The right equipment is so critical when birding. Not only do you need optics to see the birds well, but higher quality sight will make identification easier and less frustrating. An updated field guide will show regional variations of plumages as well as different ages and genders, and a good field bag can hold all your equipment in easy reach. Good outdoor clothing will keep you comfortable for hours in the field, and good records will let you savor all your birding experiences for years.
Of course, getting started is simple and you only need the basics. As you get more into birding, however, you'll start to crave better equipment, and when you do upgrade you'll find this hobby truly taking flight. Let's soar!