Year round NatureWatch replaces census
Once a year for the past ten years, the West Coast Penguin Trust has been inviting you to take an early morning walk on the beach to count blue penguin tracks, but now you can record penguins or their tracks quickly and easily at any time of year through NatureWatch.
We have set up a West Coast Penguin Trust project for penguin reporting within NatureWatch, and you can add other bird or in fact any other interesting nature observations at any time on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
NatureWatch has been around for a few years and is ‘the online place for Kiwi nature watchers’.
We’re asking you to record any penguin observations via our project in the NatureWatch app, which uses the globally recognised and accessible iNaturalist system. It could be penguin tracks, a live penguin, or if you find a dead penguin, you could add that too, all of which will help our understanding of penguins on the West Coast.
It may take a few minutes to install and familiarise yourself with it, but then it’s a piece of cake to add your records including your photos.
At home, create a login and then find West Coast Penguin Trust under ‘Projects’, and join our project. Then, under ‘Observations’, start entering your record or records! You just zoom into the map and click on the location of the observation and add details, comments and photos following the prompts.
For your mobile devices, scroll to the bottom of the NatureWatch webpage and get the Android or iphone app. Then the same applies – create a login if you haven’t already, find and join our project, and then record your observation. If your mobile device is GPS enabled, it will find your location, you can add a note and a photo and the few details for our project and move on to the next observation, perhaps more penguin tracks, as you walk along the beach.
One option you are offered is to make the location public, obscured or private. We suggest that you select the ‘Location is obscured’ option, so that observations are visible, but not in precise detail.
You can also look at our project to see where others have recorded observations.
There is plenty of help in the NatureWatch help section, so give it a go – have a play!
Penguin activity leaving tracks across the beach seems to peak in October, so check for low tide times and enjoy a walk on your local beach, getting in touch with nature and penguins, and record the tracks in our NatureWatch project. We look forward to seeing your reports!
And don’t forget, NatureWatch is for all nature observations, so you can add other encounters, perhaps oystercatchers, dotterels, shags, seals, skinks, or a curious fungus or seashell! Enjoy!