How many times have you gone outdoors and seen something that you cannot identify? For me it is thousands and I’m sure you will be the same. Nature is a wondrous thing and to be able to understand even a small part of that can be very rewarding. Often when I go out I’ll take photographs with the intention of delving into the ID books later on. Inevitably this doesn’t happen or if it does, I can’t find what I’ve photographed. It can be a bit demoralising and can put you off from doing it again.
For anyone who wants to be able to identify anything in nature, I urge you to check out iSpot at www.ispot.org.uk (or search for iSpot). The concept is a pretty simple one. You register with your name and email address, upload a photo and people will identify it for you. There are also keys so you can try and identify it yourself. If you see someone else’s photo and you know what it is, you can suggest an identification yourself. It’s a great learning resource and is brilliant to use with children. They can take photos of things they see when they’re outdoors, upload them and within 20mins (usually) their creature will have been identified!
The other great thing about iSpot is that it is free and they have an android app so you can use it on your phone at the time. You may even get an ID before you get home!
An exciting sighting that I did not need iSpot for last week was an otter outside the Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre. I could hear the distinctive squeeky bike wheel noise it makes before I spotted it below our office window.
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger