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A big thanks (1 Viewer)

Bruce G

New member

The short story:
I wanted to give a big shout out Thanks to all those who contributed comments and suggestions regarding spotting scopes, tripods and heads. This is my first post here because it turned out never to be necessary to make a post asking for advice. Everything I needed was already here. I was able to make informed decisions about what I wanted and why I wanted those particular items. I am very happy with my purchases, as is my friend, for whom these items were a gift.

Many thanks to all here

The long story:
About 5 years ago a dear friend of mine got into an altercation involving her Honda Civic and a large dump truck. Needless to say, she and the Civic did not come out on top of that one. Her recovery has been long and, while she has finally graduated this year from a walker to a cane, her mobility is still very limited. She lives in a rural area on the second floor of a house overlooking fields, woods and a pond, which gives her a great perch for watching the critters in the area. She has a pair of sandhill cranes which return to the pond each year, a barred owl, coyotes, foxes, eagles, deer and lots more neighbors.

She adores the cranes and I made up my mind to get her a spotting scope. I have experience with cameras, microscopes, and telescopes, but this was something a little different for me. Choosing the scope itself was not difficult because large aperture (low light conditions), ease of use, and optical quality were my prime considerations. From my experience with telescopes, I knew that those goals spelled anything but cheap. From this forum, I learned about Kowa scopes and it didn't take long to settle on a Kowa 883.

While I also have experience with tripods from my camera work, I haven't bought one for a good number of years - not since carbon fiber has become commercially available - and I really needed to do some homework there. In addition, I have never bought a video head and it was clear that was what was called for. Again, through reading the discussions on this forum, I was able to sort out enough of the pros and cons to be able to select a tripod and head. I came up with a Robus RC-5558 tripod and a Manfrotto 504HD fluid head.

I absolutely love the Robus and I'm even thinking of getting one for myself. It can be changed from the bowl-mounted video head to a photo mount like a ball head literally in seconds and it's solid. I can find some things to quibble about with the Manfrotto head, but it will certainly fill the need for my friend. I found some backlash in the movements and the counterbalance, while adjustable, could handle the weight better.

The final pieces arrived Saturday. I put it together and checked it out, then delivered it on Sunday. She was delighted to say the least. This morning I received the following email:
Today at 9 am sharp I opened my eyes to the song of the cranes in the field outside my bedroom window. I leapt from the sheets and set my beeeeaaaauuutiful new scope up. Then I perched on the arm of the sofa and ooohhhhh!!!! I could see every feather!!! They are smooth almost like they were painted ---the texture and color of their wings...the suede like surface of their legs. The red patch around their gold eyes where I could see the glint of the morning sun sparkling

I got so choked up that tears rolled down.my cheeks...as they are now --

The most unbelievable and amazing part was when a bald eagle flew thru... startling the cranes to take flight....

My friends, let me tell you. Any concerns I might have had about spending that amount of cash on a somewhat impulsive gift disappeared instantly when I got that email. My friend also told me in person later on how easy and intuitive it was to follow the motion of the animals with the video head and again how incredible the view is ("It's like they're right here!" she said).

So again, thanks to those here who without knowing it, provided me with all I needed to bring joy to someone who can really use it.

Bruce G

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
Hi there Bruce and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum :t:

We're glad you found us and thanks for taking a moment to say hello. Please join in wherever you like ;)


Picture Picker
What a lovely post, Bruce. A wonderful gesture to your friend and clearly your gift is much appreciated.


Well-known member
Congrats to you and your friend, on scope choice and road to recovery.I envy her her 'perch'! You may have inadvertently started a 'favourite scope' war, thoughB :)

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Hi Bruce and a warm welcome from me too.

What a lovely friend you are! And it really seems you've made the right choices for her needs. And it sounds like she has a great view from her window, lucky girl.

Thanks for letting us know and introducing yourself. I hope you enjoy your time here with us.


Well-known member
This post was a pleasure to read, and I am sure the pleasure is of course much bigger for your friend and yourself.
You have made a beautiful gesture and thank you for sharing that.
This reminds what, in the end, it is all about: being marvelled by the beauty of nature around us, rare or not, and sharing that with others. Hoping of course also for people to realise how important it is, on so many levels.
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