We bought a spotting scope.
We had often thought about doing it - while watching wolves in Yellowstone, grizzlies in Glacier and moose in Alaska. Watching wildlife is one of our favorite pastimes on our travels. It's not just the thrill of observing these wild animals in their natural habitat, but connecting with other people who share the same passion. If we see someone with a spotting scope we usually stop and ask what they're watching. And usually they let you look through their scope - because you simply want to share the excitement. So it really was only a matter of time until we finally would buy one ourselves.
The owls were the final kick in the butt. While we went up to Mendocino, we went to a store called Out of this World where, among other things, you can buy spotting scopes. They are all lined up at the big windows, directed to the ocean and the cliffs, so you can try them out right there and then. The Geek - never one to make fast decisions - took a couple of hours to look through all the scopes and test them, until we finally made a decision (good thing the owner, James Blackstock, is a very patient person).
And you know what? He didn't like it. We took it to the owls last week and the first three photos here were actually taken through that scope. However, he didn't like that the viewing quality noticeably decreased with fading light and he wanted one with stronger "light power". So the following Sunday - last Sunday - the Geek and I went up to Mendo again while Kaefer stayed with a friend, and exchanged the scope. The one we have now, a Nikon, makes us very very happy. So it was worth the extra trip (I know, we could have shipped it, but I wanted to go into that independent bookstore again!).
The quality of this scope is amazing. And even better, with a point-and-shoot camera you can take gorgeous photos through the spotting scope. The photos you see here I took this evening through the scope - I love the result. And I want to share this with you since I know that there are many among you who followed "my" owls with me and want to know how they are doing.
They're doing great. Both owlets were sitting on a branch high up in a redwood tree, cuddling up. The light of the setting sun was warm and golden. So enjoy these photos - and if you have time, please let me know what you think.
My personal favorite.