Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Orange jelly and apps in Coedydd Maentwrog

Is this Tremella Mesenterica - Witches' Butter? 
Lashed by Boxing Day rain this high-vis orange jelly could not be ignored. The rest of the family were tucked up in front of the log burner while Molly took me for a walk through the woods. No point taking a camera on a day like this but who needs to when it comes with you inside your Christmas smart phone.

I'm just getting the hang of this wonderful gadget. Taking the photo was easy enough. Re-sizing and uploading it to this blog with a few words was also pretty easy with my precise location recorded by the built in GPS. On the other hand, making and receiving phone calls without cutting people off - I've yet to master that, Rome wasn't built in a day.

I'm optimistic it's going to be a powerful tool for nature. BTO's BirdTrack app is brilliant. Type in the first couple of letters of what you've seen and select the full name from the drop down list. The default location is where you are standing. Add in the number of birds seen and your record is automatically sent into BTO. By making it so easy, will there be an increase in the number of recorders and records?

What about the quality of the records? 3 of my 5 records have a comment saying 'Not yet checked against BirdTrack thresholds'. Presumably this is some form of validation? Is there an individual checking  my entries or is it just a test of reasonableness against previous sightings for this area and time of year? My record of a lesser spotted woodpecker has been declared valid. This is one I didn't see but having heard its call I clicked through a long list of bird calls (an app of course) until I finally found a close match.

PlantTracker is another app that I've downloaded (for free) and looks an easy way to identify, record and map the presence of invasive species. Leaf Watch is an app with the specific purpose of tracking the spread of the miner moth and its impact on conker trees. Do you have any other apps you'd recommend I take a look at? I'm sure there will be a raft of new ones to herald in the spring.

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