Monday, July 23, 2012

It's not all about birds!

Binoculars and telescopes are not just used for birdwatching and one of the most common applications is for insects, especially butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. A good pair of close-focusing binoculars and a telescope really enhance observing some of the less approachable species and where you can't get close to them, for example, dragonflies settled on the other side of a stream or pond. Generally the best close-focus is achieved by 8x32 binoculars and 65mm or 50mm telescopes, but the exceptions to this rule are the Pentax Papilio 6.5x21 and 8.5x21 which both focus down to 50cm (20'').

Dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, moths and wildflowers are just as rewarding to watch as birds, having endless diversity and the opportunity to find rare, localised and vagrant species. The summer can be a quiet period for birds in the UK, especially during calm sunny weather, but is one of the best times to see insects and so many birders turn their attention closer to the ground. An interest and appreciation of many aspects of the natural world is the best way to ensure that you have an enjoyable experience whatever the time of year.

Not only can you use binoculas and scopes to observe, but it is also possible to digiscope the smaller wildlife. Yesterday I took a Swarovski ATM 65 HD with zoom and UCA camera adapter and my little compact camera to the edge of our pond and in about ten minutes had a few photos and videos of some of the insect activity.

Here are a few of the results of bit of macro-digiscoping.
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
video

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