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pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



BetterLekNextTime posted:

Go for it, especially if you can return them if they don’t work out. The 10’s will be a lot bigger than the compact 8’s but it sounds like you know what you’re getting yourself into. You may find one handed use is not easy, but that’s probably true for normal sized 8’s as well at least for long looks at something.

E: I almost always use 2 hands, to the point that if I’m holding something like a book, sandwich, etc I’ll keep that in my hand while I use that hand to steady the binocs. Just don’t do this with a mug of coffee.

Thanks. Yeah i'm well aware of the size difference, I love that I can keep the compact ones in a jacket pocket on walks etc, I'm pleased I got them first both from a cosy perspective and that they made it really easy to get into birding!

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BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

I don't know what strap those come with. I have some old 8x Nikon Monarchs as a backup pair that came with a ~1cm wide non-stretchy strap. Not the most comfortable. Maybe look for something wider and neoprene (has some give to it). I've not used a full harness but I know people who swear by them. It's not something you need immediately but if you like the optics but find your neck complaining after using them, just know there are options. Most likely the 10's aren't going to fit in your pocket the way your old bins do.

H110Hawk
Dec 28, 2006


We've been happy with our "Nikon Monarch 5 8 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars" (Had to look it up.) Bought in 2014 for $280 from REI. Like most optical gear, just throw away whatever strap it comes with and put on something else. We are happy with this: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HN5GS0/ (also from 2014) but it's a commitment to being a dork. Works well with a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens strapped to you as well. Nerd.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Fall migration is happening. Braved the heat and after a couple of hours finally found a couple of migrants, a Cassin's Vireo and this Western Tanager.

Western Tanager on Flickr

waffy
Oct 31, 2010


H110Hawk posted:

We've been happy with our "Nikon Monarch 5 8 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars" (Had to look it up.) Bought in 2014 for $280 from REI.

Same ones I've got, they've been great. When I first started birding, I just got some random ~$30-40ish Bushnell pair, which was fine for the first year or so especially since I had nothing to compare them to. But once I upgraded to the Nikons, I was like

Recently I've been thinking about getting a spotting scope for when I see super distant ducks and poo poo that I have no chance of identifying otherwise. I haven't really done any research yet nor do I have a price range in mind, but I'd be curious if anyone has general thoughts on the process of buying one. Is there any sweet spot of price/quality? Or any specific details I should be looking for? It seems a little more intimidating than selecting binoculars.

It kind of sucks cause I've been to a birding expo previous years where they had a bunch on display that you could try out, but I was never in the market then. Nor do I have any friends whose scopes I could try. Of course, with COVID it would make all that trickier anyway.

Anyway, I've mostly only lurked this and the past birding thread, but I'm happy there seems to be more activity since this one started. Birding owns and I'm always telling people how great of a hobby it is. Not too long ago I finally rubbed off on one of my coworkers, and now he's always out looking, tracking stuff on eBird, and sending me excited texts about birds he's seeing for the first time.

H110Hawk
Dec 28, 2006


waffy posted:

Same ones I've got, they've been great. When I first started birding, I just got some random ~$30-40ish Bushnell pair, which was fine for the first year or so especially since I had nothing to compare them to. But once I upgraded to the Nikons, I was like

Recently I've been thinking about getting a spotting scope for when I see super distant ducks and poo poo that I have no chance of identifying otherwise. I haven't really done any research yet nor do I have a price range in mind, but I'd be curious if anyone has general thoughts on the process of buying one. Is there any sweet spot of price/quality? Or any specific details I should be looking for? It seems a little more intimidating than selecting binoculars.

It kind of sucks cause I've been to a birding expo previous years where they had a bunch on display that you could try out, but I was never in the market then. Nor do I have any friends whose scopes I could try. Of course, with COVID it would make all that trickier anyway.

Anyway, I've mostly only lurked this and the past birding thread, but I'm happy there seems to be more activity since this one started. Birding owns and I'm always telling people how great of a hobby it is. Not too long ago I finally rubbed off on one of my coworkers, and now he's always out looking, tracking stuff on eBird, and sending me excited texts about birds he's seeing for the first time.

I always look at spotting scopes and then realize that I don't want to carry it around. I would rather buy longer glass for my camera. This means I will eventually impulse buy one. I always assume that I will buy whatever Nikon has in their mid-range.

I remember on one of our trips we saw a couple both of whom had massive primes on their cameras (600mm), a scope on a tripod, etc. It was nuts. Sure enough they humped up that prime to freehand a picture. It was crazy to watch and I knew that wasn't the amount of gear I wanted to schlep around.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

H110Hawk posted:


I remember on one of our trips we saw a couple both of whom had massive primes on their cameras (600mm), a scope on a tripod, etc. It was nuts. Sure enough they humped up that prime to freehand a picture. It was crazy to watch and I knew that wasn't the amount of gear I wanted to schlep around.

ha ha guilty. (I don't have a prime though). Who needs functioning vertebrae when they're older?

I don't have a ton of advice on different models, but I was in charge of outfitting our field crews with scopes 10-15 years ago. Our first batch were Eagle Optics Raven (Eagle is out of business now). These were in the $300 range or so, and were ok. The company was great and would usually repair ours for free when they would rattle into 20 pieces from bumping around on an ATV. Second set we got were Alpens. These I think were in the $400 range and were really good. Like I was really surprised.

My impression of the price x quality curve for scopes is a little different than for binoculars. The marginal gains in performance for high end scopes are better than for high end binoculars. I'm guessing the extra coatings and exotic lenses make more of a difference when they are larger? There's also more options to think about, like 60mm vs. 80mm objective and angled vs. straight, and then making sure you have a good tripod and a tripod head that's easy to use. Also, if you want to get into digiscoping, maybe going with a company that makes it's own adapters vs. a third party adapter.

Here's Audubon's take (not sure when this was released).

H110Hawk
Dec 28, 2006


BetterLekNextTime posted:

ha ha guilty. (I don't have a prime though). Who needs functioning vertebrae when they're older?

My impression of the price x quality curve for scopes is a little different than for binoculars. The marginal gains in performance for high end scopes are better than for high end binoculars. I'm guessing the extra coatings and exotic lenses make more of a difference when they are larger? There's also more options to think about, like 60mm vs. 80mm objective and angled vs. straight, and then making sure you have a good tripod and a tripod head that's easy to use. Also, if you want to get into digiscoping, maybe going with a company that makes it's own adapters vs. a third party adapter.

Want crippling back pain? Why wait!

We were typically fit out as 2x 70-300mm Nikon, 1x Nikon binoculars, 2x camelback camera bags w/ 2L of water, snacks, 2x extra batteries, plus random pointless stuff like a 35mm prime. We sometimes had a book, but ibird pro really made that less of an issue.

Scopes have a world of options and really it depends on what you want to do with them. In place of binoculars? Mounted for observation? Take pictures? Etc. They start having the equivalent of the Canon "L" glass and better coatings as you said. Binoculars with image stabilization are also amazing, borrowed a friends (and bird goon) Canon ones and they were nuts.

its all nice on rice
Nov 12, 2006

Sweet, Salty Goodness.



Buglord

Spending a weekend in a coastal town. The hotel we're at has someone birbs that nested on top of a security camera.


Swallows? Sparrows? Unsure of species.

Enfys
Feb 17, 2013

i am a dragon


Swallows, such grumpy little puffs

El Burbo
Oct 10, 2012


Green heron dropped by in suburbia

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat




I know it's just the photo/the angle but that green heron looks so loving out of proportion and it's killing me. I love him.

thatguy
Feb 5, 2003


that heron looks like a muppet from the labyrinth

waffy
Oct 31, 2010


H110Hawk posted:

I always look at spotting scopes and then realize that I don't want to carry it around. I would rather buy longer glass for my camera. This means I will eventually impulse buy one. I always assume that I will buy whatever Nikon has in their mid-range.

I remember on one of our trips we saw a couple both of whom had massive primes on their cameras (600mm), a scope on a tripod, etc. It was nuts. Sure enough they humped up that prime to freehand a picture. It was crazy to watch and I knew that wasn't the amount of gear I wanted to schlep around.

Yeah, definitely a good point. I'm not too too concerned about size/weight because I would mainly aim to use it at local places where I know I can park right near good lookout points and be mostly stationary. I've been on walks where a person has carried a scope around the whole time, and using it that way does not seem nearly as appealing.

BetterLekNextTime posted:

ha ha guilty. (I don't have a prime though). Who needs functioning vertebrae when they're older?

I don't have a ton of advice on different models, but I was in charge of outfitting our field crews with scopes 10-15 years ago. Our first batch were Eagle Optics Raven (Eagle is out of business now). These were in the $300 range or so, and were ok. The company was great and would usually repair ours for free when they would rattle into 20 pieces from bumping around on an ATV. Second set we got were Alpens. These I think were in the $400 range and were really good. Like I was really surprised.

My impression of the price x quality curve for scopes is a little different than for binoculars. The marginal gains in performance for high end scopes are better than for high end binoculars. I'm guessing the extra coatings and exotic lenses make more of a difference when they are larger? There's also more options to think about, like 60mm vs. 80mm objective and angled vs. straight, and then making sure you have a good tripod and a tripod head that's easy to use. Also, if you want to get into digiscoping, maybe going with a company that makes it's own adapters vs. a third party adapter.

Here's Audubon's take (not sure when this was released).

Thanks for the info! I had a similar hunch on price vs quality, but it wasn't based on anything concrete, so that's helpful. That Audubon guide seems like a good starting point that I'd be curious to compare to other reviews. I'll probably research for a while before I actually pull the trigger on something, but it will give me something to do when I'm bored.

BeastOfExmoor
Aug 19, 2003

I will be gone, but not forever.


BetterLekNextTime posted:

My impression of the price x quality curve for scopes is a little different than for binoculars. The marginal gains in performance for high end scopes are better than for high end binoculars. I'm guessing the extra coatings and exotic lenses make more of a difference when they are larger?

This has been my experience as well. I think it's the magnification. When you're talking about 8x or 10x an increase in clarity only gets you so far. If you start reading about high end binoculars you find that people start becoming obsessed with attributes that really do not matter for birding. Is the outer 5% of the image circle razor sharp? Do you notice some distortion when panning?

When you jump up to scopes you're talking about pretty extreme conditions. A $200 scope might stop making the image sharper at 30x. A $1000 scope might stop at 45x. A $2500 scope may get you all the way to 60x. A lot of the time this won't matter, but when you're dealing with overcast skies in November, trying to identify a storm-petrel that's a mile out it can make a big difference. I would never pay more than $1000 for binoculars, but if I was seawatching multiple times a week all fall a Zeiss Harpia would be tempting.

I started with a $200 Konus spotting scope and it was, honestly, not that bad. I moved on to a Celestron Regal M2 80mm with an astronomy eyepiece and it was a big improvement. Not so much in clarity as in the huge field of view the eyepiece gave me. I now have a Vortex Razor with the default zoom eyepiece, but I still miss that wide field-of-view the Celestron gave me. If I had to recommend a starter scope I'd say a Celestron Ultima or Trailseeker 80mm and whatever eyepiece gives you a decent field of view at 30x.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

We've been stuck inside for a while because of wildfire smoke and our local parks have all been closed due to fire risk. It's finally cleared up a couple of days ago and (most of) the parks opened up so I got out for a bit. Pretty quiet but I got my first fall warblers! Black-throated Gray, Yellow, and Townsend's, plus a Wilson's that could have been a local breeder. Also a western tanager, and an unusual enough number of gnatcatchers that I it got flagged on my eBird list.

Enfys
Feb 17, 2013

i am a dragon


https://mobile.twitter.com/Ciaraioch/status/1301609077815074824

DELETE CASCADE
Oct 25, 2017

i haven't washed my penis since i jerked it to a phtotograph of george w. bush in 2003


during covid lockdowns we have really been enjoying our patio. we're on the 4th floor and there are several trees right next to us, plus we live across from a park, so we put out feeders and now we get lots of birds! we have hummingbird feeders with sugar water, a big tube feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds, and we also put out nuts (the squirrels love these). so far our visitors include:

several anna's hummingbirds, they are territorial with the feeders
tons of chestnut-backed chickadees
the occasional dark-eyed junco, oregon coloring
a family of house finches, the red adult male is my favorite
at least two steller's jays
a california scrub jay that we just started seeing, i think it was driven here by the fires
some kind of pointy sleek mostly-white bird that has a long thin beak, i haven't figured out what it is yet

we even saw a woodpecker once or twice but he doesn't come around much. and last year there were wild turkeys on the roof next door. birds!!!

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

DELETE CASCADE posted:

during covid lockdowns we have really been enjoying our patio. we're on the 4th floor and there are several trees right next to us, plus we live across from a park, so we put out feeders and now we get lots of birds! we have hummingbird feeders with sugar water, a big tube feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds, and we also put out nuts (the squirrels love these). so far our visitors include:

several anna's hummingbirds, they are territorial with the feeders
tons of chestnut-backed chickadees
the occasional dark-eyed junco, oregon coloring
a family of house finches, the red adult male is my favorite
at least two steller's jays
a california scrub jay that we just started seeing, i think it was driven here by the fires
some kind of pointy sleek mostly-white bird that has a long thin beak, i haven't figured out what it is yet

we even saw a woodpecker once or twice but he doesn't come around much. and last year there were wild turkeys on the roof next door. birds!!!

Nice mix! Your pointy-beaked mystery bird might be a white-breasted nuthatch?

cowofwar
Jul 30, 2002

by Athanatos


Yeah nuthatch, waxwing, gnatcatcher, nutcracker all birds that could match that description.

Get the Audubon app.

cowofwar fucked around with this message at 00:23 on Sep 4, 2020

litany of gulps
Jun 11, 2001



Fun Shoe

This guy tried to assassinate the squirrel living in my back yard.

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat




What a stance!

its all nice on rice
Nov 12, 2006

Sweet, Salty Goodness.



Buglord

Wanna meet that bird.

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Cool bird this morning, Phainopepla! As far as I know it's new for the park list. We get them on the eastern edge of the county but this is the first I've seen here. They weird awesome birds, for example doing lots of mimicking and they also sometimes breed in the desert then fly up to the mountains and breed again.

Wildcat Phainopepla -6212 on Flickr

Also got a close encounter with an owl.

Wildcat great horned owl-6258 on Flickr

DELETE CASCADE
Oct 25, 2017

i haven't washed my penis since i jerked it to a phtotograph of george w. bush in 2003


my pointy bird is definitely a nuthatch, probably the white-breasted variety. thanks for that! i also realized that we have an oak titmouse visitor as well. i want to take bird pics but they don't come as close when i'm outside. easiest way to watch them is through the balcony glass door, and that doesn't make for good bird pics

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Don't want to poo poo up the great bird thread but worth being aware of this https://twitter.com/stegersaurus/status/1305712128871952384?s=19

(Birdlife, presumably at the behest of the PRC, has kicked the Taiwanese bird org out after making them change their name 3 times)

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

^^^ I hope that's temporary, or at least doesn't lead to tangible problems for conservation in Taiwan.

Finally not (as) smoky today. Got a great look at one of my favorite birds.
Gyuto Wrentit-6454 on Flickr

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



There's so many Kites around my parents. Can't believe they used to be locally extinct. There's a sign by the river warning people to beware of them stealing your food.

litany of gulps
Jun 11, 2001



Fun Shoe

BetterLekNextTime posted:


Finally not (as) smoky today. Got a great look at one of my favorite birds.


That's a lovely picture!

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




https://twitter.com/ChuckGrassley/status/1307421592411156482

cowofwar
Jul 30, 2002

by Athanatos


They are putting preferred pronouns on bird bands now?

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Saw a kingfisher this morning, what a gorgeous bird. Also saw Great White Egrets and got a much better look at Little Egrets and some Pheasants than I have before. Can't believe that people hunt Pheasants for sport, they happily sat 10m from me almost the entire time I was birding in plain site.

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




pointsofdata posted:

Saw a kingfisher this morning, what a gorgeous bird. Also saw Great White Egrets and got a much better look at Little Egrets and some Pheasants than I have before. Can't believe that people hunt Pheasants for sport, they happily sat 10m from me almost the entire time I was birding in plain site.

nice, but also yeah that's why people hunted pheasant, it's easy

i actually had a question about water birds

i'm in a riparian area of texas and often see cranes flying through when otherwise there's wasteland on either side of the river. i think i'm seeing great blue herons fly by a lot; the colors match but the sizes don't. these are maybe 5ft max wingspan and i thought the GBH was a lot bigger. what am i seeing?

BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

i say swears online posted:

nice, but also yeah that's why people hunted pheasant, it's easy

i actually had a question about water birds

i'm in a riparian area of texas and often see cranes flying through when otherwise there's wasteland on either side of the river. i think i'm seeing great blue herons fly by a lot; the colors match but the sizes don't. these are maybe 5ft max wingspan and i thought the GBH was a lot bigger. what am i seeing?

Have you checked the some of the smaller herons? Particularly Little Blue Heron and Reddish Egret. Also Limpkin, and maybe look at glossy ibis too.

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




oh wow I've never seen a little blue heron! Looking them up they must be greats, maybe a bit undersized

cheese eats mouse
Jul 6, 2007


Can I share some Bronx Zoo bird shots or is this birds in the wild only?

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




birds

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Saw a pair of Red Billed Leiothrix's in some bushy trees by a farm path today in southern France. Took me a while to id as my Merlin didn't have a photo - eventually I saw the name and googled it. Very pretty bird, can see why it was popular in the caged bird trade, pity it's so invasive.

There were numerous blackcaps and robins in the area too.

fridgraidr
Nov 10, 2011


Migration is on in the salt marsh! This week Iíve been getting the last few looks at species that are relatively easy to find during the summer months, like spoonbills, wood storks, and black skimmers. Shorebird migration is getting real, and Iím seeing large flocks of oystercatchers, marbled godwits, and much larger numbers of the usual suspects like black-bellied plovers, semipalmated plovers, dowitchers, ruddy turnstones, and willets.
The predatory birds are showing up as well. Peregrines, merlins, northern harriers and eagles can be spotted every day now.
In the spartina, clapper rails try and escape the big fall high tides, the red winged blackbirds on the grass tops are devouring seeds, while above the tree swallows are eating their weight in flying insects alongside kiting belted kingfishers.

Looking forward to whatís next. Iím expecting some loons, grebes, and mergansers any day now.
Sorry for no pictures, I donít yet have the income to support the hobby.

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BetterLekNextTime
Jul 22, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective...


Grimey Drawer

Nice! Not that I've been able to get out much, but our fall songbird migration in CA is winding down and the waterfowl are picking up. Sandhill Cranes are already back in the Central Valley and I've seen some photos of huge flights of geese at some of the refuges.

Winter Finches are making their way south too. We've had Pine Siskins for a few weeks now. I don't think we'll get big numbers of crossbills or evening grosbeaks out here but I'd love it if we did!

Don't worry about not having photos. I'm old enough to remember when that wasn't an expectation. Don't get me wrong, it's a great way to learn and get feedback on your IDs but I tend to think people pay less attention to behavior and posture when they are so focused on getting a shot.

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