For some time now I have been thinking about buying a spotting scope, partially with the hope of being able to get into digiscoping. I have been thinking about this for about eighteen months now, and the limitations of a pair of binoculars in the world of reservoirs and winter migrants, coupled with the limitations of my memory (I am hoping to be able to photograph any birds that I don’t recognise) finally persuaded me to part with my hard-earned dosh. (Yes, I do believe that it is hard-earned because it is only the thought of being able to afford the finer things and scopes in life that allows me to keep going to work.)
So, I did my research (sort of – I did get very distracted by all of the pictures shown on digiscoping sites) and thought about what I wanted from the scope and prepared to persuade myself that I did not need the top of the range scope. I went along to Focus Optics in Coventry as I had never used a scope before and thought that it might be useful to see how heavy these were and compare the different sizes. I have to say that the staff there were incredibly helpful, and didn’t try to force me down any particular route. However, I have to admit that I came away with the top of the range scope and tripod. Now I will have to justify these with some articles for this blog, and hopefully, some good pictures.
I have now discovered where all the birds are that most people seem to be reporting as missing from their garden – Focus Optics have stolen them all so that customers have something to focus their binoculars and scopes on. Whilst there I saw woodpeckers, chaffinches (far too many to count) bullfinches, pheasants, great tits, long-tailed tits, greenfinches, moorhens and doves – not to mention the squirrels.
To finish a fantastic, if expensive day (I was also tempted into a new bird feeder and some new walking boots), I called in at Brandon Marsh on the way home – only to buy some Christmas cards you understand. Anyway, whilst there I accidently stumbled into one of the hides. I was mainly confronted by an awful lot of water (most of the small islands had disappeared) upon which there were some ducks floating about – the best of which was a male Goldeneye and a couple of females. On the way back to the car I also saw lots of bullfinches, a flock of redpoll (my first ever, I am assuming that they are the common type otherwise they would have been invisible to me) and a small flock of redwing. Hurrah! Although this may seem a little bit of an over reaction for a common migrant I was beginning to think that they were avoiding me. I kept seeing reports of redwings all around, could I find any, could I arse, I had seen more kingfishers this year than redwings! (This is just a comment for my friend Nick who is desperate to see a kingfisher, but they see him coming and scarper.)