It’s summertime – yay!! So now we’re fully out and about and enjoying what nature intended, it kind of puts all that screen time we hankered over when we were stuck indoors on a backburner. But hang on, what are we thinking? Technology may not be so much of a bad thing after all, because whilst we’re outdoors, couldn’t we be using it to our advantage to help us discover more about our surroundings? Oh yes we can! Apps ahoy, let’s have a look at what there is out there to help us learn while we explore.
You’ve spent nights on end studying Spring Watch, and you are totally looking forward to spotting all those great tits, goldfinches, kingfishers and hawks. So you’re out there in the field, binoculars and zoom lens in hand, but when it comes down to it, can you really tell your swallow from your swift from your martin?
If you’re a bit lost, here’s the solution: the Bird ID app. This app will guide you to identifying all RSPB bird watching survey birds across the British Isles. Identify more than 250 birds courtesy of songs, calls and high quality images, even when you don’t have an internet connection. You can even record your own bird sightings with GPS position and a photo, and there’s the opportunity to keep a record of what you come across, making it possible to build your own personal record of all the birds you’ve seen. The app costs £3.99. Apple iPhone info here, and Android info here.
You’re walking amidst ancient woodland, enthralled by the cooling canopies that tower above you, but you want to know more. What tree is that? How do you identify it by looking at the leaves, the fruits or the flowers? Wouldn’t you just love to teach the kids how to tell their oak from their beech and their maple from their sycamore? Here’s your chance.
The Woodland Trust tree ID app will allow you to identify any UK native or even non-native tree by its bark, twigs, leaves, buds, flowers or fruit. As the Woodland Trust says, it’s like having an ‘A-Z tree guide in your pocket’. This app is free.
Butterflies are an incredibly loved element of our ecology, and identifying them brings immense pleasure, particularly when you spot a species that is rare or even endangered.
The Butterfly ID app is a field guide that helps you identify all the butterfly species that appear in the British Isles. It’s been put together by professional ecologists and includes anatomical and ecological information. This app costs £3.99.
Have you ever been walking through woodland or meadows and come across a delightful wildflower, only to wonder what it was? Sometimes it can be a real challenge to identify wildflowers, but thankfully with this app, the process becomes so much more of a pleasure than a chore. The wildflower ID app is a field guide that helps you identify any wildflower growing in the British Isles. It works on Android and Apple devices and incorporates an ingenious Automatic Recognition facility that works a bit like Shazam, meaning you can photograph your wild flower then ask the app what it is. Brilliant! Follow the link and you can see a demo on YouTube before you commit to buying. Costs £3.99.
Found a Brilliant Nature app? Please Share it!
So there you go, and we bet we are only scratching the surface here. Why not think of something you really want to learn more about, and Google it with the word ‘app’ on the end. You may be surprised what you might find – and if you do find a gem – please share it! We’re on all the usual platforms so please look us up and let’s app ourselves an interesting and well-informed summer!
Robin, tree, butterfly and flower images all copyright Sarah McInerney.