RE: RFI Mudgee NSW - birding and accommodation (birding with children)

To: "Arwen B. Ximenes" <>, "" <>
Subject: RE: RFI Mudgee NSW - birding and accommodation (birding with children)
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 16:07:40 +1000
What's the field of view of your son's binoculars?  I have a cheap pair of 8x21 
roof prism binoculars with a 7.5 degree field of view (about 126m/1000m) that I 
let my kids use.  Wider would be better, but their main drawback is that the 
diopter setting varies with focus distance!  He seems happy with them, but 
doesn't look at birds much, just about anything else.  They have survived being 
repeatedly swung into a pine railing by the strap.  I think they cost about $10 
or $20. and the image is soft and hazy, but good enough to id birds within a 
reasonable distance.  I've noticed that the price of cheap binoculars varies 
enormously, with some retailers wanting $50 or more for the same thing.

As for getting someone else to carry the child, I have as much chance of that 
as you do (you did say you were seven months pregnant).

Peter Shute

From: Arwen B. Ximenes 
Sent: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 1:39 PM
To: Peter Shute; 
Cc: ; 
Subject: RE: RFI Mudgee NSW - birding and accommodation (birding with children)

Now a guide like that would be priceless - after all, childhood lasts a while!

The best suggestion I have is not to carry the child - get someone else to do 
it, and I'm lucky as my hubby is happy do that :)

Alternatively, if the child is old enough, construct their own bins for them 
out of two toilet rolls stuck together with tape - you can finger knit a 
colourful string strap out of wool or whatever you fancy and get them to paint 
the rolls. Easy to make another set if they get squashed. My son was satisfied 
with these up until relatively recently - of course there's no magnification, 
but they can learn to aim and still see something through them. Big advantage 
is they're light and they keep them busy for a bit - and they feel like they're 
birdwatchers too. What to do when they get past that - well, I have bought a 
small pair for him but the field of view is too small and he doesn't really 
manage to get anything in them (have to focus them as well). Does anyone know 
of light ones that are good for kids and give them a reasonable sized field? I 
imagine they don't exist.


Arwen Blackwood Ximenes
Lawson, Blue Mountains, NSW

> From: 
> To: 
> CC: ; ; 
> Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 09:38:04 +1000
> Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] RFI Mudgee NSW - birding and accommodation
> The sounds like a good spot, though the water jets sound like they'd make one 
> protective of one's binoculars, etc.
> Regarding the child on your back, I recall trying to look at something once 
> with my son on my shoulders. Apart from the fact that as soon as I let go of 
> his legs to hold the binoculars he would grip onto my head with his fingers 
> in my eyes, he continually swung his legs. No amount of bracing can prevent 
> the swaying that causes in the field of view, probably good pelagic training.
> Peter Shute
> David Stowe wrote:
> > What a brilliant idea Peter!
> > For example, the famous Cairns Esplanade has a fantastic kids
> > playground half way along it called Muddys. Heaps of different play
> > equipment including some water based areas for cooling down. Lots of
> > jets coming out of the ground at different heights and intervals.
> > There is also a cafe (ice cream!!), but most importantly the birds
> > are just outside plus things like Varied Honeyeaters, Figbirds,
> > Helmeted Friarbirds flying around the trees above you. It is also
> > very shady.
> >
> > As for steadying your binoculars with a child on your back....I don't
> > think it's entirely possible!! I try by wearing a cap and holding the
> > brim of the cap with a couple of fingers as well as the binoculars.
> > This gives quite a bit of extra stability against your head.
> > I must admit that i was able to see and photograph Thick-billed
> > Grasswren with my 18mth old daughter on my back! Her interpreted
> > squeals of "keep moving Daddy" didn't help with a bird like that
> > though :)
> >
> > Cheers
> > Dave
> >
> >
> > On 18/05/2009, at 11:09 PM, Peter Shute wrote:
> >
> > Sounds useful, but what I meant was a guide for how to go birding
> > with kids. E.g. the best playgrounds for birding, birding locations
> > within walking distance of amusement parks, etc. It might have tips
> > on how to hide your optics from the kids in a small cabin, how to
> > steady your binoculars with a small child on your back, what to do
> > when your kids throw rocks in a hide, etc.
> >
> > The normal books don't cover these things. Do you know I saw my first
> > gannets from a monkey bar?
> >
> > Peter Shute
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: Paul Doyle 
> > Sent: Monday, 18 May 2009 7:13 PM
> > To: Peter Shute; ; 
> > Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] RFI Mudgee NSW - birding and accommodation
> >
> > Someone already has.
> > Lloyd Nielsen's Birding Australia: A guide for Birders, is sort of
> > combination of reference book and resource guide to other sources of
> > information.
> > It covers the whole country divided into regions and has all sorts of
> > useful
> > info: local and regional bird books guide and other info,
> > accommodation, dining, tourist site, other useful websites, daylight
> > times at different locations and different times year, accommodation
> > guide, suggested itineraries in all areas, outback safety and
> > travelling tips etc. etc.
> > It's self-published and can be found at I
> > have no connection with the author: just impressed wit the amount of
> > info in there.
> >
> > Paul.
> >

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