Archive for the ‘Leica Sport Optics’ Category

Dueling Video Techniques

Both digiscoping and DSLR rigs can be used to obtain high-quality video of birds.  Below we'll compare results from a Nikon DSLR rig (right) and a Leica APO-Televid + iPhone rig (left.)

More and more I find myself looking for opportunities to shoot video of birds along with stills. With HD video recording capability now widely featured in DSLRs and high-quality cell phones it has become easier than ever for birders to grab really neat movies of their avian subjects doing cool things. On my annual sojourn to northwest Wisconsin this past June I had a cooperative Yellow-bellied Sapsucker whose favorite drumming post was right outside my cabin. I took advantage of the opportunity to film the bird both with my DSLR rig and through my Leica APO-Televid 65mm spotting scope. Below I’ll summarize a few considerations for both rigs and present short movies taken with each setup for your perusal and comparison.

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Enter to win a copy of the new Rare Birds of North America


Leica Sport Optics and Princeton University Press have teamed up to give away five copies of the new Rare Birds of North America book. Read on to find out how you can enter!

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Year at the Lake

American Avocet, September 7

From patch birding to big years, join Mike Lanzone on his big year in Somerset County Pennsylvania!

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 2b: Size Matters – But Use With Caution

Fig 2. Sooty Shearwater has the heavy body and narrow wings (high wing-loading) to arc high in strong winds.

Master of birding fieldcraft, Steve N.G. Howell, continues his “How to Use a Field Guide” series with this final installment on how to use weight (or mass) measurements effectively when thinking about the relative size of birds in the field.

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 2a: Size matters, but use with caution

This Least Sandpiper looks pretty bloody small compared to the Dunlins it is with, so how would you compare the “sizes” of these two species?

Master of birding fieldcraft, Steve N.G. Howell, continues his “How to Use a Field Guide” series with this installment on how to use size effectively when identifying birds in the field.

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Bird Eye-dentification

# 13

Ultraviolet light reception, a third “eyelid”– the nictitating membrane– irises that span nearly all the colors of the rainbow, immobile eyeballs and more! Bird’s eyes are pretty rad. Watching close-range birds through her 65 mm Leica Televid has given ProStaffer Tiffany Kersten a new appreciation for bird eyes. How will you fare on this pixel-riffic bird quiz?

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Leica Birding Team: Luke Tiller

Leica shoots Leica - Catherine Hamilton

Leica Birding Team member Tom Johnson puts questions to fellow team member Luke Tiller. Originally from London England, Luke transplanted to the United States in 2003. Surrounded by wildlife he found his love of birds reignited. Employed as a hawkwatcher, his passion, experience and knowledge saw him recently added to the Hawk Migration Association of North America board. He currently counts hawks at Braddock Bay, NY, leads birding tours for Sunrise Birding and HMANA and writes for a number of publications on both sides of ‘The Pond’.

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Enough Light to Digiscope at Night

"Peenting" American Woodcock, Maumee Bay State Park, OH, May 2014.  Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

I recently had the great pleasure of joining David La Puma and Jeff Bouton at the 2014 Biggest Week in American Birding. The event is hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory at the famed Magee Marsh and nearby Maumee Bay State Park along Northwest Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. Droves of neotropical migrants make their way through the region each spring, earning the region its nickname, ” The Warbler Capital of the World.” I certainly enjoyed the abundance of warblers and other gorgeous passerines, but the chance to see American Woodcocks doing their thing was certainly among my personal highlights.

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How to Use a Field Guide Part 1: Remember the “guide” part of Field Guide

Bolinas, CA

In this multipart series Steve Howell takes us through “how to use a field guide”, or more accurately, how to maximize your effective use of a field guide to get the most bang for your buck.

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The Siberian Express in Yolo County, California

Common Ringed Plover 11Sb

Join Leica Birding Team’s John Sterling as he takes you on an adventure to meet the Siberian birds that have been found in Yolo County, California.

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Steve Howell embarks on another World Birding Rally in Peru!

Galapagos Albatross Callao pelagic, Peru (78 of 157)

Leica team member Steve Howell is back in Peru for another World Birding Rally, as part of the Sunbird-WINGS team (the rally can be followed at Last year it was in southern Peru, where Steve’s team fought a close race to come second with 455 species to the winning team’s 457!

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Leica in the Pacific Island jungles….

One of the few “published” images of Vanuatu Petrel (Pterodroma occulta), described to science in 2001, but perhaps not safely separable at sea from White-necked Petrel (P. cervicalis). Off Vanua Levu, Vanuatu, 26 April 2014.

Steve Howell has just returned from leading a WINGS cruise for 4 weeks from New Zealand to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. He sent us this virtual postcard and we wanted to share it with you.

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Leica Stories: Jack Whetstone


It’s not every day that you see someone riding a camel with Leicas around his neck. But Jack Whetstone is not your average birder. Biologist, bird bander, sculptor, artist, musician, mayoral candidate, and all-around handy man, he is truly a Jack-of all trades. Leica Birding Team member Jennie Duberstein caught up with him recently to reminisce.

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Godwit Days pelagic with Athena the Wandering Ultravid

Black-footed Albatross. One of the 15 we say today = Athena lifer!

The North Coast of California is a special place full of special people with local birding that ranges from good to epic. The Godwit Days bird festival in Arcata California exemplifies the North Coast vibe, and of the birding tribe, Rob Fowler (owner and operator of Fowlerope Birding Tours – is the finest of specimens. Join Rob has he takes Athena on her first pelagic birding adventure offshore of Humboldt Bay, California in this dispatch from the field.

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Thrasher Quest


Leica Birding Team member Bill Schmoker finds that the fabled Trasher Spot in Maricopa County Arizona doesn’t disappoint!

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