With yet another world record for the highest count of “Falco peregrinus” during a single count season, the Florida Keys Hawkwatch continues securing its place as the Peregrine Falcon Migration Capital of the World. Every fall season, hawkwatchers flock to the southernmost chain of islands along the Atlantic Flyway to participate in the Florida Keys Hawkwatch (FKH), a [...]
Archive for the ‘Team Gear Picks’ Category
An amazing part of being on the Leica Birding Team is choosing a binocular to use. Conversely, a really tough part about being on the Team is choosing a binocular, given the mouth-watering range of choices in the Leica stable! With well-used and loved Ultravid 8x42s already in my quiver, I thought I’d evaluate something in a different niche to support my birding style. When I’m afield, I’m usually toting a DSLR rig and spotting scope in addition to my bins. I also travel a bit and know that every cubic centimeter of camera bag space is precious, especially when flying. To top it off there’s more gray in my beard than when I started this game, and when I’m already strapped up with a DSLR on one shoulder and a scope on the other my neck appreciates whatever break I can give it. So I decided to give the 8×32 Ultravid HD a go to gain weight and size savings. My only regret is waiting so long to get into Leica 32s!
As a teenager birder I always had crummy binoculars, it was all I could afford, the realities of life. I convinced myself that if I could identify birds with optics that distorted the image and colors, well that was great training. In other words, the challenge of not seeing the birds well was good for me – gain through pain! I was so wrong.
For me, good binoculars require 4 basic things: waterproof and reasonably knock-proof (if not, stop here); close focus (without multiple turns of the focus wheel); good depth of field (so you’re not constantly tweaking the focus wheel); and a reasonably wide angle of view. If they’re small, lightweight, and easy to hold and pack, then even better; and of course the optics need to be excellent, providing a bright, clear image.