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Jeff Bouton (29)

Jeff Bouton has worked as a birding professional his entire adult life. Starting as a bird bander in his mid teens and chasing a long string of seasonal field research positions all over the United States for the next decade. Following this he worked as a professional bird tour guide mostly in Alaska, before relocating to Florida.

He has published hundreds of images, written dozens of articles for major birding magazines, and co-authored three birding books over the years. He started working with Leica as a birding specialist 12 years ago and is currently the manager of the Birding / Nature Markets in North America appearing at birding events across the globe.

JUN 22

The Caribbean Express of 2017!

The first sign that something unusual was happening was when Smooth-billed Ani reports started popping up all over the state of Florida in late fall 2016. Historically this unique member of the “cuckoo” family could be regularly found breeding all across the southern half of the Florida peninsula, but as I said that was ancient history. Two decades ago these birds moved from extremely difficult to find in Florida to near impossible over the past decade. Most years just a single reported breeding pair in the state or worse in some years in the 2010’s none were reported. A single…

Training with Florida Specialties

Last week one of my colleagues, Catlin Brewer, was in the area for work and we made a plan to spend a couple hours training on digiscoping & wildlife photographic techniques with the Leica equipment.

A Tropical Treat

“You’re going to do what?… You guys are insane!” That was my response when my buddy Brant Julius told me he and friend Jeff Fisher were planning on leaving at 10 PM Friday night and driving through the night to arrive at sunrise. It was madness… but it was also an insanely beautiful & rare bird they were going to chase.

Digiscoping experiments with Huawei Mate 9 smartphone

The new Huawei, Mate 9 smartphone features dual lenses co-engineered by Leica. One lens shoots in color and the other in stunning 20 mp monochrome. I got to briefly experiment with the Mate 9 mounted to a Leica APO Televid spotting scope at the Leica Store Los Angeles back in February and knew it had great potential for digiscoping and couldn’t wait for a more thorough field test.   In color:   Dredged in mud!       Monochrome Lens: Lesser Yellowlegs in monochrome   American Alligator hangs out with the waders!   Green Heron in the reeds!   Wood Stork…

Extended Seasons

A personal awareness of one’s natural surroundings can provide daily discoveries, wonder, and even stir the soul. It also makes one keenly aware of the natural seasons. Even though the official “first day of spring” on the calendar is listed as March 20th, “spring” from a birding perspective is defined differently as it relates to a specific set of behaviors shown by the animals that surround us. Since these birds  may migrate from distant points even birds within the same area may show entirely different cycles at the same time of year.

Putting the Noctivids to the test!

I got my first experience to enjoy the view through the new Leica Noctivid binocular at the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland Waters, UK this past August. While I immediately appreciated the insanely vivid image, unmatched depth of field, and fast focus, I was really looking forward to giving them a proper test in the field searching for birds. Following the fair, bird book author, colleague and friend Bill Thompson III from Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine joined me for a few days in Wetzlar, Germany (home of the world headquarters of Leica Camera, AG). With Noctivids in hand, Bill and I…

AUG
2016
29

Magic over the Negev (part 1)

A young Steppe Eagle in warm brown tones scans the horizon from side to side before launching skyward. Leaving its nocturnal roost as early morning light floods the valley, it slowly flaps and glides northward along the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The lone bird reaches the windswept ridges here and rises quickly entering the river of birds already aloft. Such is the nature of a spring day in this part of the world. Black Kites with long, thin wings are able to take advantage of even the slightest stir of air. So as usual, they have led…

82 or 65 the Televid Quandary

The big question most users have when selecting a new Leica spotting scope is, “Which model is the best for me?”  The Leica APO Televid is offered in body styles with either a straight through or 45º angled eyepiece design. While the former seems more intuitive for use at first (as you are always looking in the direction of your subject), the VAST majority of birding and nature consumers purchase the angled eyepiece design shown below do to the ergonomic advantages and versatility. As example, when birding in a group it is much easier for the taller participants to bow slightly at…

Living Unicorn

Birds have wings and many migrate great distances, so there is always a chance that a “rare bird” could show up far away from where it normally occurs, just like the Curlew Sandpipers that the US-based Leica Birding Team ran into at multiple birding events this spring (Biggest Week in American Birding, Ohio & Cape May Bird Observatory Spring Weekend). Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) is a small shorebird / wader species that winters primarily in Africa and breeds on the arctic tundra of Siberia. With their incredibly long wings, they are strong flyers and occur as vagrants in North America…

A Field Day with the incomparable Leica Q

Leica’s new digiscoping kit with the Leica Q camera is a joy to use. The auto focus synchs fast allowing one to easily capture fast moving subjects and built in viewfinder works well in bright sunlight. The quality of the Leica glass in the camera and spotting scope lenses allow you to capture the most finite of details with incredible clarity at incredible magnification (focal lengths up to 2500 mm equivalent).