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How far can you identify birds in spotting scope comfortably?

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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 02:13   #1
Dd61999
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How far can you identify birds in spotting scope comfortably?

Just trying to get a feel for different spotting scopes.

So my question is, not what is the maximum distance you can identify birds (lets use a seagull for size reference). But at what is the approximate maximum distance can you identify birds without straining yourself.

Hope Im making sense
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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 08:26   #2
PYRTLE
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Dependant on light conditions, the magnification and quality of the telescope and ones experience with gulls perhaps I can demonstrate as follows.....Mew or Common Gull.
1. Naked eye, 80 - 100 metres
2. Binoculars ( x8 ) 250 - 300 metres.
3. Telescope ( x30 ) c. half a mile.

This is for me, some may be less, some may be more.

P
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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 08:50   #3
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Its largely down to ones skill & experience as a birder; optics are merely the 'tools of the trade' which provide a little necessary help!

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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 15:38   #4
Binastro
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Not being a birdwatcher, I can identify herring gulls at about 150m to 200m when they are in the air, and buzzards at about 600m, probably common buzzards, when flying.
This is with unaided eyes and distance glasses.

I would not be able to follow them with a high power scope, but maybe with a 20x hand held scope.
I would think that a Canon IS binocular would do well if the don't fly erratically. Some birds fly in straight lines, others don't.

At distances of a mile, the atmospheric conditions are probably the limiting factor.

I can identify some larger aircraft at 20 miles with unaided eyes and distance glasses.
Up to 200 miles with a 3 inch refractor, with an 80x micrometer eyepiece. Upside down as well.

I would think that some large birds can be identified at several miles with a scope if one is an experienced birdwatcher.

Some of my friends can see the shape of the International Space Station at over 250 miles with hand held 15x binoculars.
I have not actually tried to see the shape. I should try.

Last edited by Binastro : Monday 29th October 2018 at 15:42.
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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 16:22   #5
Dd61999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Dependant on light conditions, the magnification and quality of the telescope and ones experience with gulls perhaps I can demonstrate as follows.....Mew or Common Gull.
1. Naked eye, 80 - 100 metres
2. Binoculars ( x8 ) 250 - 300 metres.
3. Telescope ( x30 ) c. half a mile.

This is for me, some may be less, some may be more.

P
Thanks!

My experience has been slightly more, but not dramatically more.

I wonder if other people on this forum come to the same consensus as me and you?
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Old Monday 29th October 2018, 22:09   #6
jring
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Some of my friends can see the shape of the International Space Station at over 250 miles with hand held 15x binoculars.
I have not actually tried to see the shape. I should try.
Hi,

we often do this with small refractors at 15 or 20x when we get a pass while observing... Shape is visible and one can follow it guiding the scope with the hand. You need to be quick to have sb else have a look though...

Joachim
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Old Thursday 1st November 2018, 20:49   #7
DRodrigues
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Originally Posted by Dd61999 View Post
Just trying to get a feel for different spotting scopes.
It depends on atmospheric conditions and the scope you are using...

You will get longer distance over water during cold weather but with light available. Depending on seasons of the year and the latitudes of your sites, some times cloudy weather is better to reach longer distances.
I do cr-birding and my most used scope last year is a Swaro X95 with the 1.7x extender that results on 51-122x...
At sites I have nasal saddled ducks until 220m, I use the X95 without the extender. Over 220m, I use the X95 with the extender.
You might be interested on having a look at http://www.pt-ducks.com/cr-telescopes.htm - I have to update it with the Swaro extender experience...
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Old Friday 2nd November 2018, 15:05   #8
Dd61999
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Originally Posted by DRodrigues View Post
It depends on atmospheric conditions and the scope you are using...

You will get longer distance over water during cold weather but with light available. Depending on seasons of the year and the latitudes of your sites, some times cloudy weather is better to reach longer distances.
I do cr-birding and my most used scope last year is a Swaro X95 with the 1.7x extender that results on 51-122x...
At sites I have nasal saddled ducks until 220m, I use the X95 without the extender. Over 220m, I use the X95 with the extender.
You might be interested on having a look at http://www.pt-ducks.com/cr-telescopes.htm - I have to update it with the Swaro extender experience...
I have always been amazed by your crazy high magnification spotting scope stories!

But Im thinking more along the lines of what distances are people looking at around 20-30x
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