Jan 102013

Happy 2013 everybody. I’ve just returned from a land of ice and snow, and Bald Eagles and am getting into 2013. That includes some house keeping on WildObs

I’ve recently started to migrate WildObs to a new look and feel, and a new internal platform. That process is proving challenging, and I’m working through the issues. One I just resolved (I believe) is the export capability (where you can export a CSV of your encounters.)

Please let me know if you have any problems with WildObs and I’ll keep updating on this work in progress.

May 192012

"Otterly in Love" by Jim Braswell

This weekend I will be traveling to Missouri (from Colorado) to meet with a wildlife photographer I greatly admire. Jim Braswell (aka @ShowMeNature) states goal is to “to capture the actions and behaviors of my subjects” and I am constantly thrilled by the results. I find his work draws me in, and transports me to the scene. When I was given the opportunity to meet Jim, and spend some time observing how he works, I jumped at the chance…

We’ll be photographing from kayaks; hopefully getting up close with critters without disturbing them. Hopefully we’ll see Beaver and/or Raccoon, and if we are really lucky perhaps Mink or Otter. Critters or no critters, we’ll be out in the wilds, and that is always good.

I’ve started posting a few of my photographs here, in the main so Jim can peruse them and see what pointers he’d like to give me. These aren’t my favorites, but some recent shots. I’ll try to keep posting a few to get a decent selection:


The start of a Journey?

I feel like I might be starting a journey. I’ve always loved wildlife and being in nature, but had mixed emotions about photography (for me.) If I focus on the shot, will I be missing the experience? Could I ever capture the essence of a scene in a still photograph? Jim has shown me it is possible to do amazingly, but I’m still not sure if I can, or if I’d like to try to words, or both. I feel the next few days will give me great insight on if this path, and if I could want to make it my path.

Here is a start…

Pond Skaters by Adam Jack (adam_jack) on 500px.com
Pond Skaters by Adam Jack

Oct 232010

Would you like to allow others to be able to share and enjoy your most viewed or most recent WildObs on your personal website or blog? So long as you can insert a bit of JavaScript into your template or page, you can. WildObs will update this widget dynamically as you enter more species and encounters.

Log in to WildObs and visit your WildObs Widget Builder to pick type and style (sizes and colors.) You can make the widget wide or tall, have it blend into your site’s colors, and

You will receive a little snippet of HTML to paste into your website or blog, which will update daily with the your latest encounters. Here is an example of what it can show:

Share your wildlife on your blog or website...

Note: Some blogs sites do not allow JavaScript to be placed into the template. If you have any problem embedding this widget please contact me at @wildobs and I’ll do my best to get things sorted.

Mar 022009

I’d really like to thank all the observers who have tested the WildObs Observer iPhone Application. The feedback has been invaluable. Some of the comments that have shaped the latest release are:

  • Allow capturing an encounter with less clicks from application launch.
  • Simplify the start-up (enter WildObs account, sync with server, get started)
  • Allow easier access to a species (search, indexes, my lists.)

Ease of recording

The front page is now all about capturing an encounter. It presents your customized lists of species (recent entries, local species, favorites, wishlist and more) and allows you to quickly select a species and record your encounter. One can show/hide the lists as needed:

WildObs Observer Front Page

WildObs Observer Front Page

The front page does, also, remind you of recent encounters by selecting up to three at random to show you.

Don’t make me think so hard to get started

A start-up hint on how to use:

Start-up Tip

Start-up Tip

When there are lots of species, make access quicker:

Jump to a given letter (saving scrolling):

Species Index

Species Index

Search for any word (or partial word) within a species name:

Species Search

Species Search

Feb 202009

WildObs is not just about wildlife encounters you’ve had, it is about wildlife encounters you’d like to have. Listing those animals you enjoy or want to add to your life-list is an import part of setting up your WildObs account.

Much as this feature is a working in progress, the mechanism today is to browse (click or search) to the category (species) page and you’ll see an options to add these to your lists. Say you wanted to add Red Fox to your favorites, go here:


and you’ll notice the options on the right, below “record encounter”.

Managing Lists

Managing Lists

Lists are downloaded to your WildObs Observer iPhone Application for use as quick filters.

The future of critter lists on WildObs

Where WildObs is heading is this:

  • You tell WildObs what you like/love/want and it’ll use those to filter what it shows you.
  • Want to be notified of nearby fresh sightings? Follow @wildobs, and associate this with your WildObs account, and it’ll tweet you with local sightings.
  • Find other observers who share your interests.
  • Create your own custom lists (like tagging a species/category) to group related things, or even just to create shortcuts on your WildObs iPhone Application.

Creating critter lists connects us with those species and allows us to tailor WildObs to our interests.

Feedback please

Feedback would be appreciated, as comments here or ideas on http://feedback.wildobs.com. Feel free to tweet feedback @wildobs.

Jan 172009

WildObs Observer is making good progress, and I have the basics in place & use it myself. Let me walk you through it, and solicit your feedback.

Note: Please let me know (via e-mail or direct Twitter message to @wildobs) if you would be interested in signing up for the beta of this application.

  • Step #1: Launch WildObs when you experience a WildLife encounter you’d like to record.
  • Step #2: Scroll through the lists of species to select the appropriate one.
  • Step #3: Record that encounter (what/where/when) for your records.

See below for screen shots of this application. Please let me have your feedback.

WildObs Observer
Step #1: Start-up WildObs observer (After the splash it shows you your existing encounters)…

Wild Obs Observer (Splash Screen)

Wild Obs Observer (Splash Screen)

WildObs Observer (My Encounters)

WildObs Observer (My Encounters)

Step #2: Select the species (perhaps from your list of favorites, your wishlist or other list or from all.)

WildObs Observer (Favorites)

WildObs Observer (Favorites)

WildObs Observer (Species)

WildObs Observer (Species)

Record your encounter
Step #3: Confirm your encounter information and save it to WildObs.

WildObs Observer (Record Encounter)

WildObs Observer (Record Encounter)

Jan 062009

I am working on a project (WildObsObserver) that is an iPhone (or iPod Touch) application for Wildlife Observers. Here is the gist so far:

  • Record your wildlife encounter:
    • Select the category (type of critter) from a list: favorites, wish list or all.
    • Current location and current time are determined from the device (if GPS is available.)
    • (eventually) allow an photo to be taken/uploaded. (if available.)
  • View what local critters are at a region (park, mountain, other location).

I want this application for me, to allow me to easily record what I see when in the field & perhaps add a fuller description in my own time. It’ll allow me to develop records on my hikes without me having to remember them or write down the place/time, etc.

Please let me know your thoughts on this application, and especially your ideas for improving it.

Nov 132008

Ok, so things are still experimental (with a TZ glitch or two) but live for tinkering. Here is what we have.

To Send a WildObs to WildObs via Twitter:

Once you’ve Twitter enabled your account (and done the follow wildobs step) you can:

/d wildobs {Entity name or Category name} [at Where [at When]]

For example:

/d wildobs Fox at Coal Creek Canyon


/d wildobs Moose at Rocky Mountain National Park at 10:00am


/d wildobs Cougar @home 10:00am

… the location alias obviates the need for the ” at ” separators.
Twitter Enabling your WildObs account
Go to your “Services” tab on your “Mange Profile” section and enter your twitter username (so you can direct message wildobs) and if you’d like twitter status changes for each posting your twitter password. If you subsequently follow “wildobs” on Twitter it can direct mesage you back.


  • Just enter the username and you’ll be able to direct message WildObs.
  • Enter username and password and it’ll publish your encounters as tweets.

Why would you want to do this?

Why not tweet your encounter as you see it, and then upload a photo or add a fuller description later? Why not share your encounters with your Twitter followers?

Feedback Please
Please let us know how this works for you.

Nov 032008

Today (on the parts of this beautiful fall day in colorado that I can spend inside/behind a keyboard, ok I couldn’t I moved outside) I am twitter-enabling WildObs. So far the API for Direct Messages has been easy enough, although I have submit this issue:

The goal is to allow an encounter to be created by (following http://twitter.com/wildobs) then directing a message via:

/d wildobs {Category} at {Location} at {date/time}

for wildobs observers who have registered their twitter url/id.

This basically works although there are issues with:

  • TZ. What timezone is the sender in? WildObs needs to get way more TZ aware.
  • What should be the default location? One’s current Twitter location, or their Wildobs default? Ought the encounter TZ come from the tweeted location?
  • Can I extend this to allow photos and/or descriptions? Maybe by parsing a trailing URL? (Maybe using http://Twitpic.com)

… any input on these welcomed.

The next steps will be to (assuming the observer has provided their Twitter password) echo the newly formed encounter to their twitter account’s stream.