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Monthly Archives: September 2008

30 Sep

Despite being under the weather, this weekend, I managed to get out and do a little birding. Added a Cerulean Warbler (real treat), Purple Finch, Philadelphia Vireo and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker to my fall list and heard, but did not see, some Sandhill Cranes. My binocular was a Nikon Premier LX 10×25 and I couldn’t be more pleased. The 10x offered just a touch more resolution than my usual 8x compact binocular and steadiness was not an issue as long as I wasn’t huffing and puffing too much from pedaling. Perfect for sitting at the edge of a pond and …

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29 Sep

“Everyone should own a binocular!” or “A binocular in every pot!” are campaign slogans I would like to see, though I doubt I will see either of these on a yard sign in my lifetime. Seriously, though, I typically vote the environment as an issue, so unless you’ve been in a coma for the last seven years, you can pretty much guess who will get my vote. Of course, I will not automatically dismiss anyone based on their party affiliation, since I don’t care for stereotyping of any kind. If McCain and Palin start wearing binoculars around their necks during …

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25 Sep

There’s more than one way to identify a bird. This is one thing that sometimes surprises beginning birders, but it is so true. Last night was a great example. Out on the bike trail happened to notice a small songbird flying in the tree canopy, bouncing from place to place. I knew it was a warbler, immediately, and from the its distinctive butterfly like flight, I knew it was a Redstart even before I raised the binocular. It was and an immature male Redstart at that. In the binocular, the pinkish orange shoulder patch cinched it. Down the trail a …

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24 Sep

A new moon not far ahead. Cool fall evenings. Clear skies. Sun setting earlier. Quality astronomy binocular. That’s a great recipe for binocular astronomy. Don’t get me wrong; I love summer, too, but nothing quite like a fall sky to get me pumped for some astronomy. My goal for this fall and winter observing is more double stars in the binocular, since this type of deep-sky object is less susceptible to light pollution and also because there is a wealth of double stars to observe in fall and winter constellations. Of course, for double stars, I should definitely add a …

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23 Sep

Songbird migration is definitely underway, but still not to a level that would tempt me to burn a vacation day. Just the same, the binocular and I both got a good workout over the weekend. Added a Flycatcher, probably a Least, to my fall list, but without a call, hard to say for certain. On the other hand, two tough warblers for my area in a Wilson’s and a Connecticut were a definite. The Conecticut reminded me of the Macgillivray’s I used to see out in Oregon, so all the more fun. Also pleased to spot a Kestrel in an …

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22 Sep

Really hate to put an astronomy binocular on a tripod. That’s why I usually stay at 10x in an astronomy binocular, but, still, I find that for some types of objects – double stars, very small globulars like M15 and some tiny open star clusters, a higher magnification is a plus, even though you need to add a tripod. Nothing will ever replace my Nikon 10×70, but the same binocular in the Nikon 18×70 would be a great addition. Guess that would make it a pair of binoculars for double stars. Nice balance, don’t you think?…

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18 Sep

Paged through the latest version of the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America at a local bookstore and just had to have it. Okay, I need another bird guide like I need a a lousy neighbor, especially since I still have my 1947 Peterson edition, which was actually a repalcement for the very first Peterson, which I plain wore out as a youngster. This new version, with its larger format does such a great job of highlighting all those great old Roger Tory Peterson plates, I couldn’t resist. I was a bit concerned about some of the digital …

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17 Sep

Bike trails are finally beginning to dry, so I hope to do some birding some evening this week. Not a lot of activity, so far, in my area, but I keep the binocular handy, just in case. The birds are coming and I will be ready. The good news about the fall migration is that it is usually a bit more protracted than the spring migration, since the birds are not driven by the need to breed and get a family raised. The bad news, of course, is that identification is a bit tougher in the fall with all the …

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16 Sep

Will be hitting my favorite warbler spots this week because, as all birders in this area know, September is the prime month for warbler migration. Birders also know that drastic changes in weather often spur migration and, this last week, we have had all the drastic weather any birdwatcher could want. Not sure just how the birds are responding to record rainfalls and flooding, but will report back, soon. In the meantime, “have binocular, will travel.”…

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15 Sep

It’s fun being a binocular expert, but it comes with a price. After so many years of heavy and extended use with premium binoculars, I have become almost obsessively fussy about some features. First, I must have a binocular that focuses smoothly, with no slop and with a minimum of effort. I often carry other equipment and need to focus with one hand. I have no use for a binocular that fights me, even a little, when I focus. This is a performance issue, but I sometimes wonder if I am going overboard when I reject a binocular that takes …

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