Year 3, Issue 4


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

*  Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

*  Basin Bird Highlights: "Thoreau" Geo Kloppel

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

*  Leader's List, Composite Deposit: "Shot Gun" Kevin McGowan and

*      Jay "Beam Hill Me Up, Scotty" (SPECIAL GUEST: Karl

*      "Father  of the Madness" David--again)

*  Evans Cup Compiler: "Bird Hard" Bard Prentiss

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

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

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

*  Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer

*  Musical Coordinator: Jeff Wells



This just in! The manuscript for the hush-hush, much-hyped, over-

speculated Granddaddy of All of Prime Time Finales, the last Seinfeld,

has landed on our desk! Why are we running it here in The Cup (other

than to prove once again to our pathetic imitators--Time, Newsweek--

that we're a news force to be reckoned with)?  Read on! WARNING: If

you've never watched Seinfeld (i.e., if you've been living on the moon

for the last decade or so), you might not understand some of the

references; before reading, join the rest of Cupland (and the world)

in catching the final episode Thursday May, 14 at nine o'clock.

Better yet, catch the "pre-game" highlights too, at eight, and then

come back

and read the manuscript Jerry himself hand-delivered to Cup Headquarters!


[Taken directly from the manuscript:]


The scene: Jerry, George, and Elaine in Jerry's apartment...of course.


ELAINE: So.  What are we gonna do after this stupid finale's over?


JERRY: I don't know about you, but George, Kramer, and I are gonna be



ELAINE: (With her classic shove) Get out!


GEORGE: Hey, some of my best friends are Cuppers. My coworkers are

Cuppers. My parents are Cuppers!


[Kramer makes his classic entrance]

KRAMER: Check this out! (Struts around in a David Cup t-shirt)


ELAINE: You know, don't you, that this Cup thing takes place Upstate,

in some god-forsaken territory called the Cayuga Lake Basin.  Manhattan

ain't, as they say, "in the Basin."


GEORGE: You mean you gotta be in the Basin to count the birds?

(Weakly) Oh, God.


KRAMER: My friends, fear not, for Manhattan is in the Basin. I've

created a new cologne called The Basin.  It smells just like the

Cayuga Lake Basin.  Splash a little behind the ears and wherever you

go, you're in the Basin.


JERRY: That explains that guy I met in the park yesterday.  He was

wearing binoculars and had this crazed look in his eyes.  Said he was

"padding his Cup totals," yada, yada. Karl something. He must have

been wearing The Basin!


GEORGE: All right, how do I get my hands on this stuff?


KRAMER: My intern's working on the formula right now, for Kramerica's

big spring [gestures] splash!  Get it?


GEORGE: You mean you haven't made any yet? [Muttering] Of course he

hasn't.  He's Kramer.


ELAINE: I got news for you, anyway.  You guys aren't Cup-worthy.


G, J, and K: What do you mean?


ELAINE: If you're in the David Cup and you find a good bird, you

gotta tell the whole world.  They use one of those squirrelly listservs.


JERRY: What a strange word, squirrelly.  What does a squirrel have to

do with something being odd?  I'd like to meet the guy that invented

that word, squirrelly. I bet he's a squirrelly fellow.


ELAINE: Never mind that, what are you gonna do about the vault?  You

can't see some great bird and just lock it in the vault, you'll be

banned from blues gigs! [Kramer shudders at the thought] I'm telling

you, Jerry, those Cuppers, they're very anti-vault.


GEORGE: It's already been settled.  No more vaults!  Jerry and I have a



JERRY: And we're hoping it's not as fatal as the last pact.


KRAMER: You know, Elaine, you should be a Cupper. You've got a

strong jaw bone.


JERRY: [Incredulously] Now, why does having a strong jaw bone make

someone a Cup contender? Not that there's anything wrong with that.


KRAMER: (Flustered) Well, I don't know!  I just thought we'd up the

kitty by getting Elaine in the contest.


ELAINE: Contest? Don't tell me you're starting that again.


KRAMER: We have to. There was no winner last time.


JERRY: (With a smirk) Oh, there was a winner, all right.  That Glamour

magazine had the, uh, upper hand, wouldn't you say so, Georgy?


GEORGE: Why do you do that?  Just when I think I've finally escaped

the bumbling, embarrassing, vulgar cartoon that is my life, you pull

me back in!


JERRY: (Ignoring George, of course) Kramer thinks that by being a

Cupper, we'll each become Master of Our Domain.  You see, Cuppers'

whole lives rotate around birds.  They don't think about anything else.

They're at work, they're thinking about birds.  They're eating dinner,

they're thinking about birds.  They could be doing anything, and I mean

anything, and they'd still be thinking about birds.  If and when they

ever get the chance to think about that, they're too exhausted to act

on it. You become Master of Your Domain by default.


KRAMER: So, what do you say, Elaine, you in?


ELAINE: Yeah, okay, put me in for $50.


[A beeper sounds.  It's Kramer's]

KRAMER: Hoochie mama! My first beep!


GEORGE: Why does a man who has absolutely no responsibilities in life

carry a beeper?


KRAMER: It's my Birdy Beeper.  I'm getting in shape for the QUAC

team [see previous issue of The Cup].


JERRY: Why would they want you on their team? You don't know a pigeon

from a parrot. You can't just change teams and pretend you know

something about birds.


KRAMER: Look, someone's gotta drive the fire engine!


ELAINE: Well, while you're at it, find out if there's any truth to

the rumor that there's a hot tub in the 100 Club.  If it's true, I


may remain Master of My Domain after all.


KRAMER: Giddy up!


                        @   @    @    @    @     @

                            NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

                          @   @    @    @     @     @


WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Was there an ulterior motive to signing

up Melanie Uhler for the David Cup?  Sure, she shares a Lab of O

office with Allison Wells, but let's not get hasty here. Really, just

because there's a cut-throat office list battle going on between the

featherweights in Steve Kelling's office and the Wells-Uhler Lab

residence on the other side of the wall (you should have seen Kelling

trying to score the siskins for his office's list, hanging out his

window   by his toes!)

      And who's the latest kitty to take "Swift" action?  Marty and

Kylie's cat, Figaro: "Yes, it's time to enter the cat's total as

well. Actually there are two cats in the household, but Greta does

most of her observation in the field and so we're not privy to what

she's seen.

Fig, on the other hand, is much more interested in the feeders.  She

spent much of the colder months inside looking out, but now with the

warmer temperatures, she has taken to closer observation.  She seems

totally surprised, though, when the birds make a rapid departure from

the feeders whenever she moves in quickly for a closer look. Her

interest is not limited to wild birds.  She recently sat in a

chair for about 20 minutes watching 25 Rhode Island Red chicks in a box

near the woodstove.  Both Fig's and Greta's attempts at closer

observation have been somewhat hampered by bells attached to their

collars, but we're pretty sure Fig will be quite competitive in the

Kitty Kup."


STORK REPORT: A stork was seen flying to and away from Schuyler

County Hospital on April 12. Curiously, Owen Mason Davis-Bower

was born the same day. Providing parental care has been a delight, if

sometimes a challenge, since that time, reports new Daddy John Bower.

Congratulations to John and wife Suzie on their little birdy.


BABY, BABY: What with spring being a time of rebirth and all, it seems

a update on other Cupper babies is in order.  From Scott Mardis: "The

little one [Stover] is great. He's walking, practically running now.

He's working so hard to learn to talk. He has at least a dozen

or so words that we recognize;  bird' is one of them but it's

primarily because we have caged finches. He hasn't gotten birding

much but he will point out birds when he's outside."

      From Michael Runge: "Megan, now 16 months old, is  delighted that

spring has arrived and she can play outside.  We've reinstituted regular

walks at Sapsucker Woods, so my (and her) chances of a fair showing in

the McIlroy have increased.  She can identify a few birds to genus, if

not species:  crow ( caw-caw', she has yet to say this and point to a

Fish crow, so she might have this one to species), duck

( wack-wack'), goose ( ong-ongk'), gulls ( aw-aw', distinct from the

crow sound), female

chickens ('cluck-cluck'), male chickens ( er-r-roo'), juvenile chickens

( peep-peep'), and passerines ( peep-peep', granted this is not distinct

from the sound for chicks)."

      From Ken Rosenberg: "Olivia saw her first bird on our Florida trip in

March (at 5 months) -- I saw her eyes follow a D-c Cormorant flying

fairly close over a pond. Shortly afterwards she definitely saw a

Muscovy (golf-course variety) at about 3 feet -- gave it the

appropriately skeptical look, thinking I'm sure that such a grotesque

creature is probably not countable.  This spring, she seems to be

showing some interest in birds and squirrels at our feeders, and gets

kinda excited when I hold her up to the window and say  bird.' She

definitely stared at a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak the other day and

let out an excited, one-syllable sound that sounded like  bird' to

me. Rachel (3 1/2) has very keen eyes and ears and can identify quite

a few species when pressed, but doesn't show any sure signs of


birder fever.  With nicer weather I'm hoping to rekindle the interest

she showed earlier by spending much more time outdoors than we could

in winter."


SAPPED OUT?: If you haven't heard already, our "home-team" Sapsuckers

cleaned up the out-of-state category during the World Series of Birding.

Under grueling conditions (torrential rain, strong winds) Ken Rosenberg,

Steve Kelling, Jeff Wells, Kevin McGown, and John Fitzpatrick--Cuppers

all--saw 190 species and earned more than $90,000 for bird

conservation. They'll be sharing their story in the next issue of The

Cup, so stay



LONE STAR CZARS: Several Cuppers not only had the guts to enter the

cut-throat, mind-and-body-numbing Texas Birding Classic (a "Big

Week," during which teams do three big days in a five-day span) they

actually won the thing!  Our own Andy Farnsworth and Ned Brinkley, they

of the WildBird Magazine team, saw 298 species. Congratulations!


WARBLER WATCH: And of course, all of the blazing participants have

or soon will be posting their warbler reports to Lab of O-National

Audubon's online warbler survey, Warbler Watch (see The Cup 3.3) at

<<>http://birdsource.cornell.<http://birdsource.cornell. <http://birdsource.cornell.%3C>

edu <http://birdsource.cornell.%3C>>edu>.

If you don't want your David Cup

totals docked, you better report yours, too, ain't that right, Matt

and Geo? (See Cup Quotes, this issue.)


BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: "Playing the blues is like

getting a vaccine: You play the blues to keep the blues away."


                                               --Wynton Marsalis

"The blues is a dialogue with tragedy."

                                               --Taj Mahal


"Even if my lady left me, I'm still gonna play the hell out whatever

I play, because you play the blues to feel happy."

                                               --Harry Sweets Edison


Want to feel happy? Drop into the Haunt Friday night, May 15th, for

another fabulous performance by blues great Luther "Guitar" Johnson.

As Wynton might say, ain't it time for your booster shot?


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



                              Geo Kloppel


The early spring that seemed about to descend on us as April began

turned into days and then weeks of expectant waiting. A thin scatter

of early migrants had spread northward with the heat wave of late


providing some neighboring regions with surprising lists of warbler

sightings, but the overall pace of the flood was not much influenced,

and most migrant species arrived and continue to arrive in the Basin

within a few days of their expected dates.

      I was out of town at the beginning of the month when an immature

gray-phase GYRFALCON, unquestionably April's most thrilling find, put

in for several days at the Savannah Mucklands. Small numbers of late-

migrating waterfowl like RED-NECKED GREBE, OLDSQUAW, SURF SCOTER, and

RED-THROATED LOON were ticked by the lucky and the watchful. A

NORTHERN SHRIKE was still to be found near Hanshaw and Niemi Rds. on

the 5th. A single GREAT EGRET showed up at the Lab, but a bird that

may have been a SNOWY EGRET got away, flying too high over Varna.

CASPIAN and FORSTER'S TERNS both appeared on several occasions, as


a dozen shorebird species had been seen by month's end, but big kettles

of BROAD-WINGED HAWKS were the spectacle-that-wasn't, nor were there

any more Golden Eagles in April.


through the month, but the REDPOLLS and many EVENING GROSBEAKS

cleared out. A

very early pair of HENSLOW'S SPARROWS was reported near Trumansburg





THROATED GREEN, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and a couple of other warblers


VIRGINIA RAIL, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK... you couldn't call it slow,

but there was

nothing else to compare with that GYRFALCON.

      While looking over a catalog of mail-order fowl the other day I

located the ROUEN duck, a 9 pound roaster in Mallard plumage, which


be the bird I saw last winter among the oddities behind Wegmans, in the

tame-bird hangout that hosted April's MANDARIN DUCK. Right beside

the Rouen in the catalog is a brilliant beetle-green duck with black

feet and bill, said to be one of the few breeds developed in the

United States, and quite cold-hardy: the CAYUGA. Maybe we could have

one of

those next April, to amuse us while we're waiting, waiting, waiting...


(Geo Kloppel makes and repairs violin bows. Our prediction is that he

will hear a Whip-poor-will very soon...)


100      100     100      100     100      100     100       100

100 CLUB

100      100       100      100       100      100       100      100


Chris Butler's Bird 100: Barn Swallow


Karl David's Bird 100: Red Crossbill


Martha Fischer's Bird 100: Refused to respond to questionnaire


John Greenly's Bird 100: "My 100th was a

crisply-plumaged, sweetly-singing Savannah Sparrow- very nice!"


Anne Kendall's Bird 100: Swamp Sparrow


Jon Kloppel's Bird 100: " Myrtle' Warbler"


Alan Krakauer's Bird 100: "My bird 100 was a boisterous Ruby-crowned Kinglet."


Pat Lia's Bird 100: "Pine Siskin (Geo had to drag her out in the rain

to see it)." --Geo Kloppel


Perri McGowan's Bird 100: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


Matt Medler's Bird 100: Chimney Swift "Snagged during a tennis match,

during which Allison tennised the tar out of me." --Matt Medler


John Morris' Bird 100: "It was the Savannah Sparrow that returns to the

same cherry sapling every year, and every year I have to keep one eye

to the bins and one to the neighbor's dog who insistently asks me to be lunch."


Tom Nix's Bird 100: Refused to respond to questionnaire.


Ken Rosenberg's Bird 100: Refused to respond to questionnaire


Matt Sarver's Bird 100: Gyrefalcon!


Ben Taft's Bird 100: Northern Waterthrush


Allison Wells' Bird 100: Eastern Kingbird


Jeff Wells' Bird 100: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


200           200          200         200           200

                           2     0    0

      200             200                            200           200


Sign on 200 Club door:


"Not yet."


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


1998 David Cup April Totals


146 Geo Kloppel

146 Kevin McGowan

141 Jay McGowan

140 Ken Rosenberg

126 Allison Wells

123 Karl David

122 Jeff Wells

121 Matt Sarver

116 Chris Butler

115 Martha Fischer

114 Alan Krakauer

112 Stephen Davies

112 Pat Lia

112 John Morris

110 Matt Medler

109 Anne Kendall

106 Jon Kloppel

105 John Greenly

103 Perri McGowan

102 Tom Nix

100 Ben Taft

   98 Nancy Dickinson

   96 John Bower

   96 Steve Kelling

   85 Gary Chapin

   84 John Fitzpatrick

   84 Marty Schlabach

   83 Kim Kline

   83 Jim Lowe

   72 Anne James

   59 Ann Mathieson

   57 Kylie Spooner

   51 Michael Runge

   50 Caissa Willmer

   42 Scott Mardis

   40 Melanie Uhler

   39 Kurt Fox

   35 Tom Lathrop

   34 Margaret Barker

   31 Dave Mellinger

   33 Cathy Heidenreich

   25 Carol Bloomgarden

   27 Swift (Kitty Cup)

   26 Mimi Wells (Kitty Cup)

   26 Andy Leahy

   24 Teddy Wells (Kitty Cup)

   19 Figaro (Kitty Cup)

    0 Jimmy Barry*

    0 Ralph Paonessa*

    0 Larry Springsteen*

    0 Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen*


*Currently living out-of-state.  They're still sleeping.


1998 McIlroy Award April Totals


101 Kevin McGowan

95 Allison Wells

95 Jeffrey Wells

93 Martha Fischer

89 John Bower

85 Jay McGowan

77 Karl David

77 Ken Rosenberg

71 Jim Lowe

62 Matt Medler

60 Stephen Davies

57 Ben Taft

51 Michael Runge

24 Dave Mellinger

14 Anne Kendall


1998 Evans Trophy March Totals


Compiled by Bard Prentiss


131 Ken Rosenberg

124 Matt Young

120 Bard Prentiss

117 Kevin McGowan

116 Jay McGowan


1998 April Lansing


Compiled by Matt Medler


80 John Greenly ("Take that, Kevin!")

77 Kevin McGowan


THE YARD STICK ----------------------------


By Margaret Launius


"Having just returned from a two-week birding trip to SE Arizona, I am

catching up on my email and yard bird stuff.  I probably won't have the

list updated til this weekend so if The Cup goes out before that,

please put in a note to that effect and I'll catch up in the next

edition.  Thanks!"



"Um, Margaret, The Cup's going out before then."


                                                     --The Editors




By Karl David, subbing for the McGowan boys...again.


Ah, a scenario made for the movies: grizzled iconoclastic veteran and

brash young photogenic upstart team up to fight for truth, justice and

the American Pipit to produce ... a friendly tie!


Geo and Kevin both saw the following 132 species by April 30:


C Loon,P-b,Horned & R-n grebe,D-c Cormorant,Great Blue Heron,

Tundra & Mute swan,Snow & 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,Surf Scoter,

C Goldeneye,Bufflehead,Hooded,Common & R-b merganser,Ruddy

Duck, Turkey Vulture,Osprey,Bald Eagle,N Harrier,S-s & Cooper's

hawk,N Goshawk,R-t & R-l hawk,Am Kestrel,Merlin,R-n Pheasant,

R Grouse,Wild Turkey,Am Coot, Killdeer,G Yellowlegs,Spotted

Sandpiper,Common Snipe,Am Woodcock,Bonaparte's, R-b,Herring, Iceland,

Lesser B-b,Great B-b gull,Caspian & Forster's tern,Rock &

Mourning dove,E Screech-Owl,Great Horned,Barred,L-e & N S-w owl,

B Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker,Y-b Sapsucker,Downy & Hairy

woodpecker,N Flicker,Pileated Woodpecker,E Phoebe,Horned Lark,

Tree,N R-w & Barn swallow,Blue Jay,Am & Fish crow, Common Raven,

B-c Chickadee,Tufted Titmouse,R-b & W-b nuthatch,Brown Creeper,

G-c & R-c kinglet,B-g Gnatcatcher,E Bluebird,Hermit Thrush,

Am Robin,N Mockingbird,Am Pipit,Cedar Waxwing,N Shrike,Euro

Starling,[quondam] Solitary Vireo,Y-r,B-t Green,Pine & B-and-w

warbler,N & La waterthrush,N Cardinal,E Towhee,Am Tree,Chipping,

Field,Vesper,Savannah,Fox,Song,Swamp & W-t sparrow,D-e Junco,

S Bunting,R-w Blackbird,E Meadowlark,Rusty Blackbird,C Grackle,

B-h Cowbird,Purple & House finch,Red & W-w crossbill,C Redpoll,

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


Unique to Geo were the following 14:


Am Bittern,W-w Scoter,Solitary & Pectoral sandpiper,Dunlin,S-e Owl

[Kevin had to pay for Costa Rica somehow!],R-h Woodlpecker,

E Kingbird,Bank Swallow,Carolina & Winter wren,B-t Blue Warbler,

R-b & Pine grosbeak.


Kevin countered with these 14:


Green Heron,B-w Hawk,Va Rail,Glaucous Gull,Snowy Owl,Chimney

Swift,Cliff  Swallow,House Wren,Veery,Gray Catbird,Brown Thrasher,

W-c Sparrow,Lapland Longspur,HOARY REDPOLL.





These 19 species eluded both our sharp-eyed co-leaders:


R-t Loon, G Egret, B-c Night-Heron,Brant,Eura Wigeon [and I'm not?],

Oldsquaw,Black Scoter, BLACK VULTURE,R-s Hawk, G Eagle, GYRFALCON,

Common Moorhen,Least Sandpiper, C Tern,Purple Martin,Marsh Wren,Palm

Warbler,Ovenbird,C Yellowthroat.


That makes for 179 species total. And, to borrow a conceit from the

Ithaca Journal, laurels to Ken Rosenberg for seeing all three scoters

on Dryden Lake, presumably from his bathroom window. But darts to him

for not reporting them, the Black Scoter in particular! You know who

has my vote for the "slow gin" award again this year! :-)


(Karl David is a mathematics professor at Wells College in Aurora, NY,

and is currently not charging the McGowan's for his subbing services. He

asks them only to NOT see anything he won't.)



                               !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !



What better way to prove you're not a recluse than by being featured in

an interview exclusively for The Cup? "Kickin' Tail" brings well

deserved honor and recognition to the Cupper who has glassed, scoped,

scanned, driven, climbed, dug, or yard-birded his way to the top of

the David Cup list.


This month we had a tie between Mountain Man Geo Kloppel and King

of the Hill Kevin McGowan.  But since Kevin also took the McIlroy

this month, we tossed the DC bone to Geo.


THE CUP: Congratulations for tying this month with last year's

chompin'-at-the-bit champ Kevin McGowan. How does it feel to be Kickin' Tail?


KLOPPEL: Ah, well, it's gratifying to have crept up from third place,

where it seemed I had taken root since January, but I'm cherishing no

illusions. My rather weak April total could have been easily surpassed

by any of various keen Cuppers.


THE CUP: Yes, of course, the ol' "let 'em think I'm a gracious leader"

routine.  We get that a lot here at The Cup.


KLOPPEL: Many are sharper than I am in the field.


THE CUP: Mm-hmmm.


KLOPPEL: I suppose the aces have been too busy to spend a lot of time

birding, but I predict that my early advantage will evaporate as they

accumulate 1998 Basin birding hours.


THE CUP: Of course. (That's a particularly favored line, designed to save

face, should the Basin gods frown upon you.)  You may recall that

although Jay McGowan won for "Most Likely to Take David Cup 1998"

in the Cuppers' Choice Awards, you were a mighty close second.  Are you

at least going to try to stay ahead of the little sneak?


KLOPPEL: Some have suggested that it was a tactical blunder to phone

the McGs from Dryden Lake on that Monday evening when I found a

Forster's Tern there. But these armchair tacticians simply failed to

recognize that the move was an essential preliminary in the sly gambit

that ultimately netted me a Red-Necked Grebe, an easy enough bird for

Drydenites, but tough to find in West Danby! Handing Jay the

3 Bonaparte's Gulls at the same time was inadvertent (I waited until

they flew away before phoning, but then they unaccountably flew back again!)


THE CUP: That's because Ken Rosenberg's had them on tethers, so he

could see if he'd be able to scope them correctly from his bedroom two

miles away!


KLOPPEL: But not a genuine sacrifice, nothing to balk at. To be

perfectly honest, I was quite happy in 1997 to have beaten Jay's 1996

tally, which was well beyond the target I had set for myself.

Similarly, his 1997 tally exceeds my modest goal for 1998...


THE CUP: Sure it does (wink, wink).  What was your most productive

birding area this month?


KLOPPEL:  I made substantial additions both at Montezuma and at home

around West Danby. I like to imagine that West Danby is a greatly

under-appreciated area, and that if I become a sharper, more dedicated

birder I may eventually turn up some surprises here.


THE CUP: In West Danby?  Of course you will.  But we're interested in

birds, remember.


KLOPPEL: We're still building the list of West Danby birds. And as far

as I know, I'm the only Cupper who keeps a sauna list, which naturally

features some neat birds.


THE CUP: Ah-huh! So that's where the 100 Club's been moved to! What

bird are you most anticipating, that you haven't already seen, of

course, and why?


KLOPPEL: If you mean the anticipation of DELIGHT, I know I'll really

savor the Black-Crowned Night Herons again this year. Those gorgeous

birds! Even their name is shiveringly beautiful. That haunting,

unforgettable "Quok!" :-) But if you're asking instead about ANXIOUS

anticipation, I have to admit that I'm dearly hoping to distinguish a

Western Sandpiper among all the Semi-palms this year, and fearful that

I will overlook the bird again when opportunity presents itself, as I

overlooked the 2 Lapland Longspurs in that flock of 400 Snow Buntings


had staked out for the Christmas Count!


THE CUP: Don't beat yourself up about it. That's our job.


KLOPPEL: When I think of all the birds that get away from me, it's



THE CUP: What do you think Seinfeld will do now that his show is

coming to an end? Any chance he (and maybe the rest of the cast?) will

move to the Basin, you think?


KLOPPEL: You want I should be concerned about his future?


THE CUP: Not concerned necessarily, but


KLOPPEL: I play Charles Brown, Gerry Mulligan, Maria Kalaniemi so

that I won't have to be ashamed when I'm asked what's in the CD player

while I'm driving all over the Basin hunting, hunting high and low for

birds, always birds, but do I keep a television under my dashboard? Week

after week, season after season Seinfeld sells his show, a show that

he admits was always about nothing, and he makes a mint, he's RAKING

it in

I'm tellin' ya! So I should worry about what he's going to do for an encore?


THE CUP: No, not worry, just--


KLOPPEL: I'll tell you what he's going to do, oh-ho-ho yes indeed my

friend! I'll TELL you:  more of the same! more nothing!


THE CUP: For someone who doesn't keep a television under their

dashboard, that's a pretty darned good George.  Costanza, that is.

What's your favorite color?


KLOPPEL: Ordinarily I say that greens are my favorites, but the

recent explosion of foliage has rendered my usual preference

superfluous, and

out in the wilds I find myself, like biting flies, drawn to the blues

whenever I, I mean wherever I SEE them.


THE CUP: Okay, we'll accept that.  It's not a bird color, but, hey,

you got the blues! What's your strategy for the upcoming month?


KLOPPEL: Target the thru-traffic and chase any special-appearances of

course. Otherwise, it seems to me that May is the month to rack up all

the warblers one can, before they disappear. The foliage has expanded

quickly, and even the hilltops are closing in now. Many other birds

will fall into place just incidentally during the search for warblers.


THE CUP: Any advice for McGowan Big and Small?


KLOPPEL: Oh, they can relax, there's nothing to fear from this

minor-league birder. My April tally was a statistical aberration.

They'll be way ahead of me next month, even if they feel like taking

it easy now. This would be a good time for a nap...


THE CUP: Nice try, Geo, but doubtful they'll buy.  By the way, how

long does it take you, on average, to compose your eloquent Cayugabirds



KLOPPEL: Forty-six years and counting.




                              By Jay McGowan


Welcome to Birdbits!  Here is a chance to test your knowledge of  the

world of birds. Answers next month.


1.  What bird has 'invisible' in it's common name, and why?

2.  Which New World wren is the most widespread?

3.  In Europe, what is the Red Phalarope called, and why?

4.  What makes a Beardless Tyrannulet beardless?

5.  Griseotyrannus auranteoatrocristatus is the longest bird scientific

name in the world.  What is the longest in North America?

6.  What is the common name for Psaltria exilis?

7.  The Cape May Warbler is called a Cape May Warbler because it was

first recorded in Cape May.  But they are rare their in the spring.

Where would you go to see them as a common spring migrant?

8.  What is the scientific name of the Iiwi?

9.  How tall is an African Secretary-bird

10.  Lots of warblers have yellow rumps.  Lots of warblers have yellow

throats.  Palm Warblers are hardly ever found in palms.  Which North

American warblers are named appropriately and diagnostically?



1.  The Solitary Vireo is no more.  The American Ornithologist's Union

recently split it into three separate species.  What are these three

species called, and where in North America do they live?  Blue-headed

Vireo (east of the Rockies), Plumbeous Vireo (in the Rockies), and

Cassin's Vireo (west of the Rockies).

2.  What do a Loon, an Eider, a Goldeneye, a Merganser, a Snipe, a Tern,

a Raven, a Yellowthroat, a Grackle, and a  Redpoll have in common?  The

word "Common" in their name.

3.  How many falcons in the world have only one word in there name?

Five. Merlin, Gyrfalcon, Lanner (Falco biamarcus), Laggar (Falco juggar),

and Saker (Falco cherrug).

4.  Which birds have X as the first letter of there common name? Xantus'

Murrelet, Xantus' Hummingbird, and Xinjiang Ground-Jay.  If you know

of any others please let me know.

5.  What North American bird is sometimes called a "man-o-war-bird"?

Magnificent Frigatebird.

6.  What is the common name for Paradoxornis atrosuperciliaris?

Black-browed Parrotbill.

7.  Which North American bird has all five, but only five vowels in its

name?  Mourning Warbler.

8.  What bird is sometimes called an Acadian Owl?  Northern Saw-whet Owl.

9.  What is the scientific name of the Drab Water-Tyrant?  Ochthornis

littoralis.  Gr. Okhthe, a hill or mound; ornis, a bird; the Drab

Water-tyrant frequently perches on sandbars.  L. littoralis, littoral,

of the shore (litus, litoris, seashore, beach.)

10.  Why is the Obscure Berrypecker obscure?  The Obscure Berrypecker

(Melanocharis arfakiana) is only known from two specimens ca 1900 from

the mountains of New Guinea.


(Jay McGowan is home-schooled. Isn't it obvious?)



                      STAT'S ALL, FOLKS

                        By Karl David



This month, a few innocent enough sounding questions quickly led me

into an almost unnegotiable thicket of data, so that it will take two

(three, if I'm really lucky) columns to sort it all out. This month,

I'll state the questions, feed you some raw data, and let you ruminate

over it before subjecting it to some rudimentary statistical analysis

next month.

      As April turned into May and City Cemetery kept yielding up nothing

but Chipping Sparrows, the perennial question once agian came up:

"Where are all the birds?" Nobody asked it openly on Cayugabirds-l,

perhaps because such questions in the past have always been answered

by "Just wait, they'll be here" ... prophecy that of course always

came true in due course. Still, it *has* seemed like a late spring

... can

our memory have deceived us again?

      Question No. 1: Was this in fact a late spring?

      Subjective [i.e. before looking at the data] Answer No. 1: Yes.

      From a psychological standpoint, I think the sheer length and pace

of spring migration plays a big role in forming our impressions. The

pace is fairly slow and measured through March and April and then


in May. Do we in fact impatiently anticipate that big explosion at the

end too eagerly? [Note: this may apply chiefly to male birders; for a

discussion, see Virginia Rail in "The Sexual Politics of Birding,"

Journal of Applied Feminism," Fall '96.]

      Question No. 2: Can one slap a single adjective

[early/average/late] on a phenomenon that after all encompasses a

little more than three

months? In particular, is there any connection between arrival times

for March migrants and May migrants in a particular year?

      Subjective Answer No. 2: No.

      In my analysis, I'll be comparing my arrival data for selected

species with Charlie Smith's list of historical averages. I'm sure

we've all observed that the time between the first report of a

species and our own first encounter can be quite long, ten days or so

not being uncommon. This year for example, the first Chimney Swift

was reported pretty much on

schedule c. April 24, but widespread reports didn't start to appear until

about May 4.

      Question No. 3: Do a *single* observer's first arrival dates provide a

better idea than the *aggregate* dates of when the bird "truly"

arrives, i.e. is present in significant numbers?

      Subjective Answer No. 3: Though I formed the question so as to sound

like a paradox (a least ingenious paradox?), of course I say: yes.

      Now for the data to play with. I selected five March and ten late

April/early May migrants, the criterion being that they are so widespread

and hard to miss when here that your first sighting will usually be

respectably representative.


species | my range '85-'98| my median date |my '98 date| historical

average arrival


Turkey Vulture     3.2  - 4.7       3.21         3.3              4.5

Killdeer           2.24 - 3.24      3.9          3.6              3.13

Tree Swallow       3.19 - 4.6       3.30         3.28             3.31

Eastern Phoebe     3.26 - 4.8       3.30         3.27             3.25

Eastern Meadowlark 3.7  - 3.31      3.19         3.28             N/A


Chimney Swift      4.20 - 5.5       4.28         5.4              4.24

Eastern Kingbird   5.1  - 5.14      5.6          5.7              5.2

House Wren         4.19 - 5.4       4.30         4.30             4.23

Wood Thrush        5.1  - 5.13      5.7          5.8              4.30

Gray Catbird       4.28 - 5.7       5.1          5.1              4.29

Warbling Vireo     4.23 - 5.9       5.2          5.3              4.30

Yellow Warbler     4.25 - 5.6      4.30         5.6               4.27

American Redstart  5.2  - 5.13      5.8          5.8              5.2

Common Yellowthroat 4.27 - 5.11      5.6          5.6             5.1

Baltimore Oriole    5.2  - 5.8       5.6          5.7             4.30


I should add that the historical data is for 1903-1993. E Meadowlark is

not given because of overwintering birds (though I have seen clear winter

Killdeer more often (twice) than Meadowlark (once).


(Did we mention Karl David is a mathematics professor? If we didn't, we

hereby mention it.)





                       "Stat's Quite Enough of Stat"


                             By Kevin McGowan


In last month's "Stat's All, Folks," Karl predicted my (non)leader

list, based on likely probabilities.  Unlike most of his columns,

however, this one was testable.  So, how well did he do? Here are the

birds he predicted I had:

      First of all, I'm not sure what bird was missing from my list

(the correct total after Feb was indeed 88), but I didn't see the

Lesser Black-backed Gull until 15 March, so this is kind of a

lose/win thing. We'll count it as a success, though.  One of one.

      The "no brainers":

Turkey Vulture


Eastern Phoebe

Tree Swallow

Eastern Meadowlark

Common Grackle


All correct. Give him 7 out of 7 so far.

      The winter finches:

Purple Finch

Red Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill


Oops, missed one.  I got both crossbills the last day of March, but

didn't see Purple Finch until 1 April.  9 of 10.

      Non-automatic, but not too hard:

American Pipit

Fox Sparrow

Rusty Blackbird


Only 2 of 3; I didn't get Fox Sparrow until 1 April.  Does everyone else

always get a bird or two on the first of each month?  11 of 13.

      The late-month trip to Montezuma:

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler

Ring-necked Duck



Pretty good guess.  Ring-neck fell on 18 March, but a 27 March trip to

Montezuma netted the others.  15 of 17 so far.



Northern Saw-whet


Nope.  We had Saw-whet in February and missed the Short-eared.  15 of 19.

      Lake time and Hawk-watching:

White-winged Scoter

Bonaparte's Gull

>Red-shouldered Hawk

Golden Eagle


Ouch!  Only one of four here.  I got the gull, but still have none of the

others (ask Jay about the hawk).  16 of 23.


Hm, that's only 70%.  That would be superb in baseball, but barely passing

in school. What about Karl's projected DIDN'T SEE list?

      The half-hearties:

Double-crested Cormorant

Hermit Thrush

Swamp Sparrow


We stumbled on a Hermit Thrush on 31 March; 2 for 3 here.

      Permanent Residents:

Northern Goshawk

Great Horned Owl

Carolina Wren


I got a passage goshawk, but not the others.  (I still don't have

Carolina Wren!)  4 of 6.

      New birds:

Greater Yellowlegs

Field Sparrow


Got the yellowlegs.  5 of 8.

      Unusual birds:

Black Vulture

Eurasian Wigeon

Red-headed Woodpecker

Pine Grosbeak


Although he hoped he was wrong about the last three, he was,

unfortunately dead right.  We looked for the wigeon and the grosbeak

without success, and didn't try for the others.  So for this stage Karl

got 9 of 12, or a slightly better 75%.

      What did I get that he missed?

Common Snipe

American Woodcock (Karl, how could you forget this one?)

Vesper Sparrow

      So, from this testable exercise we see that Karl's predictions have a

probability of being right 70-75%.  Keep that in mind when you look

over your next big lark flock looking for those sneaky Snow Buntings and

Lapland Longspurs!


(Kevin McGowan is the Curator of the Cornell Vertebrate Collections.

He can play harmonica through his nose, but that doesn't mean he's full

of hot air.)


(If you have an opinion--or insider information--about the art, science,

and/or esthetics of birding or birding-related topics, write it up for

the Scrawl of Fame.)



                      <  COACH'S CORNER        <

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

                     <           <

                      <         <

                        < < < <


Since Matt Medler is never, ever going to get Kickin' Tail glory (he can't

seem to drag himself out of bed in the morning), we thought we'd

allow him to be Coach this month.  Let us know how this rookie does.

He's not tenured yet and can be easily gotten rid of.  (In truth,

we're quite

proud of our boy.)


COACH MEDLER: At first glance, giving coaching advice during the month

of May might seem like a no-brainer.  The simple, two-word strategy:  go

outside.  There are birds everywhere in May.  Ahhh- but upon further

reflection, I would argue that May might be the hardest month for


to write Coach's Corner (this, of course, is why the Editors selected

me for the task.  It has nothing to do with the fact that Stephen

Davies recently got married and has subsequently disappeared off the

face of the Basin).  While May is undoubtedly the birdiest month of

the year, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of spring

migration and focus on

the "wrong" birds.  Personally, after the long Ithaca winter, I am

very happy to sit and watch a beautiful male Yellow Warbler sing his

"sweet sweet sweet he's so sweet" heart out.  That sentiment comes

from the

birdwatcher in me.  The Cupper in me says, "Forget about Yellow

Warblers."  Why?  Not because I don't appreciate them.  It's just

that I know I can

see plenty of them in June.  If I'm going to compete seriously in the

Cup, I've got to go after birds in May that I'm not likely to see at

any other time during the year.  I can then go back to concentrating


breeding species during the early part of June.  The following is the

list of migrants that I would concentrate on picking up now, along

with likely spots for seeing them:

      Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Blackpoll Warblers: These birds should

be arriving any day now.  They all seem to be spotted every year at

the City Cemetery, located below Stewart Ave.  Or, in the case of

Cape May,

try camping out on the Editors' famous fire escape.

      Golden-winged Warbler: While at least two birds were seen last year

in June or July, the most reliable spot (if there is such a thing for

this species in the Basin) for this stoinker seems to be in the

hemlocks found closest to Fall Creek in the Mundy Wildflower Garden.

      Nashville & Tennessee Warblers, Northern Parula: These birds are

all listed as fairly common migrants, and I agree in the case of


but I've had my problems with Tennessee and parula.  Ask the experts

for good spots for these two. [NOTE: The editors have had good luck


these species along the road out to the jetty.  And, of course, in

their near and dear Sapsucker Woods.]

      Lincoln's Sparrow: This bird should be passing through the area

now. Sapsucker Woods is usually a good place to find them, and Ken

Rosenberg could make it easy by turning one up at "his" feeder, and

then PROMPTLY posting it to Cayuga Birds.

      White-crowned Sparrow: Did these birds already pass through?  If

so, you've always got a shot at them in the fall.

      Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrush: There always seems to be a

few days in May     where the City Cemetery is just crawling with

Swainson's Thrushes.  As for Gray-cheekeds, assistant coach Curtis

Marantz says, "Where there are  Swainson's, there are Gray-cheekeds.

It's just that the ratio is about 50:1."

      Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers:  Look for

Olive-sideds at the top of dead snags, at Sapsucker Woods or in the

vicinity of the City Cemetery and Cascadilla Creek.  Yellow-bellieds

have been reported in recent years from Sapsucker Woods (both sides

of the road), Mundy, and from a wooded area on Caswell Road.

      Ruddy Turnstone: At least last year, this bird was reported in

the springtime, but not in the fall.  Check the sand spit at Myers

Point for this bird and any other late northbound shorebirds.

      Brant: This species is one of the latest spring migrants, and

definitely the last waterfowl to move north.  Although this species

seems to be easier to pick up in the fall, keep an eye out for them

if you are along the lake at the end of May.

      Once you've gotten all of these species covered, it's time to

move onto Basin breeders which you missed during migration.  We'll

leave that topic for next month's coach.


(Matt Medler works at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's esteemed Library

of Natural Sounds.  He suffers from an acute case of green trailer



mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



THE CUP: Painful as it is for us to bring you this news, Kevin,

you're leading in the McIlroy this month!


MCGOWAN: What's the matter with you guys?  How can I be the leader in two



THE CUP: Um, er, ah...


MCGOWAN: I guess when the rest of the world slacks off I'm the closest

thing to a non-slacker left.  Man, that's a scary thought!


THE CUP: You ain't kidding! What does the McIlroy contest mean to

you, anyway? We know it's not Dryden, but...


MCGOWAN: Everything, just everything!  I'd sell my children to be the winner!


THE CUP: Ah, just give us their bird lists.


MCGOWAN: Actually, I'm not really trying to add McIlroy birds.  I just

keep track of the ones I see.  The only really good reason to compete

strongly in the McIlroy competition is to annoy Allison--


THE CUP: [*#&%*#! in the background] Um, that was Jeff.


MCGOWAN: --and that's going to disappear soon when she moves to

Dryden country.


THE CUP: That's Etna to you! How hard do you bird in McTerritory,

anyway? Tell the truth.


MCGOWAN: Not hard.  Stewart Park is there, of course, and lots shows up

at Stewart Park that is worth looking at.  Other than that, it's just

where the crows live.


THE CUP: How sweet. Which town will boast more species this year, Ithaca

or Dryden, and should Ken Rosenberg be allowed to contribute to

Dryden's when he identifies those Dryden Lake birds by their

silhouettes-- from

his scoped-up bedroom two miles away!


MCGOWAN: I find the parity of last year's results from the two towns

interesting. (And Lansing could be just as high if anyone would try to

do it.)


THE CUP: Yuh. Like you're not.


MCGOWAN: I don't know if that reflects something about the areas

themselves or rather says something about the effort that can be

expended by small numbers of people.  It will be close, but I vote



THE CUP: Fool!


MCGOWAN: Ken is a valuable contributor.  Hey, he's got phenomenal

eyes! Besides, my Dryden Lake scoping area is farther away than Ken's.


THE CUP: In other words, Ken's ice-chunk "Snowy Owls" (remember, Bard?)

are just blurs from your deck.  What's on your CD player?


MCGOWAN: I think it's the Stokes bird song guide (Lang Elliot's).


THE CUP: What are some Mc birds that you don't have in Dryden, and will

you get them there?


MCGOWAN: Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Canvasback, Redhead, Broad-winged

Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Merlin, American Coot, Iceland Gull, Lesser

Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern, Veery, Pine Warbler, Louisiana

Waterthrush.  I'll eventually get most of them in Dryden, but some of

the ducks are surprisingly difficult.  I mean, Dryden Lake is pretty

small, after all.  Unless we get another field full of rotting fish,

the odd gulls are a low probability.


THE CUP: Do you think you'll be able to keep Bill Evans under control

and make it a Grand Slam victory (David, Ithaca, Dryden, and Lansing)

this year?


MCGOWAN: Evans is no problem; he's just a legend in his own mind.


THE CUP: Disillusioned. Alarmingly desperate.  Delusional.


MCGOWAN:  A Grand Slam could be fun.  If I was a truly competitive person,

which I'm not


THE CUP: Ha! Ha! Ha!


MCGOWAN: --I might even try for it.  After all, my support team is my

entire Cupping family. Nah, it can't be done.  [Insert the usual



THE CUP: We'll wait for Jay to make the clean sweep as soon as he gets

his driver's license. See ya at the Haunt Friday for Luther "Guitar" Johnson?


MCGOWAN: You mean live blues?   It has been so long I can't remember

where the Haunt is.  I'll try to be there!



                  BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH

                      By Caissa Willmer


      April's Bird Brain has been a birder for about 25 years, but,

she adds, "I didn't get really serious about it until I came to

Ithaca 13

years ago. The Cayuga Bird Club and Cornell Lab of O and its

associated staff intensified my interest."

      She is Anne Kendall, mother of a six- and a four-year-old, whose

voice has become a familiar one on the Cayugabirds listserv. The

Dietetic Program Director in the Division of Nutritional Sciences

here at Cornel, she teaches undergraduates about the applied aspects

of nutrition such as meal planning, food preparation and

presentation, and clinical

dietetics-planning diets for various health disorders and delivering

nutritional care in clinical settings.

      She became interested in birds when she became a serious gardener.

"I would be working in my garden and notice the birds flying and

singing. I got a bird feeder and began watching the birds more

intently, becoming fascinated with the predictability of some of

their behaviors. The cardinals, for example, would be the first to

come to the

feeder in the morning and the last to feed at night.

      "The most exciting of my early birding memories were when I

first identified, on my own, birds that, for me, were out of the

ordinary and that I had never noticed before. I was out in the woods

one spring day,

and a Black-and-white Warbler was foraging on a tree right next to

me.  I was so astounded that I had even seen this little bird.  I can

also remember my first Rose-breasted Grosbeak in a tree on the

Charles River in Natick, Mass, and being struck by its dramatic

beauty. I recall visiting

my parents in Rochester and going hiking in a little nature center in

Irondequoit where I grew up and coming upon a Fox Sparrow.  This was

the first sparrow outside of Song and White-throat that I had ever

identified, and I was so pleased to have recognized it as something


      "My most memorable birding experience, though, took place about

12 years ago in Indiana Dunes State Park at the end of the second

week in May. Indiana Dunes is a migrant trap--the last land at the

south end of Lake Michigan.  I was there on a sunny windless early

morning when the neotropical migrants landed to feed after flying all

night.  In the space of about 100 yards I saw an incredibly diverse

collection of warblers,

flycatchers, and vireos.  I collected about 15 life birds. I have

never since experienced anything like that morning.

      "Another favorite birding memory is a Cayuga Bird Club field

trip to Amherst Island during the years that Ned Brinkley and Adam

Byrne were club members. They always managed to find any bird there

was to be found. On Amherst Island, we saw six different owls and

after circling the island Sunday morning and finding our sixth, a

Great Horned Owl, Ned proposed

that we drive to Ottawa to look for the Northern Hawk Owl that had

been found along the river all winter.  So we drove 2   hours to

Ottawa, arriving around 4 pm at the owl spot.  We tramped along the

river but

were having no luck.  Some of us began grumbling about obligations

back in Ithaca (me among them), when all of a sudden the owl flew in

to its customary perch.  We had really great up close looks and

headed back to Ithaca with the great satisfaction that only a manic

bird chase can give.

      "In many ways birding is a spiritual experience for me. It is

one of the ways that I get in touch with the natural world and the

cycle of the seasons. I do a lot of solitary birding, and it's a time

to contemplate the beauty of the world around me and my place in it.

      "Birding has come to have a daily impact on my life. I am always

noticing the birds around me. I carry my binoculars almost

everywhere. However, I don't chase unusual birds if it is not

convenient because the children make lots of demands on my time. I

don't see many of the one day wonders, but if a bird stays around, I

often will make a trip to

look for it, if it's relatively close by.  I certainly did a lot more

chasing last year for the David Cup than I ever have before.

      "I am a lister to a certain extent. And this year and last I've kept

a David Cub list--the most fun list I've ever kept. I keep a life

list, although I have no idea how many birds I have on it.  I keep a

yard list, and I bird the same territory for the Christmas Count and

keep a comparative list for that.  I always keep trip lists whenever

I travel, especially if it's a birding trip.  I kept year lists for

about three years, but gave that up when I realized that the length

of my year list depended more on where I traveled that year than

anything else.   My greatest birding triumph has to be making it into

the 200 club in the

David Cup competition last year.  I worked very hard on that and only

made it by the skin of my teeth with 205 birds.  I don't expect to make

it this year because I'm not putting in the time that I put in last

year. I did become a much better birder, though, and I also got 7

life birds doing all the chasing that I did last year.

      "Still, my favorite birding spots in the Basin are the familiar

places that I go all the time--my own neighborhood in Ellis Highlands;

Hurd Rd. which I try to walk the length of every weekend; the Cornell

Plantations which I walk through nearly everyday during the

week while I'm at work; and Old 600, my favorite warbler spot in the spring.

      "Even though I'm a frequent solitary birder, most of my

memorable Basin recollections have to do with social birding

occasions.  The first Cayuga Bird Club field trip I went on was one

of my most memorable.  It

was led by John Confer, and Sandy Podulka and I were the only people

who showed up for it.  My life list probably has 10 birds on it from

that trip alone. We did the round-the-lake trip and because we had only

one car, we spent the entire day and really did all of the spots in

'Birding the Cayuga Lake Basin.  John really knows the habitats and

is a great trip leader.

      "The first time I ever saw and heard a Barred Owl was at Marty

Schlabach's old house on Ringwood Rd.  After calling in the bird in

the early morning, Marty cooked pancakes for all of us, served with


maple syrup.

      "One time when Ned Brinkley was the field trip coordinator for

the bird club, he organized a trip aboard the Loon-A-Sea to find

Red-throated Loon. I saw my first and only Red-throated Loon on this

trip.  It was a gorgeous, warm fall morning out on Cayuga Lake and

the red-throat was in amongst a crowd of Common Loons, giving us a

great opportunity to contrast its diminutive size and head and neck

shape with the larger

Common Loons.

      "I bird everywhere I travel.  The first thing I usually do when I

know I am going somewhere is to check Mann Library for birdfinding

books. They have a good selection that is almost never in use. If

Mann doesn't have anything, I check the American Birding Association

catalogue and buy a birdfinding guide for the area.

      "My first serious birding vacation was a trip to Yellowstone and

back by car.  I camped out every night and saw some amazing

countryside and

some great birds.  I really enjoyed the prairie landscape of the Dakotas.

I camped out in the Badlands and went to sleep with coyotes howling

and woke to the sound of Western Meadowlarks singing everywhere.

Lark Buntings seemed to be on every fence post and Yellow-headed

Blackbirds and Upland Sandpipers were easy to find. I camped out in

Custer National Forest in Montana on the way back and saw my life


Bunting--a gorgeous bird.  In the prairie pothole area of North

Dakota I saw my life Common Nighthawks and heard them doing their

"booming" display as they foraged over my camp site. It was light out

until 10:30 because

I was on the western edge of the Central Time Zone.  I found ducks

everywhere I turned, many of which were life birds for me at that

time (I had only just moved to Ithaca).  I saw a breeding-plumaged

Chestnut-collared Longspur on a fencepost, a really striking bird and


Pelicans on the Missouri River, the first time I had ever seen pelicans

at an inland site.  I would love to do that trip again now that I am a

much better birder, know about birdfinding guides and have much

better optics and knowledge about how and when to find birds.

      "I've been to southeastern Arizona twice.  On my first trip, I think

I saw 80 life birds.  The landscape in Arizona is astonishing. The

bird life is  wonderful and easy to see compared to many other

places, and the birding hot spots have wonderful accommodations-the

Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon, the cabins in Ramsey Canyon at the

Nature Conservancy preserve and the Southwest Research Station in the


Mountains.   Every birder should go to Arizona!  Even non-birders

would enjoy these places.

      "My other really memorable vacation was a trip to Paris and to

Spain with my husband who was attending a conference and working with


colleague in Paris, during the second and third weeks in April.  The

second week in April in Paris is like the second week in May here, with

all the trees beginning to leaf out and the birds singing.  Every morning

I went to the Bois de Boulogne to look for birds.  It is terribly

disorienting to hear bird song everywhere and not recognize any of

the songs.  By the third morning, though, I knew most of the songs I

was hearing and was able to identify all of the common urban birds.  I

also had a brief trip in the countryside around Rouen where I found

birds not found in Paris.  In Spain, the weather was really terrible,

but my last day there the weather cleared, and I went birding and found

all kinds of birds I hadn't seen in France because the landscape was

much drier and the vegetation more sparse.

      "One of the most fun birding activities in my life now is watching

my kids learn about birds.  They can recognize many of the birds that

come to our feeders and can name many of the birds in some easy bird


that they own.  It's great fun to introduce them to something that gives

me such pleasure.  They are already far more aware of birds than I

was until the time I began to notice birds in my 20s.


(Caissa Willmer is a Senior Staff Writer for the Cornell Office of

Development.  She's also theater critic for the Ithaca Times. Read it.

You'll see.)



                                BIRD VERSE



                             Your bird verse here



                               DEAR TICK



Because birders suffer so many unique trials and tribulations, The Cup

has graciously provided Cuppers with a kind, sensitive and intuitive

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

like these...




With the final (sob! sob!) episode of Seinfeld impending, I need to

know: Is our own Father of the Madness Karl David related to

Seinfeld's Father

of Nothingness (cocreator) Larry David?

                                         --Nothing to Lose in Dryden


Dear Nothing to Lose:


The real question is, is Larry David related to our Karl?  But I won't be

able to ask him, his stardom may have put him out of even my grasp,

believe it or not.  But I'll see if I can track down Larry, instead.


(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at


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


"Dear Editors,

Ouch!  Ok, maybe I deserved it, but Karl's column really is interesting.

Still, Scott Mardis calculates his monthly totals in Base 2 and _I'm_

the geek?  Excellent issue, once again.  Kudos."

                                              --Mike Runge


"RE: earlier mention of the elusive Pileated Woodie - I've seen 3

this year! I've only spotted them twice before *ever*."

                                               --Ann Mathieson


"There should be a name for this aspect [heard-only] of the contest.

How about the "Ray Charles Trophy'?  The  Blind Lemon Jefferson Prize'?

Or maybe the  Barn Owl Laurel'?"

                                              --Dave Mellinger


"A single male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen below our feeders

by my wife yesterday.... After preening it flew up to a tree and started

singing like a slightly mad robin."

                                                     --- Nari Mistry


"I went to the Cemetery later in the afternoon.... I've never seen

more Juncos acting like warblers!  It was annoying."

                                              --Matt Sarver


"Well, I went out yesterday to try and reap my share of the recent

warbler bonanza, and like the City Cemetary folks, I pretty much struck

out on the new migrants."

                                                Alan Krakauer


"Oh, the shame! My David Cup total is still hovering at ... Zero! Zip.

Nada. Aucune des oiseaux. Bird-challenged. This could be in part due to

the fact that I am currently in the California desert and have not yet

set foot in the Basin this year. On the other hand, maybe that's just

so much whining. Besides, I prefer to hover high overhead, observing

everyone else from afar and then, when the time is ripe, stooping down at

>blood-curdling speed to claim my prey. So, watch your backs."


                                  --Ralph "The Peregrine" Paonessa


"Still zero on this end for both Mira (the Bird Dog) and me, unless

she snuck off to the Basin without telling me."

                                      --Larry Springsteen


"I got to thinking about poor under-birded Dryden Lake yesterday

afternoon. I've heard that Dryden birders have become so casual about it

that they rely on Ken Rosenberg to scope the lake once in a while from

his bedroom window two miles away."

                                       --Geo Kloppel


"After meeting up with Allison Wells and John Bower, I learned that

there are Pine Siskins hanging out over at  Ken Rosenberg's feeders,' so

I was able to go over and see them, together with some beautiful male

American Goldfinches.  I'm sure Ken was just about to post something

about the siskins, so that he won't win the Slowpoke Poster award again,

but I thought I'd mention them just in case."


                                        --Matt Medler


"[The scoters] were still [on Dryden Lake], along with a Ruddy Duck,

at dusk tonight, Wed. But I can't vouch for tomorrow."

                                            --Bard Prentiss


"Was thrilled to hear a Louisiana Waterthrush singing his little heart

out this afternoon in our gorge.  When Susie and I got out of the car

to look at this house the first time, a Waterthrush sang.  That was

enough for me, didn't even need to go inside to know I wanted to buy



                                            --John Bower


"Yesterday, we managed to add a few new species to our year lists.  Most

have already been reported by others.  One that has not was a bright

fawn-colored Veery in Sapsucker Woods."

                                            --Kevin McGowan


"Dave Ross and I went to Salmon Creek this morning yadda yadda yadda.

This is what we heard: ... Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat

(both warblers will of course be dutifully noted on Warbler Watch)."


                                             --Matt Medler


"So far today I've had Black & White, Blue-Winged, Black-Throated

Green, Chestnut-Sided and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, American Redstart,

Ovenbird and Common Yellowthroat. Like Matt, I recognize my duty, and

fill out a daily WARBLER WATCH form, available at

<<>http://birdsource.cornell.<http://birdsource.cornell. <http://birdsource.cornell.%3C>

edu <http://birdsource.cornell.%3C>>edu>."

                                            ---Geo Kloppel

"Get the hint?"

                                             --the Editors


"Why didn't the Northern Waterthrush cross the road? Because he didn't

want to become a McIlroy bird, of course. This morning, he, a Great

Crested Flycatcher, a Swamp Sparrow, and a Common Yellowthroat were

all singing on the  wrong' side of Sapsucker Woods Rd. All four were

potential McIlroys, but only the yellowthroat crossed over. And Happy

90th Birthday, Dorothy!"

                                               --Karl David


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff