For our next installment of Birder’s Corner we decided to interview one of you – our users! Having recently submitted his review of Bushnell Powerview 12 x 42 roof prism binoculars, we approached Normon about answering a few of our questions from the perspective of a retiree and an everyday birder. Who knows? You could be next on the list!
1. When did you first become interested in bird watching and what has kept you interested?
Although I have always used binoculars for nature watching, I became more interested in observing birds about 1992. This was after we moved to our present home in NE Pennsylbania, not far from the upper Delaware River. Every season there is something to watch in this region.
2. Where are you located and what species do you spend most of your time observing?
In late winter, we love to watch Cardinals right outside our kitchen window, and also Bluejays. In early Spring it is common to see bald eagles flying high over the Delaware, or alighting in their very high tree nesting places. I believe I would have to say eagles are my favorite, ‘though cardinals and jays far more common.
4. What is your favorite bird or your favorite birding moment? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything rare, just something meaningful.
Favorite birding moment? Watching a hawk soar effortlessly high overhead. But most thrilling moment was seeing a VERY large osprey (I think, based on pictures) fly over my car, while in southern Wayne county PA. I estimated the wingspan at well over 3 feet – it seemed ENORMOUS. Fortunately, I had a pair of 8x40s in my glove compartment.
3. Are you active in a local or online birding community?
I am not active in a local group, or online, but as a longtime binocular user I have contributed to several reviews.
4. What is the farthest you have traveled to see a particular bird?
I guess you could say that the farthest I have traveled is the Atlantic coast, as I love watching sea birds of all types, also migrating geese. Last year my wife and I traveled to England and Scotland, and attended a display of falconry and hawking, which was very fascinating, although I cannot say we made the trip with that in mind.
5. Do you have a competitive birding interest ie a year list or life list?
I have no competitive interest in birdwatching (but I am VERY competitive in the Amateur Radio DXing community! – one competitive interest is enough).
6. What is your favorite place you’ve been bird watching? This includes a birding vacation or even your own backyard.
My two favorite places for observing are the bank of the Delaware near Narrowsburg, NY – excellent for eagles – and the Atlantic coast in New Jersey. Last week I saw a puffin there, as well as a goldfinch, near our B & B. The large Canada Geese were very entertaining as well.
And because this is AllBestBinoculars.com, we have to ask…
8. What was your first pair of binoculars?
My very first binocular was a 7-12x35mm Montgomery Ward “zoom”. It was made in Japan and had good optics, especially at the lower magnification, but had a narrow field of view. After a number of years the “zoom” mechanism broke, and it became a narrow FOV 7×35.
9. What is the best pair of binocs you’ve ever owned?
Best pair I have personally owned was a Bausch & Lomb 10×50 Legacy, good optics and easy to use, with a very wide FOV. Oberwerk 10x50s, acquired later, nearly as good. I also love my large 12×60 Oberwerk (porro prism), and used it at the ocean last week. It is too heavy to hand hold for long periods, which is why I very recently purchased Bushnell 12×42 roof prisms, very light and easy to use, with surprisingly good optics.
10. The worst pair?
Worst pair? Probably a Tasco 10×50, slightly mis-collimated and noticeably poor off axis.
I may be slightly more critical than some observers, as I also use binoculars at night, for Astronomy, where the requirement for good optics is extreme. Being on a budget, as a retiree, I have never used a Zeiss or Leica, but I still have an excellent Japanese 8×40 which I will never sell, and borrowed a Fujinon 10×70, which may be the best I have personally used. Certainly for Astronomy, but a bit heavy for birding, and hard to hold steady due to the weight.
For a typical observation, I reach for my 8x40s, but I now carry my new 12x42s as well. I have a Meade 8×32 roof prism, “utility” grade, which is now always in the car, and has been quite handy at times, although not as easily “centered” as the larger ep models.