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Monthly Archives: September 2011

30 Sep

Most birders and bird watchers keep some type of list of birds they have seen. Keeping lists of birds seen is just plain fun and, if you know how to interpret them, bird lists can also be useful tools to make you a better birder, assuming you add a bit more information than bird species seen to your list. Thus, nearly all birders keep some type of bird list. Indeed, keeping a bird list in birdwatching is as traditional as carrying birding binoculars and field guides, though the number and types of list you keep is entirely up to you.

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29 Sep

There was a time when folks were not as generally obsessed with superb optical performance in binoculars as they are these days. You just didn’t see sophisticated discussion on edge sharpness, resolution, contrast, color correction, collimation, lens glass, lens coatings and so on the way you see it today. Contemporary binocular users are more informed, no doubt about it.

What accounts for this? Part of it, of course, is the internet and its ability to connect users so they can compare notes with one another. We are better informed because we can talk communicate with each other via binocular forum…

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28 Sep

Had a couple of friends visit us, yesterday, so we all went for a walk in the woods that surround our home to enjoy a little fall color. Even took our English Setter, Patch, along to give him his daily workout. Now, I’d like to report that it was a perfect day for a walk in the woods, but I can’t. Skies were cloudy and gray and it was raining, yes, raining. Okay, not exactly a day to be taking pics of fall color with our digital cameras or trying to spot birds in the binoculars, but our visitors were …

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26 Sep

Saw a Palm Warbler in the Leica 10×25 Ultravid BL, this last week – one of the few warblers I have seen this fall. Spotted the bird in the alder brush, along the lakeshore, on a cold and blustery fall day while working my English Setter. Then spotted another and another, since these birds tend to travel in flocks

Now there is just something not quite right about using the word palm as a name for a bird that you see on the side of a lake in the north woods on a cold day. Palm, indeed! Of course, no…

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26 Sep

There are some birds that should definitely be heard, though you don’t often see them in the birding binoculars. Hearing birds, after all, is as much a birdwatching treat at times as seeing birds.

The Wood Thrush is definitely one of these birds. During the summer, not a day goes by, up here in our north woods home, that I fail to hear this bird’s wonderful song, but, try as I might to peer though the surrounding forest from the vantage point of our yard, just not a bird I see in the binoculars. Nope, if I want to actually…

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23 Sep

As bird groups go, for the sake of birdwatching, some are more challenging to identify than others and some are, well, just more entertaining than others. Woodpeckers belong to the latter group. They’re active, visible, very vocal and a treat to watch, either with or without birding binoculars. That and the fact that they are easy to identify make Woodpeckers a great bird group for beginning bird watchers. That high visibility also makes Woodpeckers pretty good subjects for digiscoping with a spotting scope and digital cameras, should you want to get some pics.

Surrounded as we are by woods, we …

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22 Sep

If large objective lenses (front lenses, second binocular number) on binoculars have less to do with image brightness than many people think, as per yesterday’s blog, why bother with large binoculars? After all, those objective lenses up front on binoculars are the most expensive component on a binocular. That’s why it costs more to opt for the larger version of any one particular binocular model. Those large objectives also add to binocular weight and overall binocular dimensions. So why buy binoculars on the large side?

The reason is resolution – the ability to make two closely spaced objects appear as …

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21 Sep

One of the great binocular myths is that larger binoculars are automatically and inherently brighter than smaller binoculars, because larger binoculars produce larger exit pupils – the beams of light that leave the binocular eyepieces and enter your eyes. That means that a binocular with a 7mm exit pupil (to get exit pupil, divide the second binocular number by the first) must be brighter than a binocular with a 5mm exit pupil and a binocular with a 5mm exit pupil is brighter than a binocular with a 3mm exit pupil. Simple, right? Go to many articles and primers on binocular…

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20 Sep

Amateur astronomers typically have a technical, scientific side, as you might expect, since astronomy is, after all, a science. What most people don’t realize is that amateur astronomers also have a very aesthetic side that greatly influences the equipment they choose.

I certainly have a scientific side, being a former science teacher. Still, it is actually my creative, aesthetic side that keeps me glued to the telescope eyepiece, night after night, and it is my aesthetic side greatly influences my equipment choices. Astronomy binoculars or setup & use a telescope as I prepare for a night of astronomy? Telescopes offer …

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19 Sep

It may seem an odd thing to say, but the last few weeks have not been good for mosquitoes and other insects due to the dry weather. Not that I miss mosquitoes, mind you, but I have been wondering if an environment that was a bit more “buggy” might bring more birds my way and improve the birdwatching. Just haven’t been seeing much action with the birding binoculars or birding spotting scope, so far this fall.

There have been flocks of Wood Ducks gathering on the lake and I’ve been watching them in the binoculars and spotting scope and the …

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