Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birding Optics & Gear Expo!

Your narrator stands knee deep in sedges, way back in the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia. It goes without saying that a pair of binoculars hang around my neck. Those bins were put to good use on that trip, as I ogled everything from Sandhill cranes to gators to red-headed meadow katydids.

Good optics are a must for birders, or any natural history enthusiast. There are myriad options, and it's not often that one can find most of the top optics experts gathered in one building, with the whole range of their wares.

Warbler-watchers peer into the underbrush along the fabled Magee Marsh bird trail. Come May, and this place will bristle with birders armed with optics.

This weekend, April 4 thru 6, marks the second Birding Optics & Gear Expo. Orchestrated by Bird Watcher's Digest, the expo brings together the greatest names in optics: Celestron, Kowa, Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, and more. CLICK HERE for details.

Members of the Kirtland Bird Club conduct a "sea watch" along Lake Erie at Perry Park in Lake County. A good scope is essential for picking out distant jaegers (we saw seven this day), scoters and other goodies.

The Birding Optics & Gear Expo takes place in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. There couldn't be a better place, as there's plenty of interesting vistas to test that potential new scope out on, and lots of things to train your new binoculars on.

The edge of this road at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge bristles with scopes. These birders are seeking Upland Sandpipers.

There's probably not an optics-related question that would go unanswered at the Birding Optics & Gear Expo. The place will sport the top experts in the field, and they love to help people better understand the nuances of binoculars, scopes, and other field equipment.

Shorebird watching usually requires a scope. Being as a good scope is often a rather costly acquisition, having the opportunity to take a test drive is appealing, and smart. They'll have a long line of scopes set up at the expo for you to test out.

Your blogger is flanked by world dragonfly authority Dennis Paulson (left) and another dragonfly expert and ace birder, Bill Hull. We were using our binoculars to better observe and study free-flying dragonflies. Close-focusing binoculars are fabulous tool for observing insects. I often use mine to better locate interesting plants in tough to reach locales, too.

This was a scene from one of the First Ohio Ornithological Society conferences, at Shawnee State Forest. The group surrounds snake expert Doug Wynn (with white bag), who is coralling a large Timber Rattlesnake. Keeping one's distance is prudent, but binoculars allow one to count the snake's scales. By the way, the next OOS conference is at Shawnee, and you won't want to miss it. Details HERE.

Try and make it to the Optics Expo. The complete scoop is RIGHT HERE.

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1 comment:

Sue said...

Now this is something I sure wish I could go to. I NEED some good binoculars, but don't have any place near me to "test" any. And I don't like ordering something like that that I haven't tried out first....