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Monthly Archives: August 2010

31 Aug

Heading out on the bike, today, for a fall birding trip rather than a bike trip where I do some birdwatching. Even though I carry binoculars on both types of trips, there is a difference. Biking trips where I also do some informal birding are norm for me in the summer; the focus is on aerobics and biking. On an actual birding trip, though, the object is to see birds, first, get some fresh air and exercise, second.

When doing some serious bicycle birding, I bike slowly when in a good area, sometimes with just enough speed to keep the …

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30 Aug

Well, here we go with September on our doorstep and good-bye to summer. Let me catch my breath, please! Where did the summer go? Somewhere between all the packing, moving, remodeling, unpacking, planning and driving to and from that goes with relocating to a new home a couple hundred miles plus, away, summer slipped through my fingers. I know it’s all part of the territory when moving, but, at my age, I hate to waste a season so. All my summer interests – birdwatching, astronomy, biking, kayaking, fishing, photography– took a big hit this summer. I have a lot of…

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27 Aug

Over the years, I have shown many hundreds of binoculars to customers at the optics counter. One of the things I most enjoyed was giving folks a chance to look through premium grade binoculars, since it is probably safe to say that the majority of the public has never had the opportunity to look through truly fine binoculars. Showing folks state-of-the art binoculars was a great way to meet people and visit. Of course, it was also more than just a courtesy and me being my friendly self; it was also good sales technique and it did result in a…

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26 Aug

At the moment, I am sitting in my kitchen, here in Milwaukee, looking out the window and my bird feeders. The usual gang of Chickadees, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Woodpeckers are there, having their breakfast as I sip on my morning coffee. This is birdwatching in style, I am thinking, but I am also wondering how all my regular bird visitors will react when the feeders are gone in a couple weeks, when we make our final move up to our new north country home. Will someone else in the neighborhood feed them? Will someone else in the neighborhood sit and drink …

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25 Aug

Sad to say, I’ve been in a financial situation on several occasions in my life that forced me to sell of most of my optical gear to pay the bills. To be sure, there has always been a ready market for quality used binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras and I have taken advantage of that fact when times have been especially rough. No, I am not announcing a sale on any of my optics at this time and I doubt I will ever need to sell another binocular. Knock on wood, those days are over. My binoculars are not for…

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24 Aug

Home, for me, at least, is where the binoculars are. Okay, that says something about my addiction to binoculars and it is more than a little corny, but it is also a fact, since binoculars are rarely far from my reach. Anyway, by this standard, my home is now, up north, in our Rhinelander place. This weekend, we had our big move – all our belongs, light and heavy both, are now safely in place in our new north woods home, including my binoculars. The location might be new, but my same compact binoculars are now sitting on my same…

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24 Aug

If you’re looking for those big, beautiful magazine quality images of galaxies, nebulae and star clusters, binocular astronomy may disappoint you. Much of the allure of using astronomy binoculars is actually just being able to detect some of these faint objects, though, in some cases the images are truly breathtaking. Mostly, though, you take pride in the fact that some of these objects are visible in binoculars. This is no small accomplishment, though. It can take considerable skill and experience as an observer to see very faint objects in the binoculars, then throw in the need for a good, dark…

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20 Aug

Sometimes I measure my bike rides in miles, sometimes in hours and, yesterday, I measured my bike ride in the birds I saw. Not sure my fellow bike riders would relate to that, but my birdwatching friends sure would.

About two miles out, I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a dead tree, only about fifty yards off the road. Instead of taking flight when I stopped, the hawk simply stared at me. The raptor was too distant for a shot with my little digital camera, but, as always, I had my Leica 10x25BL binocular, so I took a few…

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19 Aug

A flock of Goldfinches landed in our rose bushes, just outside my kitchen window, yesterday, and although I have seen these same birds everyday, all summer, and have seen how many millions of Goldfinches in all my years of birding, I put down the dish towel for another look.

Someone once asked my why they should bother watching those boring birds they see every day, over and over, again and again. Once you have identified a Robin, a House Sparrow, a summer Goldfinch and so on, what’s the point? Why bother picking up the birding binoculars to see those same…

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18 Aug

We had a Canadian cool air mass settle over Milwaukee these last few days and it has given us a reprieve from the typical hot, muggy August weather or, another way to look at it, that cool, dry air has given us a delicious taste of fall weather to come. This latest taste of fall certainly has me thinking change in season to come, specifically fall birding.

Fall birdwatching is a much more casual thing than its spring counterpart. Fall bird migration is a more extended phenomenon than spring migration; birds don’t have the impending breeding season in the fall, …

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