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    • Showroom Consultation

      During the Coronavirus restrictions, the showroom will operate under COVID Secure protocols to protect customers & staff. The Showroom is COVID-SECURE We will continue to offer mail/online ordering and secure Click & Collect services in line with all government guidelines whilst observing strict hygiene and social distancing protocols for the safety of customers, staff, and logistics partners throughout the whole order/delivery chain. We are contactable by E-mail, Phone, Website Chat, or Video Call for your convenience. Important! Customers are advised to make an appointment to view, test, discuss, purchase equipment, or to drop off & collect repairs or to pick up Click & Collect orders placed online or over the phone etc, whilst COVID-19 Secure protocols are in place. Simply click "Request To Book" and then select a date and time that works for you. Please ensure you allow enough time to conclude your business. For booking purposes, time is allocated on an hourly basis with a 30-minute showroom/equipment sanitization window between consultations! if you believe your visit will require longer than 1 hour simply select the next available slot (additional booking) to ensure you have ample time. Please indicate what the purpose of your visit will be when booking, (Ie "I would like to test Swarovski EL Binoculars") as this will enable our team members to prepare for your visit. If you would like to book over the phone simply call the Showroom on 01925 730399 during showroom hours (Mon-Sat 10 am to 5 pm) We will require your Name, Number, and an email address so please have these available. NB: Please note we have extended our showroom hours including now Sundays subject to staff availability to offer customers more opportunities to visit as social distancing rules have reduced showroom customer capacity. IMPORTANT...Please try to book as far in advance as possible to ensure maximum availability. On arrival at the Showroom please ring the bell at the entrance and then wait behind the sign 2 meters from the entrance. A member of staff will then attend and let you in, Please Do Not Enter until a member of staff attends. We look forward to welcoming you to the showroom. Stay Safe. #teamfocalpoint Protocol details can be found here shortly https://www.focalpointopticsltd.com/CORONASAFE

    • Bird Mad

      All things birds & Photography

    • Astronomy for Beginners

      An open and friendly format with experts on astronomy with Q & A's

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    Blog Posts (101)
    • Gene Genie

      I remember, when I were a lad in Yorkshire, when identifying birds was a matter of looking them up in my Observers Book of British Birds and writing down exactly what I had seen. That is no more!!! We are now in the realms of DNA analysis to determine what species we have seen, DNA probably standing for we Don’t kNow Anything without getting a sample of poo or a feather and sending it to a lab for examination, how did our hobby get so complicated?! This is very pertinent to my birding this October because by sheer coincidence the last 3 species that I have travelled to see have all been contentious bird IDs which birders have argued over and many have said cannot be resolved without DNA analysis. The first of these was a flycatcher seen in Trow Quarry, Durham which from photographs resembled the rare Taiga Flycatcher rather than its close cousin Red-breasted Flycatcher. The former species has only been seen 3 times before in the UK (and proven!) so it would be pretty mega if it was one. Weighing up the evidence I decided to travel for this ‘Lifer’ hoping that it was the rarer of the two very similar species. I headed up to the NE from Cheshire, setting off in the dark and arriving very early morning to find a good dozen or so folk already there and the bird showing well. The flycatcher was watched actively feeding along the base of the ‘cliff face’ in the open quarry and observers were split as to its true identity. The tail pattern looked good for Taiga but in some lights the bird looked too warm-plumaged to fit that species well. I felt pretty happy that I wasn’t watching a ‘bog standard’ Red-breasted Fly, both in plumage and behaviour but would I have to wait for DNA analysis as some had suggested. Luckily the two species can be confidently separated by call and the day i was there a recording of call was made. Subsequent analysis and sonograms proved beyond doubt that the bird WAS a Taiga Flycatcher – success and a Life Tick for me! All without the dreaded wait for poo analysis!! A week or so later another rarity appeared not too far away from Cheshire and I fancied a trip to see it and a day out. This time the bird was a shrike and the confusion was between Brown Shrike or Turkestan Shrike, two species that I had previously seen so the ID was not as crucial for me on this one. I headed over to South Kirkby in West Yorkshire and walked onto Johnny Brown’s Common to the bird’s favoured field. Two groups of birders were watching so aware of the need to social distance I joined the smaller group of 5 birders which dwindled to 2 soon afterwards as the others that had seen the bird well decided to leave. We watched as the bird feed on insects and perched up on dead umbellifers at the field margin. Again in different lights the bird looked to fit either species description, no wonder this had been voted as a candidate for DNA analysis. After a long session of scoping the bird and grabbing several record shots I am firmly in the Brown Shrike camp, as were my fellow birders in the group I was in. Much discussion online is wavering towards Brown Shrike as the ID too but with no poo sample collected it will be up to the British Birds Rarity Committee to make the final decision. As it is only a Year Tick for me I can chill on this particular one, but it will be important for others, so we will see!! Then another good bird turns up, and, guess what, the ID is another contentious one! This time I was up early and heading in the dark across the Pennines once again, this time to South Gare near Redcar in Cleveland. Arriving not long after dawn only one birder was present looking over the bird’s favoured reedbed - it is useful that these birds stick to specific areas! I was soon scoping my quarry – an ‘Eastern’ Stonechat species. The difficulty here is that there are two very similar species, namely Siberian Stonechat and Stejneger’s Stonechat. Only the latter would be a lifer, in fact a proven Siberian Stonechat had been close to my home in Cheshire at the turn of 2019 and 2020. That bird had had a poo sample collected and ID was proven by DNA analysis albeit after a number of us had come down very heavily on the ID being Siberian, which it was finally proven to be. Opinion on the Cleveland bird was strongly weighted towards Stejneger’s so I had taken a risk in travelling to see it for another Life Tick. Over the next hour I watched the bird and took note of all of the plumage characteristic and joined the majority in plumping for ID as Stejneger’s Stonechat. The bird had dark upper plumage, a warm apricot flush to the breast but with the central breast paler, a pale throat, a defined supercilium, a well defined black tail with a uniformly rich apricot uppertail and rump, and black axillaries seen in flight. I was informed that a poo sample has already been sent off for this bird so ID will be clinched soon. I am confident another Life Tick is on its way! To make the most of the day I did a bit more birding adding a stunning male Firecrest to the day list as well as a long seawatch which saw Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Gannet, Kittiwake, Eider and Guillemot go into the notebook. On the shore a lone Bar-tailed Godwit was nice to see with Dunlin and Oystercatchers as well as a Rock Pipit. But the biggest highlight of the day, the month, the whole of 2020 and beyond was not a bird species! A group of large gulls were mobbing something in the water below them about half a mile offshore. As I swung my scope round and focused I had to zoom in for clarification, but there was a dark reptilian head protruding from the sea’s surface with a ridged dark back behind it. I was looking at a TURTLE!!!!! I watched in disbelief as it slowly drifted along, gulls in tow and then slowly, smoothly sank away under the surface. Despite watching for another 20 minutes there was no further sign. As Turtles dive deep and for long periods this was expected but you live in hope! Not being well up on turtle ID, having never seen one nor expected to, I suspected it to be a Leatherback Turtle but need to look up ID o be sure. All other plans for the day were shelved as I wanted to get home and research my find. Locals were found and told, a call was made to my pal Chris at Rare Bird Alert and then I headed off home. All my research backs up my first thoughts, it was a Leatherback Turtle, it looked very big and dark and some of the pictures on the web could have been taken of my specimen they look so spot on! At last something Mega that I could ID without a poo sample – lucky that one, as I wasn’t about to swim half a mile out in the freezing North Sea for anything!! So one definite Lifer in the bag, one more almost certain, pending DNA analysis, and a Year Tick whichever way the shrike ID goes But the biggest bonus was a once in a lifetime find of a Leatherback Turtle in British Waters, it is great how anything can happen in this fabulous hobby of ours!!

    • Pretty in Pink - a Hoopoe Photo-Blog

      This is a little bit different from my usual blogs and trip reports cos it’s a Photo-Blog!! On my latest trip out to see a special bird I got so many decent photos that I couldn’t choose between them – so here’s a few for your perusal!! But first the story behind the bird! At the end of last week, with the forecast set fair I decided on a day out and my destination was chosen by the presence of a scarce and very photogenic bird over in Yorkshire. I set off across the M62 and up the M1 to Collingham, a pretty village near Wetherby which hosts the Half Moon Public House which is where Oliver Cromwell is said to have spent the night after the Battle of Marston Moor!! My luck was in since as soon as I turned into my destination road a lady directed me down a side cutting straight to the bird! On arrival at the area she had sent me to I was watching a beautiful Hoopoe, feeding frantically on the local cricket pitch, probing for and finding grubs and worms aplenty. A gathering of up to 30 birders were socially distanced and very well behaved, staying far back and not pushing the bird at all. The cricket club groundsman went about his business and walked within 10m of the bird without it being bothered, so at that point I organised a move forward of any birders and photographers who wished, up to the boundary edge about 20m from the bird. As expected the Hoopoe wasn’t at all bothered and we all got much better pictures by being that little bit closer. The bird even moved towards us at times, more bothered about feeding than any humans present! I took picture after picture, drained one camera battery and eventually filled my sd card, time to go methinks!! I said farewell to the few folk near me and headed off, a good bird under my belt and a shed-load of pictures to sort through. Although once I opened them on my pc it was obvious that it had been time well spent, my best ever pictures of a Hoopoe and a great day out in the sunshine in my native Yorkshire! As promised here’s a mass of piccies of this gorgeous bird, hope you enjoy !!

    • Digiscoping Dotterel

      With a fair forecast and a free Saturday what to do? Head out birding of course!! And where better than the beautiful Great Orme in North Wales, only a short journey from home in Cheshire. I duly arrived at a ‘not too busy’ car park at the Limestone Pavement, my destination due to the news of a special bird being seen here the day before. As I got out of my car a quick look around revealed a couple of photographers up on the skyline to my left. The fact that they were training their long lenses on something pretty close to them convinced me that that was the direction I must go. So up I headed through the gorse and up onto the higher pavement area. On arrival I glanced across the sward and movement caught my eye and there was a bird, upright and with spangled golden plumage, a beautiful Golden Plover. But lovely as this was it wasn’t the bird that I’d especially come to see. A quick scan of the ridge revealed a second bird, similar in shape and jizz but this time it was my quarry – a juvenile Dotterel. This bird had probably hatched from an egg on the mountain plateaus of Scotland and was migrating south to its winter quarters in North Africa. Dotterels stop at traditional feeding stops en route and the Great Orme is known as one of these sites. In Spring the brightly plumaged adults will travel northwards and maybe stay for just a day, feeding before the urge to continue to breed takes over and then they’re gone. However in Autumn the return journey isn’t so urgent so birds will linger a little longer allowing then to take on more fuel for their migration south. My hunch that the bird would still be present a day after it was first found had paid off and I had ‘connected’ as they say in birding circles. Sitting down I set up my scope and digiscoping equipment and waited. Dotterels are known to be inquisitive birds and will approach closely to see what you are and what you are up to! This bird didn’t disappoint, up it came investigating the clicking of my camera. This allowed for real frame-filling shots, especially as I was digiscoping and by default had a high magnification for the photos. At times the Dotterel was too close to get the whole bird in shot, but the pictures would be all the better for the fine detail they would show with it being so close. After a while, with just two of us sitting watching and photographing I decided to call it a day and left the other photographer alone with the bird. Before leaving the Great Orme I decided to have a quick sea-watch as I was high up and the sea was out there, something we don’t have in the middle of Cheshire!! Bird-wise it was relatively quiet with just half a dozen Gannets gliding past and a Sandwich Tern being the best of the sightings. A dozen or so Kittiwakes passed by far offshore whilst 4 Guillemots fluttered their way past a lot closer in. The commoner birds such as Cormorants and Herring Gulls were out there too but that was all and given what I had seen in about 30 minutes scanning I decided to give up and head home. It is always nice when you see the bird that you have travelled for and even better when the photos turn out so well. So this was a very successful trip, North Wales rarely disappoints and it is so nice to have this area on our doorstep and so accessible.

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    • Birdwatching | Optics | Focalpoint Optics Ltd

      CONTACT VISIT US Our Showroom Sevenoaks Saw Mill, Antrobus, Cheshire, CW9 6JB focalpoint@dial.pipex.com Tel: 01925 730399 Opening Hours View Map Mon - Fri: 9am - 8pm ​​Saturday: 9am - 8pm ​Sunday: 10am - 6pm By Appointment Only! Why not send us a message? Send

    • Birdwatching | Focalpoint Optics Ltd | Northwich, Cheshire

      See More, Save More Focalpoint Rewards! (Members Only! Free to Join) Pinterest Book Showroom Appointment Discover Bird News Bird League Bird Map : : : Binoculars Spotting Scopes Astro Scopes Accessories Country Innovation Specialist We carry a range of Country Innovation Clothing from stock. Swarovski CL Companion Nomad Beautifully Elegant and Optically Perfect! (C) Focalpoint Optics Ltd 1/43 Check out our range of telescopes Shop Telescopes Video Find your perfect binoculars with our binoculars buying guide Need Help With Your Next Purchase? Contact Us Helping in the community We work with a range of charities making donations and participating in events to help the local and far reach community. Find out how you can help We want all of our customers to help us with the preservation of wildlife and prevention of their habitats being destroyed. Find out how you can help. Our Latest Arrivals Pre-loved Quick View Pre Loved Kowa 8x42 BDII XD (boxed like new) Price £370.00 Out of Stock Pre-loved Quick View Pre Loved Zeiss Victory 10x42 SF Boxed as new Price £1,629.00 Add to Cart Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 (Boxed like new) Price £1,599.00 Out of Stock Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Leica APO 77 Straight telescope with 32x Wide eyepiece (Good condition Price £649.00 Add to Cart Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Swarovski 10x50 SLC Price £699.00 Add to Cart Pre-loved Quick View Pre Loved Kowa 8x42 BDII XD (boxed like new) Price £370.00 Out of Stock Pre-loved Quick View Pre Loved Zeiss Victory 10x42 SF Boxed as new Price £1,629.00 Add to Cart Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 (Boxed like new) Price £1,599.00 Out of Stock Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Leica APO 77 Straight telescope with 32x Wide eyepiece (Good condition Price £649.00 Add to Cart Pre-loved Quick View Pre-Loved Swarovski 10x50 SLC Price £699.00 Add to Cart Shop All FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @focalpointopticsltd

    • About | Focalpoint Optics Ltd | Northwich, Cheshire

      In Loving Memory of Enid Murphy 14th July 1947 - 1st July 2018 In Loving Memory of Tony Murphy 15th December 1948 - 25th December 2018 OUR STORY We are Focalpoint Optics Ltd, a family run & owned business since 1982. . Based in the beautiful Cheshire countryside. With over 30 years of optics experience you can be sure the advice we give is second to none ​ Image taken by staff locally. (c) ​ ​ Giving Back We strive for a better, cleaner environment for nature & wildlife. We work alongside charities and local groups to help provide for nature and our environment. We believe in doing our part and like to recycle whenever possible and our showroom embraces this ethos with recycled/upcycled displays and fittings being used whenever possible.

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    Forum Posts (20)
    • Bird Food review by @Andy Dutton

      FeldyFare Bird Food Products When I called into Focalpoint recently I was intrigued by their new bird food products by Feldy especially the Golden Food Balls, they looked so much more appetising than my usual budget store bargain bucket fat balls so I decided to give them a try along with some mixed seed and sunflower hearts. I liked the look of them so time to see if my birds agreed with my first impressions. I decided as a test to mix some of the Golden Food Balls with my usual fat balls and straight away noticed the difference in consistency, rather than the usual grey solid bland look of my normal brand the Feldy balls were packed with seed and looked much more enticing to my eye. Once I filled my feeder with the mix of old and new I left it to the birds to decide, almost immediately I noticed the Blue Tits went straight to the new Feldy Food Balls and totally ignored my usual brand they seemed to be able to access the goodness from the ball much more easily from the Feldy balls and required much less effort to do so, in contrast my old brand always seemed to take a lot of effort to break into with very little reward besides fat, and the birds never seemed to spend much time feeding at the old ones. The other thing I noticed quite quickly was that our House Sparrows spent time feeding on the new food balls where as they hardly ever fed at the old fat balls. A few days later it was noticeable how much the new Feldy Food Balls had been eaten whereas my usual brand remained untouched, so I think my birds have certainly shown a preference. The Mixed Seed and Sunflower Hearts I also came home with seemed to be another great success, we are a small urban garden in a built up area on a new estate and with very few surrounding gardens with feeders, our bird flocks have taken a while to establish but we now have a regular flock of 20-25 House Sparrows, several Blue Tits and a few Goldfinch and they all seemed to enjoy the Sunflower Hearts and Mixed Seed so much so that after only one day I had to re-fill a couple of the feeders which is much quicker than I normally re-fill. The quality of the Mixed Seed and Sunflower Hearts was very good, it looked very clean, plenty of variety and with much less husk and chaff than I usually get with my usual budget mixed seed brand. So thanks to Focalpoint and Feldy Bird Foods my birds are now happy and well-nourished and we can spend more time watching our birds at the feeders. images Taken with Opticron MM4 60 Telescope @opticron Birdfood to your door is available via the Focalpoint App

    • Rodley Nature Reserve

      Just finished a visit to the reserve and I can understand why it won Countyfile Reserve of the year in 2018..as a newcomer to the birding world this place is a godsend as it’s only 7 miles from home...there is so much variety in a relatively small area just a snap shot of what I observed in my visit, Little Grebe, Great crested grebe, Kingfisher, Black headed gull, Swan, Mallard, Canada geese, Coot, Common gull, Herring gull, Gadwell, Sandmartin, Reed warbler, Moorhen, Egret...a visit to the cafe in the visitor centre for tea and cake is a must...Well worth a day out. PS...note to oneself..pay a visit to the opticsgirl and purchase a scope!!!!!!!😊

    • The little bag that punches above it's weight

      There are occasions (not many) when I don't need my large Tamrac Expedition camera bag, so when Yvonne showed my the new Wandrd PRVKE backpack I was intrigued. When Yvonne invited me to try the 31 Litre version I was happy to oblige. The version I tried included the Camera Cube, Accessory Straps and the Waist Strap. Wandrd also do a smaller 21 Litre backpack. The bag is well made from Waterproof Tarpaulin and Ballistic Nylon, with weather resistant zips to the various pockets and compartments. There are two main compartments to the bag. The lower compartment takes the Camera Cube, the upper compartment can be used for a jumper, waterproof, lunch and other items you may need. It will take a 100-400mm lens if wanted. It also expandable so can carry quite a lot of peripheral equipment or a fleece. The Camera Cube has Velcro fitted divided that can be arranged in a variety of configurations to hold a camera with a lens attached and extra lens. I fitted my Canon 5D IV with the 17-40mm f/4 attached; Canon 100mm f/2.8 and Sigma 50mm f/2.8, extension tubes, filter pouch and a Canon 480 Speedlite, although it was a tight fit. To allow the camera cube to zip closed, it was necessary to remove the battery pack from the base of the camera. The lower compartment has a side access panel to make it easy to get at your camera and lens. The flap for this has a compartment in which you can keep spare batteries and SD / CF Cards. The bag is packed with lot's of little features - A side pocket can be used for either a drink, or small tripod. Several lugs on the bag take the accessory straps which can be fixed to carry, say, a tripod or small seat (such as a Walk-stool). A smaller side pocket on the opposite side has a small clip, so presents an ideal place for your keys - how much time do you spend after a day out fumbling in your rucksack for the car and house keys? No need for that with the Wandrd. Undo the zip at the base of the Wandrd and inside you'll find a pull-out rain cover to go over the bag. On the rear panel of the Wandrd there is "secret" packet for valuables, as whilst the bag is on your back no-one an get at it. A great place for your passport and wallet, or even a mobile phone. There is room for a small laptop and / or a tablet in the main front flap. I felt it was a bit to small for my 15.5inch laptop, but it will also hold a field guide or a note book. The shoulder straps are expandable and a chest strap comes as standard, with a detachable waist strap also included. The bag was comfortable on the back when loaded and carried for a couple of hours and is suitable to use as carry on luggage for flights (although you may be over the weight limit!). Whilst I was very impressed with this bag, it is probably not for me. I prefer to keep the battery pack on my camera (I find it balances better) and couldn't get everything in the camera cube that I would normally take with me, for example it was difficult to fit the Ring Flash in the cube for macro-photography. For anyone who wants a day-pack for landscape photography, or to use as a flight bag with a reduced camera gear then this bag ticks lots of boxes, with plenty of room for extras such as waterproofs and fleece, lunch box and drink. To find out more about the new Wandrd range, stocked at Focalpoint, check out the videos on their blog. Better still call in at FocalPoint and see for yourself.

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Sevenoaks Saw Mill,

Northwich Road, Antrobus,

Cheshire. CW9 6JB

01925 730399





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