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Posts posted by Spyonabird

  1. Ok, I guess I will chime in on this.

    First some background. For many years my husband and I ran a company called Spy On A Bird (hence the user name here).  We repurposed security cams for inside birdhouses and feedercams.  We also designed solar powered Eagle and Osprey cams for US Fish and Wildlife across the country.  After awhile, it got too much for us.  We were holding down full time jobs and trying to run a business at the same time.  We closed the business a few years ago.  

    A couple of points to consider

    1.  Waterproofing.  Cameras need to be able to withstand the elements.  The standard use to be IP66

    2.  Power.  Some cameras claim to be wireless but everything needs power.  Will you run a cable?  Solar power?  Battery Pack?

    3. Signal transmission.  How will you view the signal? Do you need an app?  Will it connect to your house wifi?  Stored on an SD card?

    Trail cams are nice but as you mentioned, many do not close focus.  For inside a birdhouse, many people are used the Blink camera.  They may also work well for a feeder.



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  2. My new lens arrived today.  My old one got soaked in a sudden downpour while on a hike.  It was not recoverable but it gave me an excuse to upgrade to a new version. I'm a few thousand $$ poorer but happy with the upgrade so far.  I am still playing with it and the conditions are not very good today but...

    Ruby-Throated Hummingbird telling me what she thinks about my new lens.



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  3. 25 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

    That's informative.  I was giving the Research Triangle area some consideration.  I recall the podcaster for the ABA is in that area.

    Still, I imagine the area is pretty similar to central SC as far as birding goes.  The beach and Upstate are 'better' than here, but I'll definitely have more time to travel, and cost of living will be a consideration.


    Of course, you have to take what I say with a grain of salt.  I was born and raised in Pennsylvania in the shadow of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.   Transplanted to NC in 2004. 

    Not sure where we will retire. 

    so many options...

    so little money...

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  4. 2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

    What part, when, and how long?  Were you a birder at that time?

    I'm considering retiring in NC in a few years.  I'd love to be in Asheville but the cost of living is higher there.   I'll probably aim for somewhere closer to midway between mountains and beach.

    I live midway and the birding is subpar.  (actually near the town of Midway) You have to travel 2-4 hours to see the good stuff.  Migration time is better but not as good as being on the ends of the state.  

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  5. 43 minutes ago, neilpa said:


    The bigger zoom lenses have a large minimum focus distance. The 150-600mm lenses are about 8.5 feet. If you also do macro (flowers, bugs, etc) with your P&S while birding you’ll lose out on that ability. Although a phone camera can often fill this gap.

    While this is true - you can always add cheap extension tubes to reduce the minimum focus distance.  This lets you do macro with a bigger zoom lens.

  6. This may be too late for you, but I have the Cotton Carrier for my camera.  It attaches to the tripod ring on my lens.  I also keep the camera strap loosely around my neck for backup.  It is easy to slide it out of the holder for quick shots.  It's a quick twist and lift.  I bought the attachment for the binoculars but I haven't used it yet.  My binoculars are Zeiss and they have a screw for a tripod mount.  

    The only downside is that my husband laughs at me 'cause I look like a birding dork. 😕



  7. Just my 2 cents but...

    I shoot a Canon 5D Mark IV and purchased the 100-400 IS USM V1 lens several years ago.  It works very well for me.  At one point, I purchased the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime lens thinking it would give me sharper pics.  I found very little difference in quality so I returned it.  Photographers are always looking for more "reach" I recently I added a 1.4X teleconverter knowing that I would lose a few stops of light.  I can use this set-up in bright light, but forget about anything in low light.    A teleconverter may not work with your current camera/lens system so that option may be off the table.

    I would echo lonestranger and buy a good quality lens.  The 18-400 may not be very sharp at full zoom.  Oh - and buy from a reliable company (not ebay).  I like B&H but KEH and Adorama are also good.


    This is an American Coot with my teleconverter set-up.  This was close to mid-day at f/8 and 560 mM 

    american coot2


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  8. 15 hours ago, Aaron said:

    I was really into fish tanks for a long time. I still have mine, but it has taken a back seat for a few years. The fish in it I’ve had for about 5 years and some of the plants are about ten years old.  We moved and there was no place for it, so it’s been more or less just sitting, so it’s a big mess. Once carpet goes into our basement I plan to revamp it and set it up properly, though I’ve been thinking of just getting rid of it all together as it’s been so long. I’ve had the design ready for 2 years with all the plants, driftwood, rocks, and fish I plan to put into it. It’s fun creating little worlds.
    I also maintain a pond and used to have goldfish in it, but now it’s solely for frogs and birds. I find plants very interesting , so I have quite a few indoor plants and random plant knowledge. I also like gardening/landscaping, mostly do it to create and maintain habitats for birds and other animals. Though it’s fun watching things grow over time. 

    For years we maintained a saltwater tank.  Until..... the tank leaked at 3 AM and almost caused an electrical fire.  We ended up giving everything away including our 10+ y/o Tomato Clownfish.  🙁


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