A decent pair of binoculars is a must for bird watching. There are a multitude of bird watching binoculars available and choosing the right pair can be quite daunting. Here are some things to consider when purchasing a pair of pocket binoculars specifically for bird watching:
Binoculars can range in price from under £30 to well over £1000. Cheaper binoculars may well be lacking in features needed for bird watching, thus decreasing your enjoyment. If you are on a strict budget then £50 – £100 will buy you some decent bird watching binoculars.
High magnification is not necessarily the best option. As magnification increases, your field of view decreases and slight movements made by an unsteady hand are greatly exaggerated. For general bird watching, a magnification of 7x or 8x is fine, while 10x is best when viewing birds of prey over large distances.
Binoculars with large lenses are useful for viewing birds in shrubs and woodland. A larger objective lens allows more light to enter and so creates a brighter image. A lens diameter between 35 and 50 is fine, but remember, a larger lens may mean heavier binoculars.
Your binoculars will spend a lot of time hanging round your neck so it is important to find a weight you are comfortable with, although very lightweight compact binoculars can be a sign that they are poorly made.
For more information and to view a comprehensive range of bird watching binoculars, visit Sherwoods Photographic, a family owned company who specialise in telescopes and binoculars.
Buying telescopes specifically design for activities, such as bird watching, means nature fans are able to get great views of the animals.
Some prefer monocular types over binoculars, as these often provide great clarity, allowing users to see feather and plumage details they may otherwise miss if they were viewing the creatures through the latter instruments. Devices designed for outdoor use in bright conditions also tend to be favoured over those created for looking at the night sky, as these feature fairly delicate mechanisms that may be affected by poor weather conditions. In addition, some kinds may not have lenses wide enough to emit the light needed to see animals clearly over long distances.
The magnification of bird watching binoculars proves a major draw for nature lovers tracking creatures. The range of devices we have on sale often have wide apertures that bring distant animals close to users, so they get to appreciate clear images. As well as magnification, there are other features of the devices that shoppers may like to consider before going ahead and purchasing one.
For example, size and weight of the instruments could be an important factor if users plan to carry them long distances when tracking creatures. In addition, telescopes of this type come in a variety of forms including those which are angled and others that are termed straight-through. The former are designed to be more comfortable to peer through and when they are stabilised on a tripod, images are particularly clear. On the other hand straight-through types are more portable and can be easily passed between users when necessary.
It is certainly true that in the UK we are uniquely blessed with a great diversity of magnificent garden birds, from robins to warblers to name but two. However, to observe some of our rarest and most glorious birdlife you’ll need a decent pair of bird watching binoculars and the appropriate location.
Britain’s Island nature means that it has over 11, 000 miles of coastline, making it the ideal home for a truly astonishing amount of shore and sea birds. Some of the most familiar include Puffins, viewable in places like Anglesey , and kittiwakes, observable on the cliffs of Northumberland, which means that some truly world class birdlife is never more than a few miles drive away. When observing coastal birds, a pair of binoculars really come into their own, as seabirds often nest on cliff edges a fair way out to sea making them difficult to spot with the naked eye.
As well as an enormous coast-line, the UK also possesses more than its fair share of inland water-masses, from lakes to canals systems (which is one of the reasons that it makes the perfect destination for migrating birds.) Some birds you can expect to see hanging around our marshes and waterways include bitterns and avocets, but be prepared to stake out waterways in strategically placed hides – and remember your binoculars.
As well as beautiful birdlife, the UK is also home to some truly dramatic birdlife, in fact some of the most iconic birds of prey call England home, for at least part of the year. Some notable examples include Ospreys (who migrate to and from Africa) and Golden Eagles, up in the highlands.
Bird watching (or twitching) is a truly egalitarian hobby, and all you need really is a pair of eyes. However, if you want to become a master of bird identification you’ll need a pair of bird watching binoculars. Luckily there is a wide range of binoculars available, to suit any level of experience or budget.
The first issue to consider, and the reason why binoculars are ideal for bird watching, is portability, and whilst it is a function of all binoculars that they are portable to an extent, some kinds of binoculars are clearly more portable than others. For beginning bird watchers or birdwatchers that want a truly portable viewing solution, compact bird watching binoculars are ideal, such as the “Nikon Sprint IV.”
If you want telescopic level magnification, however, you’ll need a larger pair of binoculars that will be able to gather a great volume of light. Whilst not as portable as compact binoculars, large binoculars are able to offer greater levels of details and are therefore ideal for stationary viewing activities, such as viewing from hides, a great pair of large binoculars are Minolta’s Classic II Binoculars, which benefit from great quality and a large field of view.
The is another alternative for bird watches other than binoculars, however, namely spotting scopes, which can offer greater magnification thus making them ideal for long distance bird watching, and tripod mounting; a great spotting scope is the “Opticron HR80 GA ED”.
It was Shakespeare who once described the UK as a fortress built by nature for herself, and in regards to birdlife this seems particularly pertinent. Britain enjoys a unique panoply of birds throughout the year, serving as an important stop-gap on their migrations, or as an idyllic home throughout the year. British birdlife, therefore, is unrivalled in terms of its diversity – and all you need to enjoy it is a pair of binoculars.
As Britain is an island, surrounded by large water masses like the Atlantic, it is the ideal stopping-point for many migrating birds. It is also seasonally temperate, meaning that it is suitable for birdlife migrating away from temperature extremes.
Swallows are perhaps the UK’s most familiar seasonal visitor and can be seen from around March to October. They are easily recognisable, preferably through a pair of binoculars, by their dark-blue backs, red throats and pale under-bellies.
Other notable migrating UK birds include geese, such as barnacle geese, who emigrate to escape extremes of cold, away from places like Greenland.
As well as migrating birds, there is also a wide variety of sedentary bids, visible throughout the year. Some common types include blue-tits and robins easily recognisable by their distinct colourings (pale-blue for blue-tits and red for robins,) and a particular favourite: starlings. These are recognisable throughout the year by the blue-green mottling on their under parts, easily observable through a pair of bird watching binoculars.
Bird watching isn’t all about hiding in bushes. In recent years it has thrown off it’s frumpy image and is even recruiting the support of celebrities like comedian Bill Bailey.
Bird watching is a relatively low fuss activity – all you really need is some wildlife, patience and a pair of bird watching binoculars. However great your eyesight and observational skills might be, bird watching binoculars really are essential to help you see as much of the bird as possible, in as much detail as you can and without scaring it away.
Choosing a good pair can be tricky though, especially if you are just starting out. Power ranges are the first things you need to get right. Every pair of binoculars will have two numbers on it e.g. 8×24 which refers to the power range.
The first number refers to the magnification. While you might think the higher the number the greater the magnification and therefore the better the binoculars, it’s better to go for a 7 or 8 as any higher than that and the binoculars might be uncomfortable to handle.
The second number refers to the objective lens – the bigger the lens, the more light comes through and therefore the more you can see. Again, while a larger objective lens suits darker conditions like poor weather or night time viewing, it does also mean the binoculars are going to be heavier.
The best thing to do when deciding on what power range to settle for, is have a good think about what conditions you are going to use the compact binoculars in and how much carrying you are likely – and willing – to do.
You might think it is silly needing a guide to using binoculars – surely all you do is put them up to your eyes and squint in the direction of what you are looking at?
Well, yes. But if you’ve ever found yourself squinting out of binoculars or closing one eye, then you really aren’t making the most of this wonderful piece of optical equipment.
So, let’s begin.
Consider this situation. You are on holiday in a beautiful place renowned for exotic species of birds. You are going for a walk, bird-watching binoculars in hand, when you suddenly spy movement above you. In a flurry of excitement you reach your binoculars up to your face and smack yourself in the head. The shock makes you drop your binoculars, they fall and one of the lenses cracks.
While you are busy kicking yourself, the bird has long gone.
The best place for binoculars, whether they are full size or compact binoculars is always on a strap around your neck. It keeps them safe but within easy reach.
You should never have to squint when looking through binoculars. Make sure they fit by adjusting the barrels to the correct width of your eyes. Your view should be a perfect circle.
Get them in focus by manoeuvring the central focus wheel while you focus on something in the distance. Further improve your focus by using the diopter adjustment to fine tune your vision.
Look out for signs of eye strain or headaches. This might be a sign that your pocket binoculars are out of alignment. If this is the case, contact the manufacturer who should be happy to help remedy the problem.