I upgraded last year and did a TON of research on bird watching forums.
From the money these were the best listed buy those folks (which IMO is a far better review then hunting forums)
Tract Toric (most claim these as the best glass under 1k)
I got the tract when I upgraded from my Leupold BX-4. Found them to be much better then my leupolds and have zero complaints at this point. Lifetime warranty and fantastic clarity and glass.
if you can find some used Swaroski for that price those would be alpha glass for sure. I personally am not a fan at all of vortex optics. IMO they are cheaply made and at a higher price point then others for what you are actually getting. Thats just my own personal opinion though.
I have a pair of Zeiss Victory 10x42s and Meopta Meopro 8x32. Both have great glass. I like the eye cups on the Zeiss better. The rubber optics covers on the Meopro drive me nuts as they tend to fall off. With the Meoptas, they are every bit as clear as the Swaros, Leicas and Zeiss for considerably less. I think Tract would be another great option.