Saturday, April 25, 2009

Birding Next-Door

Today I was marooned at home while my van was in for repair. To ease the frustration of not being able to go birding anywhere on a Saturday, I thought I'd spend the day stalking birds in my next-door neighbor's yard. The grass is always greener...

I was hoping to get photos of the peach-faced love birds who are regulars in my neighbor's yard but are no-shows in mine! But someone much better showed up, as if to say "hey, I'm the one you should be searching for, I'm a true native Arizonan!" Our neighborhood Roadrunner appeared in all his glory, proudly carrying his recent catch - a poor lizard.

This is only my second day of using my camera by attaching it to my new SteadyMount, so the photos are sub par as I become accustomed to the new set-up. So far, its great, I have better control of the camera, and many more shooting angles available.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Superstore Birding?

After receiving this photo taken of an owl nesting in a superstore garden center in northern Arizona, I now know where I'll be birding when it gets too hot outside! Hey, why not? If you're jonesing for a bird-fix, but its 110 degrees outside, gather up the binocs, bird book, and camera and head to your local WalMart, Home Depot, or Lowe's garden center!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Its not easy to hold binoculars when you have limited use of your arms and hands. So I searched the internet looking for a solution. I already owned a neat gadget that attaches my camera to my wheelchair, the Add-a-Lap, available from Don Kreb's Access to Recreation. So I tried mounting the binoculars to the tripod on the Add-a-Lap. but this really limited my viewing angles, and forced me to lean uncomfortably forward to reach the binoculars.

Just when I was about ready to have binocs surgically attached to my forehead, I came across ! An answer to my prayers! Who cares if I look like a techno-nerd, rolling around the desert with space-age looking binoculars strapped to my head! But the site turned out to be obsolete, there seemed to be no way to order the SportBinox. Its probably for the best, as much as I would love to be seen as the geekiest birder on wheels, I likely would have become disoriented and rolled myself right into a tree or off of a pier!

Then I spotted these little gems - Sightrex, another head mounted binoc. But I wasn't sure I had the manual dexterity to handle the focusing of such small binocs, and the power (10x25) was not really ideal for birding. What is recommended is 8 or 10x42.
Finally I came upon SteadyMount, which is very versatile, would provide a multitude of viewing angles, and was a steal at $150 ($130 for the SteadyMount and $20 for the rail clamp)! It can hold binoculars, or a spotting scope, digital camera, or video camera.

I went out and bought some low-end 10x42 Bushnell binocs, and a binocular tripod adapter, put them on the SteadyMount, and attached the SteadyMount to the armrest of my wheelchair. I've been on 2 long guided bird-walks with them, and they work great!

Here's the binocular tripod adapter -

Do you have an event, bird walk, meeting, or nature walk that belongs on this calendar? Please send info to

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