Year 3, Issue 5


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*The electronic 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: 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

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

*  Bird Brain Correspondent: "Downtown" Caissa Willmer

*  Payroll Clerk: Jeff Wells



Ain't spring grand?  Sun, green grass, spring peepers in the evening.

Before you know it, the warblers will be arriving!  City Cemetery

will be fluttering with Blackburnians, Black-throated Blues, and

Chestnut-sideds.  A Golden-wing for the blessed, gleaning the

evergreens of Mundy Wildflower Garden, where, like last year

19--count 'em, 19!--species of warblers will brighten the pines

along the ridge.  And everywhere you go, Cuppers will be gleefully

exclaiming, "I just saw my first-of-year Northern Parula" and "Man,

I got killer looks at a Bay-breasted in Sapsucker Woods." Heck,

soon we'll be dreaming about all the warblers we saw. Any day now

our eyes will feel like they're on fire with all those warbl--huh? What's

that? The warblers came and went already?  But where were

those flocks?  And the songs, where were the songs?  But...


Um...we present to you The Cup 3.5.


                        @   @    @    @    @     @

                             NEWS, CUES, and BLUES

                           @   @    @    @     @     @


WELCOME TO THE DAVID CUP CLAN: Soon we'll have to start the

Allen Cup. You know, a Cornell Lab of Ornithology Cup for Lab

employees. That's right, another has joined the foray. Steve Pantle,

who works in the esteemed Library of Natural Sounds, has kicked in

his totals!  "I guess this means I better get around the lake at

least once, huh?" says Steve.  "With any luck I will join the 200

Club at the end of this month." Now, the rest of you Cuppers, don't panic.

Steve is nowhere near Ken Rosenberg's prime green trailer

real estate.  And get this: his studio is sound-proof! Good luck,

Steve. Heh, heh, heh.


GOOD BIRDEE?: Have you seen the new movie "Hope Floats"?  Well,

don't.  Because Newsweek and other Cup-wannabes gave it lukewarm

reviews?  No, because the main character's name is Birdee 

and she's not a bird at all! Heck, she ain't even a birder! Forget it. Rent

"Bird".  Again.  True, the main "character" in that movie isn't a birder,

either, but since it's based on the life of jazz legend

Charlie "Bird" Parker, who cares?


WELLS SAID: Before you go wasting Dear Tick's precious time, let it

be known right now: Jeff Wells is not related to ace Yankee pitcher

David Wells.  So he threw a perfect game recently. Big deal.  His Basin

list stinks.


WARBLER WATCH:  The breeding season

is here. Help put it on the map by reporting your warbler sighting!


BIRD CUP BLUES AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Were we pleased that

Cupper Kevin McGowan came through on his promise to make it to the

Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson gig at The Haunt recently?  You know

it! It meant we didn't have to scrap together some pathetic excuse

for a blues/jazz round-up. Kevin filed this report: "In a surprise

move that caught many cuppers off guard, blues returned to The Haunt

in May.  Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson played to a less than packed house

on Friday the 16th.  Three active Cuppers and one Cupper

wannabe [Cup reader Sara Barker] were in attendance and had a great time.

The electric blues rifts were as sweet to the ears as the

songs of returning warblers (but louder). The Haunt had been

bluesless for so long that I almost forgot live blues existed, just

as the tropical migrants seem but a figment of imagination during

the long winter months.  Johnson displayed skills that showed why

he's won a Grammy, and demonstrated clearly that he has been with

the blues for a long time.  Like an experienced Cupper knowing

just where and when to go for shorebirds, Johnson had no

tentativeness in his performance.  It was obvious that he knew the

blues as well as Karl knows the Basin.  The backup band was good and

the other guitar slinger had real talent.  Still, it was obvious who

the star of the show was.  Just as Red-winged Blackbirds, robins,

and grackles in February give one hope that winter might really end

and all the migrants return, perhaps this concert is a sign that

blues just might come back to Ithaca.  It's been a long winter."


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

                              BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS


                                    Geo Kloppel



      As April ended, I reluctantly put away fantasies of following the

waterfowl north to landscapes where human dominion is not so

devastatingly apparent. I secluded Barry Lopez's ARCTIC DREAMS on a

high shelf, and when that proved ineffective (I'm on the tall side) I

loaned the book to a friend, working up some excitement instead by

anticipating the migration of other birds into and through the Cayuga

Basin. The event may not achieve arctic grandeur, but it's thrilling

all the same for those who feel the planetary tilt tugging against tethered

hearts and lives.

      Then came weeks of waiting, during which I rose every morning before

dawn expecting that a big wave of mixed migrants should have swept in

during the night. But May seems finally to have mumbled

rather than spoken. Perhaps Warbler Watch will reveal whether the big

concentrations gave our area the dodge, leapfrogged over us, or dispersed

before they reached us. The blurted leaf-out, the lapse of

the City Cemetery as migrant mecca, and the quick onset of breeding

made us scramble to locate transient species before their passage

became history, and many lists feature more holes than their keepers would

like. The disappointment echoes the earlier local fizzle of

hawk migration. But there you have it: the Cayuga Basin is not the

Yukon Delta, or even Presque Isle PA, but just a swath of inland

territory with some fortuitous physical geography that often, but not

invariably, makes for considerable traffic and interesting fallout.

      If finding thrushes, warblers and such was tough this spring,

the shorebirds provided some welcome distraction, thanks to the continued

existence of two tiny patches of suitable habitat in all

the Cayuga Basin. It was nice to see spring shorebirds drop in at

Myers Point or Benning on schedule per Steve Kelling's well-known

graph, remarkably confirming the value of the copy I carry folded in

my field-guide. Although there were no Whimbrel or Red Knots, we did have

multiple sightings of WILSON'S PHALAROPE, and all of the more dependable

spring shorebirds were seen, some on their way to the

high arctic archipelagos. Shall we hope that more shorebird habitat

will be created at the mucklands property newly added to the

Montezuma Refuge? It was disappointing to see it being farmed again,

but I'm guessing (merely guessing!) that water-control structures

have to be built before it can be effectively managed as wetland.

      A couple of RED-THROATED LOONS and some SURF SCOTERS

were among the waterfowl trailing behind April's northbound flocks. There

was a solitary report of LEAST BITTERN at Sapsucker Woods on

the 2nd. Dave Nutter confirmed a GREAT EGRET at a pond on South Hill

on the 12th. COMMON, CASPIAN, and BLACK TERNS filled out the expected

Sterninae. Scattered COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were seen, and one

WHIP-POOR-WILL gave this correspondent a thrilling 5-minute

performance on the 13th in West Danby.

      One or more RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS turned up in the

Sheldrake area. A few OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were reported,

and at least one ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, but no Yellow-Bellied

Flycatchers. GRAY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES stopped off briefly

or were detected by voice in night flight. PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen on

at least 4 occasions. The PROTHONOTARY WARBLER at last year's MNWR site was

a welcome return, as was WORM-EATING WARBLER in West Danby. Thirty-one

warbler species in total turned up for one diligent birder

or another.


were found up the east side of Cayuga Lake. Kevin McGowan had a LINCOLN'S

SPARROW drop in briefly at Beam Hill. Scattered ORCHARD ORIOLES were

reported. And of course, both RED and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, PINE SISKINS

and EVENING GROSBEAKS continued to be seen.

      May wasn't much for rarities, but cheer up! Hurricane season is just

around the corner.


(Geo Kloppel makes and repairs violin bows. Rumor has it Geo spent the

last six day determined to bury Kevin's 203 freeze. Of course, that comes

to us from Kevin McGowan.)


100      100      100      100      100      100      100       100


         100 CLUB

100      100       100      100       100       100       100       100


John Bower's Bird 100: House Wren


Nancy Dickinson's Bird 100: Northern Waterthrush


Kim Kline's Bird 100: Blue-winged Teal


Jim Lowe's Bird 100: Great Crested Flycatcher


Marty Schlabach's Bird 100: Least Flycatcher


Steve Pantle's Bird 100: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

"I had the bird prior to 100 but forgot to check it off.  The bird

immediately following it was Willow Flycatcher, this is probably more

accurate for the actual 100th bird."


200           200          200          200           200


         2   0    0

      200             200                            200        200


Geo Kloppel's Bird 200: Alder Flycatcher


Jay McGowan's Bird 200: Carolina Wren


Kevin McGowan's Bird 200: Philadelphia Vireo


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


1998 David Cup May Totals


Compiled by Matt Medler


206 Geo Kloppel

203 Kevin McGowan

200 Jay McGowan

195 Ken Rosenberg

187 Allison Wells

186 Meena Haribal

185 Chris Butler

181 Jeff Wells

179 Karl David

179 Anne Kendall

176 Steve Kelling

173 Pat Lia

173 Matt Medler

168 Alan Krakauer

161 Matt Sarver

154 John Greenly

151 John Morris

146 Jon Kloppel

137 Nancy Dickinson

134 John Bower

134 Marty Schlabach

122 Perri McGowan

118 Ben Taft

115 Martha Fischer

112 Stephen Davies

112 Kim Kline

111 Jim Lowe

102 Tom Nix

101 Steve Pantle

  99 Melanie Uhler

  95 Gary Chapin

  85 Michael Runge

  84 Carol Bloomgarden

  84 John Fitzpatrick

  84 Marty Schlabach

  76 Kylie Spooner

  74 Swift (David "Kitty" Cup)

  72 Anne James

  70 Ann Mathieson

  50 Caissa Willmer

  46 Dave Mellinger

  45 Mimi Wells (David "Kitty" Cup)

  42 Scott Mardis

  41 Cathy Heidenreich

  40 Teddy Wells (David "Kitty" Cup)

  39 Kurt Fox

  35 Tom Lathrop

  34 Margaret Barker

  26 Andy Leahy

  24 Figaro (David "Kitty"Cup)

   0 James "Aloha" Barry*

   0 Ralph Paonessa*

   0 Larry Springsteen*

   0 Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen*


*Currently living out-of-state.  But that's (still) no excuse.


1998 McIlroy Award May Totals


Compiled by Matt Medler


131 Allison Wells

130 Jeff Wells

129 Kevin McGowan

114 Karl David

107 Jay McGowan

104 Ken Rosenberg

  96 Jim Lowe

  93 Martha Fischer

  89 John Bower

  89 Matt Medler

  80 Anne Kendall

  71 Michael Runge

  60 Stephen Davies

  58 Ben Taft

  42 Dave Mellinger


1998 Evans Trophy March Totals


Compiled by Bard Prentiss


171 Ken Rosenberg

161 Kevin McGowan

157 Jay McGowan

124 Matt Young

120 Bard Prentiss


1998 May Lansing Totals


Compiled by Matt Medler



120 Kevin McGowan

118 John Greenly


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


By Margaret Launius


Nearly half-way through the year, the New York contingent of the

Yard Bird project is waging a fierce battle for first place with Ken Smith

of Groton just overtaking Steve Kelling of Berkshire! Six yardbirders have

already made it into the 100 Club!


124     Ken Smith, Groton, NY

120     Steve Kelling, Berkshire, NY

114     Ken Rosenberg, Dryden, NY

110     John W. Fitzpatrick, Ithaca, NY

107     Kevin McGowan, Dryden, NY

104     John Bower, Enfield, NY

  85    Bill Purcell, Hastings, NY

  79    Nancy Dickinson, Trumansburg, NY

  76    Mary Gerner, Macedon, NY

  74    Sara Jane & Larry Hymes, Ithaca, NY

  70    George Kloppel, W. Danby, NY

  68    Jim Kimball, Geneseo, NY

  65    Sandy Podulka, Brooktondale, NY

  64    John Greenly, Ludlowville, NY

  62    Darlene Morabito, Auburn, NY

  59    Nari Mistry, Ithaca, NY

  51    Joanne Goetz, Fredonia, NY

  51    Ben Taft, Ithaca, NY

  48    Ann Mathieson, Scipio Center, NY

  47    Marie McRae, Freeville, NY

  41    Cathy Heidenreich, Lyons, NY

  40    Chris & Diane Tessaglia-Hymes, Etna NY

  24    Susann  Argetsinger, Burdett, NY




By Karl David


We knew Kevin McGowan's once-a-week only birding with Jay (or so

he says) could only carry him so far in a cut-throat competition

like David Cup. The wonder of it is how far it did carry him. But

this month the new kid on the block finally shook him off. With no warbler

in West Danby safe from his keen eyes, is it any wonder that

the new sole leader is Geo Kloppel? Here's his list. And if you're

wondering how he could have missed Cape May Warbler ... well, he probably

didn't ... he was just loath to include it, citing "higher standards" for

Cup lists than for personal ones. We keep tellin'

ya ... this is one classy act you're participatin' in!


R-t & C Loon,P-b,Horned & R-n Grebe,D-c Cormorant,Am Bittern,

G B & Green 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 & W-w Scoter,C Goldeneye,Bufflehead,Hooded,C & 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,Ruffled Grouse,Wild Turkey,C Moorhen,Am Coot,

Semipalmated Plover,Killdeer,G & L Yellowlegs,Solitary,Spotted,

Upland,Semipalmated,Least,W-r & Pectoral Sandpiper,Dunlin,C Snipe,

Am Woodcock,W's Phalarope,B's,R-b,Herring,Iceland,L B-b & G B-b

Gull,Caspian,C,F's & Black Tern,Rock & Mourning Dove,B-b & Y-b

Cuckoo,E Screech-Owl,G H,Barred,L-e,S-e & N S-w Owl,CNighthawk,

W-p-w,Chimney Swift,R-t Hummingbird,Belted Kingfisher [did he get into

the Wild Turkey?],R-h & R-b Woodpecker,Y-b Sapsucker,Downy & Hairy

Woodpecker,N Flicker,Pileated Woodpecker,E Wood-Pewee,Alder,

Willow & Least Flycatcher,E Phoebe,G C Flycatcher,E Kingbird,Horned

Lark,Purple Martin,Tree,N R-w,Bank,Cliff & Barn Swallow,Blue Jay,

Am & Fish Crow,C Raven,B-c Chickadee,Tufted Titmouse,R-b & W-b

Nuthatch,Brown Creeper,Carolina,House,Winter & Marsh Wren, G-c

& R-c Kinglet,B-g Gnatcatcher,E Bluebird,Veery,Hermit & Wood Thrush,

Am Robin,Gray Catbird,N Mockingbird,Brown Thrasher,Am Pipit,Cedar Waxwing,N

Shrike, Eurostarling,B-h,Y-t,Warbling,Philly & R-e Vireo,

B-w,TN & Nashville Warbler,N Parula,Yellow,C-s,Magnolia,B-t blue,

Y-r,B-t Green,Blackburnian,Pine,Prairie,B-b, Blackpoll,Cerulean &

B-and-w Warbler,Am Redstart,Prothonotary & W-e Warbler,

Ovenbird,N & LA Waterthrush,Mourning Warbler,C Yellowthroat,

Hooded & Canada Warbler,Scarlet Tanager,N Cardinal,R-b Grosbeak,

Indigo Bunting,E Towhee,Am Tree, Chipping,Field,Vesper,Savannah,

Grasshopper,Fox,Song,Swamp & W-t Sparrow,D-e Junco,S Bunting, Bobolink,R-w

Blackbird,E Meadowlark,Rusty Blackbird,C Grackle, B-h Cowbird,Baltimore

Oriole,Pine Grosbeak,Purple & House Finch,Red &

W-w Crossbill,C Redpoll,Pine Siskin,Am Goldfinch,Evening Grosbeak,

House Sparrow.


Total: 206






Well, nobody sees everything, though Geo's trying. By next month he'll

have a few of these knocked off:


L Bittern,Great Egret,B-c Night-Heron,Brant,E Wigeon,Oldsquaw,

Black Scoter, BLACK VULTURE,R-s & B-w Hawk,Golden Eagle,

Peregrine Falcon,GYRFALCON,Va Rail, Sora,B-b Plover,R Turnstone,

S-b Dowitcher,Glaucous Gull,Snowy Owl,O-s,Y-b &Acadian Flycatcher,

G-c & S's Thrush,G-w, Cape May,Palm & W's Warbler,H's,L's &

W-c Sparrow,Lapland Longspur,Orchard Oriole,HOARY REDPOLL.


Grand Total: 241


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

NY, currently on sabbatical at Cornell. He was recently seen around

the Basin in wool underwear...)



                      <  COACH'S CORNER        <

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

                     <           <

                      <         <

                        < < < <


Remember Stephen Davies, the Brit with Wit who's since vanished into

the depths of marriagedom...and who knows where else?  Well, his

Coach's Corner was so good last June that we're reprinting it here! By the

way, if you see Stephen around, tell him to come back.


COACH DAVIES: Okay, team, so June is with us already.  What does

this mean for Cuppers and their gameplan? Seems like spring

migration only just started, and now it's already in its death throes,

except for a few shorebirds who postponed their trip to the God-

forsaken north for as long as possible.  The breeding season is in

full swing from one end of the Basin to the other, and we are

deafened by the hum as every organism in it gets down to the nitty-gritty

of procreation. The fruits of their labors are already

evident. Fledgling starlings (dang Eurotrash) are decimating $10

worth of suet cakes a day in our yard.  All kinds of trials

and tribulations beset the intrepid  Cupper at this time.

Passerines melt into the ever-thickening canopy overhead, and birds

of field and marsh tiptoe behind a shimmering curtain of green.

Anyone venturing far from the beaten path faces hoards of voracious

blood-sucking arthropods and the prospect of losing several pints of

precious body fluids.  Might as well just hang up those bins, pour yourself

  a big G & T with-ice-and-slice, and wait for fall, huh?

...IN YOUR DREAMS ...err, except maybe for Tom Nix [Editors'note:

substitute Tom Nix for Geo Kloppel and/or Kevin McGowan here.]  As

I see it, there are two main objectives this month:


Objective #1

      June is the perfect time to catch up on scarce and elusive

breeders you may have missed earlier in the year.  Try these on for size:

both bitterns, Sora, Virginia Rail (all at Tschache Pool at Montezuma--go

in the early evening), Upland Sandpiper (Wood Road) [Editors' note: maybe],

both cuckoos (just keep eyes & ears open), Acadian Flycatcher (Salmon

Creek), Prothonotary (Armitage Road

bridge at Montezuma), Mourning, Hooded and Worm-eating warblers

(Hammond Hill, Bio Preserve in West Danby), Henslow's Sparrow

(Rafferty Rd.). Get the picture?  If there are any of these you

haven't caught up with these yet, don't let me catch you sitting out

the summer in the shade.  And who knows what you might stumble across

in the meantime.  Whip-poor-will?  A wandering Black Vulture or rare heron?

Or even (dare I suggest it) Dickcissel?  Only once all the possibilities

have been exhausted can we join Tom under the palm

tree for a cold one, complete with umbrella and marachino cherry.


Objective #2

      Stay sharp.  This perhaps is even more important that #1.  Just

because summer is hot and sticky [Editors note: presumable it will be,

eventually] and birds are tough to find, don't let yourself get stale.

Spend as much time in the field as possible. Absorb all the sights

and sounds.  Study those confusing juvenile plumages.  Look at how

adult plumages wear.  Listen to how songs and calls change as the

season progresses.  Stay on top of your game through the summer,

because it's the birder with the prepared mind who will be ready to

identify the big one when things really 'heat up' in the fall.  So

get out there and go nuts, sneer at the bugs, laugh at the thorns,

penetrate that impenetrable thicket.  Consider the lost sweat and

blood an investment for the future.


As for me, I've got a Whip-poor-will to chase. So smoke me a

kipper - I'll be back for breakfast!



                           !   KICKIN' TAIL!  !



What better way to prove that you're still Father of Madness 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 maddened his

way to the top of the David Cup list.


That's right, Geo worked hard for his 15 minutes of fame this month,

weighing in just ahead of Kevin McGowan.  But we're interviewing Karl

David anyway!  Hey, Geo got his 15 minutes last month...and will

likely get 15 more next month, so did don't shed any tears for him.

Instead, sit back and suck up Karl's masterful insights...


THE CUP: There's been all of this take-no-prisoners dueling between

Mean-Machine McGowan and Cut-to-the-Quick Kloppel. Tell us wise

Father, who's going to take it in the end?


DAVID: There's a Cupper who's never been the leader yet who always

ends up scarily close at year's end. He posts his finds only when the

spirit moves him.


THE CUP: Say no more, we know who you mean.


DAVID: I swear he has a giant complex of mirrors set up around his

property so that the entire Basin is in view from his bathroom window.


THE CUP: It's true. Haven't you been to his house?


DAVID: His birds-seen-to-effort-expended ratio makes the rest of us

look like pluggers. I won't name names, but he also finds Connecticut

Warblers walking around under his office window.


THE CUP: Hmm. For a while we thought you were talking about

Ken Rosenberg, but his Connecticut was only a hallucination. Now

about you, Karl. What's keeping you from the top five?


DAVID: I want to see all the common birds one more time, but I find

the effort expended chasing down bitterns, rails, owls and other

cryptic species better spent bribing the editors to let me do another

KT interview in spite of the fact I haven't been a leader for a year

and a half.


THE CUP: Well, we in turn were bribed by Kevin McGowan to interview

anyone but Geo. Have you at least done anything lately to prove you're

still worthy of your title, "Father of the Madness?"


DAVID: Yes. In recognition of my reputation for being dressed

inappropriately for the weather, I've decided to do all my birding this

summer wearing long underwear, a down parka, and hat and gloves.


THE CUP: Actually, so far this spring that seems very appropriate.

(In fact, can we borrow those wools socks?) Have you been ruminating over

any particular observations lately?


DAVID: I've been thinking about the changes in the species mix that

Basin birders then and now encounter. Worm-eating Warbler hadn't been

found when I got here since a certain graduate student looked up from his

statistics text and saw one walking around under his window.


THE CUP: Yeah, and believe it or not he actually managed to continue

on and get his Ph.D. after that. And he's not even Ken Rosenberg.


DAVID: Now we know where to produce them every year. Hooded

Warbler had just been discovered, in one location; now they're just about



THE CUP: Yeah, you only have to break one leg instead of both to get them

these day.


DAVID: Raven reports were disbelieved by the powers that be back then.

On the negative side, Golden-winged Warbler may have disappeared as a

breeding species, though I have the impression sightings are up a bit again

after a low in the mid 90's.

      On the subject of the birders themselves, I'm struck at how

fully-formed birders seem to emerge suddenly out of nowhere, like

Athena (?) from the head of Zeus. One year none of the "regulars" had heard

of Steve Kelling or Geo Kloppel; the next, they're kicking our tails, to

coin a phrase.


THE CUP: Ahh, Kelling had one good year, now he's whimpered out of

the picture.


DAVID: Obviously, unbeknownst to the rest of us, they were quietly

honing their skills all the while. At some point, something happened

to make them want to go "public." I'd speculate why, but I'd better leave

that to the psychologists among us ...


THE CUP: Unfortunately, Margaret Launius also whimpered out of the DC

this year (to concentrate in PA, can you believe it?!) so that leaves only

Dear Tick... Karl, you'll be leaving the Basin soon, sadly

enough. What gaps will you take with you in your Basin list?


DAVID: My "Dirty Dozen" of still-wanted Basin birds are Harlequin

Duck, Black Vulture, King Rail, Purple Sandpiper, Red Phalarope,

Black-headed Gull, Barn Owl, Whip-poor-will, Loggerhead Shrike,

White-eyed Vireo


THE CUP: We probably shouldn't bring up last year's, huh? Since the

entire Lab of O got to hear it and--


DAVID: --Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-headed Blackbird.  My philosophy is

"another state, another list."


THE CUP: Will we get to hear you play the piano before you fly away?


DAVID: You want to subject yourself to that? And I thought birders had

sensitive ears.


THE CUP: We should have brought out our port-a-piano at the Cupper

Supper!  What Basin locales in particular will you miss?


DAVID: Well, I'll miss them all. But if I had to pick one ... the

lighthouse jetty, I think. Though I never saw a jaeger there, I got

to stand next to Bill Evans and Stephen Davies many a time, who did. They

were especially useful for forming a protective circle around me

on the rare occasions when I was under prepared for the weather. With

a view toward similar Lake Michigan shoreline watches, I'm packing my best

"Keds", shorts and T-shirt with special care.  That's the David

Cup T-shirt, of course!


THE CUP: Bonus birds for you! Please assure our readers that you'll

continue writing for The Cup from Wisconsin.


DAVID: Of course, but will I have to pay New York or Wisconsin state

income tax on my royalties?


THE CUP: Hmm. Perhaps that too is better left for Dear Tick...




                           By Jay McGowan


1.  How many kinds of Whistling Ducks(in the genus Dendrocygna) are their

in the world?

2.  What is the scientific name of the Black-headed Duck of South America?

3.  Where does the Musk Duck live?

4.  There are three kinds of Eiders.  Common Eider, King Eider and

Spectacled Eider.  Their scientific names are Somatria mollissima, S.

spectabilis, and S. fischeri.  S. spectibilis is King Eider not Spectacled

Eider.  Why?

5.  What Duck has the longest scientific name and what does it mean?




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

Rail (Habroptila wallacii), because it lives in the impenetrable sago

swamps of Halmahera (Moluccas).

2.  Which New World wren is the most widespread?  The Sedge Wren,

that nests from Canada south to Tierra Del Fuego.

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

Phalarope.  The Phalarope is red during the breeding season, but

becomes gray during the winter.  As a result, the bird is far better known

as the Gray Phalarope in Europe, where it is commonly observed during


4.  What makes a Beardless Tyrannulet beardless?  It lacks the rictal

bristles of most flycatchers.

5.  Griseotyrannus auranteoatrocristatus is the longest bird

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

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus, the Cactus Wren.

6.  What is the common name for Psaltria exilis?  Pygmy Tit.

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?  Anywhere

in the Midwest. They are called trans-Gulf migrants. In the spring

they come from their wintering grounds in the Caribbean up through the

Midwest to their breeding grounds in the north. But then in the fall they

come down a more easterly route and are more numerous along the Atlantic

coast than in the spring.

8.  What is the scientific name of the Iiwi?  Vestiaria coccinea.

9.  How tall is an African Secretary-bird?  4 feet 8 inches (1.4 meters).

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?

Although it's mostly a matter of opinion, I think

the following warblers are named appropriately and diagnostically:

Golden-winged Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated

Gray Warbler, Bay Breasted Warbler, Pine Warbler, Kentucky Warbler,

Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Waterthrush, and Red-faced

Warbler.  In some warblers, like Chestnut-sided, their names fit

but Bay Breasted Warblers have the same chestnut sides as well, so

the name is not diagnostic.


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



                  STAT'S ALL, FOLKS

                     By Karl David



      Recall from the Cup 3.4 that we're trying to decide if it was

(once again) a late spring. I gave my arrival dates for 1985-98 and Charlie

Smith's historical averages (not specified if mean or median) for five

early and ten later common spring migrants and promised to begin discussing

the data this month.

      Everyone keeps recent copies of The Cup prominently displayed on

their coffee tables, of course, but I'll recap the data for you just

in case they're buried under too many coffee cups. Besides, I have to

rectify a major slip. I included the '98 dates in the overall range ... a

big no-no when my aim after all was to compare this year with the past.

This actually didn't change the ranges, since the closest `98

came to extending them was to tie for the late date for one species (Yellow

Warbler). It did however affect the medians, nine of which change by one

day when `98 is excised. Here then is the amended data:


species  '85-'97 range | `85-`97 median | `98 date | historical avge


Turkey Vulture  3.2  - 4.7     3.22           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     3.31           3.27          3.25

Eastern Meadowlark  3.7  - 3.31    3.18           3.28          n/a

Chimney Swift    4.20 - 5.5     4.27           5.4           4.24

Eastern Kingbird 5.1  - 5.14    5.5            5.7           5.2

House Wren       4.19 - 5.4     4.29           4.30          4.23

Wood Thrush      5.1  - 5.13    5.6            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    5.7            5.8           5.2

Common Yellowthroat 4.27 - 5.11    5.6            5.6           5.1

Baltimore Oriole    5.2  - 5.8     5.5            5.7           4.30


      The one of my three questions that can be answered by even a

casual look at the tables is No. 2. There is no correlation between early

and late migrant arrival times. Four of the five "early birds" beat their

median times, and the single exception (meadowlark) well might have if I

had been commuting to Aurora this year as usual. By contrast, the ten "fair

weather" migrants could do no better than tie the median in a couple of

cases (catbird and yellowthroat). This is a convincing enough difference

that no technical analysis is necessary [let's see if I can get Michael

Runge to rise to that bait ... is

this a ploy to get him to write a "Scrawl of Fame" column in response,

following my success in getting Kevin McGowan to do so last month?

Stay tuned ...].

      No, the early birds clearly were not late this year. Looking at

the historical averages, one of these species cries out for special

comment. Look at my Turkey Vulture range vs. the historical average. What

is going on here? The likely answer can be found even within my

own data, were I to give it to you year-by-year. All right already, I will:


             `85 - 4.7                `92 - 3.20

             `86 - 4.6                `93 - 3.27

             `87 - 3.27               `94 - 3.22

             `88 - 4.4                `95 - 3.7

             `89 - 3.27               `96 - 3.2

             `90 - 3.18               `97 - 3.10

             `91 - 3.13               `98 - 3.3


      Remember, the historical dates go all the way back to 1903 (and

end with 1993). Turkey Vulture is one of those southern species that's been

steadily moving north throughout our era. The data reflects this

in quite dramatic fashion. Will we be saying the same thing about

Black Vulture in the 21st century? It's showing up in the Basin every year

now ...

      Anyway: if the early birds weren't late, were they in fact even

*earlier* than usual? Well, with the tv data useless, and meadowlark

historical dates n/a because of overwintering "contamination," that leaves

only three species for analysis: too small a sample size. So, we'll be

content to conclude that at the front end, the migration was certainly not

late, and perhaps even a bit early. [Sidebar: are we mixing apples and

oranges by comparing dates for nonpasserine and passerine species?]

      Let's move on to my third question -- thus deferring for yet another

month the actual down-and-dirty calculations needed to answer No. 1 [that

is, were the later migrants actually late?]. Anything to avoid having to

think of something new to write about!

      Question No. 3 essentially was about how a single observer's

observations lag behind the aggregate first sightings. *Someone* is bound

to see a phoebe well before the end of March, but most of the

time it won't be you, and it'll be a while before all active observers have

one. The relevant columns to compare here are the second [my

median first dates] and the last [historical average first dates].

      As with Turkey Vulture, though much less dramatically so, my Killdeer

and Tree Swallow dates are ahead of the average. A glance at the second

group reveals no such examples, catbird and Warbling Vireo coming the

closest at two days off. In quite dramatic fashion, progressively earlier

arrival dates clearly seem to hold for the March migrants, while no such

trend is obvious for the late April/early May bunch. I'll speculate on this

apparent discrepancy next month as well, when in conclusion I'll ask what,

if anything, all this might have to

do with "global warming" and other trendy topics.

      Let's wrap up this middle installment of the migration series by using

the data to try to measure how long a single observer waits

after the first report of a common species before seeing it

personally. As noted, this makes sense only for the second set of

data, though "forward creep" of arrival dates is possible here too,

just not as detectable as in the first set. And, remember we're

also comparing one person's 1985-97 with everybody's 1903-93. Nonetheless,

it's what we have to work with, imperfect as it is

(and wasn't it ever so in the funhouse world of statistics?).

      But how precisely do we come up with a single number to

represent the waiting time? There's no one "right" answer, but a

simple and useful (though not always the best) rule is to perform the most

obvious calculation first and argue about its appropriateness later. Here,

that would be to simply average the difference in days between the two

columns mentioned:


    (3 + 3 + 6 + 6 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 5 + 5 + 5) / 10  =  40/10 = 4 (exactly!).


By this calculation (feel free to disagree), for common migrants the active

observer can expect on average to have to wait four days after

a bird is first reported before seeing it him/herself.

      And finally: statistical trivia. (1) What bird (in either group) wins

the "Turkey Vultures of Hinckley, OH" Award, i.e. has the

smallest range of arrival dates in my data set? Well, it's Baltimore

Oriole, with an awfully tight 7-day range in 14 years. (2) What bird wins

the "[Cliff] Swallows of Capistrano, CA" Award, i.e. has shown

up on the same calendar day the most times? I didn't give you that

information, but not surprisingly Baltimore Oriole wins again here

[5 times on May 7], but it has to share that honor with Warbling

Vireo [5 times on May 2].

      So: was it truly a late spring this year? Next month ...I promise!


(Did we mention Karl David is a mathematics professor?)






"Bravo!  A fine intro to The Cup [3.4].  Many good references.  I must

add, though, that George was in fact the winner of the Contest.  You find

out in a later episode, when he gets the hand-modeling job.  "I

won a contest with these hands," he says.  The Glamour was what

started the whole contest. Except for that one inaccuracy (which we

all expect from The Cup anyway), a very nice job."

all expect from The Cup anyway), a very nice job."


                                                   --Matt Medler


"Wrongo.  He THINKS he won, but according to the Seinfeld-only edition

of Entertainment Weekly, it was never resolved. Jerry says so, so there!"

                                                  --Editors, The Cup


"What do you expect Jerry to say?!  An earlier edition of EW cites the

same thing  that I said about George's winning.  So that means that

one of those issues of EW is printing inaccurate information.  Sound


                                                  --Matt Medler


"You're going to believe a character on the show rather than one of the

show's creators/writers?  C'mon!"

                                                  --Editors, The Cup


[Phone rings at Cup Headquarters after "Seinfeld" Grand Finale Episode:]


>"Uhhhh, okay, you were right..."

                                                   --Matt Medler


(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.)



mmmmmmmmmmmmmm    McILROY MUSINGS   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



When we started this column a few years ago, there was no such thing

as the Evans Trophy.  Then Ken Rosenberg moved to Dryden.  And the McGowans

followed.  And with the Cup Headquarters itself about soon to make the

move, what better time for a change of pace? Cuppers, we present to you The

Cup's first ever Evans interview, with Dr. Dryden himself, Ken Rosenberg!


THE CUP: Hi, Ken.  Let's talk Dryden.  Do you think Dryden's going

to overtake Ithaca this year?


ROSENBERG: Here I figured that if I hid out in Dryden I could avoid being

interviewed by The Cup -- but NO!


THE CUP: Sure, that's why you've been pestering us every month for a

Dryden interview, to rub it in Kevin's face!


ROSENBERG: Hey, welcome to the Dryden elite corps. With you

two shifting your birding eastward, we just might beat Ithaca yet.

Basically it's Dryden Lake vs. the Lighthouse Jetty for waterbirds and

migrants, since we've got the edge for breeders.


THE CUP: Your yard list is pretty darned impressive, too.

>And then there's your office. Say, do you ever actually GO birding?


ROSENBERG: Actually my Basin-trip birding has been reduced to very

few days per year. For example, I've been to Montezuma twice this year

(of course we did find a GYRFALCON on one of those trips) and I haven't

been around the lake a single time.


THE CUP: Who has?


ROSENBERG: I barely even make it to Stewart Park anymore.


THE CUP: Fool.


ROSENBERG: But living on beautiful Beam Hill and working at Sapsucker Woods

has allowed me to see lots of birds and even (amazingly) remain competitive

in the David Cup.  Last year I saw 206 species in Dryden

and all but 18 of these were within two miles of my house (basically Dryden

Lake or Beam Hill).  Most of the remaining species were indeed outside my

famous window in the Green Trailer.


THE CUP: You should be ashamed.


ROSENBERG: Just goes to show that great birding can be found almost

>anywhere, and it's especially enjoyable when it's so close to home.


THE CUP: Do you think the legend of your Lab of O office window is

over hyped? Share your most memorable office bird memory, would you?

>While you're at it, you might mention why it is Matt Medler is always

having to post your birds for you.


ROSENBERG: My window view is actually quite unremarkable -- some old

beat-up feeders, a scrubby patch of young trees, a small patch of sky, and

a big gravel parking lot.  My trick is spending ridiculous

amounts of time on the phone, which is when I see most of my birds.

My most memorable memory was in September a few years back when lots

of warblers were swarming through the scrubby trees behind the

trailers -- I was on the phone (of course) with a colleague in Wash. D.C.

when a Connecticut Warbler hopped out of the bushes and perched in full

view below my window!


THE CUP: Yes, we remember that.  A certain Cup editor got that bird, too,

and a certain other one went chasing it and despite arriving at

the scene within minutes, has yet to see a Connecticut Warbler.


ROSENBERG: The parade of Cuppers that appeared later in the day had

no luck, either. They did turn up a Golden-wing, a parula, and Philly Vireo

in the same flock, though.  Lately, I'm not seeing as much (not for lack of

phone time), and now that Steve Kelling and the BirdSource crew are in the

trailer next door I've got some stiff competition.  Of course, half of

their birds are fabrications of fancy based on songs that Tom Fredericks

secretly plays on his computer.


THE CUP: That's true for the office at the end of the hall, but not

for the one beside it.  Their list is 100% bird. What's your best "family

time" birding experience this year? Not that anything can possibly top that

Long Point Whimbrel.


ROSENBERG: With an 8-month old, most of my "family time" this year

has been right at home.  So probably my best experience was scoping Dryden

Lake and valley from my bedroom window one afternoon while

Olivia napped -- picked up about 10 yard and year birds, including

Red-shouldered Hawk.


THE CUP: Since we may never get to ask you this as an official KT

question (you keep falling just shy of the leader), we'll ask you here:

What's your favorite color?


ROSENBERG: Cerulean blue.


THE CUP: Of course!  What do you think happened to Stephen Davies?

Remember him?


>ROSENBERG: There was a guy jet-skiing around the lighthouse jetty in

a wet suit during the Ithaca Festival, and I was wondering if that

was him.  Or maybe he's gotten wind that Steve Kelling has finally learned

to count to 200+, and nobody else has a chance this year.


THE CUP: And then there's Bill Evans...



                     BIRD BRAIN OF THE MONTH

                         By Caissa Willmer



This month Caissa pulled a no-brainer.  Literally. See you next month!




                              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...




I saw an Empidonax flycatcher sitting on a wire but it wasn't singing.

Nearby, a Brown Thrasher was imitating a Willow Flycatcher.  Doesn't

that mean the afore mentioned Empidonax had to have been a Willow

and I can tick it off on my Basin list?"


            --Ghostwriter, respectfully submitted for Steve Kelling


Dear Ghostwriter...and Steve Kelling:


Please pass this on to the thrasher: Songs are protected under the

copyright law of the United States government. They are the sole property

of the singer/songwriter.  Unauthorized duplication is an infringement

punishable by law.  Just ask Nike. Their thievery of the Beatles

"Revolution" turned into a nasty and embarrassing mess.  So cease and

desist...or at least steal a song that's a little more

musical than Willow Flycatcher's before they throw you in the slammer.




If I continue to write for The Cup after I move from New York state, will I

have to pay income taxes to New York?

                                                  Taxing in Ithaca


Dear Taxing:


Let's put it this way: You send me an even grand, care of The Cup,

and I'll file all of the necessary paperwork for you.


(Send your questions for Dear Tick to The Cup at


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


"Hey, the Seinfeld bit was a stitch.  Nice work!"

                                                --Anton Ninno


"Great Cup...even though I'm not a Seinfeld fan."

                                                 --Karl David


>"Please, please, please re-add me to the distribution list for The

Cup. (But don't enter me in the competition; my totals are 0 and 0!)

I hope all's going well in the Basin."

                                                 --Rob Scott


"Rob! Where the heck are you these days?"

                                                --Editors, The Cup


"Gotham City.  A place where fledging Red-tails draw crowds.  Where

you can take the subway to look for shorebirds.  Where Peregrines

snatch fat pigeons from midair while yellow taxis slide by unperturbed.

Where Black-billed Cuckoos perch high in easy branches near manicured

lawns. Where coworkers bring window-killed migrants for you to

identify.  Where Blackpolls are sometimes the most common warbler.

Oh, and where you can easily visit Manny's Car Wash."

Oh, and where you can easily visit Manny's Car Wash."


                                                  --Rob Scott


"Where ARE those flocks of warblers, which are usually everywhere

by now?"

                                               --Laura Stenzler


"I headed up the west side of the lake and stopped by Sheldrake for

the Orchard Oriole.  Unfortunately, I neglected to print out the exact

directions, and did not see it."

                                              --Alan Krakauer


"Benning Marsh at Montezuma around 11:30am was covered with

Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers with one Dunlin in

breeding plumage. It really is a treat to get to see these birds in

all their finery!"

                                              --Laurie Ray


"This weekend I spent the most of my time birding on my property in

the town of Caroline. I had 85 species by Sunday evening."


                                              --Steve Kelling


"Had a Hooded Warbler singing at dawn this morning outside my bedroom


                                               --John Bower


"As I went out to pick up the paper this morning (Beam Hill, Dryden),

I decided not to go looking for any birds before work.  At that point

I heard a Mourning Warbler singing along the driveway.  When I got to

the end of the drive I flushed up a Lincoln's Sparrow."


                                                --Kevin McGowan.


"...At one point I was hearing 4 cuckoos of both species singing

simultaneously.  Where was the LNS gang when I needed them?"


                                                --Ken Rosenberg


"A Black-billed Cuckoo added its voice to the dawn chorus in my yard

(in Trumansburg) this morning at about 5:45!  Nice to have him back!"


>                                                 --Annette Finney


"As I have apparently learned to count higher than 25, I respectfully

submit my new, albeit somewhat disappointing, Tick Total of 84."


                                                 --Carol Bloomgarden


"I am a long way off the leaders but ecstatic about birding and

learning, just the same."

                                                  --Jon Kloppel


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff