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Monthly Archives: May 2009

27 May

Binoculars for watching TV? Sounds crazy, but, for some folks, this is a legit use of a binocular. I have actually had a number of customers over the years that need the help of a binocular to watch TV, due to poor vision as the result of some impairment or advanced age. If you know someone in the same position, two things to keep in mind. First, the actual distance to the TV must be carefully considered. Binoculars will only focus so close, so check the specs on the binocular listed variously as “close focus”, “near focus”, “minimum focus”, then …

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26 May

The warbler migration for spring 2009 is all but over and, for me, a good spring, though far from my best. Still, I would not have missed it for the world and what I didn’t see I will catch on the return warbler flight in the fall! So what does a birder do in the summer? More birding or, should I say, bird watching. Until shorebirds start showing up in July, I switch form birder mode – wanting to add more birds to my list – to birdwatcher mode – just enjoying the birds I see with my birding binoculars …

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25 May

This has been an exceptional year for me when it comes to sightings of Indigo Buntings, but, then, surprises are the nature of birding. I’ve seen more Indigo Buntings this spring than I have in all the five years prior to this, back to 2003 when I first moved, here. Why? Really no way to answer that with any objective data, but I suspect it is just a year when either Indigo Bunting populations are on the upswing or the weather patterns during migration have brought more of these beautiful birds than usual. I would love to think it was …

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20 May

If you do enough birding, you know to always expect the unexpected, but a recent experience for this old birder over the weekend even took me by surprise. I spent most of Saturday out on the trail in one of our local Forest preserves and was enjoying a fine day of birding with the Leica 10×25. Of course, I eventually needed to find a restroom, so I headed for a nearby Port Potty at the edge of a parking lot. I leaned my bike next to the outhouse, then entered and went about my business. Soon done, I was cinching …

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19 May

The online Cornell birding site, All About Birds, has a new look and I like it. If you haven’t used this Cornell Lab of Ornithology online bird guide, I highly recommend it. All About Birds is loaded with information, it’s easy to use and it’s free! A bird watcher can spend hours, here. Thank-you, Cornell. Good example of how handy this site can be happened to me, just this morning. One of our employees was very excited about a new bird she saw over the weekend and she described it to me. I knew, immediately, that it was a Green …

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18 May

It’s been a solidly good, though not great, spring for my birding, but a dismal and disappointing spring for my astronomy. Good weather and a moonless sky have been avoiding each other, these last few months. Ouch! Of course, I can’t expect Earth Mother to tailor the weather to my needs, so I remain ever patient and hopeful. As summer approaches, I know it is just a matter of time before I once again explore the summer triangle with my astronomy binoculars and dip down into Ophiuchus to spot some globular star clusters. Later in the summer, I know it …

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13 May

One of the tools I have been using to scout for an area to retire (yes, I am that old) is an area’s bird list. If you know birds and birding, then you also know something about habitat and ecology in general, so reading a bird list for a specific location can reveal quite a bit. It can be a great birding tool, right along with your birding binocular and field guide. A bird list will tell you more than just what birds you can expect to see, it will also tell you what habitat you can expect to see …

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12 May

Funny how little things work out, sometime. Just before I hopped on the bike, this morning, I had been wondering if it would be worth it to uncase the Leica 10×25 and wear it around my neck. Glad I did. Near the end of my commute, I was rewarded with a close encounter with a coyote. Okay, maybe not real close, maybe fifty yards, but close enough to bring a smile to my face when I checked him out with my binocular. The coyote didn’t seem overly concerned as I pedaled toward him – he just sort of trotted of …

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11 May

My warbler list for 09 keeps growing, but the birding on this bird group has been sporadic for me. Not much on Friday, despite the gorgeous weather, hardly a thing on Saturday, till evening, when the gale force winds subsided. Sunday was better. The weekend added a Magnolia, a Chestnut-sided and a Blackpoll, which puts me into the respectable category for my neck of the warbler woods, so to speak. Also saw, rather than just heard, a Pewee and a Warbling Vireo. All in all, had to work for my birds, but it paid off with a great weekend of …

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06 May

Birded on the way home last night over 5 miles of Forest preserve trails with the mountain bike and gave it my best. This is the time of year for warblers, after all, but as much as I hate to say it, this was my first trip ever through my warbler hotspot without a single warbler of any kind seen in the binocular. I suspect the nearly perfect weather for me was also the nearly perfect weather for warblers to move and migrate on by my location. It happens. Spring warbler birding is so often a boom or bust and …

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