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Monthly Archives: December 2011

30 Dec

I’d love to sell everyone who already owns a binocular, astronomy binoculars, so they can do some astronomy. It would certainly get me a lot of astronomy binocular sales and make me look good, but it would also be dishonest, so not going to happen.

Truth is, anyone who already owns a binocular can get started, right now, in binocular astronomy. What you have in binoculars may or may not be the best choice for astronomy, but any binocular, even small compact binoculars, will show you more than no binocular under the night sky. If you decide you like astronomy, …

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29 Dec

I sometimes have so many Black-capped Chickadees at our bird feeders that I feel as if I am raising chickadees. Okay, not quite, but I do wonder where the birdwatching ends and raising chickadees begins.

Watching chickadees in the binoculars is fun, but it can also be a challenge to keep these ever moving, always hustling little songbirds in the field of view. That’s okay, because Chickadees are not hard to identify, unless you happen to be in an area where the Black-capped Chickadee overlaps its range with the Boreal Chickadee in the north or the Carolina Chickadee in the …

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28 Dec

This has been a slow winter at the bird feeders as far as the variety of birds that have been visiting the feeders. Activity is still hot and heavy with the species that we are getting, but it’s been the same mix of species, day after day in the binoculars and spotting scope. Last winter definitely produced more birdwatching surprises.

Things do run in cycles, up here in the north country, and perhaps we are at the low point in one of those cycles. For instance, I’ve definitely seen fewer field mouse tracks and hardly any rabbit tracks in the …

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27 Dec

The focusing wheel on my binoculars is stiff and/or requires a lot of effort to work. Is there anything I can do to loosen it up? Will it loosen up on its own with use?

I’ve asked myself these same questions when receiving binoculars with stiff and hard to turn focusing wheels. I am very fussy about this binocular feature, especially on my birding binoculars, since you do a lot of focusing while birdwatching. On the other hand, you focus only once when using astronomy binoculars, so a stiff focuser is no big deal. Let’s just say you have a…

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26 Dec

Most new binoculars come with manuals, but the manuals tend to be very generic. Binocular manufacturers tend to make a single basic manual fit all binocular models to keep costs down, but also because there is not much about a binocular that you can’t figure out on your own with a little effort. I sometimes think binocular manuals are supplied for folks who feel cheated if they don’t receive a manual. I paid good money to buy binoculars, so where’s my manual?

Still, I do actually read binocular manuals – I like anything about binoculars, even the manuals. It is…

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25 Dec

If you received a binocular as a gift, over the weekend, good for you. You are now the proud owner of one of he world’s simplest optical instrument, at least as far as using it goes. Inside, though, a binocular is a bit more complicated, as many a binocular user has discovered to their horror when they attempted to repair it on their own. Just give your new birding binoculars or hunting binoculars or astronomy binoculars reasonable care and you and the binocular will be happy, but do not, ever, take your binoculars apart. Not only are you likely to…

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21 Dec

A binocular is one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you start to carry one. Okay, “need” might be a bit strong, so let’s just say you really don’t appreciate how useful binoculars can be unless you make it a habit of carrying one.

This especially true with compact binoculars. They are so light and easy around the neck that you barely know they’re there, but then, without warning, you see something that calls for a closer look and, no problem, you just happen to have a binocular around your neck. Before you know it, reaching for …

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20 Dec

There are many types or subcategories, if you will, of birdwatching. You could approach birding from the standpoint of habitat, for instance and talk about marsh birding, desert birding, prairie birding and so on, but we birders more commonly approach it from the standpoint of specific bird groups such as warblers, shorebirds and raptors (hawks, falcons, eagles and owls) and so on. To be sure, there are no hard and fast lines, here. Head out to the warbler woods and you’ll see many types of birds other than warblers in the binoculars.Still, it is a kick to go looking for …

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19 Dec

If you’ve read just about any of my Binocular Blogs, you know that I have always had a thing for compact binoculars. Yup, compact binoculars are wonderfully portable and oh so easy around the neck. Compact binoculars do have their shortcomings – no binocular design is perfect – but one of these shortcomings is not durability. Compact binoculars may be small and even downright dainty in some models, but they can be every bit as durable as big binoculars.

My Nikon 10×25 Premier LX is a case in point. Of all my expensive compact binoculars, I use this one the …

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19 Dec

Binoculars can and do break, but, given reasonable care, even cheap binoculars should last for years. So, care to guess the number one reason for binocular failure?

The answer is customer abuse. People drop binoculars or inadvertently bang binoculars against something, drive over their binoculars and so on. Believe me, I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories on breaking binoculars. It’s not that people intentionally break their expensive birding binoculars or hunting binoculars, of course, but accidents do happen. People get in a hurry and sometimes forget some basic binocular handling rules.

The first and most important rule when handling …

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