My Nikon Monarch 8×42 binoculars have served me well for the past six years, since my grandfather gave them to me when I first started birding. I’ve seen more than 300 species through them, and they’ve traveled with me to the Caribbean, New York City, Ontario, and recently to Europe — I’m still finding sand in crevices from my adventures at Long Point in 2012 and 2013.
However, one of the eye-cups broke recently and both of the objective lens covers broke off a long time ago, and I realized while in Europe looking at unfamiliar species that I could do with better optics. Last month, I started researching new binoculars, since I was ready for an upgrade.
I wanted a pair with similar specifications and that would last me a long time. After some research and because I already have a soft spot for Swarovski optics (my spotting scope is a Swarovski ATM 80), I made my decision. Because I live far from any stores to test binoculars, I had to go with previous experience, what I’ve seen other birders use, and what I’ve read about.
With the help of my mother (to use her credit card), we ordered a pair of Swarovski EL 8.5×42’s from the Pelee Wings Nature Store in Leamington, Ontario. Pelee Wings is an excellent store with wonderful service and very fast shipping. They have a vast selection of optics for birding and guarantee that they will meet or beat any lower price on binoculars or scopes in Canada.
My new binoculars arrived this past Wednesday and they’re wonderful! They came with a carrying case and strap, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and some Swarovski stickers. They’re a little heavier than my old binoculars, but that’s not much of a problem and a small price to pay for the improved optics. So far I’m very impressed and can’t wait to see what birds these new binoculars will help me find.