Binoculars are very important device for birding and wildlife watching. I personally use Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars for my birding activities. They are powered by Bak4 roof prisms and fully multi-coated glass lenses. The lens barrels are filled with nitrogen and well sealed to make them waterproof. These very affordable binoculars are not the best on the market but they greatly enhance my birding experience.
As a tourist guide in West Papua, I have got a lot of opportunities in trying various types of binoculars and spotting scopes that belong to visitors who are my clients. Most of them give excellent performance. Last week I guided Jacob and Jorien - two Dutch tourists on a 3-day/ 2-night hiking, camping, birding and wildlife watching tour in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari. It was a lower montane forest located in the eastern region of Arfak range. They brought a pair of Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 binoculars. I tried them to watch Hooded Butcherbird (Cracticus cassicus) and Brown Fantail that perched on the branches of high trees. They were very good binoculars. However, the images they produced were too bright. Perhaps, the device need additional coating to produce balanced color images. During the tour, we also saw Beautiful Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus), Brown Oriole, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud), Great Cuckoo Dove (Reinwartoena reinwardti), Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), and King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius).
I also guided Bernard and Elsbeth, a Swiss couple early this year, on a hiking and birding tour in higher elevation forest of Arfak range. We went there to watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Green-backed Robin, Black-eared Catbird, Mountain Owlet-nightjar and several other birds. At that time I had the opportunity to try their multipurpose Austrian made binoculars, the Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB and then a pair of the Swarovski EL 8.5×42. SLC stands for Slim Light and Compact. These bird watching devices allowed me to see clear view of birds, and butterflies in distant shrubs and trees.
There was also Canon 15×50 IS All Weather binocular which was powered by Ultra-low Dispersion lens element. This birding tool had excellent performance especially for watching moving birds such as the ones that walk at the beach or on the branch of a tree. This binocular belonged to Roland, a Swiss tourist. I guided him with Miss Nongnaphat and Bahar for 4 days hiking and birding in Arfak mountains. We were able to watch several species of paradise birds that I have mentioned above as well as Yellow-legged Flycatcher, Mountain Fruit Dove, Black Fantail, Golden Face, Blue-Grey Robin, Spectacled Longbill, Sclater's Whistler, Grey-Green Scrubwren, Papua Mountain Pigeon, Black-winged Monarch, Grey-Wagtail, Feline Owlett-nightjar and a lot more. Bahar, one of the office escort of VIT Tour Indonesia, carried a pair of 10×42 Eagle Optics binoculars. I tried them several times. In general their quality was slightly higher than the Visionking 10×42 mm that I had.
When I guided 8 American tourists, I had the opportunity to test Zen-Ray 8×42. I was very surprized to see the bright and crisp image it produced. It was a very good binocular. I highly recommend it for anybody who is looking for a pair of new binoculars.
Birding and Wildlife Watching Tours
I and my local team offer birding and wildlife watching tour in the Province of West Papua of Indonesia particularly to Lowland Forest of Manokwari, lower and higher montane regions of Arfak mountains, Klabolo forest, and Sorong forest, Tambrauw mountains, and Raja Ampat archipelago.
If you are interested in taking the tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.