Ambassadors answer: Stephen Menzie

As part of our 175th anniversary we also interviewed some of our ambassadors. Stephen Menzie, Editor of British Birds, a member of the British Birds Rarities Committee and Manager at Falsterbo Bird Observatory in Sweden, is one of them:

What does ZEISS mean to you?

ZEISS, for me, means reliability, quality, and performance. Birding for me is a profession as well as a hobby, and I need the very best optics I can get. They need to be sharp, they need to be bright in low light, and they need to be durable. ZEISS offers all of this.
How do our products support the daily work in the Falsterbo Bird Observatory?

Falsterbo is all about migration – millions of birds pass in a single autumn. The problem is, they rarely hang around. First looks therefore mean a lot – miss your chance to get a good view of a bird as it passes and there likely won’t be a second chance. Having high-performing optics that give a sharp, clear image on first focus is essential. The ZEISS Victory SFs allow our staff to get the most out of the often-brief observation of every interesting bird that passes, and gives them the perfect tools for performing the weekly bird counts – which need to be carried out in all weathers, sun or rain. For a ringer or migration counter at Falsterbo, a full autumn at the observatory means over a thousand hours in the field. Our team’s Victory SFs are a constant companion right through the season.
What is your favourite product and why?

It’s a tough choice! I really love to view close-up details (moult patterns, wing formulas, etc), and my Harpia 95 with the zoom cranked up to 70x gives me clarity like I’ve never experienced at such high magnification before; but it’s my Victor SF 10x42s that are always with me – from being around my neck during a morning of work at Falsterbo, to sitting on the desk next to me during the five days a week editing British Birds. After all, you never know what could be seen from the office window!

Where is your favourite birding location?

Falsterbo, of course! I have been lucky enough to visit many places in my life – and to see many fantastic birds surrounded by spectacular scenery – but nothing can beat the sight (and sound) of half a million Chaffinches pouring southwards across the Öresund on an overcast day in October. Despite being one of the commonest birds in northern Europe, and a species that I frequently see in small numbers most days, this mass movement causes you to look at them in a different perspective. Depending on the time of year, there can be plenty of other mass movements of birds at Falsterbo – from Starlings and Swifts in late summer, to Tree Pipits and Yellow Wagtails in early autumn. Migration at Falsterbo is evident all year round and, even in the depths of winter, dozens of Mute Swans and other wildfowl can be seen passing by the peninsular. There’s always something going on there.

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