Nikon Coolpix P600 – My point and shoot camera of choice. Super lightweight with 60x zoom, it’s perfect for capturing birds. It’s the camera for birders who want to take pictures (not photographers who want to take bird photos). Since it’s so much lighter than carrying around huge zoom lens so you don’t have the extra weight while going birding.
Nikon Coolpix P610 – Nikon has introduced a newer version of the P600. It’s pretty similar, but it has a Near Field Communication (NFC), Built-in GPS, and Points of Interest (POI). So, if you need the latest thing, this is the most recent model!
Peak Design Slide Camera Shoulder Strap – This is an amazing camera strap. I bought this while they were doing their Kickstarter. It’s so much more comfortable than the strap that goes along with the stock camera. It’s super fast to detach the camera because of their fancy clips. It’s also long enough that it can fit over your shoulder like a long purse so the weight of the camera isn’t on your neck. Huzzah! Take that, neck pain!
Eagle Optics Ranger 10×42 Binocular – If you are looking to bump up from your $25 binoculars, this is a great medium priced set. They are pretty lightweight, easy to grip, easy to clean, and have a great picture. You can pop up the eye pieces if you don’t have glasses and down if you do. I’ve never gotten that weird black ring around your vision when I look through these binoculars. Although the specific version of my Ranger Binoculars aren’t manufactured anymore (8×42), my father has this 10×42 set and it’s equally great. I can’t say enough about how awesome these binoculars are.
Binocular Harness Strap – Ok, so I know what you’re thinking, “Uh, but I would look like a dork.” True. But anything beats the neck pain after hours of birding using the standard strap that comes with your binoculars. Binocular harnesses were invented by a genius. It distributes the weight to your shoulders and back instead of your neck (similar to a hiking backpack). It hardly feels like you’re carrying binoculars at all. The straps are adjustable so even if you’re well-endowed it can fit. You just need to make sure that the back plate rests between your shoulder blades. The brand I have is Eagle Optics, but it honestly doesn’t seem to matter. You just need a harness. I never bird without it. Best $20 spent birding.
Swarovski Spotting Scope HD ATS-65 – Ok, so I don’t personally own one of these, but I have used this scope and it’s amazing! If I had the money to spend, this is what I would pick, hands down. It’s shocking how crisp the image is and how lightweight the scope is… proving that you get what you pay for!