Woo hoo! Today I took the train to Bath and got a new scope; a Swarovski ATM 80 with 20-60x eyepiece. Remarkable just how difficult this was to get. Before leaving for the U.K. I tried getting one from Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, and Seattle, but to no avail. Once in the U.K. I thought for sure I could get one in Oxford, but again I was sorely mistaken. Thankfully I met a couple of birders at Otmoor who suggested I try Ace Camera. After a quick e-mail to the store, the staff confirmed having one in stock; all I needed to do was go and get it.
I caught the train out of Oxford at 9:36am and was in Bath for 11:00am. I spent the first bit of time there picking up some British sweets for family back home, and then went for lunch. Herring and Lesser Black-backed gulls were flying around town, and ubiquitous Rock Pigeon's were outside every cafe. By 12:30pm I rolled into the camera store. At no more than 12 feet wide and 30 feet long, this little shop had an impressive collection of high-end optics. After checking over the scope I wanted, including looking at a fake stuffed owl that the camera shop owner had placed high up in a church window, I was pleased with the product and made the purchase. Normally I can't wait to put new toys to good use, but this week I've been down with a horrible cold and feel like crawling under a warm blanket and emerging some time next month!
I'm not sure what my first 'scope' bird will be, but I hope it's a good one. I remember clearly the first bird I saw in my original Nikon scope in 1990 was a Northern Pygmy-Owl; kind of hard to beat that one.
Well, until next time, when hopefully I can report back on the first scope bird, happy birding wherever you may be.