Jan 242013

It’s coming up for that time again … Peregrine Falcons (PEFA) monitoring for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP).. Later in the year it’ll be bat monitoring, but I’ll write about that later.

Timestamped Field Notes turns your iPod, iPhone or iPad into a tool for easily taking notes and recording observations in the field. Given how the species that you are doing behavioral observations upon doesn’t wait for you to write down the time, or type out the ¬†actions they took, this application is design for speed of capturing that record. Speed, and (even better) not having to look too closely so taking your eyes off the subject as little as possible.¬†Timestamped Field Notes allows the observer to configure buttons to represent the expected events allowing a single click to record time/event.

Timestamped Field Notes allows you to customize the button text, group buttons into color groups (to easily locate them.) Upon button click a timestamp is created and a (configurable) timeout begins that will automatically commit the record for you unless you add more to it. You can view (and edit if needed) the records.

The buttons (and you can have pages of them if needed) are for quick access, however there is always full text editing capability if needed for those unusual occurrences. The application has a facility to learn about commonly entered text words and will propose buttons.

Export the data using text cut-n-paste into another application, or e-mail to a remote system. Seconds are available. Further you can import and/or export button configurations for sharing with others.

See more about how to use Timestamped Field Notes for Behavioral Observation recording, or check it out int the Apple App Store.

Here is what I’ll be doing with it

May 022012

One of the best things I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in, for the past few years, is the Raptor Monitoring program of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP.) With conservation efforts, raptors have been recovering in Colorado, and even the re-introduced¬†Peregrine Falcons (PEFA) are gaining in numbers. Volunteers (like me) monitor the nesting area weekly in order to determine territory occupancy, and reproduction productivity.

Peregrine Falcon Monitoring with iPad and iPhone

Field Notes with iPad and iPhone

I’ve been visiting my assigned location for a few years now, and never cease to be amazed by how much I enjoy it. I think of each trip as “another beautiful day in paradise” and it certainly is. I get to watch the change of the seasons, from late winter when the birds return to the area, to deep into summer. The changes of spring are quite thrilling to experience, and each year I feel a little more connected to this place.

I’d barely seen peregrine falcons in the wild, but now I’ve watched the peregrines select their scrape site, mate, incubate their eggs and raise their chicks to fledglings. I’ve heard and seen the awesome PEFA stoops, watched territory disputes, seems PEFA consume their prey, and become party to a wide variety of behaviors. I’ve gone from barely knowing these birds, to feeling somewhat connected. I feel honored.

I carry a pack on each of my monitoring session, and in it I have a notepad and pen in order to record notes. I’ve never cracked open that pad. For some reason I began taking notes in my iPhone, in Apple’s Notepad app, and kept on doing so. It’s taken me a few years to finally get sufficiently frustrated with typing on that keyboard, entering (and re-entering due to typos) times, and spending too much time looking at the phone and not admiring/observing the birds.

I finally wrote this application in order to make taking timestamped field notes a lot easier. I’ve used it on the past few weeks of observations, and it allows me to both record more and observe more. More time watching the PEFA is a good thing.