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Monthly Archives: March 2011

31 Mar

I sense a change coming in my birdwatching. My intuition, not just the calendar, tells me spring is in the air. Of course, so does the fact that there has been just a bit less activity at the bird feeders; I am going a day or so longer between refills and have been seeing fewer overall numbers of birds in the binoculars. No, the mix of bird species hasn’t changed, not yet, but I suspect my birding binoculars will be picking up some new species any day, now. Okay, I am hoping my birding binoculars will be picking up some…

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30 Mar

All my friends on keep talking about Robins and flowers and spring just bursting forth all around them. Of course, they also live several hundred miles south of me, so, while they are celebrating spring, I am still surrounded by winter.

My birdwatching, for instance, is still very much in winter mode. I keep seeing the same winter birds in the binoculars and the spotting scope that I have seen since basically last November. Oh, yeah, I am ready for a change, but I suspect that, when bird migration hits, up here, it will come fast and also be over…

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29 Mar

“If spring never comes, I can survive as long as I have this,” I told myself earlier this week as I was skiing across our lake on fresh snow. There I was, the only human anywhere in sight, skiing across a beautiful north country lake and the only tracks visible in the snow as I skied along were from deer and coyotes. I had the lake to myself and I was in heaven.

I’ve grown so accustomed to winter, up here, that it is now hard for me to remember what this country looks like without snow. I’ve sat in …

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28 Mar

As much as I love my north woods and all the forests that make it the north woods, I have to say that those trees do limit my “observing window” when it comes time to use my astronomy binoculars or setup & use a telescope and, believe me, our yard is more open than most in our neck of the woods.

That may be one reason I have been using my binoculars more than telescopes for astronomy, as of late. You see, I have to frequently hunt down holes in the forest canopy that surrounds our yard in order to…

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25 Mar

As someone who has been an active in birdwatching for over forty years, one question I refuse to answer is, “What is your favorite bird?” Impossible! I can’t even narrow it down to a favorite bird in specific bird groups, such as my favorite duck, my favorite sparrow and so on. Asking me to pick a favorite when it comes to birds is fighting words!

In fact, asking me to pick a favorite or “best” anything gets my hackles up. I don’t have a that kind of personality. I could pick a dozen premium birding binoculars or birding spotting scopes,…

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24 Mar

Excluding specialty binoculars, such as marine binoculars or image-stabilized binoculars, a new model binocular needs to be accepted in two communities to be a marketing success. It needs to be accepted in both the birdwatching community and the hunting community. It’s not that hunters and birders buy all the binoculars sold each year, though they account for a significant percentage of the sales, of course, but hunters and birders are definitely the two user groups that are most apt to discuss binoculars and pass the word, good or bad, amongst themselves. Thus, binocular manufacturers strive to have an active presence…

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23 Mar

Eleven inches of snow since yesterday afternoon and more expected throughout the day, today. Ah, just another March day in northern Wisconsin. No wonder this area is known as the Klondike of Wisconsin.

As I sit here, watching birds at the feeders through my binoculars, I can’t help but smile, though. My birds seem to take the snow all in stride and work the bird feeders with their usual gusto and determination. Just another day at the office for them. Same for me and my winter birdwatching. Guess I will be waxing the skis, this afternoon, too. Life is good …

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22 Mar

Any hopes I have had, recently, for spotting early migrating birds in my birding binoculars or birding spotting scope will have to be postponed due to a major winter storm headed our way. I am not surprised, however, given that the official first day of spring really has little to do with the weather this far north. Still, I am a little anxious to grab the binoculars and do some serious spring birding.

Spring is the season for serious birders as far as adding a lot of different bird species to our birding lists. We look forward to spring much…

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21 Mar

Spring cleaning? That may be a bit optimistic, given that we are under a winter storm watch, this week, but I do have some birdwatching spring cleaning to do. No, my birding binoculars and birding spotting scope are in no need of cleaning, but my bird feeders sure are. Now that the snow has begun to melt under the feeders, all the waste that has accumulated over the winter, out of reach under heavy accumulated ice and snow, is now being exposed by thawing temperatures. It needs to be removed and removed, now. Warmer weather means that there is a…

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18 Mar

When I look at high-end birding binoculars or high-end hunting binoculars (often one and the same, designed that way to capture both markets), I am constantly amazed at how high the prices have gone, followed only by my surprise that people will pay such prices. Of course, I could show may age and say something like there was a day when people thought that $2000 plus for binoculars was lunacy, blah, blah, blah, but I won’t. After all, it’s not like binocular manufacturers are trying to gouge the consumer and binoculars, even high end binoculars, cost what they cost to…

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