January 10, 2016

Pipits at the Lakeshore

On this cool winter day, as I was walking along the shore of Cayuga Lake, I flushed several American Pipits, little brown birds whose color blends very well with the shingle beach. These relatively rare visitors from the north flew a short distance up the beach and disappeared amid the rocks, where it was a struggle to locate them with binoculars. One big source of frustration is even knowing whether the birds are there; they could easily have taken off unnoticed.

But they could not hide from my Therm-App. Here's a visual and infrared view of the section of beach where I thought the birds might have landed.

While I'd guessed that there might have been about three birds, the Therm-App showed me that there were, in fact, seven birds foraging on the beach in loose association. With some patience I was able to get this close-up of one of them.

And here's a photo of four birds in the same frame, this after my slow approach encouraged them to gather closer to each other.

The flock eventually took to the sky, during which I was able to confirm a count of seven individuals.

Not far from that beach at Salt Point, I came across a nestbox that was showing some warmth:

A closeup photo shows some fur.

Looks like a squirrel has found itself a nice home for the winter.


  1. Hi Suan Yong, thank you very much for this blog and the excellent information on thermal applications for birding. Please could you let me know if you have tried the Pulsar monoculars for birding? At the same resolution as the therm-app would they have any advantages over the therm-app?

    1. No I have no experience with Pulsar monoculars, so can't speak to the quality of its thermal imaging. For birding purposes I would not want to be staring through monoculars all the time to find something, so a setup like mine -- using Therm-App on a small tablet -- seems preferable, and even then, I don't want to be staring at the screen all the time as I walk around. I imagine the monoculars would be more useful for a hunter who, once a quarry is detected, wants to hone in on its precise location far away.