Category: tools of the trade

Review: Garmin GPSmap 62s

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By , November 27, 2012 2:18 pm
Garmin GPSmap 62s

Garmin GPSmap 62s

Earlier this year my wife and I started to take evening drives in order to see birds that weren’t taking the time to visit our feeders. We live in a rural area and assumed the ordinary field birds that are common in the US should be visible in our area. In the end we were very successful we managed to find both the Bobolink and Dickcissel within 2 miles of our home, we saw the Black Tern perhaps 4 miles from home. We also now have a list of good spots near our home to visit next Spring. I started using an old GPS receiver in order to track where we found the birds. We found it to be useful but inadequate (for example we could not download track information).

Recently we bought a new GPS receiver to replace an older one that we had been using to mark spots where we saw birds. We selected the Garmin GPSmap 62s. We had considered the Garmin Oregon series, the Dakota series, the GPSmap series and the Delorme Earthmate 60. We rejected the Delorme because the handheld model is not able to provide accurate routing via roads. Also at the time we were looking at devices many of the accessories for it were not available. (If Delorme could combine the attributes of the handheld with the attributes of their laptop gps receivers they would have a real winner.) We rejected the touchscreen models from Garmin because they are less rugged than the GPSmap style. So we purchased the aforementioned GPSmap 62s.

    What we like:

  • Very quick acquisition of satellites
  • Small size the fits easily in a pocket
  • Easy to connect to a computer
  • Accurate routing in most circumstance
  • Availability of free maps
    What we don’t like:

  • Purchased maps from Garmin are not easily transferable to another device
  • Free software is clumsy to use
  • Waypoints only lists coordinates do not include towns or cities (as a cheap Magellan does!)
  • Making notes is clumsy since there is no keyboard

I have used this for about 2 months. If I were buying a gps receiver again, I would probably buy the same one again unless I had a lot more money and could buy a professional model which had a real keyboard. Here is a link to a review from a very good site : His review was of the device with an earlier version of the software.

recent birds – new binocular

By , December 5, 2011 7:30 pm

Purple Finch

Purple Finch

Not much birding action lately. Our lake is frozen enough to skate on it. A pair of men were walking across the lake last week when it didn’t look very safe. We have been seeing Purple Finches, some later Brewer’s and Rusty Blackbirds. The Northern Shrike has been visiting. Just today we saw an unidentified bird that I think my be a kestrel but I am not sure.

I purchased a new pair of binoculars. I chose a Steiner Predator Extreme 10 x 42 binoculars. My old Swift Audubons wore out and I don’t think they were worth fixing. These were the best of those I examined. I looked that Nikon Monarchs 10×42’s and a Leupold 10×42. I hate the Nikons. That surprised me because this model is chosen by the NJ Audubon Society. In any event the diopter adjuster is terrible, the adjustment is too coarse. I like the Leupolds but they had a too narrow field. The Steiners are bit more expensive than the other two and a bit better made. The diopter adjustment is the finest among any I looked at. The field is a bit narrow for my taste by not narrow for a roof prism binocular. They are useable. They do have a bit of chromatic abberation. Not unusual in their price range but more than I prefer. ( I compared them with a 20+ year old Adblerblick binocular. That model is not as well made as the Steiner but it has very low chromatic abberation.

Are there better binoculars in my price range? Perhaps. Should I have purchased the newer Swift Audubons? Again perhaps, but I heard a lot of criticism of that model and I needed to know I would be comfortable with what I chose.

Steiner 10 x 42 Predator Extreme

Steiner 10 x 42 Predator Extreme

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