Saturday, January 12, 2013

Birding Equipment

When I get time to go out birding, I don't want to waste a whole bunch of it gathering stuff up and thinking about what I should bring, so I have a back pack ready to go. It isn't anything big and full of stuff, but something I can just grab and pick up and know everything I need is already in there.

My good old leather backpack!  I've had that backpack for about 18 years, but even that one was a manufacturer replacement for another one (which was suede and far less durable) that I had for 4 years (which was a gift from my brother one year in high school). I love that backpack so much that even when I had to use carry my laptop around in my other specialized backpack in grad school, I still carried this one around too.  Yes, I carried two backpacks.

Inside I stash some pencils, a sharpie (for marking up my field guide), my Sibley guide to bird (by far my favorite of the field guides, even if it isn't very portable as a 'field' guide), a spiral notebook to write ideas for posts and general brainstorming, my field notebook for writing down the birds I see.  I have my field hat, though I usually am already wearing a baseball cap (field hats are fine in birder areas, but wandering around residential areas with it on will seem a bit...uhhh....strange), and I will often grab a heavy knitted cap when it is cold (highs in the 50s lately though).  Finally there are these:
Ahhh, yes my binoculars.  I wear glass and I ALWAYS have to take them off to look through these, as does Paul (look at his picture in the About Us section and you will see him holding his glasses while looking through binoculars), though I see people who keep their glasses on while using them.  How is that possible?  Maybe I can't because mine are so small?
Yeah, they are small.  Hey, they aren't that bad and have served me really well all these years! Their weak power has never been an issue before, but I was in Cape May, New Jersey today and it became apparent they aren't quite as good as I would need.  I was looking at the ducks and others waterbirds with my binoculars (I'll have a post on this in the next few days) and was really struggling seeing details on the further away birds.  Yeah, because things like ducks and gulls aren't difficult enough, right!  I could walk around and I probably got all the birds identified, so it turned out to be more of an inconvenience.

However, while I was there I ran into some other birders who asked if I had seen the crested caracara.  Holy crap, here in Cape May?  Yes, it was true, and they told me where it was, and how a whole bunch of birders would be there.  So I asked if it was easy to see and the reply was:

"You can probably see it easily with binoculars.  Well, maybe not your binoculars."

I just got zinged by birders!

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