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.