I think what's happening here is that everyone likes a 7x and there are so few around. I tried to convince myself that these were good value for money too, but in reality they are disappointing. I tried them next to a few cheaper Helios models and they weren't at all bright for a 6mm exit pupil...
The only thing I would note is that an experienced birder like you would need something with a higher magnification for the coast. I know you do a lot of coastal work in your professional capacity.
Looking at the Opticron brochure, it would appear a 7x42 model is coming in the Discovery range. This is a very interesting and welcome development. I am very fond of the Discovery model. Does anyone know when these are available?