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.

Dec 162011

This summer the WildObs platform outgrew itself, and it became time to move up.

I’ll skip the technical details, but the new platform should allow improved performance, and a fresher look. WildObs is better ready for the years ahead.

That said, things were not without a significant number of growing pains, and … ouch, some those hurt! WildObs was down for a while, and it has taken some time to get back to stability.

Hopefully we are long passed the worst of it, and getting better. However, if you notice any problems, please let us know.

Feb 212010

I was out hiking the other morning and came upon a critter I’d not encountered before. Okay, I’ve seen the species (I believe it was a red fox) however it wasn’t red, nor silver, nor white (albino/leucistic) … it was jet black!

I didn’t know such a coloration existed for a red fox, but doing some research it seems they do occur naturally. This guy was not going to hang around for me to see if s/he had a white tip to the tail, s/he ambled up the hill (with the typical fox bounce in the step) and disappeared over the rise.

S/he left quite an impression with me. A wonderful start to a hike. One more indication of how there is so much new and exciting to learn outdoors…

Black Fox on the Hill

Black against the snow

Black Fox Silhouette

Black, not that a Silhouette can show that

Feb 152010

To record your wildlife encounter with WildObs all you need are the what, where, when.

  • What species did you see.
  • Where did you see it.
  • When did the encounter occur.

Here is a short video of the process on the website:

More WildObs videos can be found here http://youtube.com/wildobservations.

Some tips & pointers:

  • Everything is editable, and things like descriptions, photos, videos can be added at a later date.
  • Don’t worry if WildObs doesn’t find your species or location immediately, those can be refined later (including being added to the WildObs database.)
  • Tags (keywords) are comma separated categorizations. E.g. first-of-season.
  • Title and Description are optional, but do enrich the encounter.
  • Syndicate means “this is more than the everyday encounter, it should be published as such”.
  • Public/Private allows you to  record encounters, but not share them with anybody else.

Quickest Record Entry:

This is how the Record your Encounter link button appears on pages

Record your Encounter (with context)

Whenever you see the following link button on the top right of a page you can enter a wildobs, and information from the page you are on will be used as defaults on that wildobs encounter. This can save both typing and look-ups.

  • Species page: The species (what) is defaulted.
  • Place page: The place (where) is defaulted.
  • Encounter page. The species & place are defaulted.
  • Image page. The photograph is defaulted.

For example if you’ve seen another encounter that you’ve posted before, you can press “Record your WildObs” on that encounter to carry over most of t he details (with the time changing to now.)

Thanks for sharing your wildlife, and guiding others to nature.

Dec 162009

WildObsMobile for iPhone allows wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy the WildObs community; access featured, popular and recent encounters as well as look-up species.

Unlike WildObs Observer, which is  designed as an offline tool for field work, WildObs Mobile is an online tool for interacting with the WildObs Community. WildObsMobile utilizes minimal device storage.

Check out this free wildlife iphone application — and allow WildObs to help you find your nature:

WildObs Mobile 1.0 for iPhone

WildObs Mobile 1.0 for iPhone

Available on the App Store
Dec 072009

There have been a number of requests to for importing photographs previously uploaded to Flickr into WildObs, for use in describing a wildlife encounter. In short the process is:

  • Go to your wildobs photograph gallery from your home page, and use the Flickr tab.
  • Allow WildObs to connect to Flickr, authorizing it (typically once only) if needed.
  • Select the photograph or photographs you wish to import.
  • Create new wildlife encounters from one or more of these photographs.
Here it the link on Flickr to the application:

Here is a simple how-to video on how to use this new feature. All feedback is welcomed.

Mar 052009
Hummer Anticipation

Hummer Anticipation

Will you survey your wildlife species this year? Here is why I (and others) do on WildObs.com. Please join us.

One of the many things I love about Colorado is how dramatic the seasons are. Glorious summers, beautiful autumns, white winters (normally) and budding/optimistic springs. Springs bring an abundance of life to Colorado after the relative peace of winter. Springs bring birds back from migration, bears back from hibernation, and plants to sustain them all. For me the anticipation of spring is palpable, I get increasingly excited as the days get warmer, and the species return.

I have watched and recorded the return of broad-tailed hummingbirds to Colorado for over a decade (how long I’ve been in this house, which is almost as long as I’ve been up these mountains) and I know to expect the first scout on April 15th (or April 14th more recently.) I clean out my feeders (and remind my local community to do the same via http://www.hummingbirds.net/feeders.html#cleaning) and present these red beacons to the sky by April 1st. I know I am listening for that sound, that buzzing hum, from then on.

Finally, a year ago, I decided I wanted to record my encounters (especially first-of-season encounters) shared on a public website. I didn’t find a website that let me pick the species, or let me pick what species I wanted to record and/or follow. In part this led to the creation of WildObs http://wildobs.com/.

With WildObs each individual gets to monitor and record the species that touch them, the ones they love or admire (like the wren, one of the better songbirds up here.) If the WildObs database does not contain the species you care for, add it & it will. What is different about WildObs is that these recording are shared but also collected as yours, you can

Record the species in your neighborhood (in your yard or on your feeder) but also record what you find at you parks, on your hikes. Your neighbors will thank you for bringing them an understanding of their wildlife neighbors.

Members of the Coal Creek Canyon community have started work on their regional wildlife species list. This survey has helped newcomers to the canyon learn what that big blue bird is, or how frequently bears get stuck in unlocked cars (so lock them!)

Doing a spring survey of your neighborhood, or while on your walks, is fun and records citizen science data for you and others to benefit from. Best of all? You will almost certainly get more in touch with your nature, and probably even learn from human wildlife lovers around you.

Survey your wildlife today.

Jan 142009

For years we’ve played a family road-trip game in Colorado of “Elk, Deer, Antelope”. Basically the goal is to be first to see one of each on a trip, and we stretch this to include Bighorn Sheep/Moose when the country allows. Seeing deer is easy, they are often grazing up on the hillside, and Elk (when seen) are often in big herds, so stand out. Pronghorn are the most elusive because even when in plain sight they blend in so well.

Pronghorns Galore

I find them almost out of place on the Colorado plains, as if they came over from Africa and chose to stay (like me from the UK.) They are impressive (the second fastest land animal) and it is hard to see what natural predators they have out here. Watching them bolt, full speed across the ground, is a treat. Normally the stand or sit (bedded) and watch you go by w/o noticing them. Again, their coloring helps them blend in.

My tip for seeing Pronghorn is to visit here in the winter:

Eleven Mile State Park, CO

This is an impressive park, especially in the winter. The reservoir is large, and the park around it sits in the open plains exposed to the elements, and most rugged. The ice seem peaceful (as do the groups of ice fishermen) but on a warm CO winter day there are still wonders to see. Amusingly I’ve come across ‘wild’ herds of donkey and llamas on two trips; both coming to visit the car out of curiosity. Harrier scoured the land looking for small rodents. A barren landscape, but a good snowshoe (and possibly cross country ski) spot.

Last year I saw hundreds (quite possibly a thousand) of these guy on one afternoon. I drove the loop from Lake George to here and back (going the back roads) and did an almost 360 around the lake (as  much as roads & some trails allowed.) I started by seeing one or two herds of Pronghorn up on the hills, but soon I was in the thick of them. Both sides of the road, in small/large groups, crossing the road. Everywhere. WOW. I guess they’ve found a relatively protected place to winter.

This year I saw only a hundred or so. I suspect the important factor is time of year, last year I was there in March.

Great seeing them.