If you're a fan of wildlife, then it's easier than ever to make the most of your passion. With a smartphone and the right apps, you can hunt down our native butterflies, birds and insects, hook up with other nature-lovers to share what you've found and even find tasty mushrooms for a rewarding snack afterwards!
Our chums at WWF Wildlife Mobile have teamed up with well-known conservationist and author of ‘Fighting for Birds’ Dr Mark Avery to bring you the top 10 wildlife apps for your smartphone…
- Birdguides Butterflies of Britain and Ireland. (iPhone) £9.99. This app provides drawings and photographs of all our native butterflies - from eggs and caterpillars to the adults. If the sexes differ they are both shown and underwing and upperwing are illustrated. Distribution maps and charts of when the species are on the wing add to the information. It's easy to use in the field and an invaluable aid for experts and beginners. (recommended by Dr Mark Avery)
- Project Noah. (iPhone and Android) Free. The Project Noah aims to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere! It allows you to identify wildlife you’ve seen, upload your nature spots to the wildlife map, and view what other people have seen in your local area. You can also use it to take part in missions from photography competitions to recording butterflies and moths. (recommended by WWF Wildlife Mobile)
- Birdtrack. (iPhone and Android) Free. This app is for the keen birder who wants to keep a record of his or her sightings and compare sightings between sites or on different dates. It will keep track of how many species you've seen in the year too. You can share the data with groups like the British Trust for Ornithology or the RSPB. Your sightings can help make up a national picture of bird movements, migration patterns and so on, forming part of an invaluable dataset. No need for a notebook and a slog at a computer at the end of the day. You can enter your sightings as you go. (recommended by Dr Mark Avery)
- Wild Mushrooms of North America and Europe by Roger Phillips. (iPhone) £1.49 This app has over 1550 mushrooms listed and works without an Internet connection (if you're really out in the wilds). It features a comprehensive series of 2,400 photographs illustrating wild mushrooms and other fungi, from edible to hallucinogenic and poisonous. The detailed photographs show each mushroom from different angles and there’s lots of information to help with identification; descriptive keys, details of size, shape colour and habitat. There is also a symbol on each picture to quickly give you an idea of just how edible or not that cute looking fairy-perch really is. (recommended by WWF Wildlife Mobile)
- Birdguides Bird News Anywhere. (iPhone) £40 per annum. Now you can sit in a meeting at work and see what birds have been seen back at home or just down the road - how frustrating! This app brings up to date information on rare or unusual bird sightings to your phone with details of where they were seen and how to find them at the site. Not cheap - but worth it if you're a real twitcher. (recommended by Dr Mark Avery)
- Birdguides Dragonflies & Damselflies of Britain and Ireland. (iPhone) £9.99. This does for dragonflies what the Birdguides butterfly app does for butterflies. Great to take into the field, easy to use and a real help. (recommended by Dr Mark Avery)
- Collins British Wildlife Photoguide. (iPhone) £6.99 The Collins British Wildlife Photoguide is an interactive version of the popular Collins Complete British Wildlife Photoguide. It’s easy to use and features more than 1500 species with photo images and text descriptions. It covers the species most likely to be encountered plus a few unusual and striking ones striking that are likely to attract attention. (recommended by WWF Wildlife Mobile)
- iBats (iPhone and Android) Free. Not one for beginners, or fans of the Dark Knight Detective. The app connects to your bat detector, downloads the high-pitched calls of bats (which may even fly past unseen) and then identifies the bats by their distinctive calls and puts the records into a database. (recommended by Dr Mark Avery)
- TreeId http://www.isoperla.co.uk/TreeIdiPhone.html (iPhone) £2.49 TreeId is a useful field guide to identifying trees found growing in the open countryside and natural woodlands of the British Isles. All native and naturalised tree species in the British Isles are covered. Track down tree details, and if you’re stuck you can answer a short series of questions about the tree that will help the app identify the species for you. (recommended by WWF Wildlife Mobile)
- Iberian Birds (iPhone) Free. An ideal holiday companion if you're ut and about in Spain or Portugal. This is a free app that aims to encourage sustainable tourism in the Important Bird Areas (IBA) of the Iberian Peninsula. It enables users to find the nearest IBA, based on their geo-location (GPS) data, and learn what birds can be found there. Iberian Birds provides details of 479 IBAs, including ornithological information, location and boundaries, and land use. The app also contains factsheets on over 170 bird species, with information on their ecology, the threats they face, and their IUCN status. (recommended by WWF Wildlife Mobile)
Don't forget, with WWF Wildlife Mobile, as you enjoy the wildlife with the help of your smartphone app, you’ll also be contributing to nature conservation – and it won’t cost you a penny. The SIM-only mobile network from WWF promises ‘every conversation helps conservation’. And because it offers customers cheaper standard Pay As You Go rates than the other major networks, plus a range of competitive bundles of calls, texts and data – it won’t cost you any extra to help safeguard the natural world. And because you get 99.7% UK wide coverage thanks to the partnership between operator Digital Spring Mobile and Vodafone UK, you can use your apps even in the middle of nowhere--handy for the dedicated twitcher or bug-watcher.
WWF Wildlife Mobile gives 10% of the net call revenues for conservation, which is ideal for the growing number of people with an interest in, or a concern for, the environment. It’s open to anyone – not just existing WWF members. Why not give it a go? For more details, check out the website.
WWF WILDLIFE MOBILE