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Monthly Archives: April 2009

29 Apr

What is the best remedy for relaxing after a long Monday at work? For me, it is bicycling home at a leisurely pace. The only thing better is bicycling home at a leisurely pace so I could do some birding. Paid off, this last Monday. Action continues on warblers; Palm Warblers are everywhere! Best birding of the evening, though, was at a local pond. Added several Lesser Yellowlegs as well as a Solitary Sandpiper, but the bird of the day was the American Pipit, my first Pipit in this area and a bird I have not seen since I left …

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28 Apr

I sometimes think rough weather is more of a concern for birders and bird watchers than it is for the birds, themselves. For sure, the crazy weather this last weekend had no effect on the many new migrating birds I added to my spring birding list other than cause me to duck for shelter, now and then during the sudden, violent downpours. On the marsh, saw my first Blue-winged Teal and heard my first Sora of the spring, just where I heard one last year. Same bird? Also added a Swamp Sparrow in the cattails back on the creek. Out …

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27 Apr

Sat in this week as a teacher’s aide to Steve in our Riflescopes 101 class for our employees, here at Opticsplanet and I just have to say, first of all, that Steve did a superb job and that, second of all, I was reminded yet, again, of how different it is to teach people about binoculars, as I had done several weeks, ago, compared to teaching the same people about rifle scopes. For many of our employees, it was the first time they had actually been in the same room with a gun and their reactions varied, widely. It reminded …

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22 Apr

Added more new 2009 birds this last weekend, most notably warblers. The warblers are here! So was the rain, but there I was, Sunday morning, on the bike, my Leica binocular, in hand, watching birds. Hey, takes more than a little rain and cold to keep me indoors. Saw my first Yellow-rumped, Palm and Black-and-White Warbler to get my warbler season off to a good start. Some of the Yellow-rumped males were in full breeding glory and quite a treat in the Leica 10x25BL. Also seeing many, many Ruby-Crowned Kinglets and they had no hesitation showing off those brilliant ruby …

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21 Apr

There is so much documented evidence, now, of what I call the Empty Playground Syndrome that it is time for action, not more evidence. Still, it bears repeating that the ever declining participation of young people in outdoor activities bodes serious long term issues when it comes to protecting the environment. Children who don’t experience the outdoors are not likely to grow into adults who are concerned about the environment. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to come to such a conclusion. There are many reasons for this alarming trend, but one of them is an ever growing …

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20 Apr

Binoculars are not the usual observing tool for planets – even 25×100 astronomy binoculars lack the magnification needed for serious planet work. Strangely enough, though, you can have fun with any astronomy binocular or even a birding binocular, with Jupiter’s moons. The four largest of Jupiter’s moons – Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa – will appear as tiny stars in nearly any binocular, lined up in a straight line on either side of the planet. The fun part is watching them switch positions from one side of the planet to the other, night to night, and there will be nights …

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16 Apr

Where are the birders? This is a question I constantly ask myself when I am birding, locally, not just because I prefer to have company when I am birding, but also because so many bird species are in decline and our birds need friends like never before. The birds are certainly, here, compared to the many places I have lived. So where are the birders? Seeing another birder in my neck of the woods happens about as often as spotting a Bald Eagle or a Merlin, here in the suburbs. It does happen, but not very often, maybe once or …

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15 Apr

My Leica 10x25BL compact binocular was put to good use this weekend. I picked up my first Lincoln’s and Fox Sparrows for the year, as well as a Hermit Thrush in the Forest Preserve. At my neighborhood lake, added some more Ruddy Ducks and the Martin house along the bike path is now open for business with Purple Martins everywhere! Also spotted several Cooper’s hawks up high, working the air currents, instead of the usual down and low dodging through the trees. All in all, a fine weekend for birding and my binoculars, despite the cold weather and stiff winds …

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13 Apr

Seeing my first Wood Duck of the spring never fails to bring a smile to my face and seeing one last week in my Swarovski Crystal compact binocular was no exception. Of course, a Wood Duck is always brilliant, no matter what birding binocular you use. After a long, drab winter, nothing like the brilliant color of a male Wood Duck to brighten up the landscape and seeing a Wood Duck in the spring is a sure sign that the really nasty winter weather is behind us, as these are not especially hardy as ducks go. Seeing that Wood Duck …

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08 Apr

“Can it get any windier?”, I muttered as I scanned one of our local lakes, last night, with my Leica 10x25BL binocular. Yes, 35 mph and higher gusts makes it pretty tough to steady a 10x compact binocular, not to mention riding a bike, but I wasn’t really complaining. The wind is just part of our March landscape as are welcome birding surprises, such as the lone Bonaparte’s Gull that I had picked up in the Leica amidst hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls. Earlier, I also spotted my first Swainson’s Thrush and my first Tree Swallow of the spring, biking through …

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