Lesser Redpoll in the mist net

Today a nice rarity was trapped in our long running local bird ringing camp. A Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret or Carduelis cabaret) was ringed by local ringers. I was informed via the local hot line at 11AM and visited the Ferencmajor fishponds immediately. There has been only a few records of this species based on the Hungarian Nomenclature.

After enjoying the close encounter of this nice species we found two Red-breasted Geese on one of the ponds swimming among Greater White-fronted Geese.

I took this image of the bird with my iPhone. © Daniel Szimuly

I took this image of the bird with my iPhone. © Daniel Szimuly

We enjoyed the close view of the Lesser Redpoll. © Máté Szabó

We enjoyed the close view of the Lesser Redpoll. © Máté Szabó

I am keeping my life list according to IOC, where this is the subspecies of Common Redpoll but it is recognized by Clements and others as a full species. Anyway, I have never seen this species before. It’s been a good day.


My son has joined blogging

The next generation birder is here and starts blogging with me. What a heartwarming feeling it is to see my son, Daniel enjoying the passion I have been addicted for more than 30 years. Dani is a young birder, just passed 18. He’s been watching birds irrespectively of me of those birding sites where I had been birding for decades. I am happy to support him on his way to be a keen birdwatcher. I am sure he finds it an interesting and exciting activity and we already have made several plans of joint birding abroad.

Good luck Dani. Time to hit my life list record…

Dani (right) with his best friend, Máté (left) at the mist net with Bearded Reedlings at the Ferencmajor fishponds. © Daniel Szimuly

Dani (right) with his best friend, Máté (left) at the mist net with trapped Bearded Reedlings at the Ferencmajor fishponds. © Daniel Szimuly


Dani is at the Old Lake of Tata. © Máté Szabó

I’m still a dreamer…

In the large majority of my life I spent and wasted an awful lot of time for listening others what they are saying or thinking about me. I didn’t like to hear behind my back that I was a dreamer. I didn’t like to hear the cynical comments about my ambitious publishing project of shorebirds of the world. As I became wiser (I hope, I did), I learned that those energies, what I used to meet others expectations, should rather be used for more important activities and self-education. I no longer listen to the cynical words, in fact those make me much stronger than ever.

A couple of years ago I had a dream, a big one. The dream was to make a beautiful handbook of all the shorebirds of the world. I thought I had every skill and knowledge to turn it into reality. And I still believe in it! However, in those early days I wasn’t really ready of facing the financial challenges of such a massive project. The financial crash of a promising investor at the explosion of the global money balloon made my dream rather distant and foggy. I didn’t give it up though. In the background I still have been working hard on the project to make it happen. No matter what the timeframe is and no matter who will or will not help, but that book will be published. But I still hear “He is a dreamer”.

Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten Inc., is wonderfully arguing with those who say that “dreaming is the privilege of the young”. He writes in his note, The Profitability of Dreams, recently posted on LinkedIn :

I would argue, by contrast, the dreams are a key factor in business success.

Have dreams – and then reshape them into well-defined goals. Think about what to do to achieve those goals, and then based on what you come up with, achieve each one little by little. And you must put your all into this – all of your abilities, your strength, your endurance – you must be fully dedicated to achieving your goals.

Regardless of how long it takes, if you approach your dreams this way, there is nothing you cannot achieve. And in this process, I believe you will discover the true meaning of having dreams.

Do not be dissuaded by the cynics who say that dreams and reality are different. This is nothing more than a bitter excuse made by those lacking the drive needed to transform their dreams into reality. Dreams and reality are different. It is a dream than can take you out of an ordinary trajectory, and into something extraordinary in nature.

Mikitani’s words could not have been more perfectly timed. I can’t wait to relaunch the project with a strong financial background and more carefully set of goals and start working on it according the business plan. I think I have never been as close to it as before. Either with the help of crowd financing or private investors, the project will be funded. The enormous support of my real friends and close family as well as the self education made me a more focused and hopefully a successful individual who is addicted to the future of shorebirds.

And yes, I’m still a dreamer and will always be…

WoodSandpiper plate

Swarovski vs. Zeiss – 1:1

No, this post is not about a battle between the two top optical brands, nor a side by side sophisticated review. This post simply reflects my actual personal preference of the desired ultimate optical products for my needs. Last year, at the British BridFair, I could enjoy my time with the magical Swarovski ATX 30-70×95 modular scope. That was a kind of love at first sight.

What I believe to be the best spotting scope in the market: the Swarovski ATX 30-70x95 Modular Scope. Photo by Swarovski Optik

What I believe to be the best spotting scope in the market: the Swarovski ATX 30-70×95 Modular Scope. Photo by Swarovski Optik

Besides looking through probably the best equipment for my shorebird watching/counting needs, I came across another optical masterpiece, the Zeiss Victory HT x42 binoculars. Just a couple of minutes were enough to fall in love again. No, I am not cheating… I want them both. ‘Sadly’, money talks, so those extraordinary pair of binoculars is coming sooner than the modular scope, but they are coming for sure.

Zeiss Victory HT x42 binoculars. Photo by Carl Zeiss

Zeiss Victory HT x42 binoculars. Photo by Carl Zeiss

Beutiful design, extraordinary optical performance and joy of use feature the Zeiss Victory HT x42 binoculars. Photo by Carl Zeiss

Beutiful design, extraordinary optical performance and joy of use feature the Zeiss Victory HT x42 binoculars. Photo by Carl Zeiss

While I had a very very poor and careless customer care experience with one of the branches of the InFocus group, I tried to enjoy my time with a pair of Zeiss Victory HT 10×42 binoculars.

The brightness of those lenses was simply mind blowing. I have never ever experienced such a great light transmission capability than that of the Victory HT binoculars have. Zeiss says:

A revolution with up to more than 95% light transmission.

Indeed the feeding birds in the dark tree looked way brighter than I could see them with naked eyes. The sharpness is literally edge-to-edge, the balance and feel excellent and the close focus is brilliant. The focusing wheel is dreamy smooth. I have spent enough time in tough light conditions at the Old Lake of Tata with one of my best friends, László Musicz, while searching and counting night roosting wild geese before they blasted off by a hunting White-tailed Eagle. By using poor optical equipments we simply should not have had a chance to get even an estimate of the numbers if they left the lake at dawn.

At the moment the only hesitation is whether I should buy the 8x or 10x model. I tend to vote for the wider field of view than the larger magnification though I have never used an 8x model.

I remember, a binoculars with a much wider field of view would have helped a lot when I tried to find the Des Murs’s Wiretail in Chile in a dark forest. Photo by Birding Chile

Theoretical birding

It’s been a while I have posted anything in my personal birding blog. The reason is simple. I didn’t go out birding at all. My work load has been extremely high in the past few months which allowed me nothing else but some sleep after finishing work.

My rhythm is getting back to normal but birding is still missing. I am weeks away to get my new binoculars which will encourage me to go out again on a regular basis. In the meantime my son jumped into birding more intensively and had some awesome birding experiences in Hungary. From now on we will be running the blog together. Dani will also post related news from the sites I had been birded before we moved to the UK.

While birding is a very incidental activity at the moment, I am working hard at my desk to bring something exciting into reality. The long desired Shorebird eMagazine project has started a couple of weeks ago. It is going to be a great fun and finally I can test my skills in publishing and design.