The other day I went to spot on the Delaware River to see what sorts of ducks and other waterfowl I could see within my home county. It was disappointing, not because of the lack of ducks, but because it was useless with on my binoculars. When I'm at work or when I am volunteering I have access to a spotting scope to see the distant ducks, and most times when I am birding I don't need a scope, but this was one of those times where it was very obvious to me that I was at a disadvantage without a scope. Heck, even the local high school birder kid has a scope he goes around with. But I have to remind myself of something that the good people in Cape May told me (to paraphrase): "good optics doesn't mean they are a good birder, it just means they have money."
I, however, do not have money (I do have kids....there is a relationship between those), so I just have to dream about scopes for now. Luckily there are lots of good resources for those who want to dream or even buy scopes:
The Cape May Bird Observatory has lots of good information and advice for optics of all sorts.
-Things to consider before buying a scope
-Pete's pick of the pack - tripods and scopes
The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology also has lots of good information and advice.
-Choosing the right scope part 1, and part 2
-Scope shopping tips
-A scope review
Hey, look, CMBO is having an optics sale in a couple weeks! Yeah, probably on binoculars, but still....