Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Over in the meadow

I finally bought a pair of binoculars!
There are so many different types available and I didn't know enough about them to make a decision on which to purchase. Mom and Dad were bird watching on the Texas coast this May during migration time. A lady loaned her Nikon Ranger 8X32 Platinum binoculars to Mom. She was very impressed and recommended them to me. In the end, I went to a store with a good selection and tried out every pair they had. The most comfortable ones for me were the Bushnell Excursion 8x42 binoculars.

On Saturday, my husband and I walked a section of the river north of the city. Walking through the field, I heard a meadowlark, but could not see it. Using the binoculars, I saw two Eastern Meadowlarks well concealed in a shrub. I would have missed them completely due to distance, but I enjoyed a lovely clear view of them through my new lenses. I took this grainy picture afterwards.

One cannot read Winterwoman or Monarch's blogs without becoming a little interested in dragonflies. I have never looked at one closely and had no idea there were so many beautiful varieties.

This rather dopey dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly crawled onto my finger and let me carry it around for several minutes. I took it over to a group of small children to let them admire it. After I released it onto a twig, it flew off.
Well, that was fun!
But don't expect me to run around with a net just yet. I have more than enough field paraphernalia already.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (thanks Monarch!)
I have seen several orange butterflies this past week. There are a few that look like Monarchs, but I suspect they are Viceroys. I got a picture of this smaller one, but cannot identify it on the internet. It looks as though I may have to get a few more field guides, this time for butterflies, moths and dragonflies. I wish there was one book that covered all types of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Camera, binoculars, cell phone, Nalgene water bottle, guide book, insect repellent, nets...?
I prefer to travel light. How much gear do you take with you go out for a nature walk?


  1. Anonymous7:39 am GMT-4

    I am soo honored you were inspired by us! Just Congrats on your binoculars and it isn't easy picking the pair that you will have for years on end. The Meadowlarsk were wonderful and the Milbert's Toroiseshell shot is even better! Congrats on your dragonfly!

  2. I'm carrying less and less, because I find that a good camera means that I can leave my library on the shelf.
    Binocs, yes, light pants with pockets.
    Water bottle.
    Cell phone only if i'm off my property, (for safety) otherwise my outdoor time is off limits to this intrusion.

  3. Always binos and a camera for me. With the camera I hope to get enough of a shot to id later. Congrats on your new binos! They really open up the world!

  4. I have to laugh, Ruth. I have two pairs of binocs but neither of them work well for me. So, when I talk, I have on good walking shoes and a camera around my neck. Cell phone in my pocket. That's all. If I were going for a long time, I'd carry a bottle of water.

    Good close-up of the dragonflies and butterflies! They are fun subjects. And congrats on your new binocs. I need to put them on my wish list.

  5. I meant to say "when I walk" (not talk)

  6. I love dragonflies and have several dragonfly pendants. Since being in AZ I've seen a number of different species in our yard in the pond/waterfall area...beautiful red ones and orange ones. I'm not sure if these are the damsalflies. I'm never able to get a picture as they move quickly.

  7. Uhhh--nature walks? Does going around the block with the dog count as a nature walk?
    Perhaps you had something more intentional in mind.
    I do have good hiking shoes, and a really nift walking pole I bought in Switzerland. Now there's a country that takes nature walks SERIOUSLY.

  8. Hi Ruth,
    Congratulations on your binoculars. I hope you will have many happy years with them. If you're taking them on longer walks, I would recommend one of the binocular straps that goes around your back (mine is from Bino-System). This will take a lot of strain off your neck.

    I don't take as much stuff along on a bird hike as I would like because I don't have a good way to carry it all. It's usually just the binoculars and a chapstick.

  9. I don't like carrying stuff - lately I haven't even been bringing the binoculars along with me most times, but the camera anymore is a must!

    I'm glad to hear you tried out lots of binoculars before buying and settled on one that felt good. They have to be fit your hands and your face. I hope you go on to see lots of wonderful things!

  10. Anonymous5:59 am GMT-4

    Don't forget Dragonfly Eye when it comes to dragonflies, though he's pretty busy lately and behind in his posts! What do I carry into the field? Mostly water and my camera... and some Herbal Armor bug spray... which I only use if they bugs are actually bothering me... which they don't, usually...

  11. Monarch- Thanks for the encouragement. You are keeping my brain young with learning!

    Hi Nina!- Pockets, yes, so essential. I leave the books at home, or in my car too. And the cell phone is for safety only.

    Lynne- You once commented on your surprise that I did not have binoculars. So I really started looking for them seriously.

    Mary- Good shoes...I should have mentioned that too. Make sure you pick out your own binos. I was surprised at how much eye strain some of them gave me. LOL! I am sure you talk when you walk!

    OmaLois- I am sure the dragon and damselflies appreciate your water in Arizona. They usually just zoom by me too.

    KGMom- :-) Of course walking the dog is a nature walk! I have pounded the sidewalk with our dog for 100s of kilometers. We have a network of trails in the city that get you away from vehicle exhaust and have a softer surface than cement. I have thought about getting a hiking pole. The Swiss are great role models.

    RuthieJ- thanks for the tip. Even a few things start to feel heavy when you carry them on a long walk.

    Laura- The camera and binoculars are really a lot around the neck, especially when it is hot. I had my husband try the binoculars too, as he wears glasses and I don't. The Bushnells worked for both of us.

    Jennifer- Thanks for reminding me of the link to Dragonfly Eye. Bugs seldom bother me either for some reason. I hate using insect repellent.

  12. I'm glad you finally bought some binoculars-It should be well worth it.
    I have a vest with about 20 pockets in it that I carry.-Also the camera, field guide, and binoculars.-usually no scope though.

  13. Larry- I have one of those multi-pocketed vests too. It was given to me, but I have never worn it. I will stick with binoculars and leave the scopes to the professionals!


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