Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Swarovski EL Swarovision on Sale!

Starting today, July 1, Swarovski is offering sale prices on all sizes of the world-class EL Swarovision line.

You can save up to $280.00 depending on the model. Sale prices are as follows:

Swarovski EL Swarovision 8x32 Binocular  $1979.00 (Retail $2199.00)

 $2069.00 (Retail $2299.00)

Swarovski EL Swarovision 8.5x42 Binocular $2279.00 (Retail $2529.00)

Swarovski EL Swarovision 10x42 Binocular $2319.00 (Retail $2579.00)

Swarovski EL Swarovision 10x50 Binocular $2499.00 (Retail $2769.00)

Swarovski EL Swarovision 12x50 Binocular $2549.00 (Retail $2829.00)

Sale extends from July 1, 2015 to November 15, 2015. Please call Eagle Optics for details at 800-289-1132. We'll be happy to get you outfitted with an EL Swarovision--arguably one of the world's finest binoculars!

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mosquitoes Not Invited!


Summers are too short and outdoor gatherings too precious to let mosquitoes and biting flies spoil the fun.  Set up your ThermaCELL portable appliance or lantern in the yard or boat, and you'll enjoy hours of bug-free time with friends and family.

If you're like us, you aren't fond of slathering insect repellent on our skin (I mean, what's really in that stuff?).  Kids don't much like it, either. It smells bad, makes your skin feel weird, and the spray goes everywhere. Then you have to reapply it throughout the day. And do you really want those chemicals around everyone's food and drink?

The ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Portable Appliance couldn't be simpler to use: just turn it on, set it down, and enjoy your time outdoors. Hey, it works for us. We tested it and were thoroughly convinced. There is no smell, and you don't even notice it's there until you happily realize your yard party went off without a hitch, or an itch. The unit runs on a single butane cartridge that heats a mat which releases a synthetic copy of a natural insecticide. The mats last about 4 hours and keeps a 15'x15' area protected. Nice.

Going birdwatching or hiking? Simply bring the portable appliance along! The holster accessory (sold separately) allows you to clip it to your belt, backpack, or tent pole. The ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Outdoor Lantern, in addition to its bug-fighting power, gives the added benefit of two illumination settings: perfect for the deck, pier, or campsite.

ThermaCELL has got you covered at the lake, on the trail, and at any outdoor gathering. Instead of moving the party inside, keep mosquitoes away while you celebrate summer and fall in the great outdoors!

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Binocular Anatomy 101

Today's binoculars are pleasingly streamlined, user-friendly, and with their often rubber-armored bodies, are more durable than ever. With waterproofing being standard on most models, it's easy to take them along without a second thought, no matter what the weather. Yet if you're confused as to which is the eyepiece which is the eyecup, here's a handy review of The Anatomy of a Binocular.

There are precious few moving parts on a binocular: the center hinge, the eyecups, the focus knob, and the diopter. Each of these parts move in order to customize the fit to the individual user. The center hinge moves the barrels to line up perfectly with your eyes. The eyecups are the rubberized mechanism your face touches while you are looking through the binocular: eyecups extend up to give the proper distance from the eyepiece for non-eyeglass wearers (if you wear glasses, leave the eyecups down). To focus on an object, the center focus knob focuses both barrels simultaneously. The diopter fine-tunes just the right barrel, which accommodates those of us with differences in vision between our eyes. For a greater understanding on the fit of your binocular, see our video, Understanding Binoculars: Fit and Focus.

Lenses: The ocular lens is part of the eyepiece, where the magnification of the binocular is located. The accessory used to protect these lenses is called a rainguard. The larger objective lens is located in the front of the binocular. Its function is light gathering. Tethered objective lens covers reduce the risk of losing the covers in the field. However, both objective lens covers and the rainguards can usually be ordered separately.

The removable tripod adapter plug, in the front of the center hinge, conceals standard-sized 1/4" x 20 threading on which to attach a tripod adapter, in case you want to tripod-mount your binocular for hands-free viewing.

So there you have it, folks. Now go out and impress a friend with your newfound knowledge!  As always, we’ll be happy to answer any questions about your binocular.  Just give us a call at Eagle Optics.

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Surefire Saint Minimus: Giftus Maximus


As a member of the Eagle Optics sales staff, I get my hands on all sorts of fabulous optics. Naturally, as part of assisting our customers, all of us handle, evaluate, and compare optics on a daily basis. We each have the opportunity to try and field test the latest innovations first-hand. When it comes time to recommend a favorite, we do so with enthusiasm based on solid experience. So gather 'round, dear ones, and let me tell you about a little wonder called the Surefire Saint Minimus.

I've always found hands-free lighting to be a brilliant (no pun intended) invention, but I never had a headlamp that was particularly...well, brilliant. The few I tried were nice for, say, reading a map in the car and other close-up activity, but quickly proved to be of limited usefulness at night in the greater outdoors. I was disappointed with beams that were either too weak, not wide enough, or had dark spots and shadows. They didn't deliver a truly well-lit area ahead.

The Saint Minimus is everything the others aren't. I had no idea a headlamp would give me the feeling of having super-powers: a flawless, pure shaft of light streaming from my head. Believe me, the Minimus does. And even better, it has a variable light output dial which takes you from the 0-100 lumens, Surefire's measurement of light power.

Even at a low setting, the beam of light impressed my friends at our remote northern Wisconsin campsite last summer. Hey, nice light, they all agreed. Then, with a simple two-fingered twist of the dial, my super powers kicked in and a chorus of WHOA! echoed up over the brightly lit treetops, now bathed in 100 lumens.

Surefire quality sets the bar high. You'd have to figure something this good costs more. But there are situations in which this caliber headlamp could be not only handy, but crucial, and quite possibly life-saving. Comfortable to wear, lightweight, and incredibly rugged: the super-fine Surefire Saint Minimus makes a memorable gift or, just maybe, something to keep all for your super-hero self.

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Walking with a Porcupine

Author's note: I'm re-posting a favorite story from June, 2012. Hope you enjoy!  ~Nina

Earlier this summer, I was visiting Toft Point Natural Area, near Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin. Enjoying the brilliant early June day, I hiked just off Lake Michigan's shoreline on a wooded trail well-padded with many years' worth of of pine needles.  At times, the trees along the trail opened up, inviting me to the water's edge; then I'd retreat back to the cool, green shade. 267


Making my way toward land's end, I moved silently along the trail, my footsteps almost completely muffled by the soft path beneath.


I stopped and raised my binoculars to look at a Bald Eagle perched on a high branch on the tip of Toft's Point. After a couple minutes straining to locate its nest, I lowered my binoculars, and there it was. The porcupine stood not 10 feet ahead on the trail in front of me. Apparently, I was using its trail. And it was as surprised as I was.


Okay, I admit, the second my brain registered P-O-R-C-U-P-I-N-E, I gave an involuntary whoop, did a quick sidestep, and turned and ran few yards back down the trail. Then I turned to see the spiky animal, unimpressed by my quirky dance, obligingly move off and give this temperamental tourist the right-of-way. Nice.


Yes, it gave me the well-worn path to use, while it picked through brush and over fallen limbs. I was now headed back the same direction, and I kept pace with the porcupine, who seemed to have very little use for me. It steadily continued on its way, despite the inconvenience of the detour.



Goodbye, friend Porcupine. Thanks for sharing your road, and your beautiful corner of the planet.


Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Monday, June 8, 2015

See You on the Road This Fall!

We know all of you can't come to visit the Eagle Optics store in Middleton, Wisconsin. Therefore, we make an effort (quite a large effort) to hit the road and bring binoculars, scopes, and tripods to YOU several times a year!

That's right--for many years, Eagle Optics has had a vendor presence at birding festivals around the country. It's a time for our staff to talk with shoppers face-to-face, answer their optics questions, and provide an opportunity for folks to try before they buy. Here's what we have coming up for fall, 2015:

Midwest Birding Symposium Sept. 10-13, 2015, Bay City, Michigan
It may seem corny, but it sure is true. “Birds of a feather flock together,” and the Midwest Birding Symposium fits the description perfectly when it comes to gathering hundreds of friendly bird lovers. Situated along the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron, the culturally and historically rich Bay City, Michigan serves as home base for the MBS from September 10th-13th.
A love of birds brings a great community together and while birding hotspots will be explored, the MBS also fosters an environment of sharing experiences, ideas, and love of birding with morning field trips, afternoon workshops, and evening presentations. You are certain to enjoy learning about the historical perspective of birding from John James Audubon, as portrayed by Brian “Fox” Ellis. For registration information, click here.

Whooping Crane Festival
Sept. 10-13, 2015, Princeton, Wisconsin

 Absolutely remarkable best describes the vital work and growing success of Operation Migration as they tirelessly lead efforts to reintroduce endangered Whooping Cranes to eastern North America. The Whooping Crane Festival offers opportunities to view the Whooping Crane Class of 2015 in training sessions for migration. Festival activities occur at different locations around Green Lake, including Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and White River Marsh.
Seminars and fun social events also fill the schedule, with a kick-off dinner featuring the award-winning author, naturalist, and photographer, Stan Tiekla, whose after-dinner talk will cover Uncommon Facts About Common Birds. Starting at 8am, Eagle Optics will be on location all day at the Princeton School on Saturday, September 12th to answer your optics questions and offer professional advice on the best binocular or spotting scope for your activities.

HummerBird Celebration 
Sept.17-20, 2015, Rockport, Texas

Hosted by the Texas towns of Rockport and Fulton, the HummerBird Celebration not only offers plentiful viewing of Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, but possible sightings of the less common Rufous, Black-chinned, Buff-bellied, and Allen's Hummingbirds are likely. Visits to the festival Hummer Homes are available by bus or self-guided tours. You will learn valuable identification tips and watch professionals demonstrate hummingbird banding.

In addition to seeing hummingbirds, this event offers exciting birding and nature viewing. Field trips will take you to areas with plentiful coastal birding and raptor viewing. Visit a local ranch and see a variety of species from a hayride through diverse habitats. Butterfly enthusiasts will delight in the Butterfly Lady at the Flutterby Butterfly Exhibit and guided butterfly walks. Save some time and energy to visit the Hummer/Bird vendor exhibits for nature-related products.


American Birding Expo 
Oct. 2-4, Columbus, Ohio
In its inaugural year, this exciting FREE event, patterned after the famous British Birdfair, is being managed by the good folks at Bird Watcher's Digest, According to the ABE website, "Our goal is to produce an event that is commercial/sales-oriented in its design, aimed at consumers who have an interest in birds and nature, and who share our strong commitment to conservation. We have designed the Expo to emulate the same spirit and sense of community created by the wonderfully successful British Birdwatching Fair."  Eagle Optics will be on hand with specialists from all the major sport optics companies at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.  The 2015 American Birding Expo features vendors offering optics, bird feeders and food, outdoor gear, birding destinations, tours, books, apps and media, clothing, festivals and events, photography equipment, clubs and organizations, bird houses and baths, gift items, and artwork.Though this is a free event, do pre-register so you can be entered in the VIP Raffle Drawing.

Festival of the Cranes  Nov. 17-22, New Mexico

An incredible spectacle of nature takes place every November at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Festival goers congregate twice a day to marvel at the thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese flying out at dawn and returning at dusk. Between the deafening vocalizations of the cranes and geese during takeoff and arrival, festival participants can take advantage of a wide array of tours, lectures, and exhibits. Of special interest are the tours to areas of the refuge not normally available to the public. Photographers can devote themselves to a three-day workshop where they engage in a multitude of training through classroom presentations and plentiful amounts of individual assistance in the field. There is plenty to appreciate when visiting this 57,191-acre refuge that straddles the Rio Grande. Be sure you make the Festival of the Cranes a priority this year or in the future. It is a premier event you won't want to miss.

Want more? The American Birding Association (ABA) website has a great online resource: the Birding and Nature Festivals Directory. Its searchable index allows you to find a festival by date, location, or by keyword. Click here to check it out, and find birding and nature festivals in the U.S., Canada, and beyond!

Hope to see many of you at one of these fabulous events this fall! Click here for a complete list of festivals EO attends throughout the year. If you're attending one of these events and want to try a specific binocular or scope that we carry, let us know at least 2 weeks in advance so we can bring it for you. And as always, if you're passing through southern Wisconsin, stop in the store in Middleton. We'd love to meet you!

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Goose on top of the Barn

Less than a mile from my home is a towering chimney rock formation called Donald Rock, named for a family who first settled in the area nearly 200 years ago.  I remember there being a wayside on the road below the rock in the 1960's where visitors could park and admire or climb the rock. Local teenagers found Donald Rock to be a delightful place to skip school, scramble up, and hang out. This sort of activity, along with liability issues, eventually forced the removal of the wayside. Over the years, I'd still see an occasional climber or turkey vulture up there, but the rock slowly became obscured by trees--as seen in the photo below, taken during peak color a few fall seasons ago.

In early spring of this year, volunteers from nearby Donald Park began to clear the trees and invasive shrubs, restoring the view of Donald Rock. It's wonderful to see the majestic rock so well once again--it's always been one of the special points of interest of my rural neighborhood.


Since I drive by on a daily basis, my eye is naturally drawn to the newness of the scene. That's when I started to notice a Canada Goose with a penchant for a barn-top view. You can see the goose in the photos above and below.


I've never seen a goose stand on top of a barn before. It was funny to me, and it made driving by even more interesting. On some days the goose was standing on the top of the rock.

A few weeks ago, I drove by on a Tuesday morning while the Donald Park volunteers were at work. It was a busy scene of several (mostly retired) men chopping, hauling brush, and stacking wood. And there was the goose, on top of the rock, intently watching the activity below. I wondered if the workers noticed the goose.

I found my answer the following Tuesday. On that morning, the men had stopped working and were watching with curiosity not one, but two geese dramatically defending the top of the rock from a pair of turkey vultures who had tried to land there. Were the geese defending a nest, I wondered?  It didn't seem like a likely nest site for geese.  In the photo below, the geese stand guard from both vantage points.

After that day, I rarely saw the geese on the top of Donald Rock, but more often on a lower perch, as you can see, if you look closely, in the photos below (you can click on any photo to enlarge it). The trees are beginning to leaf out nicely.

Now it's now almost June, Donald Rock is surrounded by summer greenery, and the volunteer work is done. I always look, but sadly, I don't see geese there at all any more. Still, in my mind, questions remain. Did the geese really build a nest way up there? Were turkey vultures raiding the nest on the summit that day? And if so, did the geese leave to find a better place to raise a second brood? 

I guess I'll never know for sure. What I do know is this: I'm going to miss seeing a goose on top of that barn.   

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.