After long hours of squinting through 8-power binoculars, of struggling to make out identification marks from 100 metres away, of following the flight of a bird over the ocean only to find it was an insect a few centimetres from my face, it arrived. At last, I had a scope! While it had nothing on the thousand-dollar, sleek, smooth spotting scopes I had dreamed about, this one was mine. It wasn't perfect, but considering the low price tag the Celestron Ultima 80mm was my choice, which I haven't regretted at all.
Of course, it arrived on a Monday, so I had to wait out 5 days of virtual scopelessness before I could try it out. It was worth the wait, though, and I managed to convince my parents to take me down to the Ngaruawahia Wastewater Treatment Plant so I could see how it performed. Naturally, it was windy and raining, and I would have to set it up on lumpy, muddy ground at an angle, so this was a trial by fire for my new scope.
The scope really exceeded my expectations, and I could get a beautifully clear picture even at 60x magnification. Stability was an issue, as was the fence blocking my view, but even at >100m I could see some stunning Australian Shoveler and Grey Teal amongst the more common Mallards. While there weren't any mega vagrants or anything, I managed to bump my NGA WTP life list up to 35, which I was very pleased with. Now all that remains is to convince whoever is in charge of the plant to let me in...
All in all it was a good half hour (before we had to leave), and although the location was hardly exotic it was a good field test for a great budget scope.