When buying a pair of binoculars, there are few considerations to think through, such as what the intended use of the binoculars is. Are they to be bird watching binoculars? Will you use them to look at the stars or watch wildlife?
Another thing to think about is the magnification. What is recommended for your particular hobby? Sherwoods Photographic recommends an 8x or 10x magnification binoculars for general usage.
You should also test out a pair before buying it where possible. You can adjust the focus by turning the focussing wheel. Most binoculars should work for most people even if you have eyesight problems.
It’s also best to purchase a small lightweight pair as these are much easier to carry around on long hikes or expeditions, and you are much more likely to bring them if they don’t weigh a lot.
Always purchase from a company that is professional and knows what its doing. If you are at all unsure about the company’s legitimacy or safety, especially when purchasing online, you should find a site that is secure. Look for the padlock symbol in the URL bar to ensure that your card details are safe while you are paying for your items.
If you aren’t sure which bird watching binoculars, or other ones, to buy, you can always contact Sherwoods Photographic to find out which ones they would recommend for the particular hobby you are pursuing. They are sure to have something for everyone.
Watching wildlife is a fun hobby for people of all ages. You can do it in your back garden, in national parks, in the mountains, fields, and even in the city if you know where to look. If you love animals, watching wildlife is definitely something you’ll want to try.
Here are some things you will need: binoculars (night vision ones are great if you plan on watching some night-time wild life such as deer), a camera, a journal or notebook to record your sightings, and if you plan to be out for hours—a pack lunch and some water. Of course you can also take things like bird seed if you want to feed some birds while you are watching them.
When watching wildlife, you should always take great care not to disturb the animals. Try to keep at a distance so that they either don’t know you’re there, or they are not scared of you. That’s why using binoculars is such a good idea. The animals that come out at night feel safer under cover of darkness, so using night vision equipment is especially useful in this case.
If you ever spy a wounded animal, try to report it to some wildlife authorities or the RSPCA so that someone can help it.
Take some photos of your sightings and make a scrap book or journal of your wildlife adventures. This way you can show all your friends and family the animals you’ve sighted, and maybe someday you’ll inspire some of your children or grandchildren to start their own hobby of watching wildlife.
If you love birds, bird watching is a great hobby for you. Taking a long bird watching hike is a good way to spy many different types of birds in one outing. Some of the national parks and trails make good places to look for birds. Here are some tips to help you plan a bird watching hike.
First, make sure to bring your binoculars. Regular binoculars will do, of course, but you can get special bird watching binoculars. You’ll want these both for watching and identifying birds but also for enjoying the scenery. Bird watching binoculars are really the only equipment necessary for this hobby.
You may also want to bring a camera. Of course it’s not necessary, but if you like to make scrap books or journals, you may enjoy keeping a photographic record of all the birds that you see. It’s also good for identifying birds later on if you aren’t able to do so on the spot.
If you’re taking a hike, you should always bring some food and water, and even if the weather is warm when you set out you should also take a jumper or coat in case it gets cold later on.
When hiking in national parks or on mountains, be sure to find out the rules and regulations for that area before you take your hike. Always bring all your rubbish back out with you, and make sure that someone knows where you are so that if you get lost they will be able to alert the authorities when you don’t arrive home on time.
The Countryside Code is applicable to all of us who use the UK’s luscious countryside. Birdwatchers, dog walkers, astronomers and land managers alike have a shared responsibility to protect, respect and thoroughly enjoy Britain’s greenery. Take a look through this quick guide before your next session with those new bird watching binoculars or nightly astronomical telescope excursion!
The code is set into four public sections:
Be safe, plan ahead and follow signs – Understanding access rights, checking weather conditions, mobile phone reception (and battery!), visitors centre locations, map markers, sign meanings and so on; it’s pretty much all common sense, but sometimes we could all do with a little reminder.
Leave gates and property as you find them – Much of the UK’s public countryside passes through or close to private land and farms. Open gates, closed gates, stiles etc are all in place for a reason. If particularly concerned about an open gate/distressed animal etc, try to contact the farmer or local authority.
Protect plants and animals, and take litter home – Long before we stared shopping for astronomical telescopes and bird watching binoculars, we all went to school and learned not to be litter bugs! Always take items foreign to the countryside home (this includes leftover jam sandwiches!) Public fires are banned for good reason; fragile ecosystems can be detrimentally affected.
Keeps dogs under control – In many parts of the countryside it’s illegal to let your dog off the leash. Farmers are within their legal rights to destroy a dog that harms their livestock. Always pick up your dog’s “business” and avoid the countryside if your dog isn’t wormed, as it could easily pass on the infection.
Investing in telescopes or a pair of binoculars isn’t just a matter of one-time consideration. Such optical devices are built to last, and are commonly passed down as family heirlooms or bestowals.
All of our telescopes and binoculars come in their own properly fitting padded case. Some folks prefer to buy universal cases or perhaps adjust a trusted old favourite, but we find that generally the best option is to use the case provided.
The right accessories can make all the difference. For example, your telescope tripod should be sturdy and regularly checked over for damage. Binocular straps should be comfortable (otherwise you’ll just end up taking them off in frustration, risking the safety of your binoculars), securely fastened and of an appropriate length. Lens caps are perhaps the most easily lost facet of lens protection; however cold you fingers or short the drive to the nest bird hide, taking the time to replace lens caps is one of the most important safety measures you can take (we know from experience most damage occurs from unfortunate bumps and bangs during transport!)
Remove oily residue by giving lenses and device bodies a gentle dust with a soft cloth after every use. Arguably the most damaging cleaning action is accidentally rubbing grit or dirt onto the lenses, which can leave nasty scratches and marks. A cursory tender dust with a soft cloth is the perfect precursor to using manufacturer-recommended cleaning solution. Always follow manufacturer instructions when carrying out cleaning or maintenance.
Many folks can live their entire lives without so much as a hint of the scintillating thrill that is observing a meteor shower. If you – like us – have your astronomical telescopes and binoculars at the ready for an exciting year of meteoric astronomy action, check out our quick guide to the best meteor showers visible from the UK during 2011.
Lyrids Meteor Shower(21st-22nd April) – Peaking at around 20 meteors per hour, Lyrids is sometimes visible as early as 16th April right through to 25th April. Look towards the constellation Lyra to see radiating meteors. This shower is of note thanks to the incredibly long trails left in the wake of meteors (sometimes lasting many seconds)
Perseids Meteor Shower(12th-13th August) – Arguably one of the best showers to observe (peaks at around 60 meteors per hour) Although looking to the constellation Perseus through astronomical telescopes or binoculars between 23rd July and 22nd August could reveal many more meteors.
Leonids Meteor Shower(17th-18th November) – Annually peaking at 40 meteors per hour, this cyclic shower peaks magnificently every 33 years, resulting in hundreds of meteors visible (most recently in 2001) emanating from the constellation Leo.
Geminids Meteor Shower(13th-14th December) – Often cited as the best meteor shower in celestial history, Geminids can peak at up to 60 multicoloured meteors per hour. Check out the constellation Gemini from 6th-19th December.
Although many meteor showers are visible with the naked eye, the visual impact of glimpsing the likes of Geminids or Lyrids through an astronomical telescope is mesmerising!
Catching a glimpse of some of the UK’s rarest birds in the sights of our telescopes or bird watching binoculars is what twitchers live for! Many of our bird watching telescopes offer video recording to preserve even the most fleeting sightings of Britain’s fabulous wildlife.
Avocet – Less than 4,000 wintering birds, with fewer than 900 breeding pairs. Mostly found on the east coast of England in estuaries.
Cirl Bunting – Confined to the south west of England, particularly coastal fields and hedges of south Devon. Currently around 860 breeding pairs.
Common Scoter – Although around 50,000 birds winter in the UK, only about 50 breeding pairs have been recorded. Most commonly spotted in their breeding grounds (northern lochs of Scotland) from October to March.
Osprey – Illegal poaching and low breeding numbers have seen the osprey population plummet in the UK. Arriving back from Africa in late March/early April, most of the 150 or so breeding pairs head to Scotland’s freshwater lochs.
Store Curlew – Arriving in late March to breed, around 350 breeding pairs can be found predominantly in Norfolk (Weeting Heath particularly) and around Salisbury Plain.
Also of concern are once common birds such as the skylark (the population has dropped around 47% since 1970) and corn bunting (down 89%) Neither of these birds is considered to be endangered just yet, but unfortunately it may only be a matter of time.
Set your bird watching binoculars to good use by helping the likes of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (R.S.P.B) with annual surveys.