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Natural Perspectives: iCan't get enough of birding apps on iPad

November 30, 2011|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • Brown Pelicans come in for a landing.
Brown Pelicans come in for a landing. (HB Independent )

I bought myself an iPad 2 about three weeks ago and became instantly addicted. I should point out that Vic and I are long-time PC people, not Apple people. Well, we used to be anyway.

Vic switched his desktop computer from a PC to Mac this year, so he's become a convert. But neither of us are iPhone people. We both have a Blackberry. For me, the Blackberry is just a tool. I use my Blackberry for email more than phone calls, but don't use apps on it to any great extent. The iPad 2 is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

I loved my iPad from the minute I opened it and began swiping the touch screen. I began downloading apps as fast as I could find them. Weather predictions, earthquake maps, navigation tools, gardening apps, recipe collections — you name it.

Then I found apps for reading books. After downloading free Kindle, Google Books, and Overdrive apps, I signed up for a library card from the Newport Beach Public Library. I learned how to check out books electronically onto my iPad. The Newport library has far more ebooks than the Huntington Beach Public Library.

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I also downloaded many free books from Project Gutenberg, which has scads of old titles that are out of copyright. I'm currently rereading Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" on my iPad.

That book certainly helped shape my life as a conservationist when I read it for the first time during my college days. His espousal of a minimalist, non-materialistic lifestyle is one that would serve everyone well during these days of frantic consumerism as we spend our way through the days leading up to Christmas.

I became so enthralled with my iPad and what it would do that I began carrying it with me everywhere. I took it with me to Starbucks so I could read or do emails while sipping a venti mocha decaf. I took it with me to lunch at Fritzankotters on Warner Avenue to enjoy a sandwich. I took it with me to Izzy's Bagels in Fountain Valley to enjoy a breakfast bagel.

I leave my iPad on my nightstand so I can check the weather, news and earthquake maps first thing in the morning. On some mornings, I stay in bed for a couple of hours, just reading. Oh my, I can't put the thing down.

And then I found apps for birding. I downloaded iBird and eBird, thinking that Vic would enjoy them. I had no idea that those apps would reignite my passion for birding and bird photography.

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