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Charlie Spencer

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Everything posted by Charlie Spencer

  1. I sorted those by price, high to low. There's one pair at $300, one at $200, and the rest are $175 or below (some are WAY below). Most of them are less than the $100 - $150 I suggest a beginning birder spend on a starter pair of binos. They're also less than the $200 or so I've seen for an entry-level 'bridge / superzoom' point and shoot. I don't see how a combined device can be priced less than either of those devices individually and still meet even a beginning birder's needs for either binos or a camera.
  2. The question isn't silly; it's the word 'decent' that's the sticking point. B&H is my go-to source for photography and binos, but even they don't have much of this category of equipment. Of the four listed here, I wouldn't take them birding anywhere except an aviary, especially the three 10 x or 12 x 25 pairs. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Digital-Camera-Binoculars-Scopes/ci/5695/N/4294541831 It sounds like you use your camera the same way I do - to capture images for ID later, and artistic considerations are secondary. People are getting great results with gizmos that attach a cell phone to a spotting scope, but that comes with all those limitations of a scope that keep it from being most birders' primary tool. I feel your pain when switching devices. A couple of suggestions, although you may already be doing these: Look at the bird's immediate surroundings for things that can be used as reference points you can find when you're looking through the camera.. Unusually shaped branches, clumps of flowers, fence posts, something notable in the foreground or background. I usually zoom most of the way out, find my reference, zoom about halfway in, check my reference again, and finish zooming. After you get the shot, remember to zoom most of the way back out so you'll be ready for the next bird. Obviously the camera's zoom and focus speed are big factors. If you live in a city that still has brick-and-mortar camera stores with knowledgeable shutterbugs behind the counter, you can take a look at multiple models. If your camera has autofocus, let it do most of the work. I find it usually does a faster, more accurate job for ID photos than I can. I can put my Panasonic Lumix in manual focus mode but the controls aren't designed for birders who need fast and easy. The only occasions auto doesn't do well is when there's something between me and the bird - chain link fence, small twigs or vines, etc. In those cases, I try to find something at the same range as the bird, let the camera focus on that, then shift to bird before clicking the shutter. Like any other technology improvement, I'm sure better integrated bino / camera devices are coming but I don't expect to see ones acceptable for birding at affordable prices in this upcoming decade.
  3. @Aveschapines, is this found in your neck of the woods?
  4. This year's Gregor Mendel Memorial Award for Genetics goes to AlexHenry!
  5. Orioles are significantly larger with longer pointed bills. I'm pretty sure most orioles are migrants and thus have left the US for the winter.
  6. Yep. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pied-billed_Grebe
  7. See, this is the quality of response posters get when those of you who know what you're doing is off playing with presents and leaves answering to the B Team. You don't think the bill is too heavy? That's what ran me off AMGO initially. Otherwise, I can certainly see that more than HOFI. But either way, definitely cool.
  8. @Melierax, I agree with you it's finch shaped. I couldn't find an image of a leucistic HOFI with solid-colored head where the color gradually shades down the back and shoulders. Leucistism would explain a lack of color in normally brown areas, like the lores or the normally brown trianglular patch behind the eye. I don't think it accounts for yellow in those areas instead of brown, or the black on the wings (which is what had me first leaning AMGO).
  9. Looks like an escapee. I briefly entertained a leucistic American Goldfinch but the legs and bill are the wrong colors and the bill is too heavy.
  10. I'm with @AlexHenry. I tried to talk myself into Red-shouldered based on the shoulders in the second photo. There isn't enough white edging on the wing feathers to get me there, and that's a dense 'belly band'.
  11. That's a whole lot of discussion for a description with only two colors and a location.
  12. I don't think that's on the ABA list. Try the "Help Me Identify a Bird Outside North America" forum.
  13. Oddly, I also had a female / immature BHCO in the backyard this morning. It's been several weeks since I last saw one here.
  14. I can't say about #1 and #3, but I'll second #2 as Redheads.
  15. The out-of-focus branches in front of the bird are giving the impression of colors that aren't actually there.
  16. To me, the head looks too round and not flat enough for Cooper's. The eyes are more forward like a Sharpie than a Coop. The plumage is a bit mixed. The yellow eye says juvenile but the adult colors are definitely coming in on the head and chest.
  17. Looks good to me too. Nice bird for the area.
  18. I'll second Sharp-shinned. @cobal, good eye!
  19. Even at 50 yards, I was pretty sure when I saw it. It just looked too big. Just wanted confirmation since I've only seen one before, over a decade ago, before I took birding seriously. Thanks, everybody.
  20. Dec. 20th. Batesburg-Leesville Industrial Park, central SC. A relatively undeveloped industrial park. Paved roads with shoulders cleared between 50 - 150 feet. One retention pond, one multi-acre pond. Uncleared woods are mixed hardwood and pines. The bird didn't stay put very long, moving between trees at least 25 feet above the ground. There was a Red-headed Woodpecker in the area defending a 50-foot snag, and it's likely why she moved out pretty quickly. The bill looks almost as long as the head, and the tail appears to be unblemished.
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