Friday, July 30, 2010

#7 Travel Tip: Traveling Lite

While it is tempting to bring every article of clothing or equipment for every possible climate or condition, it is not practical to carry excessive baggage. Too many bags are burdensome not only for yourself but for trip organizers and companions who must load, unload and keep track of every piece.

Airlines are “helping us” to pack smarter by enforcing baggage weight restrictions and adding fees. Consolidate clothing into a few essential layers. Choose footwear carefully wearing your main shoes and bringing only one additional lightweight pair. Use a carry-on back pack for books and fragile items such as binoculars and camera. In short, take only what you need!
photo © adrian binns

Friday, July 23, 2010

#6 Optics Tip: Mind the Bug Spray!

In certain seasons, in some areas, greenheads and mosquitos are out in full force. You reach for the bug spray immediately upon opening the car door, frantically attempting to repel the vicious biters. In doing so, always spray outdoors, never in an enclosed area or inside your car.

Don’t forget to put your optics or camera out of reach first, so that the spray does not touch your valuable equipment.

If you get bug spray on your hands, be sure to wipe it off with soap and water and dry them thoroughly before picking up your bins or camera. The powerful chemicals in the bug spray will quickly erode the equipment. And keep this in mind when spraying around children or pets - bug spray can be harmful!
photo © adrian binns

Friday, July 16, 2010

#5 Field Tip: Beware of Ticks

Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease, is a concern in many areas of the country. It is carried by pinhead-sized deer ticks, not the larger wood ticks.

The best way to protect yourself while out in the field is to cover up with long pants, trouser legs tucked into your socks, long-sleeved shirts and a hat. In addition, some insect repellants may be effective deterrants. Don’t forget to do a tick search on your body once you get back home!
photo © adrian binns

Sunday, July 11, 2010

#4 Optics Tip: I’m All Fogged Up!

There is nothing more frustrating than getting out of your vehicle in this heat and humidity, lifting up your bins to look at a colorful oriole, and finding that your bins are fogged up! This occurs when moving between an air-conditioned enclosure and the humid outdoors.

To reduce or even eliminate the amount of fogging, I have found it helpful to wrap towels or clothes around optical equipment, or bury them deep inside a travel bag when traveling - and keep them in their case. Essentially this keeps the optics warm, so they are less “shocked” when encountering hot, humid weather. Carefully dab a soft chamois cloth on the glass to wick up condensation.
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#3 Backyard Tip: Keep your Birdbath Filled

Summer is here and we are currently in the middle of a scorching heat wave. It is hot! Not only for us but also for the birds in our backyard. We should all be helping out our feathered friends by cleaning and keeping a birdbath filled with fresh water on a daily basis. This will not only ensure that they have clean water to drink but it will also allow them to take a refreshing cool bath.
photo © adrian binns

Saturday, July 3, 2010

#2 Conservation Tip: Duck Stamps Save Wetlands

Help save critical wetlands for birds! A federally-issued Duck Stamp is available every year beginning July 1st. 98% of the $15 cost goes towards the purchase of wildlife habitat. Since the program began in 1934 $750 million has been raised to buy 5.3 million acres. Birders can do their part by purchasing a Duck Stamp which also entitles them to visit National Wildlife Refuges free for the year. It is a win-win deal, and the best bang for your buck!

Duck Stamps can be purchased at National Wildlife Refuges, Post Offices and Sporting Goods stores.
photo © adrian binns