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  1. H

    Red Kite between Swindon & Marlborough

    Red kites are now seen regularly in North-East Wilts. In my patch near the Berkshire border they were uncommon visitors until about six months ago. Now they turn up almost every day and, I believe, bred on the Crowood Estate last year. Usually, you don't see more than three at once, so I was...
  2. H

    What are the drawbacks of using astronomical telescopes?

    Scope boycott I shan't buy another birding scope for birding until manufacturers fall into line with makers of astro scopes in two ways: 1) adopt a universal fitting so that any make of eyepiece can be used with any telescope brand 2) state the exact type and configuration of their eyepieces...
  3. H

    Is ED Material in Binoculars All Hype?

    Olympus zoom ED I bought an Olympus 7-15X25 binocular with ED objective elements for two reasons. I) To try to work out the purpose of such a strange specification and 2) to see if the ED elements made a difference to such a small aperture. I was even more intrigued to read in the specification...
  4. H

    What is this scope?

    I've had a 60mm ED Viking for the past seven years, and the performance of the objective with a 22X wide angle eyepiece is very good indeed. The scope is the Bushnell Spacemaster with a different label stuck on it. Brightness and contrast are far ahead of the ordinary Spacemaster (I don't think...
  5. H

    Underappreciated Old Porros

    Even older Porros I haven't yet got round to cleaning the Watson 8X30 "Lynceus" that I bought for pennies a few months ago. But I can tell that performance will be exceptionally good. It has that "snap" into precise focus that you get with a fluorite telescope objective. Not bad for a relic...
  6. H

    Televue astro scopes for birding

    The TV76 is just light enough for a Benbo Trekker using the adjustment plate that comes with the telescope. The ring in which the telescope tube slides is threaded for camera tripods and the adjustment plate allows it to sit slightly forward to make use of heavy eyepieces and diagonals. I'm...
  7. H

    Televue astro scopes for birding

    Henry, Many thanks for your helpful message. At last, somebody who uses astro scopes for birding - whenever I've come across crowds of birders looking out for some rarirty in England, I've never yet seen an astro scope among the lines of Kowas, Opticrons etc. I'm grateful for your comments...
  8. H

    Televue astro scopes for birding

    Many thanks for the review addresses. So far I've taken the TV76 up to 190X on some young thrushes about 40 yards down the garden in bright sunlight. The image is darker than at lower powers, but there's very little loss of clarity and contrast and the depth of field is surprisingly good. I...
  9. H

    Televue astro scopes for birding

    I've just bought a Televue TV76 apo for astronomy and birding and wonder if anyone else has done the same with a TV76 or the similar but discontinued Pronto ED model. Its performance leaves my Bushnell Spacemaster ED miles and miles behind, as it should. It's one of the few astro scopes that is...
  10. H

    Which binoculars?

    If you look carefully at the underside of the bodies of the Olympus 7-15X25 and 10X25 you will see in very inconspicious print "Made in China". I believe some Olympus microscopes are made there as well these days.
  11. H

    Which binoculars?

    I recently bought an Olympus 7-15X25 zoom with ED glass in the objective, and find it the best zoom binocular I have come across. The field is quite small, and there is a slight colour fringe round some objects on powers of 12X and more. But the image is bright with good contrast, presumably...
  12. H

    Zoom bins

    It's a bit late for this thread, but I would back the Olympus 7-15X25 with an ED element in the objective. I bought one recently mainly to see if the ED element would make a difference at such a small aperture. The answer is a definite Yes. Clarity is excellent although a bit of false colour...
  13. H

    Compact bins - advice needed....

    The Summit 8X26 MR roofs are among the best small binoculars I have ever used. I believe they've been discontinued, but are still around for £35 in a few places. Just about the best value in any optical instrument I've ever bought. The MR 10X26 and the HR 8X26 are not nearly as good. Go for the...
  14. H

    A Red Kite easter egg

    The Chiltern kites have started appearing over the streets in Didcot. They've often flown over the nearby countryside about 12 miles in a straight line from the release site. But this year they have started appearing over the town, and yesterday four were visible at once. One of them swopped...
  15. H


    I use an Orion Optics 140mm Maksutov Cassegrain for astronomy, for which it is outstanding. But I've just bought a Televue TV76 for birding for three reasons: 1) The optics of a Mak-Cass make it more delicate than a refractor. 2) It won't focus on anything closer than 80yds 3) Depth of filed is...
  16. H

    Best compact binocular for approx £100?

    I think it depends which one you use. I believe the present Summit range comes from China and apart from the brand name is unrelated to the SummitMR series launched in the 1990s. I've tried all three of the MRs and have found the 8X26 far better than the 8X22 and 10X26. Reviews have said that...
  17. H

    Choughs again!

    I've just spend a fortnight close to Hell's Mouth on the Lleyn Peninsula in north-west Wales. I had no idea there were choughs there, but the farmer who owns the house where we stayed said there were 15 of the birds on his land. We often saw and heard them during the fortnight and they flew over...
  18. H

    Best compact binocular for approx £100?

    I've never found out the precise answer. Summit is a brand name used by the Japanese lens company Hoya mainly for contact lenses and the Summit MR binoculars are advertised as having Hoya lenses. But there's nothing on the binoculars, boxes or instruction sheet to say exactly who makes them or...
  19. H

    Plastic lenses

    I've just bought an Olympus Tracker PC 7-15X25 zoom really just to see how it performs. The specification says there is an ED element in each objective, and I wanted to see if the ED factor would make a difference in such a small lens. But I was surprised that the last item on the specification...
  20. H

    Best compact binocular for approx £100?

    The Summit 8X26 MR is still available for £35-£50. It has a light coloured body and differs from the 8X26 HR and the current Summit series. The 8X26 MR was given the same rating for optical performance as similar Leica and Swarovski glasses in a magazine survey about two years ago and is by far...
  21. H

    salute that sprawk

    Last summer I watched two red kites hounding a lone buzzard over fields and dense woodlands between Wallingford and Henley. I believe buzzards spread slowly eastwards in the 1980s and 1990s. I don't know if the very successful launch of the kites has created a lot of competition for them.
  22. H

    salute that sprawk

    For some reason the red kites released near the M40 in Oxfordshire several years ago seem to have spread south and east more than west. I'm not sure they've got as far as Swindon yet, but between the Thames and M4 to the south of Oxford it's sometimes hard to venture outside without seeing one...
  23. H

    salute that sprawk

    A pigeon was wandering about on the grass in my town garden yesterday, when a sparrowhawk swooped, pinned it to the ground and within seconds was ripping its throat out, scattering feathers all around. Soon afterwards it flew off, clutching the pigeon, and managed to fly for about 80 yards with...
  24. H

    Hello from South Oxfordshire

    Hello Mervyn, I spent the first 10 years of my life in Divinity Road and used to play in a big garden off Old Road. I went to school with the son of the farmer whose land was where Oxford Brookes is now. What changes!
  25. H

    Hello from South Oxfordshire

    Many thanks for the welcome. In our part of the world, the red kite has become the commonest bird of prey. It used to be all kestrels with the occasional sparrowhawk, then buzzards arrived followed by red kites, which were released about 15 miles away. But that was years ago. Kestrels have now...