, NY


As you all remember, The Cup has been tracking the birding skills of Megan

Runge, born in January 1997.  So, before we move on to the festivities of

the Cupper Supper (and to soften the hard bite of all those competitions),

Cup Daddy Michael Runge offers here some gentle reflection on his first

year with daughter Megan:


MEGAN UPDATE: "Hard to believe it's been a year since Megan was born.

Amazing to see the development in so short a time:  from a warm, snugly,

blob to a gaunt, tough, running little girl; from eyesight barely able to

discern a Canada Goose at arm's length to a hawk's skill at picking out

Black-capped Chickadees at 20 meters.  The colder months certainly slowed

down this father-daughter birding pair, but the spring, especially, found

us delighting in the sights and sounds of the woods.  I'm looking forward

to many years of companionship, and perhaps competition, birding with

Megan." Best wishes from The Cup, Megan, and may the birdingest baby win!


                   ~             food          ~

                 fun     CUPPER SUPPER SUM-UP    fodder

                   ~           foolishness     ~


What do you get when 40 bird brains and their families descend upon an

apartment pulsing with the sounds of Koko Taylor and Billie Holiday, the

aroma of fabulous food wafting through the air, and bird photos,

prints--and clippings of about 49 rock stars--hanging all over the walls?

You get the 2nd  Annual Cupper Supper!  January 24th was a night of great

fun and festivities, and the proprietors of Jeff and Allison's Birdland

Bistro are

extremely pleased that so many Cuppers partook of the occasion.  For those

of you who couldn't make it, we'll try our best to share with you all that

you missed, but, well, it's sort of like trying to describe a life-sighting

of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker to someone whose never seen one (of course,

WE'VE never seen one, but...)  Let us begin by telling you about


                                                             I   I



 I   I                                                              

 O   O   "THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: the David Cup Tribute Album"


As you all know by now, "BIRD HARD: the David Cup Movie" fell through, due

to Quentin Tarentino's barroom brawl last fall (he's been banned from

making any more violent movies, so "Bird Hard" is out).  Since no one else

in Hollywood would touch the script (or write one, for that matter), we've

gone ahead with plans for a musical venture.  We haven't actually entered

into contract negotiations, not after getting burned with the movie deal,

but here's our vision:  "THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: the David Cup Tribute

Album".  Performing on this sure-fire hit machine would be those rock

stars who embody the essence of a given Cupper.  In other words, Mick

Jagger would perform for, obviously, Karl David; Paul Simon, for Ralph

Paonessa.  Naturally, all songs would have to be Cup-related.  Otherwise,

no one would buy the album.


Cuppers who were at the Supper already know who'll be performing for them;

they saw their rock-star selves on the wall at the Birdland Bistro.  But

for the rest of you, here's our plans for the album.  (NOTE: Although a

few of these rebel-rousers have gone to that recording studio in the sky,

use your imagination: think of that slick scene in "Forrest Gump" that

had our hero shaking hands with President Nixon):


Soon to become Rolling Stone's Album of the Year, it's...


"THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: the David Cup Tribute Album," featuring


THE BEATLES performing for the Sapsuckers World Series of Birding team

     (Paul McCartney for Ken Rosenberg, John Lennon for Kevin McGowan,

     George Harrison for Jeff Wells, Ringo Starr for Steve Kelling, with

            special guest "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen for John


     "The Long and Winding Road," "Blackbird," and "Bird in the USA"

DAVID BOWIE for Stephen Davies: "Tweety Stardust"

BONNIE RAITT for Allison Wells:  "Luck of the Draw"

ERIC CLAPTON for Tom Nix: "After Midnight"

HANSON (Zach Hanson for Sam Kelling, Taylor Hanson for Taylor Kelling,

Isaac Hanson for Jay McGowan): "MmPop"

MICK JAGGER for Karl David: "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

ELVIS COSTELLO for John Greenly: "Angels Wanna Wear My Swarovskis"

DAVID BYRNE (formerly of Talking Heads) for Chris Tessaglia-Hymes:

"Birding Down the House"

MICHAEL STIPE (of REM) for Matt Medler: "What's the Identity, Kenneth


JAKOB DYLAN (of the Wallflowers) for Andy Farnsworth: "(One, Two,) Three


BOB DYLAN for Bard Prentiss: "The Totals, They Are A-Changing"

JOAN JETT for Meena Haribal: "I Love Rock Ptarmigans"

STING for Bill Evans (if only for the name!): "Wrapped Around Your Finger"

JERRY GARCIA for John Bower: "St. Stephen"

NEIL YOUNG for Geo Kloppel: "Cowbird in the Sand"

JOAN BAEZ for Anne Kendall-Cassella (technically a folkie but has requisite

rebelliousness to make the cut): "Diamonds and Rusty Blackbirds"

JAMES TAYLOR for JR Crouse: "Carolina Wren in My Mind"

BILLY JOE ARMSTRONG (of Green Day) for Chris Butler: "When I Bird Around"

BETTE MIDLER for Martha Fischer: "The Rose-breasted Grosbeak"

JACKSON BROWN for Michael Pitzrick: "Birding on Empty"

STEVIE NICKS for Anne James: "Dreams"

ARLO GUTHRIE for Marty Schlabach (yeah, another folkie, but...): "Allison's

Rest or Rant"

CARLY SIMON for Margaret Launius: "Mockingbird"

BONO (of U2) for Michael Runge: "(I'm Going to Sapsucker Woods) With or

Without You"

BILLY JOEL for Jim Lowe: "(Play Me a Song, I'm the) Bird Man"

SHERYL CROW for Diane Tessaglia-Hymes: "All I Wanna Do (Is Have Some Fun)"

DAVID LEE ROTH for David McDermitt: "(Might As Well) Bird!"

BARBRA STREISAND for Caissa Willmer (okay, definitely not a rocker): "You

Don't Bring Me Bird Books Anymore"

LIAM GALLAGHER (of Oasis) for James Barry: "Wonderscrawl"

JOHN COUGAR-MELLANCAMP for Andy Leahy: "Chris and Diane"

KURT COBAIN for Casey Sutton: "Smells Like Cup Spirit"

JOAN OSBORNE for Cathy Heidenreich: "One of Us (Cuppers)"

PATTI SMITH for Jane Sutton: "Because the Night (Belongs to Owling)"

FIONA APPLE for Sarah Childs: "Cardinal"

STEPHEN TYLER for Rob Scott: "Dream On"

JIMI HENDRIX for Dave Mellinger: "Purple Sandpiper"

PAUL SIMON for Ralph Paonessa: "I Am a Rock Dove"

GRAHAM NASH (of Crosby, Stills, and Nash) for Larry Springsteen: "Our


THE JINGLE BELLS DOG for Mira the Bird Dog: "Jingle Bell's Vireo"

JONI MITCHELL for Margaret Barker: "Help Me"

PAUL SCHAEFER (of David Letterman's CBS Orchestra) for Kurt Fox: (Some

noodling on the keyboards)

ELVIS for Ned Brinkley (who else but a true legend?  Especially in light of

last year's mysterious "Brinkley" sightings!):  "Jailhouse Rock Wren,"

"You Ain't Nothin' But a Bird Dog," and "Bluebird Shoes"









   ,,,,                             % % %

               ~ ~                           % ^  ^  %

            c  @-@ CUPPERS' CHOICE AWARDS      *<*   %

              ) >  )                          & U  &

           _ _ O _ _                            )~(

          /   /  \   \                        ( ( \ \

         /   /    \    \                    / /)  / /

             \    /                  



So how many times did you vote for yourself, anyway, and was it enough?

That's what you're asking yourself now, right, with the unveiling of the

2nd Annual CUPPERS' CHOICE AWARDS! Rest assured, if you didn't vote for

yourself, someone else likely did.  Tallying your votes was a busy job

this year, but well worth it! We especially enjoyed the harmless

digs, ah, witty commentary on many of the ballots, and we've included

some of them here:


QUICK DRAW AWARD (to Cupper with fastest Cayugabirds postings):


"I'm giving the nod to myself for the (bird omitted to protect Kevin's

anonymity--oops!) alert.  It was too good a bird that was present too

short a time that a bunch of people got to see. I'm just glad the pay

phones at Stewart Park work."


"This would have to be Chris-Tessaglia-Hymes--I'm not biased!"


"Bill Evans or Kevin McGowan.  Or was Kevin posting stuff from Bill?"


"Stephen Davies birded the jetty, got home, and posted before I was even

out of bed."


Winner: Stephen Davies  (inched out Kevin McGowan by one vote!)

Prize: Deck of cards (with the recommendation that he play Slap Jack to

stay in shape)


SLOW GIN PRIZE (slowest to post):


"No contest with the Anhinga posting last year."


"Man, I hope I don't win this one again, on the strength of the Kentucky

Warbler-in-the-freezer episode, reminiscent of last year's Anhinga debacle."


Winner: Ken Rosenberg   Prize: Quik-stick Post-it labels


STRIKE-OUT AWARD (who tried and failed for the most birds):


"I can't imagine anyone who tried for one thing more than Jay McGowan

tried for that fool Northern Shrike on Hammond Hill, but I'll go with

Martha Fischer.  She had some good hard-luck stories this year."


"Have to nominate myself.  How did I manage to get ____ birds?"


"Bill Evans.  Thing is, I doubt he even knew what he was missing!"


"Whomever comes in second!"


Winner: Tom Nix   Prize: Speeding Ticket bubble gum (really, the idea is

the same!)


BEST DRESSED (not most appropriate for the weather, but who looked



"I was going to vote for Karl, for consistently being so inappropriately

dressed for the weather, but I decided to cast my lot for Jay McGowan.  I

noticed the other day that he is always rather natty in his khakis and

sweater, and we mustn't forget the hat!"


"Evans, for those big red overalls."


"Diane Tessaglia, but only when she's wearing those waterproof red clogs."


"Allison Wells, though I have no idea what she looks like."


Winner: Karl David    Prize: A (children's) make-up kit (for that final



BIRDMOBILE PRIZE (for most "distinguished" vehicle):


"[Kevin McGowan's] crow-mobile.  With the ladder in the spring and summer,

it's easily the most recognizable Cupper vehicle on the road...Only Bill

Evan's truck with the smashed out back window comes close, now that Matt's

car died and Karl and Bard have gone to those rent-a-car specials."


"Kevin McGowan's.  Although I've never seen his vehicle, I always imagine

it with one of those Hee-Haww cornfield crows as a hood ornament."


"Sniff, sniff, we owe it to Matt Medler, as a eulogy for his deceased

 trusty' Reliant."


Winner: Matt Medler's "trusty" Reliant (ousting the crowmobile by a single

vote--the overwhelming majority were out of [mock] sympathy)   Prize: A

matchbox-size fruit truck brought back from Aruba (these trucks are

notorious for breaking down)




"Allison and Jeff Wells, except maybe they should be disqualified, since

they were both crazy birders even before they got married!"


"Michael Runge and daughter Megan, though Mike probably held Megan back.

She probably would have taken the David Cup otherwise."


"Just wait until 1998, with my entire family involved!"


"The Wells and their  adopted' son Casey and  adopted' little brother Matt



Winner: Kevin McGowan and son Jay   Prize: A birds-of-prey stencil kit (to

ensure quality family birding time even when they're not actually birding)


THOREAU AWARD (for most creative posts--poetic, humorous, etc.):


"I'll go with the too infrequent Karl Davidisms.  We're going to miss them

when he's gone."


"Our beloved editor, Allison Wells.  The kingbird post was priceless."


"That Cornell student who posted his birding break while studying for his

stats final--it was hilarious and well done."


"Geo Kloppel.  He must spend as much time writing his posts as he does

seeing the birds!"


"Allison Wells.  She has it all--wit, poetry, and insight.  I live for The

Cup every month."


Winner: Geo Kloppel   Prize: Travel notebook (heartily endorsed by last

year's winner, Bard "Bird Hard" Prentiss, who still takes his with him)


TREKIE AWARD (most number of miles Cupped):


"Tom the Nix was nearly guaranteed this one until he vanished without a

trace late in the year.  Gotta go with Stephen  what vet school?' Davies."


"Margaret Launius--14 trips at 150+ miles/trip."


"Karl David. With his Beloved Elaine out of town, Karl was always out



Winner: Stephen Davies   Prize: QUAK team collectibles--toy airplane, car,

etc. (because to win, you really have to embody the spirit of the team)


HOMEBODY PRIZE (least number of miles Cupped):


"Jane  the unicorn' Sutton."


"Ken Rosenberg, with the lame excuse of having a new baby."


"Diane Tessaglia-Hymes.  I think she looked out her window until October."


"Andy Farnsworth.  Unless he walks from his house to his deck 100 times a

day, he may not have logged too many miles."


Winner: Diane Tessaglia-Hymes  Prize: Glue (because she's "stuck" at home)


UNDYING PATIENCE PRIZE (to Cupper who spent most time answering questions

on Cayugabirds):


"Chris Hymes.  He always answered promptly and helped me see birds like the

Sedge Wren with his great directions and updates on the list."


"Allison Wells.  She rarely answered my questions publically but often

responded behind the scenes."


"Dear Tick, definitely--if there is such a  person'."


"You mean the Kevin McGowan Prize?"


Winner: Kevin McGowan  Prize: Owl key chain--from Aruba! (Get it? Owl?





"John Greenly.  He's sneaky with those quietly climbing totals. Watch him."


"John Bower, but only because he's too lazy to get out birding."


"Me!  We're going to build a lake so I can compete with Ken Rosenberg."


Winner: John Greenly   Prize: A yo-yo (think about it!)




"That new baby is going to keep Ken home enough this year to make him want

it again."


"Jay McGowan--until he gets his driver's license, then look out David



Winner: Ken Rosenberg  Prize: Again, a yo-yo (ditto)




"Jeff Wells.  Years of pummeling have built up to a boiling point."


"Well, we know that Bill Evans is full of hot air...Heck, I'm gonna go

with Jettyman Davies."


"Allison Wells isn't going to let anyone get close again, not after the

double-Steve scare of '97."


Winner: Allison Wells  Prize: Ditto




"Tom doesn't seem to have it in him.  Stephen Davies is always dangerous.

If nobody else gets crazy, I'm a serious threat.  Maybe even numerically

challenged Steve Kelling could finally rise up and snatch victory from the

jaws of defeat.  But, from the gleam in his eye this year, I'm gonna vote

for Geo Kloppel."


"Allison Wells.  Davies earned it this year so he's gotta be burned out,

and Kevin only tied him because he was riding Jay's coat tails.  And he's

probably already using that pitiful  my crow work, my crow work' excuse."


"Matt Medler, since he's now in charge of the list."


Winner: Jay McGowan   Prize: You got it--a yo-yo


                    /       EDITORS' CHOICE AWARDS     \


This year, Cup editors were successful beyond their wildest dreams!  That

is, they were able to sucker, er, entice even more Cuppers into laboring

for The Cup.  To make sure we have enough help for the coming year, um, to

show our appreciation for all their hard work, we gave out our own awards.

Seriously, without the help of the following people, who knows when--and

if--each issue of The Cup would have made it out, and it certainly

would not have been nearly as interesting:


Highlights Column:  Tom Nix

Got: A rubber flamingo hand puppet (because really, our columnists are just

puppets--ha! ha!)


Stat's All Column: Karl David

Got: A vulture hand puppet (by the way, Cuppers at the supper decided which

columnist got which puppet.  You'll have to ask them on what "criteria"

they based their decision!)


Bird Bits: Jay McGowan

Got: A wind-up toy penguin that really swims (because Jay's knowledge of

the world's birds seems endless, you just have to wind him up!)


Bird Brain: Caissa Willmer

Got: A rubber ducky (we didn't want to give her a bird brain, so we gave

her a whole bird.)


Composite Deposit and Leader's List: Karl David

Got: A miniature calculator (for catching Steve Kelling's counting mistakes)


David Cup and McIlroy Compiler: Matt Medler

Got: A pull-on duck bill (because compilers are not quite puppets, but...)


Evans Trophy Compiler: Bard Prentiss

Got: ditto


Yard Stick Compiler: Margaret Launius

Got: A ruler (not quite a yard stick, but...)


Dear Tick: Dear Tick

Got: A crazy pen (must we explain?)


A big round of applause rocked the building when our trusty Coaches were

honored, and rightly so.  These individuals were generous not only in

giving up their time (when they could have--and should have!--been in the

field) but also in giving thoughtful birding tips to help birders of all

skill levels.  Each got a top-of-the-line colored plastic whistle.

The Coaches for 1997 were:


Ned Brinkley, Karl David, Stephen Davies, Bill Evans, Andy Farnsworth,

Kurt Fox, Steve Kelling, Kevin McGowan, Bard Prentiss, Ken Rosenberg, and

Jeff Wells


In recognition of the hard work and time commitment it takes to maintain

the Cayugabirds Hotline, both by phone and via Cayugabirds, the editors

recognized Chris Tessaglia-Hymes. Chris was able to juggle this

responsibility while taking classes at Cornell.  Chris did a fine job

and managed to sound friendly even when he must have been exhausted.  To

him, we bestowed a Big Bird toy phone.  Chris, those long-distance bills

can be charged to Bill Evans.


Lo and behold, the editors got a little surprise of their own!  On behalf

of  "everyone who's ever birded in the Basin," Bill Evans presented Allison

(presuming that she is the primary force behind The Cup) with a "gold"

hummingbird with "diamond" eyes, mounted on please remove children from the

computer screen now--a cup!  Yes, THAT kind of cup. You know, the athletic

kind.  (Jeff also got a cup, but Bill took it back, since he needs it

for the upcoming David Cup year).  Allison was flattered, embarrassed, and

all appropriate things, but couldn't help noticing that the "jewels" were

in the wrong place...


                           2  3  4  5

                 1   DAVID CUP TOP TEN LIST   6

                          7   8  9  10


Those Cuppers who came to last year's Supper must have remembered the David

Cup Top Ten Reasons scam, because they were much more prepared this time

around (well, except for Kevin McGowan).  On the surface, it appears to be

a fun and harmless memory game in which Cuppers name the product or

organization behind the Cup-appropriate advertising slogan. What it really

is, is a way to tempt Cuppers to stay inside all year watching TV and

memorizing every commercial on the tube, thereby increasing the Wells'

chances for victory.  Who won the David Cup Top Ten Reasons prize this

year?  Did you ever wonder what happened to Karl David during 1997?




#10)  It's the heartbeat of America (Chevrolet)


 #9)  You're worth it  (Preference by L'Oreal)


 #8)  Let's the healing begin (Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion)


 #7)  Just do it (Nike)


 #6) It's everywhere you want to be (VISA)


 #5) Hey, you never know (New York Lotto)


 #4)  Four out of five dentists recommend it (Trident sugarless gum)


 #3)  Be all that you can be (U.S. Army)


 #2) Generation Next (Pepsi)


And the number one reason to be in the David Cup


IT'S MOSTLY NUTS! (Oh, Henry candy bar)


Winner: A tie!  Karl David and Diane Tessaglia-Hymes

Prize: A Nutrageous candy bar (because we couldn't find any Oh, Henry's)


To get you back in birding gear (nice pun, huh, Karl?), we're going to send

you on your way with the best kind of note Father Karl good give: a Stat's

All column!  Read it closely, think about it, then let the adrenaline carry

to the latest whereabouts of the Montezuma Snowy Owl and through the rest

of the year!  Good luck to you all, and most importantly, have fun!



               STAT'S ALL, FOLKS

                 by Karl David



     As Kurt Fox intimated I might, I found his well researched and written

article in the Cup 2.11 on a Basin Big January an irresistible temptation

for stacking up my best January against the theoretical list from which he

believes one could produce 100 species for the month. So here goes ...

     January '95 was my best ever, with 86 species tallied. I did not,

however, set out with the intention of mounting an all-out offensive; I

never have, in fact. But the presence of a fair number of relative

rarities, coupled with unusually good luck in rounding up the usual

suspects with unusual ease made me decide by about the 4th that I should be

able to eclipse my previous monthly high of 71, and that is what I

proceeded to do ... and by a much wider margin than I imagined I


     The January 1 Christmas Count, spent with "Downtown" Bill Evans,

netted 33 species -- about average. However, they included White-fronted

Goose, Wood Duck and Merlin. The next day, a return to Stewart Park picked

up two more excellent Count birds, Snow Goose and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Trips up the east side of the lake on the 3rd (always mail to check in

Aurora!) and to Hog Hole on the 4th pushed the total to 53, and I knew the

month had real potential. I circumnavigated the lake on the 6th, picking up

5 more species. The Dodge Rd Long-eared Owl was picked off on the 7th, and

Ferguson Rd yielded up all three "field birds" {Horned Lark, Snow Bunting,

Lapland Longspur] on the 8th. A strong effort between Ithaca and

Lettie Cook Forest on the 9th added 7 more species; at 76 I was now in

uncharted territory. Two long staked-out birds that had eluded several

efforts fell on the 12th [Pine Warbler at the Dilger feeder on Niemi Rd]

and 13th [Northern Shrike on Hanshaw Rd]. On the 16th, a cautious walk out

to the lighthouse jetty finally added the Red-throated Loon that was being

seen intermittently all month. At noon that day the month was half over,

and I stood at 85 species ... far more than I would have thought possible


     However, that was almost it right there. Having accomplished my

objective, and in spades at that, I slacked off for the second half of the

month, adding just one more species: the famous Screech-Owl peeRing out of

its equally famous Wood Duck box in Union Springs on the 30th. Final total:


     Could I have seen 14 more species? Of permanent resident birds, I was

still missing Ruffed Grouse and Barred Owl. I had neither white-winged gull

(they both showed up at Stewart Park, interestingly, in early February).

Surely some time spent at the Seneca Meadows landfill would have produced

them. And more time in the field during the second half of the month surely

would have produced 1 or 2 more birds. So, 90 species surely would have

been possible, had I really  wanted it.

     Now, to get from 90 to 100 ... that's a far different story. One has

to avoid the temptation of focusing on one's unluck and adding on the birds

one might have seen but didn't, without admitting that every unlucky bird

was probably matched by a lucky one. The White-fronted Goose, for example,

wasn't seen again after the 1st. So why should the gods of chance grant me

the Snowy Owl I missed on several tries, while still letting me keep the

goose? Given the effort I put in, I probably got about what I should have.

Nonetheless, chance did play a role in putting one glaring hole in my list.

The number of relatively rare winter birds and the number of lingering

half-hardies were about average, I think, and I did fairly well

on them. But: I did not get a single "winter finch" ... not even Purple

Finch! Here I suppose it might be admissible to play the "what if" game:

with all other factors remaining the same, what if it had been a good

winter finch year? One observer almost never sees them all in one month or

even season, but 4 or 5 would not have been outrageous. Now we're at 95 or

so ... so close!

     But how to close that final gap? Taking Kurt's cue, I could have

tramped the marshes several times to get a lingering bittern, rail or Swamp

Sparrow. I could have advertised my attempt at 100 species and thus gotten

a report or two of something unusual at a feeder. But in the end, I still

would have ended up short, most likely.

     However, I do in fact agree with Kurt that 100 species is possible,

but only under extraordinary circumstances. It must be a good winter finch

year, and half-hardies and oddities must be present as well. Even then, a

single observer going for the goal while everyone else remains indoors

drinking hot toddies and going to work, will not do it. I believe that only

if a number of dedicated observers, say 8 to 10, are all out spending lots

of time in the field and sharing their sightings promptly, focusing on the

goal of 100 species, could it be done. Realistically, this is very unlikely

ever to happen. But it sure is fun to think about!

     I'll wrap up by comparing what I saw with Kurt's carefully thought-out

list of the birds one should or could get in a Big January. Recall he broke

these up into numerical categories, from the "can't miss even if you tried"

birds of Category 1 to the "amazing grace" birds of Category 5. Kurt

duplicated at least one bird, by the way: Short-eared Owl, which I saw,

appears in both Category 3 and 4a, so I'm placing it in the former:


Category 1: 19 birds, and of course I saw them all.

Category 2: 31 birds, and I missed only Ruffed Grouse ... by Kurt's

criteria then, my biggest miss, since all of these should be seen.

Category 3: 25 birds, of which I got 20 [Kurt said "almost all" should be

gotten]. Here I missed Barred Owl, Raven, Swamp Sparrow, Purple Finch &

Evening Grosbeak.

Category 4a: 42 birds, of which "over half" should have been seen for 100.

This is where I fell down the worst, seeing only 14.

Category 4b: 15 birds, of which "only a few" would be expected. In fact, I

got none of these birds.

Category 5: 33 miracle birds, of which I actually got 3, hence my best

birds by these criteria: Red-throated Loon, Greater White-fronted Goose

and Pine Warbler.


          ^                                           ~

         ~ ~                                         / \

         x x                                         6 6

          ?     Highlights from the Supper That Was   ^

          V                                           U 


* the David Cup cake, frosted and decorated by 6-year-old Perri McGowan,

and the ceremonious cutting thereof


* Bill Evans' distinctly infectious laugh, heard throughout the night


* the arrival of "Patti Smith" late in the proceedings (okay, so it was

really Jane Sutton, but she was wearing a very convincing Patti Smith wig!)


* Matt Medler's witty presentation of the DC certificates


* Ken Rosenberg snapping photos like a freelancer for Rolling Stone


* Koko Taylor and Billie Holiday "serenading" the Supper


* the many children fluttering in and out of the 100 and 200 clubs, playing

with their Legos and pinning Bill Evans to the floor


* Stephen Davies' superb reading of the Bobbie Burns poem


* the look on Jay McGowan's face when he won for "most likely to win the DC

in 1998"


* Anne Kendall-Cassella's boy Ben coming out of the 200 Club, seeing Bard

wearing his duck bill, and saying matter-of-factly, "Hi, ducky".


* the collage of photos from last year's Cupper Supper, especially the

"family portrait"


* finding out through Match Game '97 (another party "game") that Anne James

was an extra in the movie "Dreamscape," which neither she nor anyone else

in the room ever saw.


* the Elvis-in-action (a.k.a. Ned Brinkley) clips here and there throughout

the Birdland Bistro (the overwhelming favorite was "Elvis learning his



* the fire escape show-n-tell (many Cuppers wanted to see the infamous



* the looks on the faces of Sam Kelling and Taylor Kelling when they

received their DC certificates


* the food, of course!


* the joy and good-humor that filled our apartment.  Thanks to you all for

coming.  See you at the Bistro next year! 


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff