Bird Watching Equipment
What you will need
You can watch birds and enjoy them without any of the modern aids, such as binoculars and telescopes, books and so on. Indeed, in the last war several birdwatching prisoners in Germany were able to make detailed studies of several species of birds, which were published in appropriate scientific journals when they returned home. There are moments, too, when you may want to just sit back and look at birds in the beauty of their natural surroundings, absorb their colours, their movements and all the sounds of the countryside or the seashore. But even then, for example, you may be relaxing by the shore enjoying the movement of the waves, when you notice that a distant Herring Gull, has caught something and want to know what it is. With a pair of binoculars you would, perhaps, be able to see all this more clearly and even identify what it has caught.
I also like to look back over the records I have made of birds that I have seen in parts over the years. From these I can find out, for example, when I last saw or heard a Cuckoo or how the arrival dates and numbers of Golden Plover, which spend the winter in the fields close to my village, vary from year to year. It is surprising how constant the numbers of Golden Plover have been in the last six years with the flock size building up to about 400 in December. This constant recording of their numbers has also shown that they tend to return to traditional, and rather restricted, wintering areas each year.
By keeping notes I can relive some of the excitement of birdwatching expeditions I have made to the better birding spots in Britain or to other parts of the world. Written notes can sometimes be even more evocative than photographs. If you want to extend your activities and contribute records or information to your local bird club, or if you want to carry out research on your own, then you must record what you have seen. For this type of work you cannot rely on memory.
Any birdwatcher, once he or she becomes involved, will keep records of some sort, even if it is just a note of a date or place in the margin of a field guide. At one time people used to annotate their textbooks regularly but whenever you see a bird you cannot identify you should write a full description of its plumage, shape, behaviour, calls and habitat before you refer to a field guide.
Further birding equipment will include: