After a number of tries at using Birdwatcher’s Diary, I dumped it and switched to BirdLog which is developed by the folks who developed BirdsEye which is one of my favorite apps on my iPhone. I found Birdwatcher’s Diary very tricky to use, even though I’m pretty “geeky” and read the instructions. It was too frustrating for me and I just swallowed the $12.95 and moved on.
I’ve been using BirdLog for about a month — not on every outing but ten times so far. Even though we have no cell coverage in our woods, it works offline and I can upload an eBird report when I get home. It seems like I’m always trying to find a pen, or the bird notebook currently being used, but my iPhone is always on me when I’m ready to go.
If you know eBird, it’s easy to use. First you set up an outing and it automatically grabs the start time (or you can modify it) and uses any hotspots or personal sites you already have. You can use the smartphone GPS to define a new birding spot.
It loads the database for your area and off you go, tapping to select the bird and the count. If you see 19 American Crows, in they go and off you go to look for other species. My bird counts are more accurate since you enter them as you see them — and add more if you see more later.
I’m not too good, yet, at bird codes although I also have an app for looking those up. It’s called Nemesis Code and only costs $.99. However, in reading the background for the codes, I find that they are easier to determine than I expected. It’s the fastest way to select the bird you’ve seen.
I do run into some problems when I’m just birding and not using the apps — it sometimes reverts back to the entry page (although my ongoing report is saved and easy to recall). It’s easy to spend too much time with you eyes on the screen rather than the trees — but that’s the same problem you can have with notepads and errant pens.
Probably the neatest aspect of Birdlog is that you don’t have to “reconstruct” reports for entering into eBird when you get home — you just let them fly when you’re done. If you are going to four more sites that day, it’s easy to track and submit for each location — rather than trying to decipher notes later on. The app for the iPhone is $9.99 in the iTunes App Store. There’s also an Android app.