Bird Watching Scopes
Bird Watching Scopes Do The Job Well!
When we start using bird watching scopes it's usually because we want to observe birds from a longer distance and more than likely for longer periods of time.
After bird watching binoculars which I would always recommend as the first step to take when considering optics for birdwatching, bird watching scopes is in many ways the most obvious and logical progression to make when considering expanding our birdwatching equipment.
One reason being that bird watching scopes can be
carried as easily as binoculars especially if we use
either a shoulder scope or camera holder, we have
one that converts into a small tripod or alternatively
use a small steadying bag or bean bag to rest the
scope on when observing out in the field.
If we are going to be observing from a spot that allows
a spotting scope tripod to be set up then there are even more advantages to using spotting scopes, one being able to achieve a more comfortable position, often from a hide, perhaps when visiting the local nature reserve.
There Are Two Main Types Of Spotting Scopes
Straight and Angled.
Which we choose is determined by what observing we do.
A simple guideline to consider is:
If observing subjects below shoulder level
then a Straight Scope may be more suitable.
If observing subjects above shoulder level
then an Angled Scope may be more suitable.
My overall preference is angled bird spotting scopes as I find that I am able to observe ground level and air born subjects without too much difficulty.
Whereas with a straight scope especially when used with
a spotting scope tripod I struggle to observe anything that's higher up from my point of viewing.
I'm sure there are others that would decide on the opposite, so it's a good job we have a choice.
Choosing Bird Spotting Scopes
Magnification without distortion.
Minimum weight without loss of durability.
Field of View.
Ease of use and Cost.
As with binoculars the cost will govern the quality of
optics used when the spotting scopes were manufactured.
The optics do the work so the better their quality
the better the image seen through the scope.
To test the optics Observe the corner of a building through the scope and if it curves the wall then these are a poor quality optics that will over time be a frustration to us.
Here again reasonable quality and price is often
the best and more satisfying route to take.
Field of View should be considered especially if we
are thinking of using a higher magnification scope.
The wider the aperture or diameter of the
front lens the wider the field of view will be.
Higher magnification will be a closer
view but a reduced area will be seen.
This is why some find scopes with a zoom feature more acceptable. In effect to a reasonable degree they can have both ends of the spectrum.
We used this type of scope when on holiday
up in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
We had a holiday mobile home with a view of the beach and coastline so we got great opportunities to watch Gannets, terns, Redshanks and Oyster Catchers along with Pied Wagtails and other smaller birds from our decking.
It's also used to watch the birds that visit our
feeders in our wildlife friendly Garden at home.
If possible the simple thing to do is try one out first and
if making a purchase over the Internet there should be a returns policy, best check it out before pressing the buy now button.
Another opportunity that opens up to us
with a spotting scope is digiscoping.
With digiscoping cameras we can take pictures,
check them on the LCD screen and immediately
decide if we want to keep them or erase them.
Digiscoping camera kits are a simple but effective way to start up with wildlife photography without excessive cost.
A kit should include:
Digital camera with a LCD display screen and a zoom lens.
Bird watching scopes attachment bracket.
A Remote flexible cable release which lessens contact
with the camera when taking shots and reduces chances
of camera shake which would blur the image to a greater
or lesser extent.
There may be a need for a cable release adapter
depending on Digital camera is used.
One final point to make is above 5 megapixels will help produce better quality results but it's worth keeping in mind that the more pixels the better.