Nature apps for IOS

Nature apps for IOS ~ 24th November 2015 ~ 

So this post is all to do with citizen science and easy peasy ways you can contribute to it, simply by downloading and using apps on your smartphone!

Now, I am a little bias since I have an iPhone, so all the apps mentioned are definitely available through the App store, but I'm not sure whether they're available for android or other operating systems, so if anyone knows, please let me know in the comments at the bottom!

Also, if you know of any other nature apps that you'd recommend, do leave a comment with the name and price in the comments below!!

So, first up is Birdtrack. Birdtrack, as its name suggests, is an app where you can record your bird sightings. You do need an account to be able to submit your records but this is easy enough to set up. There are two types of records you can submit, casuals or lists. Casual records are used for the odd species you see, such as a Kestrel hovering above a motorway. In the app you simply fill in the fields in the screenshot below, click 'done' and that's it!

Lists can be complete or incomplete. Complete lists are used to submit all the species you record (hear/see) at certain place and incomplete lists are, as you might have guessed, an incomplete record of what you saw/heard at that location on that occasion. All you do is fill in the fields in the first screenshot and then click 'done'. This sets up your list so to add species to the list you simply click on the arrow on the right which brings up the list and then you click the '+' in the top right corner to add a species. You can then add a count and further details about the sighting. You simply add all the species you see/hear at that place and then you're done!

Next up is an app that I have particularly enjoyed using this summer as it is so easy to use and is also a great id guide to a group of insects that I don't yet have a 'proper' field guide to.

It is the FSC Shieldbugs app. It's really simple to use and within a few minutes you could id and have recorded the Shield bug you've spotted - excellent and free as well!!

You simply choose the main colour of the shield bug then scroll through the different species to match it up with what you've spotted and once you've done this and are confident it is what you think it is, you can enter a record of it by clicking on the species and then 'enter record'. You then take a picture of the shield bug using the camera on your phone and once you're happy with the picture click 'use photo'. It will then determine your location using the GPS on your phone and all you do then is click 'submit record'...all very straightforward! I think you have to enter your email address after you click submit record so that the app can email your record direct to iRecord at the UK Biological Records Centre. Once your record is submitted, records go to iRecord for experts to verify, and, if accepted, will go on to NBN Gateway.


The last couple of apps I want to mention I will only do so briefly as I haven't had much chance to use them, mainly because I forgot I'd downloaded them this summer which is annoying but oh well...I'll just have to remember for next year!

They are:

- iRecord Grasshoppers (this was recommended to me by another naturalist I know and from the quick whizz through the app I've just had, it looks superb - great illustrations and lots of info about the different species of Grasshoppers and related insects! Oh, and it also has recordings of each species which is awesome!!)

- FSC Trees Guide (this is the free version but there is another app called FSC Trees that is £1.49 but I haven't bought that as the free one looks pretty good from what I've seen!)

NOTE: Not all of the apps have the ability to submit records directly, some are just a useful identification tool for when you're out and about.

Anyhow, I hope you've found this post of some interest and as I said at the beginning, if you have any other suggestions of nature-related citizen science apps then let us know in the comments section below!

Autumnwatch Extra

Autumnwatch Extra ~ 4th November 2015 ~ 

Having appeared on Springwatch Extra back in June this year, I was delighted to receive an email a few weeks ago asking if I would like to be on Extra agin but this time via Skype to the Autumnwatch headquarters of WWT Caerlaverock.

Of course I said yes and thankfully technology did not fail me yesterday so you can find my appearance on iPlayer here: (I'm on from about 41:30).

Guest Post

Guest blog post ~ 4th November 2015 ~ 

A few weeks ago I was very kindly asked if I would write a blog post about my ringing by young wildlife photographer, birder & ringer, Mya Bambrick. Well I finally got my act together and wrote something which you can find on Mya's blog here:

Mya is a 13 year old wildlife photographer and birder as well as being a trainee bird ringer who also featured in my "22 Young Conservationists to Follow" blog post.

She is a great young photographer and you can find some of her photos on her Flickr here and hopefully below as well:

Little Egret

22 Young Conservationists you should follow!

22 Young Conservationists you should definitely follow, in no particular order...

There are far more brilliant young conservationists who I could have listed but I decided to stick a limit on how many I mention here, so for those who I've missed out, I do apologise!

If you have any more suggestions of young conservationists to follow, make sure you leave a comment and link to their Twitter/blog below!!

1. Mya Bambrick - @MyaBambrick1 -

2. Tiffany Imogen - @tiffins11 -

3. James Common - @CommonbyNature -

4. Sorrel Lyall - @SorrelLyall -

5. Findlay Wilde - @WildeAboutBirds

6. Georgia Locock - @GeorgiaLocock

7. Ellis Lucas - @ellisethanfox

8. Ryan Clark - @RyanClarkNature

9. Dan Rouse - @DanERouse -

10. Peter Cooper - @PeteMRCooper -

11. Billy Stockwell - @StockwellBilly

12. Lucy McRobert - @LucyMcRobert1 -

13. Matt Williams - @mattadamw -

14. Megan Shersby - @MeganShersby

15. Ros Green - @r_green24

16. Matt Collis - @MattCollis9 

17. Abbie Barnes - @AbbieSongThrush

18. Lizzie Bruce - @Lizzie_Bruce

19. Stephen Le Quesne - @SLeQuesne

20. Evie Miller - @ev1e_miller -

21. Simon Phelps - @WildlifePhelps

22. Chris Foster - @hatbirder

PWC Update - September 2015

Patchwork Challenge Update ~ September 2015 ~ 

Having not submitted a new score since April, I felt that I ought to get my act together and update my spreadsheet for the September round up!

Summer and early autumn didn't go too badly for my little patch in inland Hampshire and some rather unexpected species including Tree Pipit, Grey Heron and Great Crested Grebe made their way on to my patch list.

Once autumn migration started to get underway I managed to catch up with some commoner migrants that had evaded me in the spring. These included 2 Redstart, 2 Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher on 31st August as well as a Pied Flycatcher that I caught while ringing on patch on 12th August.

Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

As of the September update of the Next Generation Birders minileague, I am now top of the comparative league and 19th (out of 36) in the points league - see below:

In the Inland South minileague I'm not doing quite so well, but have leapt to 2nd in the comparative league and am up to 16th in the points league - see below: 

I'm pretty happy with how I'm doing and since the update I've already added 2 more species in the form of a Yellow-legged Gull in the gull roost on 3rd and 3 Teal on the pools on 16th. Hopefully I'll have a few more additions to the list before the year is out - I'm really hoping for a Yellow-browed Warbler considering the large numbers about at the moment...only time will tell!

Thanks to the folk at Patchwork Challenge for all the scoresheet updates!