Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring birdwatching bonanza with Leica sport optics

Putting the Leica spotting scope to the test
Red-breasted nuthatch at the peanut feeder
The birdwatching bonanza that lasts the entire month of April is taking full flight with the arrival of warmer temperatures. Everything from raptors to Neotropical songbirds will be migrating into and through every habitat found in the great outdoors. Lowcountry resident Hamilton Boykin is a product specialist with Leica optics, and he shared a few options with me from their high-end line of sport optics. Serious birders will employ a spotting scope to search for small birds located at great distances. The Leica APO Televid spotting scope retails at $3900 and offers an 82 mm objective lens diameter which is great for gathering light in less than optimum conditions. “The largest upside to this type of scope is the burgeoning digiscoping market which allows cameras to mate with the scope for the purpose of outstanding nature photography,” said Boykin. “Western U.S. hunting guides employ these scopes too, so it’s not just for birders.” Another Leica product on the high-end is the 8 x 42 Geovid high-def binocular with a built in rangefinder, which commands a price of $3000. “Leica’s compact binocular option is the 8 x 20 Ultravid and it retails for $699,” said Boykin. “It’s small design is helpful when taking it along for a field trip. Besides birders we see turkey hunters select this option, archery enthusiasts and law enforcement officials involved in undercover work.” Founded in Wetzlar, Germany in 1949 Leica remains a leader in the fields of sport optics and cameras.
An upcoming date of interest for birders is the Santee Birding Festival on April 26 - 28, which is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with lectures and field trips at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge.

To view my feature article on spring birding click on Charleston Mercury.

To view past Birding Journal blog entries click here.

Leica Ultravid optics after the hunt

Hamilton Boykin at the POMA conference

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