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Monthly Archives: April 2012

30 Apr

One of the things that makes binoculars so endearing to me in this digital, high tech world, is that binoculars are still … well, binoculars. Binoculars, today, are still the same in terms of function and use as binoculars have always been. You look through your birding binoculars, hunting binoculars or astronomy binoculars, focus as needed, and observe. There are no buttons to push, commands to give or programs to select. There’s no upgrading, rapid obsolescence or growing old the minute you take binoculars out of the box. In other words, binoculars are refreshingly retro.

Not that binocular manufacturers haven’t …

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27 Apr

Up here in the north woods, as in any type of habitat, some birds are better represented than others. Now, if you love birdwatching for woodpeckers as much as I do, the north woods is a great place to see a variety of woodpeckers in the birding binoculars. On any given day in the spring, right from my kitchen window, I may see a Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and, the most spectacular of them all, the Pileated Woodpecker. Oftentimes, I will see several species in the yard at one time, especially when the bird …

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26 Apr

The more you handle and use binoculars, the more you notice subtle differences and the more you appreciate when a binocular get’s it right in terms of optics and construction. In this sense, binoculars are similar to any other gear, of course, but with binoculars, I still encounter some folks who insist their cheap binoculars are every bit as good as the high-priced stuff. I don’t see this as much with digital cameras, spotting scopes or telescopes.

Who am I to argue, though? If someone can’t see the difference between cheap binoculars and expensive birding binoculars or hunting binoculars, I …

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25 Apr

We have a nice view to part of our lake that is visible from our kitchen table and it provides us with endless hours of birdwatching and wildlife watching. No wonder we keep several binoculars of various sizes – full-size birding binoculars and small, compact binoculars – parked right on our kitchen table, ready to grab the minute we see something out on the lake.

This kitchen table bird watching can be done in comfort anytime of the year, but when the weather is nice, we just move everything, even our meals, onto our deck, which is right off our …

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24 Apr

I carry binoculars all the time, even to the point of being silly, I suppose. I do have binoculars, though, whenever I need them and that’s the point. Even the finest birding binoculars are little more than a paperweight when they are sitting back at home and you need to take a closer look at a bird. No wonder, small, lightweight compact binoculars are my constant companion.

I used to be that way about my digital cameras, too. Somewhere along the line, however, I’ve gotten out of the habit of always carrying a digital camera and, of course, it’s cost …

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20 Apr

When you need large binoculars, you need large binoculars. As much as I love my compact binoculars and as much as I use compact binoculars for daytime work where other folks tend to use larger binoculars, I know there are some binocular used where compact binoculars are a poor choice. Astronomy is one of those.

Large binoculars are the norm in astronomy for two reasons. One, of course, is that larger binocular objectives deliver more light to the eye and this is a big asset when it comes to locating the faint objects in the sky that astronomers love to …

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19 Apr

April showers in most parts of the country mean warm spring rains, but in our part of the country, April showers can mean either snow or cold rain. Yes, it’s been a wet, cold, blustery and even snowy couple of weeks, up here in the north woods – in other words, a typical April for us.

Such weather tends to stall out songbird migration, so I have to say it hasn’t been a great couple of weeks of birdwatching for songbirds. I have spotted a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, a number of Fox Sparrows, quite a few Song Sparrows and a …

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17 Apr

Was out in the canoe, the other day and spotted a newcomer on our lake – an Osprey.

Not that I haven’t seen plenty of these fish hunting birds in my life; it’s just that it’s nice to see one show up on our little lake. Can’t say if this particular Osprey was just passing through or actually scouting for a place to nest, but I’ll take what I can get. I love Ospreys. They are beautiful birds in either the birding binoculars or the birding spotting scope and when you get one to pose for the digital camera, as …

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17 Apr

My favorite places for birdwatching have always involved water. Give me a lakeshore, river, stream or marsh, throw in my favorite birding binoculars or birding spotting scope and I am one very happy birder. Maybe it’s my Norwegian blood that draws me so unerringly and incessantly to water, but any birder soon learns that where there’s water, there will be birds.

Little wonder, then, that being near water was at the top of my list for a place to retire. Our 77acre lake is a mere puddle for a north-country lake, but sometimes smaller is actually better for seeing birds.

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16 Apr

Having been in canoes all my life, I have to say that I’ve paddled in as much nasty weather as I have in bluebird day kind of weather. Just returned from my morning paddle, for instance, and managed to get back to the dock before the big weather change I knew was coming hit in full force. Didn’t keep me form getting a little wet or my binoculars, either, but I timed the paddle to avoid the worst of the storm.

My canoeing and cross-country skiing binocular of choice these last eight years has been my trusty Nikon 10×25 Premier …

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