Scott Staats

Scott Staats

As a birder, it’s crucial to have to right optics or you might miss that rare sighting. On a recent birding trip to Texas I took only one pair of binoculars – Alpen’s Wings ED 10x42. These are the best pair of binoculars I’ve ever owned and helped me add 30 birds to my life list. The Wings are bright and clear, and comparable to optics twice the price.

Spotting scopes are also an essential part of any birder’s gear. My choice is Alpen’s Model 788. I've set this 20-60x80 scope side by side with others three times the price and found little difference in quality. It’s great for those long-distance sightings such as waterfowl.

While out birding, I found a new hobby - watching butterflies. And Alpen has the perfect pair of binoculars that can focus to within four feet for easy ID of butterflies. Their Model 492 Super Close Focus binoculars (8x32) are the right tool for the right hobby. Few companies make binoculars that can focus this close.

Scott is a full-time outdoor writer/photographer living in Prineville, Oregon. He has won national awards for his work. His life list of birds is up to about 350 species. He enjoys traveling and writing about his experiences. He’s even hiked the entire 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.