By Jessi Loerch
If you like bird-watching, and you have an iPhone or iPod, you should check out the Great Washington State Birding Trail app.
The app is a guide to seven driving loops that cover the whole state. Altogether, it has information on more than 375 birding spots.
You could, of course, use it as a way to navigate a grand birding trip. I think, though, that it’s better as a quick guide to finding interesting spots near you. You could use this anytime you feel a fancy to go looking for some birds.
For example, I’m in Everett. It lists a variety of nearby places where I know from experience I am likely to see birds: Spencer Island, Jetty Island, Lowell Riverfront Trail.
If you click on any location, it gives you a description of the area and tells you what birds you are likely to see there. For example, at Spencer Island, you might see wood ducks, osprey, bald eagles and belted kingfishers, among others. It’s clearly not a comprehensive list, however, or it would mention blue herons, which I always see there.
If you click on a bird, you can get photos and more information. However, the app links to the Wikipedia page for each bird, which seems a bit weak. Still, this isn’t really meant to be a bird guide, so I’ll let it slip.
There is also a handy little feature called “nearby.” Click it and it will tell you about restaurants, hotels and points of interest nearby. I think the restaurant info would be particularly helpful for a birding excursion. A hearty lunch is vital for best performance, you know.
Downloading the basic app is free. You can get the first six stops on each loop for free. If you’d like the info for an entire loop, that’s $1.99; info for all seven loops is $9.99.
Get more info on the app here.