What is best practice for spotting animals with a thermal scope?
Spotlighting – shining a bright light (usually while moving in a vehicle) is the dominant way to find nocturnal mammals. However many of us have bought thermal vision monoculars or viewers which allow finding a mammal at night with no additional light. I have a Pulsar Helion, but so far it has been less useful to me than I would have expected. Yet a set of scientific papers has concluded that in many (but not all) cases it is superior to spotlighting for doing animal surveys
Here are two recent examples
Yet my experience has been that it is not easy to use thermal imaging as an alternative to spotlighting. Partly that might be due to having the wrong color palette on my imager (Pulsar helion). The display seems very bright, so it is tiring to look through it for long periods of time. The brightness can be turned down of course, but then it is harder to spot. Its occurred to me that I am probably the weak link in the chain – I’m probably not doing it right.
One possible way to deal with eye fatique is to not use the eyepiece but instead use a setup with a small flat panel monitor. This is often done with video cameras, and always done with drones. I have yet to try this for thermal scopes, and there may be issues I am not thinking of.
Amazon lists this book, which is out in a few days https://www.amazon.com/Thermal-Imaging-Wildlife-Applications-PGC002/dp/178427416X/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2Q7DZSUBJI8WM&keywords=thermal+imaging+wildlife+book&qid=1696201030&sprefix=thermal+imaging+wildlife+book%2Caps%2C136&sr=8-3 I have it on order, and possibly that will give me some clues.
I am wondering if somebody on the mammal watching list has some tips about best practices for spotting animals with a thermal scope. It would seem like a great thing to share on the site, but that said, as noted above I don’t think I have figured it out. Hopefully some of you have.