5 Wildlife Apps to Use With Ours

5 Wildlife Apps to Use With Ours

These Free Wildlife Apps are Great Companions to Where’s The Wildlife and Can Truly Enrich Your Experience

Find Your Tribe

We at Where’s the Wildlife have noticed that a love and concern for nature tends to bring people together. NatureFind is an application that helps you do just that. Want to know what your local nature groups are up to? Learn about events happening wherever you are (or plan to be)? Then this app is a great place to start. Find others that share your passion for the outdoors.

Features
•Search or add local events (get the who, when and where)
•Search or add areas of particular interest and index them by activity (including wildlife viewing!)

All About National Parks

All the information you could possibly need about US National Parks. It doesn’t use data or wifi. It’s GPS enabled. And it’s free. This app is the perfect companion to those using Where’s the Wildlife in any of our National Parks. On a time limit and trying to decide which one to go to? National Parks by Chimani gives you up to date info about what’s where and how to get there in the National Parks.

Features

  • Use up to date maps to find and navigate your local parks (requires data/wifi)
  • Get the latest news about national parks near you
  • User friendly search functions to find what you need, when you need it: fast
https://youtu.be/WwFmLRIx-GU

For the Birds

Here’s a specific one for the bird watchers out there. Aubudon Bird Guide: North America is everything you could ever wish for in a mobile field guide. The sophisticated features are impressive and while they can be a little slower in remote mountain areas (as it works using data), they are absolutely worth the wait.

Features
• Use their unique identification system to quickly find out just what you’re looking at
• Access general and migratory information about over 800 species of bird
• Admire some beautiful professional photography they’ve put up on their gallery
• Keep a list of your sightings and share them with friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67WtETnB32k

What Am I Looking At?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell one chubby rodent from another, or differentiate between species of butterflies or types of deer. Map of Life seeks to assist. This application has an ambitious goal: bringing you information about over 30,000 species from around the world. Their database is user driven and growing. While it’s still being developed to bring more and more content, we can see a lot of potential!

Features
• Identify just what you’ve seen
• Learn about species around you and where else they can be found
• Record and share about your animal sightings (syncs with www.mol.org)

https://youtu.be/XGRfR0P-ym0

Pretty Pictures

For those times the photographer in you wants to take your wildlife picture to a new level (and you can’t access your heavy duty photo editing software), Google has create an app for you. Snapseed is rapidly becoming the smartphone photographer’s best friend. With a plethora of filters, effects and corrections, it can help your photos rise to their true potential.

Features
• You don’t need to be a professional: Easy to use
• Tons of cool filters and textures to add
• Basic photo editing abilities like crop, rotate and transform
• Selective adjustment ability (for contrast, saturation, etc…)

https://youtu.be/ehfk05NytL8

Disclaimer
Where’s The Wildlife has not received any monetary or other endorsement from these applications or their parent organizations. They are on this list because they deserve to be.


Got any more app suggestions? Do you have a wildlife app you cannot live without? Share it with us here!

Gorgeous Colorado State Parks: See Wildlife

Gorgeous Colorado State Parks: See Wildlife

Colorado State Parks that should be on your bucket list.

The Colorado State Parks system boasts over forty different parks, spanning from the Great Plains to the rolling foothills, and high mountain peaks. However if wildlife sightings are your goal, there are three places you simply can’t miss.

1.) Rocky Mountain National Park

Perhaps the one of the most famous parks in the state, the Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge reserve encompassing swaths of evergreen forest, alpine tundra, and some of the tallest mountains in the lower forty-eight. With so many different eco systems, the odds are good to find all sorts of wildlife.

In lower elevations, look for the riparian (wetland) areas. These life giving creeks and lakes support dense ecosystems of different fish, toads, salamanders and more. It’s easy to conduct your entire wildlife tour here. The park covers over 400 square miles!

Area Spotlight!

The Rocky Mountain National Park is perhaps best known for the bugling of the elk. In the fall, these majestic animals descend from their alpine homes, searching for mates. In order to signal the season for love, male elk make great “roars” that echo hauntingly off the surrounding mountain sides.

Make a trip to Estes Park (in the Moraine or Horseshoe sections) and seize the chance to hear these otherworldly calls. We cannot recommend it enough!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSpGd9p17n0

2.) Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Want to try something different? Check out one of the largest urban refuges in the country (yes, we really mean urban). The park has an extensive visitor center, which offers wildlife tours and nature programs, as well as great orientation information for the site.

Area Spotlight!

For the past 14 years, a pair of endangered bald eagles has made their home by one of the lakes. In fact, it was the first sighting of our national bird that prompted the transition to a national wildlife refuge! Accompanying the eagles are more than 280 more species of birds. Be sure to bring your binoculars and telephoto lenses!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ukLp5ylw_c

3.) Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Nestled at the feet of the gorgeous Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this park looks as if some great being stole a bit of the Gobi Desert and dropped it in the middle of Colorado. However, unlike a barren desert, this park is teaming with life. Everything from the chubby American pika to the slinky mountain lion can be found in the park (though some are more easily spotted than others).

Area Spotlight!

For the photographers out there looking to shoot stunning backgrounds in their wildlife photos, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is fairly covered with them. There are five gorgeous alpine lakes, a multitude of sub alpine meadows littered with wildflowers and, of course, the iconic windswept sands of the dunes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPb2IwY9Anw

This list could surely be longer! Know any other fantastic parks to find wildlife? Want to add on to what’s here? Just say hi? Leave a comment! We always love to hear your feed back!

Wildlife Tour Preparation- 3 Easy Steps

Wildlife Tour Preparation- 3 Easy Steps

Wildlife Tour Preparation|| 3 Essential Steps to Get Ready for Your Coloradan Adventure


1.) Decide what kinds of wildlife you want to see/photograph in advance.

Colorado’s wildlife is as varied as it is magnificent. Part of the excitement of wildlife viewing is that you never know what you’ll find! However, if you still have moose babies or bugling elk on your bucket list, there are certain times and places where you may have better luck.

Do your homework and you are sure to be rewarded!

2.) Prepare for your season of travel

…as best you can. Coloradans know that it’s easy to experience the whole range of seasons in one day, sometimes in just a few hours! However bringing what you need to stay safe and comfortable will improve your trip dramatically.

Try to keep in mind the following weather-specific warnings when preparing for your wildlife tour:

Drastic Temperature Swings
These can get pretty crazy , and Colorado is infamous for them. A blistering day in Denver can easily turn utterly frigid at higher elevations. Then again, maybe not! Therefore it’s best to prepare for both: even in the summer, remember to bring a wind resistant jacket and long pants for the blustery mountain slopes.

Lightning
It’s fast. It’s furious. And it can kill you. Contrary to popular belief, getting struck isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. The US has an estimated 273 injuries and 48 deaths every year due to lighting. If your adventures take you above the tree-line, be especially vigilant. Sudden afternoon storms are common in the Rockies, and can catch wildlife viewers unaware.

If you hear thunder, it’s time to find shelter. Lighting can strike as many as ten miles away from the center of the storm. Do your research, and make sure everyone in your party knows what to do in the event of a lightning storm.

High Elevation
Especially pertinent for our out-of-state visitors, note that most of the National Parks are above 8,000 ft. elevation. Some are as many as two miles high. Prepare appropriately by bringing plenty of water and sunscreen. To avoid mountain sickness give yourself time to adjust at higher elevations, and pay attention to any symptoms of dizziness, nausea or headaches.

•For more information, check out The National Park Service safety information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtEhkfOjzMk

3.) Dust off your photography skills

Though not exactly required, we at Where’s the Wildlife highly recommend adding photography to your wildlife tour, and sharing it with us! Your contributions are what make this app possible!

•Decide what kind of camera you are willing to take on the trail. Remember that there are inherent risks to bringing an expensive piece of equipment into the great outdoors. However, there are also certain features that make specialized cameras truly intrinsic to your wildlife tour.

•Look up some simple hints and tricks if you are new to wildlife photography (or brush up on the basics if you’re more advanced).


Have any other tips for wildlife tour preparation? Leave a comment! Tell us your experiences and share your story!

Wildlife Tourism Spotlight: Moose in Colorado

Wildlife Tourism Spotlight: Moose in Colorado

What You Can See, Where To Start, When To Go, and How To Stay Safe and Respectful.


One of Colorado’s most magnificent mountain mammals, the north-western moose is an integral part of any wildlife tour. One look, and it’s easy to see why:

Resident moose of the Rocky Mountains have been reported to stand over seven feet tall at the shoulder, with their head and antlers adding up to another two feet (which makes one wonder how on earth this happened). Their gorgeous chestnut brown coats are prized for their iconic fluffy locks. Both lady and gentleman moose have small skin sacks known as bells hanging from their necks.

A Moose by Any Other Name:

In fact, all moose on the planet belong to the same species. However what separates the north-western moose from its Alaskan and Russian cousins are the behavioral adaptations they have evolved to survive their mountainous habitat. Lucky for moose seekers, the Rocky Mountains’ unique habitat allows for a comparatively dense population.

Making the Moose out of Life:

Contrary to the herd habits of most other species of deer, a moose’s life tends to be one of solitary wandering. This applies to both males and females, with one important exception. Moose-mamas are some of the best around. They are fiercely protective of their calves , and look after them until the babies are over a year old.

These animals are big eaters, up to 60 pounds a day! Thankfully for us weak humans, moose are exclusively herbivores. They’re favorite foods include willow, aspen and aquatic plants; unsurprisingly, moose are great swimmers.

Where’s The Wildlife User Tip!: Moose have been known to revisit their favorite grazing grounds. Check your Where’s the Wildlife app to find these areas near you, or to add your own!

Oh Where Oh Where Could They Be?

To help start your search, the National Park Service has a few tips to help find moose hangouts. Users of Where’s the Wildlife have exclusive access to recent sightings and directions to get to them!

Riparian Areas: Due to their taste for aquatic vegetation, moose can often be found near rivers, lakes and streams, especially with stands of willow or aspen!
Highway 34 in the Kawuneeche Valley
• The east side of the Rocky Mountain National Forest

Moose live in self-established “home ranges,” usually staying close to their place of birth. Thanks to Colorado’s natural abundance, resident moose of the Rocky Mountains hold territories ranging between five and forty square kilometers. A moose will stay in its ancestral home its entire life so long as there is enough food to eat and mates to find (and not too many human dangers).

When Should I go?

Moose can be found at all times of year in Colorado. But there a few times of year that deserve special mention: The mating and calving seasons.

PLEASE NOTE:
These incredible events for moose viewing are also some of the most DANGEROUS. Bull moose can act unpredictably around females during mating season. Mother moose are also extremely protective of their calves. Where is the Wildlife aims to create a safe environment for humans and wildlife alike. Please read our Code of Conduct to ensure an enriching experience for all species involved.

The Mating Season:
The mating season begins around late September and runs through the end of October. During these months, bull moose call to their lady friends with distinct low grunting sounds. But when rival males show up instead, bull moose “spar” with one another, using their antlers to butt heads and prove their “mooslieness” to the females.

The Calving Season:
Calves are born about eight months after the mating season (May – July). These little guys are an absolute treat to find. Usually a moose mother gives birth to only one small charge, but in particularly abundant areas, twins and even triplets have been reported!

Tips to Stay Safe Around Moose

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHY2cRnPIdQ

If You Give a Moose a Muffin…

…you’re probably too close.

Moose are incredible residents of the ecological landscape. Anyone able to catch a glimpse of one can see a bit of the raw magnificence our earth is blessed with. However, in order to protect both the wildlife and their human admirers, please respect the following rules:

Moose-vehicle collisions are particularly dangerous to both moose and drivers. Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife crossing signs, reduce your speed and watch for these unpredictable mammals.
• Do NOT approach Mama Moose and her babies! Though usually non-aggressive, they will react much more dangerously if concerned about their calves. This is a great chance to test out your camera zoom!
• If a moose has its head down with ears back, or shows other signs of stress, it’s time to back up.
• Moose WILL charge if they feel themselves or young threatened. Luckily, they don’t really want to fight you either, and will often pull back in a bluff. DON’T wait to find out. Move back and try to get behind something solid, like your vehicle or a tree.

Have any amazing/inspiring/funny moose stories? Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear them!


Enjoy discovering your wildlife adventure!

 

Wildlife Photography Simple Tips

Wildlife Photography Simple Tips

Wildlife photography is challenging whether you are using a smartphone or other mobile device. Smartphone cameras have come light years away from their starting point and their quality is now exceptional.  Remember to set your time/date stamp when using the WWL App.   As a subject, wildlife is challenging to capture in images because it is elusive.  One small movement or sound can ruin the shot and it make take hours to capture it again.

Too Small in the Frame?

Generally speaking, it’s nearly impossible to get close to wildlife, especially if you are following the Wildlife Code of Conduct.   The key is to remember that timing, patience and concentration bring the results you want.  The more you know about your subject’s habits, habitat, what it eats and social behaviors will help you determine how and where to photograph.

Out of Focus?

You have to select the AF (auto focus) point yourself. Don’t let the camera automatically do it because it’ll hone in on the center of the frame, even if your subject isn’t in the center. Look for an option like “single-point AF” or “Flexible-spot AF”.

Select the point that’s on the subject’s head and half-press the shutter release to focus your lens. If it’s moving, use “Continuous AF mode” to refocus between shots.

Blurry Wildlife Shots?

Using a tripod or monopod to keep the camera steady can be a great asset, especially for long lenses. This is true for mobile devices and even GoPros.  You also need to have a fast shutter speed that can freeze any movement. If you’re unable to get the shutter speed high enough, you can either push the sensitivity setting up a little or just wait until the subject is still and completely avoid shooting when it’s moving.  Remember that using a high sensitivity setting will cause a bit of noise. Shoot either in shutter priority or manual exposure mode so that you can control the shutter speed yourself.

If you are using a smart phone, look for a tree or a rock that can keep you steady as you shoot your photos.  Even leaning close to a family member or friend can allow you the steadiness to keep clicking good shots.

Don’t rely on Smartphone auto mode

Yes, tapping on where you want the phone to focus on will give you a sharper focus on the subject. However, you can improve the overall quality of your images by tweaking the other aspects in an image. Although different phones have different settings, most should be able to let you control the focus, exposure, white balance and ISO.

The higher the resolution of your photo, the better your quality will be. When taking images with a smartphone camera, try to go as close as possible to the subject rather than zooming in when you take a shot. You will get better-resolution photos cropped, than zoomed in.

Use a tripod or monopod

Your phone camera’s stabilizing function can only do so much and if you don’t want a blurred image, consider using tripods and monopods.

Be careful with flash

The camera flash you have on your phone is almost always too harsh and rarely helpful. Instead try increasing your camera’s exposure and ISO levels.

Learn to use your smartphone’s camera software

You’d be surprised at just what your smartphone camera can do.  Maybe you’re familiar with some of the basic operations, like switching between the camera and video modes, or turning your flash on and off or putting it on auto. Yet your camera probably has several other options like scenemodes, panorama, bokeh and HDR.

Explore your iPhone or Andorid device’s camera. It has plenty of memory for photos, so you can play with the different features, effects and settings and snap lots of photos.  Your goal is to know your way around the camera so that you can snap photos easefully and won’t miss those rare moments when you can catch wildlife in their environment.