During your outdoor adventures this summer you may run across a unique looking tree you don’t recognize, a beautiful bird you can’t quite put your finger on, or maybe a polluted or littered area of a stream. Instead of being left on your own, some mobile applications can help you identify that new species or report that pollution!

We’ve been playing around with some of the mobile tools that can help you make the most of your outdoor experiences this summer. Here are some of our favorite, free mobile apps to check out:

Merlin Bird ID.Beef up your “life list” of birds you’ve identified easily with this simple application. This useful app has you figuring out what bird you’re seeing based on your location and the bird’s size, color, shape, look and sound.

Learn a little about the app with the Cornell Lab’s video below and you can download the app here.[youtube id=”OkH11ZiIL9E” width=”600″ height=”350″ ]

Water Reporter. With this app you can report what you’re doing on the water as well as what you find there. Whether it’s kayaking, fishing, excessive trash or a fish kill, you can report what’s happening to your waterways in real time. You can also sign up to see what’s going on in your area! If someone makes a report in the areas you’re interested, the people at Water Reporter will let you know so you can stay in touch with the water you care about.

Check out reports near you and download the app here. Now is a great time to use the leaf snap app as trees are fully “leafed out”. (Photo of a Baltimore oriole in tree courtesy of CBP.)Leaf Snap.This mobile app (available only for apple iPhone and iPad) uses visual recognition software to help you identify trees from your photographs of their leaves. Developed by some here in the watershed at the University of Maryland, this app has many of the common native and some non-native trees that can be found in the area.

Learn more and download the app here.Chesapeake Catch.This app lets avid fishermen and newbies alike log details and pictures of the sportfish that they’ve caught into a personal record. Share your catch info with other anglers and with scientists that want to know more about how Chesapeake fisheries are doing.

Find out more about the application and download it here. Frank and Audrey Peterman, the 2015 Forum’s Plenary Speakers, encouraged attendees to work towards greater inclusion and diversity in the conservation movement.Creek Critters.So catching fish, birding or identifying flora isn’t your passion… but checking out benthic macroinvertebrates is? This is the mobile app to have in your pocket when you’re mucking around the streams! The Audobon Naturalits Society’s Creek Critters app will help you identify the tiny creatures that live in freshwater streams near you.

See more about the app and download it here.Be sure to tell us if you use and like these applications and what cool apps we missed on twitter and facebook!