What essential 5 items would you recommend?

Hello! 

I am planning to write an article on my website about essential bird watching kit and I wanted to get experienced bird watchers thoughts. Basically, what would you say are the essential bits of kit that you would tell your younger self to buy or not to buy?

I was hoping for exact kit recommendations rather than saying just water proofs, binoculars etc.  We have all fallen for the hype at some point so I thought my article might help new comers to avoid spending money on things that are not very good.

Kit and model names would be ace if you have any you would recommend! 

Thank you!

Wayne

  • Hi Wayne, I think you'll find (especially with the optics side of things) it's very much horses for courses, and the best advice to give would be to try before you buy, to go to an actual shop and see how the products feel in hand. There was a thread a couple of months ago and everyone had different favourites, so your article could be very long!
  • Thanks for taking the time to reply.
    I will do a search for that thread! My article is for the newcomer really so going into a shop and trying things may still present an issue. Would anyone genuinely recommend any items of their kit as grest for beginners?
  • Wayne, if you check back on posts from one of the regulars Seymouraves you will find a lot of threads there on that subject with input from other contributors

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Hello Wayne,

    Just to reiterate one replace, it is often horses for courses, which is something that extends to many outdoor (and very likely indoor) hobbies as well.

    As a former hill and moorland walker, we have very much the same scenario, what to wear, what to carry and how to carry it etc etc.

    However, it is generally accepted in the hill among moorland walkers, that boots are a very individual thing, and should really be try before buy....

    Having spent almost 40 years hill and moorland walking, (birding is very new, only just short of four years due to major lower leg reconstruction severely limiting my mobility, and my clothing), the things I have learned are:

    • we're all different in our build
    • we're all different in our abilities 
    • we're all different in our desires and goals
    • we're all unique!
    • Lets not forget available budgets

    Just to take that a little further, and building on the boots, "try before you buy" scenario, its not just boots (that includes all footwear) that you should try before you buy, it actually extends further, to coats/jackets/fleeces, trousers, shirts/tops and for the walkers, rucksacks!

    I'm not a fan of online buying, particularly clothing and footwear, I do like to view physically rather than electronically before I buy, and that way, if it doesn't suit me, it stays on the shelf rather than the hassle of trying to return the item(s).

    Back to birding, I am very much a novice so I'll be very much out of my depth here, so I will not get too involved  other than to say that could also include binoculars or scopes, while there are brands to desire, they may not suit every one in the weight, feel and handle, plus the optical ability.

    For me, I like getting outdoors, I enjoy photography, so for me, the photographic and outdoor side, plus the spotting and identifying the different species, is the enjoyable part, plus the social aspect.

    A lot of what I've learned from my hill and moorland walking years when it comes to clothing and footwear, plus packs, has been successfully carried over to birding with one big change, I no longer wear bright colours, I aim to blend in with the surroundings rather than a bright red coat that would hopefully make me more visible in the case of an emergency.

    But the one aspect that has stayed with me, is the type of clothing I wear, in the form of thermal or wicking layers, and I'm pleased to say, that it hasn't been too difficult find that type of clothing, and without being brightly coloured either.

    However, what I have found to be questionable, but it could be me being finicky, is tripod carriers. They are good at their job, to make carrying a tripod with scope of camera, easier.

    But, they seem to be very basic and could probably benefit from better straps and more usable pouches, akin to the rucksacks I used to use (I still have one rucksack that is usable for birding) for days out.

    Hopefully Wayne that may give you something to think about, not just for birding, but generally.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • I can certainly agree with you about tripod carriers Mike they all seem to be very complicated for what should be a simple thing, it's a love or hate them. Chris and myself tend to share a scope if there is a longish carry and some days the tripod carrier feels like enemy number one :). I am in the market for new boots but our only local outdoor shop is Mountain Warehouse whose range looks very limited so a trip to one of the Dales shops looks imminent not that it is such a hardship. It's a while since I bought boots as I find trail shoes do for most birding trips.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Wendy S said:
    I can certainly agree with you about tripod carriers Mike they all seem to be very complicated for what should be a simple thing, it's a love or hate them. Chris and myself tend to share a scope if there is a longish carry and some days the tripod carrier feels like enemy number one :). I am in the market for new boots but our only local outdoor shop is Mountain Warehouse whose range looks very limited so a trip to one of the Dales shops looks imminent not that it is such a hardship. It's a while since I bought boots as I find trail shoes do for most birding trips.

    I'm not too sure whereabouts you are, while MH is ok for budget stuff, there is Blacks, Millets seem to have gone very quiet these days, and Cotswold (who utilise a more realistic boot ramp with stones placed to create an uneven footpath scenario where you can test your intended boots before purchase) have trimmed back their stores horrendously.

    However, Go outdoors, a Sheffield based outlet, seem to still have quite a plethora of stores across the UK, even after a recent take over, and many stores are slowly going through a makeover.

    Also Ultimate Outdoors is another reasonable outlet.

    I've just noticed, Pete, the forum software has changed your name to Wendy!

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Wendy S said:
    I can certainly agree with you about tripod carriers

    Have you looked at Cley Spy Mulepack. Ive had mine for about 8yrs and its been great, still going strong and is always on the tripod. 

    ----------

    Cheers,

    Bob

    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • In reply to Bobs_Still_Retired:

    Thanks Bob,that is what we have, often when a scope may not be necessary I will take a small scoper and monopod but of course with this you cannot share a scope so easily. The bigger Leica scope, Chris's not my cheapo one, is best if we are trying to watch a roost or nest site from a safe distance. I tried a cheaper carrier for mine and that was worse than using a single strap.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Hi - I checked my birding bag :


    RSPB binocular bungee strap
    Telescope bungee strap
    Plumbers pipe insulation for tripod legs - softer on shoulders

    Good lens cloths
    a Buff

    Small leatherman

    Optical screwdriver / spare screws if you wear glasses

    Spare boot laces

    Good quality multi pocket vest / Gilet

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Mike I think the forum software changed my name to Wendy a while ago according to one or two users I hsve not been able to get any techies interested to sort it,nothing sinister has happened overnight I can assure you. As for outdoor gear suppliers we have an old friend of mine I used to walk/run with had a little outlet in the Dales and also does some weekly outdoor markets and I will probably twist his arm for "mates rates" although he may be struggling a bit now.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can