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Charlie Spencer

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Posts posted by Charlie Spencer

  1. On 10/19/2020 at 6:50 PM, Tony Leukering said:

    I'm going to just 0.14159265 agree with the above. That means the ID is pi-ed.

    Since this one bubbled back to the top, I'm going to confess I don't get Tony's pun.  I could see it if we were talking about grebes, but 'pied' in this context escapes me like my dog when I leave the gate open again.

  2. Welcome!


    Ya know the 'Yellowhammer' they're always talking about in the next state over?   That's a nickname for the Northern Flicker.  The birds in the east have yellow-shafted feathers under their wings, visible when the bird is flying, and they 'hammer' at the ground because they eat ants and other ground-dwelling bugs.  (Birds in the west have red-shafted feathers.)

    • Like 2

  3. I have literally no experience with scopes, just a couple of observations.

    A quick search on the Hummingbird shows it to be a 9x scope, so that's why it wasn't an improvement over your 10x binos.  There are plenty of scopes with much greater magnification, but I suspect they'll be too cumbersome to use from a car seat.  You're either going to have to lean over the console to get your eye on the eyepiece; or you'll have to support the unit out the window and eventually drop it. Either way, I think you're going to have to rotate the scope to some extent to get the eyepiece where you can see through it, possibly resulting in a rotated image.  I don't know if you have the mobility to get a tripod out the window to support the scope, or if you can get a tripod close enough to the car to be useful.

    As @Connor Cochrane noted, there are 'Bridge' or 'Ultra Zoom' cameras with 35x to 60x optical magnification, and even higher ranges of digital mag.  Optical uses physical lenses; digital just keeps making the pixels bigger.  Optical definitely results in better photos.  Digital is handy for something way off if you're using the camera as a scope, or are interested in the photos for ID purposes and not as art.  I looked briefly at new bridge cameras with long range and found they ran between $600 and $1000.  That's still less than you may pay for a full DSLR with a long range lens.

    Where do you live?  Check the web for a local Audubon chapter, birding club, DNR, NWR, etc. and see when their next bird walk is.  Someone there probably already has a scope and tripod, and will likely be happy to help you try it (carefully!) to see if it could work for you.

  4. On 6/28/2020 at 10:44 PM, Aveschapines said:

    Are there other topics you'd like to read more about? (There is one about dealing with baby or injured birds at the top of the page.)

    I've been thinking about some kind of brief intro to birding resources on the web - eBird, AAB, etc.  Possibly even an intro to birding in general, since COVID is inspiring a covey / flock / gaggle of new birders.  Probably something collaborative again.  Thoughts?

    • Like 1

  5. 1 hour ago, rayh said:

    How do you mean?  Report to whom?

    If you're not already familiar with eBird, it's an international database of bird sightings run by the Cornell School of Ornithology.  It's an easy way to track your sightings (or 'lists'), but it has scientific benefits beyond any one member's records.  The combined numbers allow scientists to track and study the location, migration, and other behaviors of birds globally.  Other birders can request the database notify them when unusual birds show up in their area.

    Let us know if you have any questions about eBird.  It's free, and setting up an account requires only a minimum of personal information.



  6. @FishkaFishka, I agree with The Bird Nuts.  Most people count what they can see and hear FROM a location, not just lands within the limits of the property.  If we only counted what lands on the boat, we'd never be able to count most pelagic (seagoing) birds.  If we counted only what we see and not what we hear, most of us would never have any owls or Whip-Poor-Wills on our lists.

    Have you discovered the eBird web site yet?


    Click on 'Explore' at the top, then 'Explore Hotspots' on the right.  In the 'Location' box, enter Michigan (or a specific county).  You'll get a map, and you may need to zoom in until it resolves to individual dots instead of a smear of colored squares.  Each dot you see is a location that birders have suggested as having good variety of birds.  Click a dot will give you additional info - the number of species seen there, directions, and access to more data.

    One general birding hint - places with water will normally have more birds than places without.

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