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Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



Yeah we were walking through wetland. There is a guy nearby that logs every bird he sees in the area, every day, on his website. I guess we read Marsh Harrier one day, and it stuck in our heads to the point that we jumped to conclusions.

Heard hooves, thought zebras, or whatever the saying is

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Aquila
Jan 24, 2003



Tears In A Vial posted:

We've gone back to the tape and you guys are right. Thanks for the ID! I'll update my list.

Little disappointing, but still a new one this year.

I'll post some more photos when I get back in

I'm in Kent.

Oh dear, I was afraid to say anything, but every Harrier I've seen in the US and Britain has had a heavy and distinctive white band on the base of it's tail. Given the extreme dimorphism between the sexes of those birbs it's absolutely the quickest give away for either.

E: you should definitely go seek out a harrier if you haven't seen one before, they're like what if a hawk decided it wanted to be an owl.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC43bc8jZ98

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0dzu_6sfSg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sB_-cBAUZ8

In flight, a marsh harrier probably reminds me more of a red kite than a buzzard.

The real challenge is trying to differentiate Common Buzzard and Rough Legged Buzzard. The latter are a rare winter visitor so for the most part it's not something to worry about; if I've seen one I've been blissfully unaware of it! However living in Kent, Tears In A Vial has more chance than me...

https://www.birdguides.com/articles/species-profiles/focus-on-rough-legged-buzzard/

Shifty Nipples
Apr 8, 2007



Hi birding thread! I knew there would be a bird watching thread if I just looked for it and here it is. There are a bunch of pine siskins, a few Oregon juncos and I heard some black-capped chickadees in my yard this morning.

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


A Northern Mockingbird has turned up in the UK (Devon). Only the third reported sighting. Must be divining all the twitchers mad given current lockdown situation...

Counteresperanto
Jun 14, 2007

Achievement is its' own reward. Pride obscures it.


BetterLekNextTime posted:

As far as I know any complete Ebird checklist of at least 15 minutes in length made during the GBBC period will be automatically included in the GBBC dataset. You don't need to do anything special to become included.

All ebird checklists have the potential to be used in any research using eBird data, although it's more likely if it's a complete checklist with all numerical counts for the species.

The Christmas Bird Count predates eBird and GBBC by many decades, so it's kind of a separate thing, although more and more people are using eBird mobile as a data collection and compiling tool to record CBC data. So I guess potentially the same ebird checklist could become part of the eBird dataset and be folded into a CBC count circle. But if you're just birding outside a circle, or even inside a circle but not coordinating with the CBC compiler, then your ebird list does not count towards the CBC. CBC circles have set routines that they follow to try to ensure people are spread out and covering different areas, so they don't have to figure out of the 8 checklists from a park or hotspot that day how many total birds were there.

Great Backyard Bird Count is an independent winter bird-finding event that can be done anywhere, not just in the predetermined count circles. It's more or less just trying to synchronize as many people to count on the same weekend. Global big day is another one of these, and there are plenty of other more local/regional ones too. Basically "wahoo, let's go birding y'all"

If you're already entering eBird lists then you're way ahead of the game.

Thanks for this, glad to be contributing, even in this small way. The weather kept me indoors for most of the weekend. So, besides reports on my yard and feeders, I only made it out once to a local pond, where there is dependably a nice variety of ducks.

Each winter, for at least the past three winters, a pair of Northern Pintails has taken up residence in this pond. It's always only one pair, so I assume they are the same pair each year. The male is very handsome and elegant, but quite timid. He always heads back out onto the water when people are about. The female, on the other hand, is more likely to be found at the leading edge of the mallard stampede that descends on any human visitor.

Eeyo
Aug 29, 2004



My wife has expressed interest in going out birding. We went to see the sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski 2 seasons ago (so pre-covid obviously since it can get pretty crowded there) and had a good time. The only problem is that she has a (fairly mild) case of cerebral palsy. She can walk around just fine and goes running so it's a rather light case. But her coordination is a bit lacking and her movement can be a little jerky some times.

She's had a bit of difficulty using the binoculars we have the times we've used them. We went out to see the comet last year as well as the jupiter/saturn conjunction. She had trouble seeing either of those, but I've read that astronomical objects can be more difficult to see, plus our binoculars are ~$50 10x binoculars (the bushnell all-purpose 10x) so maybe that made things worse.

How useful would something like a monopod or a tripod be? For looking at things not too far up I figure it could work pretty well, but I don't know how often we'd have to look straight up to see birds.

My current plan is to get a pair pentax papilio 6.5x for her. Kind of low powered and moderately inexpensive, but the hope would be that the low power would make her shakiness be less noticeable than a more powerful pair. Plus they're very light, which might help since she's a bit petite. Then I can get a monopod and a quick release mount since it's got a nice mounting point on the bottom of the body. Worst case I can end up using them for their really close focus (half a meter) since I'm interested in looking at plants.

Kenshin
Jan 10, 2007


Get a lightweight tripod, not a monopod, that way once it's set her coordination doesn't even matter.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Those Pentax have a very narrow field of view (the second number in the 6.5x21). Lightweight is good, but it will probably help if the field of view is 35 or 40 (or more) so that even if there痴 some shake the bird will stay in the frame. I don稚 fully know the challenges your wife is facing but I知 wondering if something a little bigger might be easier to use.

Are the Canon image stabilization binoculars in your price range at all? Just a thought.

A spotting scope would be the most stable but that would more or less preclude looking at moving birds. But maybe a mixed strategy of 7x35s and a scope would be best.

E: I almost wonder whether a sturdy walking support/walking stick that she could lean against and then use binoculars normally would be easier than using binoculars on a monopod. I知 pretty sure there is a combo walking stick/monopod that could let you experiment.

BetterLekNextTime fucked around with this message at 02:54 on Feb 17, 2021

Eeyo
Aug 29, 2004



Kenshin posted:

Get a lightweight tripod, not a monopod, that way once it's set her coordination doesn't even matter.

I don't know anything about pods, so maybe just going all in would be good. It's probably location dependent, we're in the Chicago area so there are several prairie/plains type places around, plus like lake shores and stuff. I could see setting up a tripod at one of those areas working since we could see more without having to go around as much. But in my mind in a forest-y area it might be less useful (but maybe a monopod wouldn't help much there anyway). Like for something like the sandhill cranes a tripod is clearly just better. I don't have much of a sense of how ambulatory we need to be to see birds.

BetterLekNextTime posted:

Those Pentax have a very narrow field of view (the second number in the 6.5x21). Lightweight is good, but it will probably help if the field of view is 35 or 40 (or more) so that even if there’s some shake the bird will stay in the frame. I don’t fully know the challenges your wife is facing but I’m wondering if something a little bigger might be easier to use.

Are the Canon image stabilization binoculars in your price range at all? Just a thought.

A spotting scope would be the most stable but that would more or less preclude looking at moving birds. But maybe a mixed strategy of 7x35s and a scope would be best.

E: I almost wonder whether a sturdy walking support/walking stick that she could lean against and then use binoculars normally would be easier than using binoculars on a monopod. I’m pretty sure there is a combo walking stick/monopod that could let you experiment.

Yeah the small objective lens was a bit of a concern. They claim to have an ok field of view despite that (they say 7.5 degrees, or ~390 ft @ 1000 yards), but it may be that near the edges it doesn't look as nice. Plus it'll be darker than a bigger pair. Haven't looked through them so I couldn't say.

Image stabilization ones would be nice but they're a bit more than we're looking to spend at this point. They're definitely an attractive upgrade if we end up enjoying it though.

But roughly I was going to get a ~$150 pair for myself, plus something similar for her. Not including a tripod or whatever else I end up getting.

Lawson
Apr 21, 2006

You're right, I agree.

Total Clam

BetterLekNextTime posted:

field of view (the second number in the 6.5x21).

that's the lens diameter, which you can use to compare field of view only for the same magnification.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Lawson posted:

that's the lens diameter, which you can use to compare field of view only for the same magnification.

Very true. When comparing 6.5 vs. 7x it should be a reasonable proxy but the actual field of view metrics are right there.

Eeyo-- if there's any chance you could try out some models before you buy, that's always a good idea. That might not be as easy right now but if you have a Wild Birds Unlimited, REI, Cabela's/Bass Pro Shop they should at least have one or two examples of the compact (which the 6.5x21's would be) vs. something a the small end of "standard" binoculars that you could try out in the store or in the parking lot. I haven't looked recently but $150 should be a reasonable amount for very serviceable glass.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




We recently moved to an area where we can watch birds fish and I want to get a good set of binoculars. Is Celestron a well regarded brand? They appear on some "Best Value" lists and their prices are pretty attractive.

Here is a list of three that I'm considering:



Is there any Goon Favorite set of glasses? I'd like to use them at the range occasionally too, if that helps/ complicates things.

Edit: In case this is useful, here is where they will mostly see use:

Professor Shark fucked around with this message at 00:19 on Mar 1, 2021

Pablo Bluth
Sep 7, 2007

I've made a huge mistake.


https://www.audubon.org/gear/binocular-guide

The Bins section of BirdForum also has a reasonable amount of traffic
https://www.birdforum.net/forums/binoculars.112/

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Celestron is a legitimate brand, and should be as good as anything else at that price point. Years ago my mom had a pair, not sure which model.

All brands are going to have different tiers so while Celestron earned it's good rep for astronomical telescopes the economy binoculars are not going to carry all of that technology with them.

Professor Shark posted:


Is there any Goon Favorite set of glasses? I'd like to use them at the range occasionally too, if that helps/ complicates things.


Range like golf or gun? it shouldn't really matter I guess, although in both cases you may be looking for tiny things at a long distance so that might actually call for 10x42s or something a little bigger? I don't do either so I don't really know what the exact use case is for those sports. Or do you mean looking at birds while you're at the range? You aren't looking for an actual rangefinder, right?

A common recommendation are Nikon Monarchs but those are probably one price point up from what you're looking at. Here are some recs for the entry-level class (under $150).

Binoculars for birding are pretty general for most uses, so a typical pair that's not super-compact will be somewhere in the 7x35, 8x35 to 8x50, or 10x35 to 10x50. 8x42 are perfect. Exceptions would be for stuff like butterflies where you need close minimum focus, or for something like long-distance sea watches you might go with something with a lot of magnification.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I was reading a great article on Audubon that helped- I知 leaning more towards the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8x42, but will check outbthe Monarchs.

I would not be birding at the (gun) range, just looking for tiny holes and swearing a bunch. For the most part they would sit in my living room for eagle spotting uses.

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Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I ended up going with the Nikons in 10x42 after reading that for the distances I知 be using them for, the birds would not be moving fast enough to justify the 8x

I知 looking forward to them!

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