>What do others do about binoculars for beginners/tourists? Obviously,
>the experience is greatly enhanced if they can see more than a dark blob
>where you point out a bird. I have 2 spare sets of cheap binoculars that
>I lend out but they don't go far with a group. Is there a better way?
Anne et al,
I've been giving some thought to this dilemma of binos for beginners, and
here are my thoughts, which might not be applicable to other areas.
I have a pretty good rapport with some of our Caloundra (SEQld) Council
people. There are some really good people working in our council. I reckon
if I put it to them that I wanted to start some free birding classes, they
would support me with some binos, as I would expect them to remain the
property of the council. I guess it comes down to being known as someone
who is in there for the long haul, as compared with someone who is unknown
Our council has a grants scheme whereby interested individuals or groups
can apply for money for specific purposes once a year. There has to be a
community benefit. This year, for the first time, I sought and was awarded
a grant. It's only $560, (to cover the cost of boat hire to get to and from
the sandbanks, for the purpose of collecting preliminary data for a
forthcoming project on terns, as well as to ferry prospective volunteers
across for training.) but it shows me that Council's heart is in the right
place. Either that, or there could be votes in it. This grant enabled me to
take a mob out last Monday onto the sandbanks to introduce them to the
concept that (1) there sure are a lot of birds using the sandbanks in
Caloundra, so (2) those sandbanks have an environmental value and (3) most
of the birds they were viewing come from breeding grounds as far away as
Siberia, wow,......and so on.
Other councils must surely have such community grants schemes. I know that
my suggestion would fall within the guidelines of our council's grants
scheme, because it would aid tourism, and educate the local community about
their environment. Council likes to be seen to be doing something for the
local environment, and I am a very willing advertiser, I tell everyone that
Council gave me a grant to do this.
Email can now put us all in touch so much more easily than previously. I
know that if I got hold of all the email addresses of the tourist
establishments in Caloundra, and let it be known that I would run a birding
group every nominated day of the week or month, I would have a roll up. The
reason I haven't done it is that I just don't have the time, but it is in
the back of my mind as a thing I can give to my community in the future
when I do eventually have the time. There are also various community groups
now on email, and the word can be spread among the locals just as easily,
without your ever having to leave home. Then there are all the local
throwaway newspapers which broadcast community activities.
Unfortunately we don't have any large industries in our areas, but for
those who do, perhaps local business would support the purchase of a few
pairs of decent binos for such uses. You could suggest a small engraving
(you can get stick-on engraving these days) on each one, "donated by Acme
P/L". But there would have to be a degree of responsibility on the part of
the person/group controlling the binos. You'd blow your credo if you
reported back after the first outing that one of your visitors shot through
with a pair of binos.
Or, how about a fund-raising drive within the community to seek funds for a
bird group to buy binos so as to run classes for novices?
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'