PETE’S TIPS PETE’S TIPS
BY PETE DUNNE
At some time, most birders
reach the point in their avoca-tional evolution where they give
serious thought toward purchasing a spotting scope. You
know, taking their bird study to
the next level. Running with the
big boys and girls.
Stop. Think this through.
A spotting scope is a specialty
tool, designed to view distant,
mostly stationary birds or to see
fine details beyond the capacity
of lower-power handheld instruments. It is neither as versatile
nor as user friendly as binoculars—plus you have to carry it.
I find that most people who
think they need a spotting scope
reach this conclusion because
they are unhappy with the
image they are getting through
their binoculars. They conclude
that the problem is the instrument’s magnifying capacity and
presume that the greater magnification offered by a tripod-mounted spotting scope will
solve the problem.
Maybe not. The problem
may be that your binocular
is simply offering an inferior
image. Buying a spotting scope
will not fix this shortfall. Replacing your marginal performer
with a high-quality binocular
will. So, before plopping down
hundreds or thousands of dollars on a scope/tripod combination, try looking through one of
birding’s alpha binoculars. Sure,