I don’t know if that was an army thing, or just old-fashioned on his part. But whenever we started out on a drive, he’d ask, “Do we have field glasses?” The answer was always ‘yes’, of course. They lived in their case hanging from the driver’s seat headrest. They watched ospreys and gulls, shorebirds and seabirds, and on one memorable occasion a Snowy Owl.
Eventually my interest in birding deepened and $25 bins from Sears didn’t cut it anymore. So I moved up to these:
Notice the wear of 25 years, eroded paint, rubber eyecup rotted and replace with a glued-on washer, the adjustable diopter loose and needing to be screwed back on regularly. Even the button with the maker’s name and numbers is long gone.
I’d been saying literally for years that I wanted, needed new binoculars, but every time I had money put aside Real Life interfered. New tires for the car, textbooks, a new roof, new tires for both cars… So I carried my old ones, and waited.
I broke my elbow this winter, broke it badly enough to need surgery, as badly (the surgeon said) as it was possible to break it. Long cold months housebound, and to cheer me Bill said, “I think it’s time to buy those new binoculars.” Well, except that I couldn’t bend my arm far enough to hold them, lacked the strength to lift them, and couldn’t fine-tune the focus with my clumsy hand. But now I had something to look forward to! Just like with my shoulder, I told the PT my goal — get to warbler-neck position by mid April. Slowly, slowly I gained more range of motion. And then on April 13, this happened:
We drove up to Wild Birds Unlimited in Satatoga and spent several hours trying out all the pairs in our price range (and some wildly out — hello Swarovskis!), ultimately settling on Eagle Ranger ED 10x42s. On sale, too!
Of course we promptly had to take them for a test run, so stopped at the nearby Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail, a rail trail running through wetlands and woods.
A pair of Great Egrets stalked the shallows.
Palm Warblers are among the earliest to come north, but this little guy didn’t want to move into the light.
So, after six weeks, how do I like them? I’m delighted! There’s been a learning curve, of course — they’re heavier than my old bins, and with increased magnification, I sometimes don’t realize I’m focussed on a more distant tree! But the amount of light they let in, compared to my oldies, is amazing. I can actually see the colors on a sparrow’s beak and leg! I’m really looking forward to shorebird season and how much plumage detail I’ll be able to pick out. I can tell this will be a long and happy partnership.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
…hopefully with better lighting.