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Monthly Archives: June 2010

30 Jun

Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a binocular that allowed you to see into the future? That would be one binocular sale few of us would want to miss. Okay, if technology can’t swing a binocular that sees into the future, how about a binocular that can see into the past?

Actually, any binocular can see into the past if you aim said binocular toward the sky at night. The light we see from stars, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies has been traveling for many years before we see the image it carries, simply because all these objects …

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29 Jun

With the Fourth approaching, I had someone ask me if binoculars were of any use in watching fireworks displays. That’s a new one, but after some twenty years of answering questions about how to choose binoculars, I wasn’t surprised. People and the questions they ask about binoculars never cease to amaze and interest me.

Can you use binoculars to watch fireworks? Of course, you can, though using a binocular may prove to be more a hindrance than a benefit. The problem is the limited field of view that comes with any degree of magnification. Thus, if you have a good…

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28 Jun

Up north we go, at the end of the week, to close on our new home and start the long, tedious process of moving in and relocating. Yes, that means a lot of hard work, but this relocation is also something Bill and I want, badly. It will be so much more than just a new address; it will be a change in lifestyle from a big city, suburban existence to a more rural, small town recreation oriented lifestyle. It’s a matter of going from a neighborhood in the suburbs to being surrounded by forest and having access to a …

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25 Jun

Birdwatching has had its share of ideas that have come and gone. There was a time, for instance, when putting out bird feeders to feed birds was regarded as a winter pastime, only; you didn’t feed birds in the summer. I’m not sure where this one started, but I suspect folks thought about feeding birds in terms of winter because that’s supposedly when birds need help with food the most. Of course, you could make the argument that birds could use help in the summer, too, since that’s when they are raising their young. Regardless, birds will keep you busy…

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24 Jun

There was a day when the 7×50 binocular was once king of the hill and almost the only available choice when you needed a binocular for low light work. Indeed, 7×50 binoculars were once commonly referred to as “night binoculars” back in the day before actual night vision binoculars appeared on the market. That was also a time when giant astronomy binoculars with their jumbo objective lenses had yet to appear and, in those days, the 7×50 binocular was the go to binocular choice for astronomy.

The 7×50 binocular is still very much with us, of course, but it has…

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23 Jun

With the tornadoes we had in the Milwaukee area of late, I’ve been thinking back to the times when I’ve sold binoculars to weather spotters who were working with local authorities to scan the skies, even at night, for the presence of tornadoes and other severe weather. What binoculars did those folks use? What makes for a good weather spotter binocular?

Really not a matter of high binocular magnification to see a funnel, so low power binoculars, 7x, work fine. Lower magnification means a wider field of view and that helps when scanning for a funnel. Lower magnification also means…

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22 Jun

Like so many other folks, we own a beautiful dining room table, but seldom use it. The location for nearly all our meals and many a discussion over many cups of coffee is, instead, our kitchen table. Anyone who has a table in the kitchen with a view of their backyard understands. In fact, if I ever planned and designed a house, this arrangement would be a must. A comfortable table in the kitchen with a nice view will be used for so much more than meals.

Our kitchen table, for instance, is used for much of our birdwatching. That’s …

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21 Jun

In our backyard news, my duct tape special hummingbird feeder finally leaked, again, so it has been replaced with a new model. No hummingbirds have been seen using the new feeder, so far, but it is just a matter of time. I even left the price tag on the feeder to impress them with what I spent. Yes, birds that visit our yard get first class treatment as long as they don’t mind an old gal staring at them though binoculars or a spotting scope or even having their pictures taken, now and then. No one has complained, so far, …

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18 Jun

These hot, muggy summer days haven’t seemed to slow the birds at my feeders or my birdwatching, but the warm, humid weather means I do have to clean the feeders more and remove old food more often than in winter. Bird food spoils, quicker, in warm weather, just like any other food. The suet is especially prone to spoiling and all I have to do is watch the birds to know when it is time for some fresh suet. The seed food is much better in terms of staying palatable. Anyway, looks like it is time to clean the birds’…

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17 Jun

My duct-taped hummingbird feeder got a visit, yesterday. My daughter and I were at the kitchen table, talking, when she looked out the window and saw a hummer at the feeder. Hard to say which of us was more excited, but we both jumped for joy. The hummingbird didn’t even stay long enough for a look with the binoculars and definitely not long enough for a pic with the spotting scope and digital camera, but it will be back, I’m sure. I’ll keep an extra close watch in the days to come. In any event, if anyone has been hesitating …

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