As a birder part of your kit is a good pair of binoculars and a decent spotting scope. I recently upgraded my optics by making a decent investment in Swarovski glass, and so far there are no regrets. A lot of my birding these days is done on estuaries where finding and identifying a bird comes before stalking and photographing it – and good optics help. In the photo below I am sporting my new kit at the Manawatu River estuary. The binoculars are EL 10 x 42, and the scope an ATX / STX with 85mm objective lens, and magnification of 25 – 60. I sometimes take photos on my phone using the spotting scope, and the photos are great for identification.