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Monthly Archives: January 2010

29 Jan

Okay, back me against the wall, and ask me to state which binocular was the best binocular I have ever owned. That, of course, will never happen and if I even I made the attempt, it would mean having an argument with myself as to how to define best. In truth, the quest for the best binocular is a myth; there are simply too many ways to define best and there is no such thing as a binocular that is best in every way. You might as well ask me as to how to define the best telescope, the best …

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28 Jan

I often wonder how much better optics can get with binoculars. Have we reached a point of diminishing returns on binocular performance? Can future technology actually provide us with better binoculars? If you’ve looked through premium binoculars such as the new Swarovski EL HD (the Swarovski Swarovision binocular) or any other top end Zeiss binoculars, Nikon binoculars, Steiner binoculars, Leica binoculars and so on you have to wonder if there is anything left to improve. Where will future technology take us with binoculars?

Okay, time to brush off my crystal ball. Madame Joanie predicts that most future developments in binoculars …

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27 Jan

Okay, no more teasing about global warming to explain our somewhat atypical January weather. According to our weather folks, here in the Milwaukee area, our snowfall amounts for the month and the season are down because we are experiencing an El Nino winter and this current weather pattern fits previous El Nino winters we’ve had in the Milwaukee area. Hey, I want to be accurate and scientific, after all.

Of course, the birds in my backyard could care less about the reasons for the weather; they just adapt or perish, as do all creatures and, given the amount of food …

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26 Jan

Global warming? Okay, that explanation for all quirks in the weather is getting to be a tired joke, I know, but it is a fact that we, here in Milwaukee, have had two rainstorms this winter. This weekend’s rain basically eliminated any of my cross-country skiing for the time being, though I am sure winter will deliver more of that white stuff for my fun. In the meantime, the birding and, especially, the birdwatching at my feeder, is better than ever, though a winter thaw sometimes results in decreased activity. I suspect it is the birds way of saying winter …

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25 Jan

When it comes to bicycling, I am not ashamed to say that I am hardcore. In the fall of 2007, when I was living in the suburbs north of Chicago, I decided to go bike all the way, so I sold my car and made preparations to commute the 7 plus miles, one way, to work during the Chicago winter on my bicycle. Of course, everyone thought I was crazy and some were genuinely concerned for my health and safety. I assured them that I had biked through the winter, before and knew what I was doing.

I am proud …

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22 Jan

Two of the challenges to a newcomer using astronomical binoculars, are locating objects and identifying objects when you do locate them, since there are no computerized astronomy binoculars on the market – you are the computer when you use an astronomy binocular. If you want a computer, you need to buy a computerized telescope. I don’t see learning the night sky without the aid of a computer to be a problem, at all; it is a very necessary and useful step on the path to becoming an amateur astronomy and, best of all, it’s a lot of fun.

The key …

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21 Jan

Everyone I know, here in Wisconsin, who has birdfeeders in their yards is reporting a lot of activity and that definitely includes me. Bill and I are doing a great job of supporting our local Wild Bird store, but I am not complaining. Before I married Bill, I lived in an apartment that did not allow bird feeders, although I cheated a bit and just threw some black oil sunflower seed in front of my patio window. This attracted some Juncos and a Mourning Dove, now and then and the usual bunch of House Sparrows – not much variety, but …

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20 Jan

Do you remember your first binocular? Not too tough if you are young, but when you are eligible for senior citizen status, like me, you may have to reach far back in the old memory banks. In my case, though, I remember that binocular quite well. I was a freshman in college and had worked all summer in various part-time jobs, so, with a pocket (okay, small, pocket) full of money, I headed to the nearest camera store.

The clerk was a guy I knew from high school and though we never dated, he and I were on good terms. …

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19 Jan

I have talked to many customers who have been to Yellowstone and, while there, saw the wolves. Naturally, these folks want to see them up close in more detail, so they ask whether binoculars or spotting scopes are the better choice for their next trip. At the risk of sounding like a pushy salesperson, I tell them they should really take both a binocular and a spotting scope.

A binocular should always be your first tool for wildlife watching. You will be using a binocular far more than you will use a spotting scope, not only because it is more …

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18 Jan

It sometimes amazes newcomers to bird watching and birding how some of us old pros can identify birds without the aid of a birding binocular. More than once I have just casually said there is a such and such without even bothering to lift my binocular or even peek through my spotting scope, much to the amazement of the folks in my group. No, this is not bragging; anyone who has been serious birder as long as I have could do the same thing. When you have seen some birds so many thousands of times, you can easily identify them …

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