Tag Archives: iPhone

The Warbler Guide App – A British Birder’s View

Every autumn I have a recurring daydream… the dream goes that I’m birding the ‘dead pines’ walk on The Garrison on Scilly. The tail end of a hurricane has battered the islands for two days but now the sun is out and the birds are busy feeding up. A Blackcap is tacking and a couple of territorial (European) Robins are tic-tic ticking but then I hear a high pitched sip. It’s unfamiliar but soon I glimpse a bright yellow throat on a bird as it moves through the pines feeding. Bright yellow super, two big white wing-bars and I’ve bagged myself Britain’s first twitchable Blackburnian Warbler. Mayhem ensues and I dine out on it, literally, all week in The Scillonian Club.

The Warbler Guide App

The Warbler Guide App

The reality is I’m more likely to find a dull greenish-grey bird that stumps me. Is it a Blackpoll Warbler, Bay-breasted or Pine? I’m not sure, I can’t realistically take out every field guide going along with my bins, scope, camera etc so all I have is my phone. Knowing I have to sort this out before I make a fool of myself, oh I learned the hard way on Shetland. Buoyed by finding a Swainson’s Thrush I got cocky. Yes that Grasshopper Warbler had pale tips but a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler that doesn’t always make.

So, I need to sort this. The Warbler Guide, see my review here, would be useful now. If only there was an app… with those calls. Well soon there will be.  Due for release in early 2015 The Warbler Guide App will be a major boost for the UK rarity hunter (I’m sure it will also be a major boost for birders at Magee Marsh or Point Pelee in Spring too or a lone UK birder in British Columbia (me)).

Calls are also something that we birders find very useful as I alluded to earlier. As I walk along with non-birders they are often surprised when I mention a bird without apparently looking… “how did you know that?” they ask and it’s often difficult to say by the call as they might not even have heard. Redwing at night is one that often gets non-birders and me as we walk back from the pub. The Warbler Guide did a great job at explaining sonograms and calls but now we are going to be able to put the song or call to the picture that can only increase our learning. The person who knows everything is usually the one who knows least. birding is all about learning.

I can’t wait to load the app and get using it and I will be posting a full review in due course. Meantimes you can keep following the blog tour by visiting Warbler Watch tomorrow for a Q&A with Tom and Scott.

Warbler Blog Tour


GBrf Class 73/9 73961 On Test At Rothley GCR

Yesterday my work took me to Rothley station on the Great Central Railway where amongst the Wednesday scheduled services they were testing one of GBrf’s newly rebuilt 73/9 Electro-diesels. Being rebuilt locally at Brush in Loughborough with an MTU 1,600 hp V8 engine replacing the 600 horsepower (447 kW) English Electric 4SRKT Mk II engine. The GCR with it’s 75mph test running speed limits being on Brush’s doorstep it’s a great place to catch up with stuff on test. Here are a couple of shots of 73961 coupled to Class 31 D5830 for insurance.

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

Also around was the partially built Project X Diesel Brake Tender (TOPS code RTV).

Diesel Brake Tender

Diesel Brake Tender

Phonescoping Workshops

After plenty of emails back and forth, I’m pleased to announce my first phonescoping workshops at RSPB Titchwell on 1 November 2013. For details see here.


North Norfolk Railway – Diesel Gala 2013

A bit of action from The Poppy Line the other weekend.

33108 head for Sheringham

33108 heads for Sheringham

iPhone Friday

Not a lot for today but I did get a better shot of a pylon yesterday (not floodlight sadly) with some decent sky. I posterised it PhotoStudio FX, messed with the saturation in Snapseed and finally the hue in iDarkroomHD. I’m reasonably happy with the final result.


iPhone Friday

This weeks selection came from a lunchtime walk around the Castle Park/Bede Island area of Leicester yesterda





The Four Seasons – No1. Winter

I’ve been looking for a project or two that I can follow over the coming year and photograph in every season. Today I had a spare 30 minutes this morning and a few minutes spare in Ashby de la Zouch. Coupled with a dusting of snow I made hay!
It was freezing at Breedon on the Hill by the Priory church of St. Mary & St. Hardulph, Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire… FREEZING! I was glad to get back in the car and get the heating on as I drove back to Ashby. Anyone who’s been birding with me knows I’m not one for having the heating on high in my car but today was one of those rare days.



It also gave me the chance to try out the new NIR Color – infra red – app.



So now I have my project, as Arnie said “I’ll be back!”