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Review: Zeiss Victory SF 10x32, Sightings Update No 2 (1 Viewer)

Troubador

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We are lucky to have a row of oaks across the bottom of our back garden that extends eastwards to join extensive woodlands on slopes too steep to have been built on during the centuries. This means we quite often get woodland birds such as Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major in our oaks and indeed visiting the feeder in our garden. Seeing one ‘Woody’ is always a treat, seeing two is a rare pleasure, but having three in one of our oaks recently was a wonderful sight to see. It was definitely a case of 2 against 1, so I am guessing our resident pair were ‘explaining’ to the incomer about their prior territorial claim. There was no violence, just a lot of posturing followed by the incomer flying away in that curving, bounding, way they have. No sooner had territorial ownership been established than the female flew down to our feeder. Generally she stays on the far side of the fat-block feeder and so is mostly hidden, and this is what she did on this occasion too, but for some reason she swivelled to her left to reach along the side of the feeder and as her head and upper body went left, her tail swung out to the right and into full view. The under-tail, or vent area, is a vivid red and when I say vivid I mean livid. Through the SFs it was eye-wateringly, stop-lightingly red, but the big treat was to see the underside of the tail. The tail is usually pressed firmly against whatever the Woody is perched on or climbing up. In the oaks it acts as the third leg of the tripod in conjunction with its two feet. Even on the feeder the tail is usually hard against the feeder or the tray that sits underneath it. But as the bird rotated its body to the left, its under-tail swung into view, and I could see it was a beautiful silky white with a few narrow, sharply defined, black bars.

On occasional recent days we had some sun, by way of contrast to the mist and rain of recent times, and the birds reacted to this with washing and preening and even ‘sunning’ themselves with spread wings and loose plumage. We have a pair of Wrens Troglodytes troglodytes in the garden and they are secretive most of the time, mousing around in low and dense vegetation, but on one sunny day, one of them perched in full view and turned sideways-on to the sun and perched there with half-closed eyes. It supercilium was an intense creamy white and a great contrast to the complexity of its plumage that was brown, liberally sprinkled with dark markings. Although our Wrens do make themselves visible from time to time, it is usually just a glimpse, but to have the chance to examine its plumage through the SFs for several minutes was delightful.

On the same day as my sun-bathing Wren we were also visited by one of our regular Coal Tits Periparus ater, and in between visits to the feeder it emulated the Wren, pausing to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Anyone who remembers a black and white striped sweet called a Humbug will know why we think of this species as the Humbug Tit. The black of its crown and nape is split on the back of the neck by a white stripe from the base of the neck to near the crown and with the black each side of the white stripe, from some angles it definitely has the look of an old-fashioned Humbug. Coal Tits are engaging little birds who are possessed of not a little cunning, and who will lurk near the feeder while bigger birds squabble, and when there is a quiet moment, the Coalie will smoothly and quietly alight on the feeder, grab a sunflower heart, and take it away to eat in peace away from the conflict zone. As this one dozed in the sunshine with its wings loose by its sides I could see through the SFs that its wing-stripe was actually composed of a series of dazzlingly-bright white spots on the coverts. And then this one awoke from it’s reverie, and flew down to the pond for a bath, where its vigorous and uninhibited splashing shrouded it from the view of even the SFs.

Lee
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Lee,

Thanks for the wonderful description of the birdlife near you home. I envy your location near woodland and near a pond. I am a simple urban bird watcher, who has not had an excursion since well before the pandemic.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

Troubador

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Hello Lee,

Thanks for the wonderful description of the birdlife near you home. I envy your location near woodland and near a pond. I am a simple urban bird watcher, who has not had an excursion since well before the pandemic.

Stay safe,
Arthur
Thank you Arthur. Actually all of the observations were made on or from our own property. We are in a suburban area and lucky that nearby woods mean woodland birds visit our garden and all of them visit our old overgrown pond to drink and bathe.
Let us all hope for better times during this year.
Stay safe.
Lee
 

fazalmajid

Well-known member
I’ve seen (heard first, really) a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the tree just outside my highly urban balcony in Hampstead (that was over a year ago before lockdown led to a bird life explosion). The cheeky little bird gave me a glance, then promptly decamped to the other side of the trunk to preserve its privacy.
 

Troubador

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Staff member
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I’ve seen (heard first, really) a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the tree just outside my highly urban balcony in Hampstead (that was over a year ago before lockdown led to a bird life explosion). The cheeky little bird gave me a glance, then promptly decamped to the other side of the trunk to preserve its privacy.
They are a bit comical when they jerkily sidle around a branch or trunk to hide aren't they. A week ago one was drumming very loudly on one of our oaks and this continued intermittently for about half an hour.

Lee
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
Wrens, I have to admit, are brilliant little birds. A few weeks back I was heading home after my morning stint across the river from the old power station, and passing by the culvert where one of the canals flows into the Thames heard and then saw a little brown bird singing loudly from the shrubbery not far away, making a noise out of all proportion to its size. I put my binoculars on it to check whether it was a wren or a dunnock. A flick of the focus wheel and what had seemed like a nondescript brown bird was revealed in wonderful detail - the rich browns of its plumage contrasting vividly against the greenery, all the delicate darker markings of its primary feathers, tail and eyebrow clearly visible. At that short distance, it was bigger in my binoculars than the peregrines I'd spent the morning watching from over 400m away. I'd intended just to confirm its ID, but ended up admiring it until it finished singing and flitted away,

The binocular I was using that morning wasn't a 10x32 SF - but as you rightly say, even very inexpensive binos can give you great nature observing experiences.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
They are a bit comical when they jerkily sidle around a branch or trunk to hide aren't they. A week ago one was drumming very loudly on one of our oaks and this continued intermittently for about half an hour.

Lee
I similar thing happened to me last week.

I saw a Raven walking on top of a water tower, and pulled over to watch it, whereupon it took one look at me looking at it, and flew around to the other side of the tower.

I thought it was amusing.
 
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