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Gadgets and Apps to help in the field

Sorry for the delay on the next blog, life has got in the way as usual. Well I thought I'd share my Gadgets and Apps I find invaluable out in the field and I almost use whenever I'm out taking photos.


Gadgets

My first piece of kit is the Keen Ranger PT. This is an amazing piece of hardware that is invaluable to any wildlife photographer. This clever trail camera is the benchmark all others are compared to. It has full 360 degree live viewing via cellular network. An optional extra is the solar panel that keeps the battery fully charged via solar energy. It can be fitted pretty much anywhere with the option of a strap or screws supplied.

I've only recently set it up in a secret location and I'm getting great results straight to my phone. It pings notifications whenever something is detected and I watch it live there and then. I'll do a more extensive review once I have some interesting footage to share.


Another piece of kit I only recently invested in is the Hikmicro LH25 Pro Thermal Monocular. This is another amazing piece of technology that I've always considered to be essential. I've used it pretty much every time I've been out, especially when looking for camouflaged species such as Woodcock and Snipe.


I can easily detect them over 100m away and it increases my chances of photographing these elusive birds. For the record, I have found woodcock and taken a few photos but none that I'm 100% happy with so I'm still trying. The amazing thing is it opens up options including where I can just sit watch species that were once invisible, it gives me a unique opportunity to see their behaviour without disturbing them.





Here's a photo taken from the LH25 of my dogs with some amazing detail. It also has the ability to record video and live view through an app so you can watch it via your phone. There are 4 different settings that give the viewer unique detail which help with identification.



Apps

1. BirdNet This is my go to App when I hear a new bird call or just when I need to freshen up on my calls. It's invaluable when you hear

something new. Open the app and it comes to a record page. It starts automatically and once you see it has recorded the sound, you highlight the section you'd like analysed, click on analyse and within a minute you have the correct bird or a wild guess which hasn't failed so far. You also have an option to save the recording if you want to find out what the bird species is later, usually something I use if I don't have access to 4G or Wifi.

I highly rate this app, its very easy to use and my bird call recognition has improved no end. Always an advantage when you first arrive at a site and you can not always see the birds but you can automatically know what's there just by the calls.

2. Chirp Another bird identification app, however, this has the majority of European birds and all that reside in the UK. Upon opening the app, you can scroll down to the required

bird and you click on it and it plays the call of the bird, some even have the alarm call of the species. I use this app mostly when I need to attract a bird for a closer look, I'll play the call a few times and the bird usually investigates, allowing it to come out of its cover and I can get a clean shot. This works really well for Wrens and Robins but its important not to play the sound over and over as it could force the bird to look for a new territory. This app has a "quiz" option too which allows you to get better at recognising bird calls.

Other worthy apps are the Voice recording app, always useful to record essential sounds in order to analyse later. Another app is BirdGuides, I've only got the free app which records what species have been seen. Once you pay for the full version, you get the latest recorded location of that species. What3words is another good app to have, especially if you get lost and you need to let others know you're in trouble. And finally the all important OSMaps app. I pay a yearly subscription and I find myself doing the exploring via here before I set foot outside.

There's a bit of an insight into some of the apps and gadgets I use to help me plan and execute wildlife photography. I'll do a more extensive review of the Ranger PT which I hope to share soon. I'll also be sharing the photography kit I use and maybe some editing tips soon. Thanks.


Mark









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