You haven't yet viewed any products on our store. If you've been here before, you may need to sign in.
Getting started with birdwatching and binoculars
New medication has me waking early. Normally I would lie in bed and try fitfully to get back to sleep, or I would get up and grab my phone and start going through emails.
Recently though I have been making a cup of tea and sitting on the deck with a pair of binoculars that used to belong to my father in law. He had three pairs - two were modern lightweight plastic pairs and stay in the car, but these more old fashioned ones have a beautiful pale leather case and had been hanging on the coat rail by the back door for the past year.
I have never been able to get the hang of binoculars - I was shown by various adults in my pre-teen birdwatching club stage, but couldn’t get focus and always ended up with two fuzzy circles hovering around and never quite meeting.
So my 5 am aim has been to learn to use binoculars properly, to practice when nobody is looking, so that eventually I can birdwatch when out walking and tell buzzard from kite, so that I can watch a bird skimming over the loch and know what it is.
In the end my problem with the binoculars turned out to be a very straightforward error, I was simply holding them too close to my eyes. Given a small patch of grass to concentrate on, slow and steady hopping birds on the grass, I could take time to look and focus and track, to get used to the weird hyper reality of birds through binoculars.
And now I realise that I don’t need to wait until I’m out walking to use the binoculars. The back lawn birds are fascinating and if I stay still on the deck they aren’t bothered by me at all.
A fat freckled song thrush fledgling, head cocked to listen, pulling worms from the ground and beating them into pieces on the grass; an older robin following behind to snatch up the leftovers. Two goldfinches close together methodically combing the gravel for fallen angelica seeds. A peewit, jerking back and forward over the grass, every so often leaping into the air like a figure skater - there is no obvious reason or rhythm - maybe it is simply joy in the morning.