Took my new toy down to the coast today, to find out what it can do - and boy, can this new-ish 'scope do the business!
A Nikon 82 ED no less, courtesy of "Er Neill", who parted with a scope I have covetted for quite awhile, especially with seawatching season and autumn now upon us.
I've combined the monster with a new zoom lens I managed to acquire by way of part exchange negotiations with Andy Bunting over at In Focus, who seemed a little reticent at first about taking some of my old kit as payment.
True the "stay-on" case of my old Nikon is in fact the remains of a parka that "Er Neill" cut and stitched back together when he was more in touch with his feminine side, but that's another story.
And once we'd got the Mexican bottflies out of my old scope body, Andy seemed a lot happier.
Think Camp David peace accord meets the Marx Brothers and you'll get an idea of how the talks progressed.
I must be honest, given the hammering my old Nikon has taken, I wasn't expecting to get much more than a new lens cloth and a packet of spicy peanuts for it, but Andy was fairness personified (or maybe he just wanted me out of the shop).
So there I was today, scoping the horizon from the dunes over the tide at Ainsdale, marvelling at the crispness of the zoom's image, although a little uneasy about the field of view still.
I may switch to a x30 wide eyepiece yet, which should confirm absolute penury on me, but it'd be worth it for the brightness of the ED monster, even if it is harder to digiscope with.
About 150 Common Scoter moving offshore, the usual terns and a few distant Gannets, which is about all you could expect with the balmy wind coming in from the south east.
Sands Lake was slow too, the Little Grebes are still feeding two young, and Willow Warblers were calling from the undergrowth.
A fox seemed moderately startled as it wandered out onto the boardwalk in front of me, took one look and slid back into cover, otherwise all was quiet.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...