With this in mind, you might be keen to find the best spots to view birds. Luckily, there is plenty of advice available over the web. For example, Tiscali has highlighted some top locations, including estuaries, marshes, islands and nature reserves.
One area you might want to take your binoculars to is the Insh Marshes in Speyside, Scotland. This national nature reserve in the Highlands is one of Europe’s most vital wetlands and there are plenty of birds to see.
For example, from October until March, you can check out whooper swans and grey geese. Meanwhile, in spring, half of the UK’s goldeneye population nests there and you can also look out for snipe, wigeon, redshank and curlew. By the time summer comes, lapwings should be easy to see.
If you’re looking for birdlife at the other end of the country, Exmouth in Devon could be ideal. Tiscali stated: “The mouth of the River Exe, and the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast east from here, shelter all kinds of our feathered friends.”
It added: “The RSPB reserve in the estuary has winter avocet flocks you can see on an RSPB boat cruise. Elegant little egrets haunt the rivermouth year-round, and the beautiful goldfinch visits in autumn. Along the coast from the rivermouth, at Sandy Bay, there is a kittiwake colony in the towering cliffs, and the Royal Marines, who have a firing range near to the colony, have set up a ‘kitticam’.
Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Centre
You can even check out some great bird life right in the capital. The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Centre is based in Barnes, London.
Commenting on this, Tiscali said: “In a meander of the River Thames, in south-west London, lies this 42-hectare reserve, sheltering all manner of birds that come and go with the seasons. The excellent visitor centre has a great cafe.”
If you make a trip to the spot in summer, you might be able to see egret, garganey, black-tailed godwit, and hobby falcons. Meanwhile, during spring sanderlings, stone curlews and avocets, as well as wading birds such as lapwings, have been spotted, as have sand martins.
Gigrin Farm, Rhayader
Wales isn’t without its bird watching spots either. The Gigrin Farm in Rhayader is a great place to spot some interesting winged creatures. Located in the middle of Wales, this 200-acre upland sheep farm boasts “stunning views” over the Wye and Elan Valleys.
Until 1992, it was just a farm, but then the RSPB approached the owner with a view to opening it up to the public as a red kite feeding station. It is now the most famous red kite feeding spot in the UK and everyday you can see the birds engage in spectacular aerial displays as they swoop for food.
The perfect binoculars
If you’re on the lookout for new binoculars, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Sherwoods we offer a superb range of these items, as well as telescopes and more.
Like many people you may have received a telescope as a gift last Christmas. Indeed, you may have asked for this particular present after getting hooked on the BBC’s excellent ‘Stargazing Live’ programme last year.
Of course, examining the heavens is not always that enticing in the winter, as standing around in sub-zero temperatures late at night has limited appeal when you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to be looking at.
However, now that the clocks have gone forward and the temperatures are considerably milder than they were in January and February (and March. And April!); you can dig out your prematurely stored telescope and really get your teeth into the amateur astronomy that Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain got you turned on to.
If you really have only unpacked your telescope a handful of times since Christmas then you will probably be a little uncertain about how best to enjoy all the wonders that the night sky has to offer at this time of year. This is not a problem though as we here at Sherwoods are more than happy to provide you with some handy tips that will help you to get the most out of your ‘new’ telescope.
Tip 1 – Getting a ‘Head’s Up’
If there is a full moon present then you would do better to schedule your stargazing session for another night. The reason for this is that the light from a full moon makes it very hard to distinguish things which are normally quite easy to see. In general, the best nights for stargazing are those with thin slivers of moon as they provide you with clear dark skies as well as fantastic crater shadows on the moon itself.
Tip 2 – Getting Ready
When getting your telescope ready for a night of scanning, take the covers off and leave it outside for at least half an hour before using it. This will enable the optics and the air inside the tube to get used to the difference in temperature between your house and the outdoors (which can still be significant at this time of year). If you try and use your scope as soon as you set it up then the lenses within it will more than likely fog up and impede your attempts to observe the heavens.
Tip 3 – Getting Steady
You must bear in mind that astronomical telescopes magnify things a hundred times or more; therefore even the tiniest of shakes will be magnified many times over. Unfortunately, it is a fact that many of the tripods which come with introductory telescopes are not known for their rock solid stability so you need to be very conscientious when you are looking for a place to set up. If you are staying within the realms of your back garden then setting up on your patio or lawn will probably be your best bet as they will provide your tripod with a solid base.
If you’re about to invest in new astronomical telescopes or you’ve already got your hands on these items, you’ll no doubt want to make the most of them.
There is plenty to see in the night sky, but if you live in an area with lots of light pollution, your viewing experiences might be limited.
Take a trip
However, if you’re prepared to move around, there are lots of opportunities to stare at the skies. For example, you might decide to head to Exmoor National Park to use your telescopes after dark. In 2011, it was designated Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect place to test your viewing technology.
Since then, so called ‘astrotourism’ in the area has been growing in popularity and a number of local firms even offer stargazing breaks and safaris.
Commenting on the viewing opportunities on offer in the area, Tim Braund from Exmoor National Park said: “Exmoor is an amazing place to marvel at the wonders of the night sky. The National Park is one of the few places in England where low levels of light pollution allow us to experience the delights of night skies that are sadly disappearing from much of the country.
Plenty to do
Of course, if you make the journey to the park, it’s worth checking out the other attractions the area has to offer. Located in the south-west of Britain, the park contains an array of landscapes within its 267 square miles.
During daylight hours when your telescope’s out of action, you can check out the range of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland. It’s also worth investigating the cosy local pubs in the area.
The perfect telescopes
For the best viewing experiences, whether you’re in Exmoor National Park or anywhere else, it’s important to invest in the right telescopes. There are lots on offer and each device has its merits. To get the best results, it’s important to think about your personal needs and preferences.
Here at Sherwoods we offer an impressive variety of telescopes. Regardless of your experience and budget, we’ll have something that ticks all of your boxes.
Roughly speaking, these products fall into three categories and each has its strengths and weaknesses. These groups are the refractor, the reflector and the catadioptric. All of these items have a common function, which is to gather and focus light from distant objects to produce a bright image that can be magnified.
The full low down
If you want to get the full low down on these products, you can take a look at the relevant section of our website. Meanwhile, if you’re keen to access further information or advice, you can get in touch with our friendly and expert team.
By making sure you purchase the right telescopes for you and by taking advantage of the best viewing opportunities, you can explore the night skies in style.