Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Testing tips

In our October issue, we test seven mini-scopes. As always, though, our survey is only intended as a guide, and we strongly recommend that you try as many models as possible before you buy. With that in mind, here are our tips when buying any optics...

  • If you can, ask other birdwatchers if you can try their scopes, and take note of any features you like or dislike.
  • Before you go to buy, make a shortlist of models that you’re interested in, and give your dealer a call to check that they’re available.
  • Make sure the shop you buy from has good viewing facilities, so you can test the scopes yourself. Some retailers hold field days at reserves and birdwatching fairs.
  • Compare all the models on your shortlist thoroughly before trying any suggested by the shopkeeper.
  • If the shopkeeper gets too technical for you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If he is particularly enthusiastic about a certain model, remember that profit margins vary, and that it might be one that earns him more money.
  • Try to compare only two models at a time, three at most.
  • Take your time about comparing. Don’t be hurried (good retailers will be happy to give you as long as you need), and make notes as you compare – these will be invaluable if you decide to come back later after thinking things over.
  • Take all factors into account – a superb image is all very well, but the scope also needs to be one that you’re comfortable using.
  • Always test the actual scope you’re buying before taking it home.
  • Check that the box carries an approved importers mark – buying a ‘grey’ import can cause problems if anything goes wrong.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Changes at Titchwell

Our October 2008 issue will feature a special news story by kevin Wilmot on the proposed changes at RSPB Titchwell, north Norfolk, the RSPB's most popular reserve.

Here, reserve Manager Rob Coleman outlines the 'planned retreat' proposed in order to manage the site for the next 50 years.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kevin is leaving

Sadly, Bird Watching magazine will soon be saying farewell to its editor, Kevin Wilmot.

But before he leaves, check him out in his glory days, arguing with himself whether it is a Chiffchaff or a Willow Warbler.

Click the image above, sit back and be prepared to be scared...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Orca Blubberboys Birdfair triumph!

Dylan Walker's Orca Blubberboys (aka Whale Madrid) gloriously lifted the prized Forktail Trophy at this year's Rutland Birdfair 2008 football tournament.
Left to right: Jack Thorpe of Bird Watching), Emily Thorpe (unused sub), Jasmine Weedon (unused sub) Darren Rees, Eddie Weedon (unused sub), Mike Weedon (of Bird Watching), Dylan Walker (with trophy), Colin, Dave Gray, Ian Rowlands.

After a shaky start in the tournament, losing to the Wildlife Trusts, the BW-rich team (featuring Mike W in goal), the Blubberboys scored two 1-0 victories, including over MKA Dons. OB eventually succumbed in a close semi-final, 1-0 to tournament faves, the RSPB [we blamed a bizarre series of rule changes followed and implemented by the mighty charity-cum-quango].

The final was also close with MKA Dons victorious over the RSPB.

However, as we beat the official winners, we rightfully claim that the Orca Blubberboys had every right to lift the magnificent trophy!