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Gaborone City Nature Challenge 2020

GABORONE NEEDS YOU !

A FUN EVENT !

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-gaborone
http://citynaturechallenge.org/

Gaborone and nearby Mochudi, Ramotswa and Molepolole have entered the City Nature Challenge 2020 which takes place April 24 to May 3.

Please encourage your family, friends, churchmates, fellow workers, children to have a go at using iNaturalist and get out and about, enjoying the nature of the Gaborone area by taking part in the City Nature Challenge 2020 and help show off the amazing biodiversity around Gabs.

Please join this project.
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-gaborone

To join, click on the project and click the join project button at the top right and follow the instructions.
Updates will then appear on your dashboard.

Message Botswanabugs and keneilwe_onewithnature using iNat messages to get more info about this amazing competition or to tell us how you can help out or give suggestions.

Contact us if you are interested in organising Bioblitzes , Nature Walks, Identification Parties or any other events to promote Gaborone's entry in this fun competition.

Think of ways of making the City Nature Challenge one of the biggest ANNUAL events in the life of Gaboronians. Your help is really needed with graphic design, advertising and marketing the event, making small films about the City Nature Challenge and iNaturalist. We need to find ways of getting ALL schools, teachers, school and college students, scouts, biologists, horticulturists, agriculturists and nature lovers aware of the competition and having a go at using iNaturalist.

We are looking for organisations, media companies, newspapers, radio and TV stations that can provide
FREE advertising and coverage of iNaturalist and the City Nature Challenge 2020 Gaborone.

Please, iNatters everywhere in Botswana and around the world, GABORONE NEEDS YOU to get involved by IDENTIFYING all the species uploaded onto iNat from the Gaborone area.

Enjoy the CNC2020 competiton !

Let's show off the wonderful Gaborone area biodiversity to the whole World !

From Gaborone iNaturalists

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por botswanabugs botswanabugs | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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More slime/mold links:

Per bouteloua's helpful post

Fungi w/ at least one ID of slime molds
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=47684&taxon_id=47170 2

Slime mold w/ at least one ID of fungi
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=47170&taxon_id=47684 1

“Life” w/ at least one ID of fungi OR slime molds
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?lrank=stateofmatter&ident_taxon_id=47170,47684 1

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por schizoform schizoform | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Fire and water

Another visit to the Mountain fire area and then to a wash downstream of the fire. The wash is fed in part by the burned watershed. Nothing much new to report from the burned area, beyond the sprouting of Marah gilensis vines. A literal ground-breaking event - there were cracks in the soil where one of them was sprouting. Other than that and a small cluster of mushrooms near it, the area looked much as it did last visit.

The wash downstream was a different story. This is the wash where I found four Abutilon parishii plants. There are three now, because a flood last November took out the larger plant.

In previous trips to the wash from above, I was able to travel only so far before the vegetation became impenetrable. Approaching from below (as I did last June) I also could walk only so far before the wash was again impenetrable.

It is impenetrable no more. The flood that took out the abutilon also cleared a path through the third of a mile or so that had remained unexplored. It's not easy to get through - much climbing over or crawling under fallen trees - but it's possible. For now.

Another contrast: at the burn area site, I saw exactly one animal besides myself: a honeybee working filaree flowers. I heard no birds; not one. I stopped every now and then to glass the area. Nothing. At the lower wash site, there must have been a hundred birds in the first quarter-mile of the hike. Cardinals, canyon and Abert's towhees, a sparrow I didn't know (though I have some sketchy photos), phainopeplas, cactus wrens, gnatcatchers and some calls I didn't recognize. Further up the wash where the walls are steep, canyon wrens. Not calling, but bitching about my presence. Can't blame 'em.

Photos to come.

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por stevejones stevejones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Citizen Scientists Track How Plastic Pollution Impacts Birds.

Last month, Donnelly-Greenan published a study with her colleagues that analyzed beach surveys done by trained volunteers—so-called citizen scientists—in six coastal counties. Collectively, the surveyors observed 65,604 marine animal carcasses on California beaches in the past 20 years. Of these, 357 were cases of seabird entanglements. While disturbing, this information is necessary to assess and ultimately offer solutions to the problem of plastics.

https://www.taftmidwaydriller.com/news/20200128/for-love-of-birds-slideshow-is-feb-13?template=ampart

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Citizen Scientists Track How Plastic Pollution Impacts Birds.

Donnelly-Greenan has seen some disturbing items in the stomachs of remote seabirds: bottle caps and even toy army men in the bellies of albatross, for example. The risks of plastic pollution aren’t confined to ingestion, either. Even airborne birds become the bycatch of abandoned fishing lines. But Donnelly-Greenan, a marine biologist at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California, is assembling public data to do something about it.

https://www.yesmagazine.org/environment/2020/01/28/plastic-pollution-birds/

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Backyard Biodiversity


Ever wondered just how many species you've seen or could find on your property? It is easy enough to upload an observation from your property and set the observation location to "obscured" so that your location is kept private. However that means it can be hard to track which of your observations have been on your property and which species you have recorded there.

For anyone wanting to build a backyard life list, I've put together a guide to setting up a personal Traditional project that can include all observations from your property while keeping your location private: Guide to creating your own "Backyard Biodiversity" Traditional project

If you create a Backyard Biodiversity project using this guide, you can request it be added to the associated Umbrella project "Backyard Biodiversity (South Australia)"


Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Guide to creating your own "Backyard Biodiversity" Traditional project


This guide has been prepared for those looking to join the Umbrella project "Backyard Biodiversity (South Australia)" by creating their own "Backyard Biodiversity" projects on iNaturalist to help track observations from their properties.

Any resident of South Australia is welcome to follow this guide to create their own "Traditional" project to help track observations recorded on their property and then request their project be included in the Umbrella project. This guide will also provide a method for ensuring that the location of your property remains obscured.

Follow the steps below to create your own Traditional project and start building a collection of observations from your own backyard.


Background
This guide assumes you already have an iNaturalist account and some experience using the platform. If you are new to iNaturalist check of the Help page. It is generally not recommended that new users create projects until they have gained familiarity with the platform.


Prerequisites
In order to create at Traditional project, users must have uploaded at least 50 observations. The reason for this is explained in THIS blog post.


Reason for Creating a Traditional Project to Collect Backyard Observations
The new format "Collection" projects are ideal for collecting all observations from a particular place or of a particular taxa. A "Place" is created with a boundary and all observations within it of the designated taxa are automatically included in the project. However, when an observation location is obscured, either due to the taxa being on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species list or due to user preference, then the location marker is scattered to somewhere within an approximately 20km x 20km square. As this is likely to fall outside the project place boundary, it is not included in the Collection project.

So suppose you want to create a project showing all the observations from your own backyard, but don't want the exact locations made public. You choose to obscure the location of the observations. Now if you create a Collection project using your property as the Place, most of the observation locations will not fall within the project place boundary. The project may include no observations.

This is where a Traditional project can be of value. Observations are added to Traditional projects manually and don't need to be associated with a particular Place. If you have your own Traditional project, you can add all your backyard observations without publicly displaying the exact locations.


Example Traditional Project
So what does such a Traditional project collecting backyard observations look like? The project "Backyard Biodiversity (cobaltducks)" is one I have created to collect all the observations from my backyard. It has been set up using the steps in this guide. Note that the map shows all observations as obscured.


Setting Up Your Own Traditional "Backyard Biodiversity" Project
The process is a relatively simple one but does include a number of steps. Please follow the steps below closely. Any issues, please ask in the comments section or send me a message.


Step 1: Creating Your Traditional Project

  • Follow the link to the Projects page. Scroll to the last paragraph on the page discussing Traditional projects and click the link in the text. This will open the page to start a new Traditional project.
  • If you wish for your project to be included in the Umbrella project "Backyard Biodiversity (South Australia)" please in the "Title" section call your project "Backyard Biodiversity (username), where 'username' is your user profile name. This will make the project easier to find and provide consistency for the Umbrella project.
  • Leave the "Project Type" as "Normal"
  • To add a "Project Icon" click "Choose File". I suggest using your user profile icon here.
  • To add a "Project Cover" click "Choose File". This image will be a banner at the top of the project page. Choose any image you find suitable.
  • In the "Preferred Membership Model" select "invite-only"
  • In the "Preferred Submission Model" select "project curators"
  • In the "Description" box you can explain your project function and background. You can include your property size and local environment type. If you are planning to join the associated Umbrella project please include the following line somewhere in the description: This project is part of the Umbrella project "Backyard Biodiversity (South Australia)."
  • The "Terms" section can remain blank at this stage.
  • The "Location" section can remain blank as you alone will be adding new observations and can ensure only those seen in your backyard are included.
  • In the "Observation Rules" section select "Add a New Rule" and choose "be verifiable" from the drop down list. This will ensure that only verifiable observations can be included, and casual observations of cultivated and captive organisms are excluded.
  • The "Project List", "Observation Fields" and "Tracking Codes" sections can remain blank for now.
    Now click "Create" to create your new Traditional project.


Step 2: Adding Observations to Your Project
Your project has now been created but does not yet have any observations included. These need to be added manually.

  • Open up the page to one of your backyard observations that you wish to include in the project.
  • Scroll down and on the right hand side of the page you'll see the option "Add to a Project". Click in the box and begin typing in the name of your project. It should appear in a drop-down list as you type. Find it, and select the project.

This observations is now included in your Traditional project and it should show this on the list of associated projects on the observation page.


Step 3: Obscuring the Observation Location (Optional)
If you wish to ensure that your property location remain private, then each observation added to the project will need to have its geoprivacy set to "Obscured". You may have already set the observation location to obscured when you first uploaded the observation. If you haven't, then follow the steps below.

  • Go to the page for the observation you want to update.
  • Select the blue "Edit" button in the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Under the satellite map shown on the edit page select the drop down list next to "change geoprivacy" and change it to obscured.
  • Now scroll down the page and "Save observation"

The system may take a few minutes to update, but the observation location will be obscured. However please note that if you are logged into iNaturalist, you will see the exact location on both the observation page and on the project page. To test this, log out and find your observation and project pages and note that the exact locations are not shown.


Step 4: Adding New & Past Observations
Adding new observations to the backyard biodiversity project is as simple as ensuring the observation location is obscured and then adding the project on the observation page.
If you have a large number of observations already uploaded, and wish to add them to the project, they can be done one by one, or by the "Batch Edit" option on the "Edit Observations" page.


Step 5: Joining the Umbrella Project "Backyard Biodiversity (South Australia)"
After creating your backyard biodiversity project, you can request to have your project included in the associated Umbrella project by sending me a message or requesting in the comments section below.


Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2020 por cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Mark those calendars! April 24-27 - how will DFW do?

Hey all, be sure to mark your calendars for the City Nature Challenge on April 24 - 27! How many things can you observe during these four days?!?

Here's a fun challenge -- search for the species that have been observed in DFW that you've not yet recorded!
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?hrank=species&place_id=57484&subview=grid&unobserved_by_user_id=sambiology&view=species

Just replace the "sambiology" with your username. You can filter then by plants, or beetles, or birds, or whatever.

I'll update another journal on this project page with a list of events -- bioblitzes, nature gatherings, etc... Let me know if you know of some.

Looking forward to spring! :)

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 13 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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2019 Yearly Summary and Winter Observation Challenge

The Runge Biodiversity Project has wrapped up another year of observations, and what a year it has been! 2019 was a record breaking year for the project in regards to the number of observers, members added, observations made, and species observed. We also hosted our first ever Runge Bioblitz this past June. The event attracted over 500 participants, including 41 observers that made over 850 observations of 459 species in just 24 hours. There is no doubt this effort led to a record breaking month of June with 59 observers adding 927 observations, more than half of what we averaged during the last two years (2017 with 1623, and 2018 with 1658 observation made). In total, 103 observers made 3109 observations of 1013 species during 2019. This brings our project total to 140 observers that have made 6453 observations of 1468 species since March of 2017. Purple coneflower (Echinecea purpurea) was the most frequently observed organism during the year, with 33 observations. Of course, we could not have done any of this without the iNaturalist community, the 835 identifiers that added their expertise to the project, and most importantly ...YOU!!!

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Winter Observation Scavenger Hunt Challenge

Winter can be a challenging time to get outside and observe Missouri's flora and fauna. The prairies, forests, and aquatic habitats that cover the state seem like they are devoid of life, but we know better. Challenge yourself to get outside this winter by participating in our iNaturalist observation scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts can be found at the front desk of the nature center. After completing the hunt using the iNaturalist app or website and adding your observations to the "Runge Biodiversity Project," stop at the front desk to receive a free nature discovery item. Don't forget to share your favorite observations using Instagram - #RungeBiodiversityProject. Get out, observe, and explore this winter!

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por amlambert11 amlambert11 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Birds in 2019

30 species in the first year:

Common:
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Magpie
Jackdaw
Black-headed Gull
Common Swift
Grey Heron
Blackbird
Robin
Dunnock
Wren
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Chaffinch
House Sparrow

Uncommon:
Common Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Collared Dove
Carrion Crow
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Common Starling
Blackcap
Goldfinch

Rare:
Jay
Song Thrush
Chiffchaff
Short-toed Treecreeper
Long-tailed Tit
Goldcrest

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por stanvrem stanvrem | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Common Bryophytes of Towns and Cities

This list is intended to help anybody, particularly my girlfriend, to identify some of the commonest mosses and liverworts in urban areas. I've put some of my not great observations for reference.

Mosses on Walls or Stonework:
Tortula muralis - need to photograph
Grimmia pulvinata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24854367
Rosulabryum capillare - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24854357
Syntrichia montana - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18893525
Orthotrichum anomalum - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36937079
Schistidium crassipilum - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19763199
Homalothecium sericeum - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13017398

Mosses on Pavements:
Bryum argenteum - need to photograph
Ignore the others - they're annoying. Most will be in genus Didymodon

Liverworts on Pavements and on Soil:
Marchantia polymorpha - need to photograph
Lunularia cruciata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17718329

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por georgeg georgeg | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Garden comparison march 2019 - november 2019

March 2019


November 2019

Work done:
Decreased paved garden area from ~80% to ~15% and planted a lot of native and naturalized plants.
Put up a great tit nest box and five house sparrow nest boxes.
Made a bench out of the slabs that came out of the garden.
Started building a raised planter that will contain a pond.
Put up bird feeders.

Still to do:
Create branch/habitat piles.
Plant more climbers and place trellises for them to cover.
Install the pond in the planter, and a container mini pond in the front garden.
Add more plants to the garden & front garden.
Cut back some of the exotic shrubs to make place for more interesting plants.
Record as many species in the garden as possible!

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por stanvrem stanvrem | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Courses

City Nature Challenge iNaturalist courses - Cape Town

iNat training sessions by either Tony, Megan or Ilhaam

Venue: Kirstenbosch Research Centre Seminar Room

February
Tues 4th
Thurs 13th

March
Tues 3rd 31st
Thurs 5th 19th
Evening Tues 17th Thurs 19th

April
Tues 7th 14th 21st
Thur 2nd 9th 16th
Evening Tues 14th Thurs 16th
ID course - Wed - 15th

If you wish to organize courses for your own group, you will need at least 5 attendees. Courses will be open to other parties to a maximum of 20 people, and a minimum of 10. Please post your requests in comments below. Courses with less than 10 attendees will be cancelled. Please RSVP on the Facebook events page, and follow instructions there. .

Courses are also planned by CREW staff at
Blouberg, Tygerberg, Helderberg, Kommetjie - venue and dates to be determined.

City of Cape Town will be running courses aimed at staff (and selected CREW) in reserves, libraries and

Times:
9am start for smartphone course. Come with iNaturalist preloaded onto phone and having joined iNaturalist. Duration 1 hour. If you are having problems come at 08h30: and we will sort you out before the course begins.
11am start of iNaturalist on the web course, sign up before and join iNaturalist. If you are having problems come at 10h30. Duration 2 hours.

10am start for CNC ID course, must have attended one of the other courses first. Duration 1 hour.

Evening courses. 6pm for cellphone 7 pm for web (no ID course)

Course to Cover:

Smartphone:
• Making an observation
• Doing lots of pictures
• Zooming in
• Observe and leave IDs for after
• Adding projects
• Saving
• Working offline with autoupload off and ID suggestions off
• Battery and saving power + auxillary packs
• Extras: macro lenses, sounds,
• Uploading at night
• Check for updates until 4 May and respond
• Questions

Web course:
• Taking photos
• Doing mapwork (tricks: tracks on smartphone or GPS, inserting exif)
• Cropping and checking
• Uploading observations
• Adding projects and data
• Checking.
• Checking data and uploads
• Helping with IDs
• Homework: planning for the CNC.

ID courses:
• Using the Identify curation tool.
• Stages of identification: how they change thro’ as we progress & when you can help most
• What not to do, and what works best
• ID Parties
• Staying in touch with progress and adapting your strategy

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Boston Harbor Islands -- Winter Wildlife Cruise

2020 Boston Harbor Islands Winter Wildlife Cruise aboard the M/V SALACIA. Another refreshingly large crowd of at least three hundred for a natural history boat trip in January!! Our lucky streak with weather for this event continued this year. We managed to complete our survey in relative comfort before coastal low pressure with heavy rain and strong east winds closed in from the southwest. By nightfall the wind was howling from the east at 32 G 48 km/h (20-30 kts) and heavy rain was falling.

Track: Underway at 1100 EST. Long Wharf to Castle Island, then southeast along the west side of Spectacle Island to southwest tip of Peddocks Island. Turned northward along the north shore of Peddocks and up the west side of George’s and Lovell’s Islands. Turned northeast off of the north side of Lovell’s and headed out to Graves Light, then south off Outer Brewster Island to Shag Rocks, and then westward close by Boston Light and continuing through the gap between George’s and Lovell’s, south of Gallop’s. From Gallop’s we continued generally westward past the north side of Long Island and then back to Long Wharf, passing close by Logan Airport. Docked Long Wharf at 1400 EST. Total trackline for the trip was 43km (27 miles).

Weather/ Tide: high pressure over the Maritimes with strong coastal low developing over the mid-Atlantic and tracking northeast. Low overcast. Visibility: good (could see Minot Light from out near the Graves). Air: 6-7°C. Td: ca. 4°C. Pressure: 1025 hPa falling. Wind: East 16-24 km/h. Sea condition: calm with some chop inner harbor; sea ca. 1 meter and a bit bumpy in the outer harbor. Boston Harbor high tide: 1124 EST.

BIRDS: 26 species in eight eBird checklists with a total of 1,294 individuals. See eBird for checklists. Highlights: Razorbills in the inner harbor and a nice Snowy Owl at Logan Airport on the return trip in the afternoon.

OTHER FAUNA: several seals; probably all Harbor Seal.

GEOLOGY: nice looks at the layering of the till in the drumlins with lighter brown (Wisconsinan) over greenish brown (Illanoian) especially on islands in the Brewster group when tracking south from The Graves. Also, on our close pass by Shag Rock and Boston light we could see the Cambridge Slate among layers of of Brighton volcanic.

Boston Harbor Islands Winter Wildlife Cruise 25-Jan-20
Number of Species 26
Number of Individuals 1,294
Number of Checklists 8

Species Name Species Count
Brant 15
Canada Goose 27
American Black Duck 1
Greater Scaup 150
Common Eider 455
Surf Scoter 197
White-winged Scoter 4
Black Scoter 2
Long-tailed Duck 57
Bufflehead 5
Common Goldeneye 5
Red-breasted Merganser 41
Red-necked Grebe 1
Purple Sandpiper 8
Razorbill 2
Ring-billed Gull 20
Herring Gull 136
Iceland Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 107
Red-throated Loon 2
Common Loon 24
Great Cormorant 27
Northern Harrier 4
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Snowy Owl 1
American Crow 1

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por mpgooley mpgooley | 1 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Nuevo blog de ArgentiNat.org

A partir de ahora y gracias a la ayuda de @kueda y @tiwane contamos con un blog oficial para ArgentiNat, el cual será utilizado para comunicar noticias relevantes para la comunidad.

Mientras tanto, recuerden que por cualquier duda pueden contactar al administrador, que por alguna razón está escribiendo este texto en tercera persona: @roget.

También, hemos abierto un grupo de Facebook para la comunidad de ArgentiNat.

Nos leemos pronto.

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por roget roget | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area (SNA)

Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area (SNA)
Inver Grove Heights, Dakota county, MN
256 Acres; top of bluffs along Mississippi River

Park Notes
The park lies along a bluff and down to the Mississippi River and is bounded closely by industrial businesses and a major highway. It's not quiet but the habitat is worth visiting and it would be a good spot to nature watch while biking. It does serve as a scientific research area with a variety of endangered/rare species and it lies along a migration flyway. It is an Audubon Important Bird Area.

The trailhead is near the center of the park and one can travel north or south from there on the paved trail which is a segment of the Mississippi River Regional Trail.

North on the paved path goes through prairie reconstruction till it leaves the park (distance = just over half a mile). Past this point, one is traveling in close parallel to a busy highway (US 52) with no natural habitat on either side

South on the paved paths goes through prairie reconstruction with and Red/White Oak forest close by till it leaves the park (distance = just over quarter mile). The trail continues past this point with industrial use on one side and the Oak forest on the other so one could walk further and still be near natural habitat.

There is also a non-paved path that travels from the parking lot down the bluff to an overlook closer to the river. When we visited in Aug 2018, the trail was not maintained and very weedy and, not being prepared for ticks, we didn't hike it. When we visited in Jan 2020, it was not plowed and we didn't attempt to hike it.

There are areas of the park with no trail access. Upon reading the rules for visiting SNAs, it's my understanding that leaving the trail is acceptable. "Hiking is a great way to connect with nature and get outdoors. Most Natural Areas do not have maintained trails; you will likely need to find your own path." (from: Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas; Things to do and rules)

The trailhead has paved parking for a dozen-ish vehicles and full bathroom facilities.

Visits
Aug 2018; Jan 2020
In January, there were dozens of Bald Eagles continually flying back and forth over the park in the East/West direction. Otherwise, we didn't see a lot of birds in either visit although I think this is a matter of catching things at the right time. Plenty of interesting birds have been seen there. Additionally, the DNR site (see link below) has a list of wildflowers, ferns, grasses and sedges, trees and shrubs and birds that can be found on the site. (note: this SNA is in development and some literature may not reflect the current status of the site).

I'd like to revisit during migration and at times when I can look more at the insects and wild flowers/plants at the site.

useful links/info:
trailhead location: 111th St E, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
Minnesota DNR website
Trail Map pdf
Friends of the Mississippi River website
Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas; Things to do and rules
eBird hotspot reports

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por mmmiller mmmiller | 3 observaciones | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Interested in sharing photos as examples of the weather during March & April here in the North?

Please share your photos and help highlight weather conditions in this part of the world! It would be great to see range of weather conditions that are experienced across 'northern' North America in the months of March and April. What is it like in your part of the world during the time period when we will be out iNatting in preparation of and during the City Nature Challenge. Feel free to share photos from past years.

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) first you need to have your photos associated with a URL (perhaps upload to Facebook? the photo below is from an iNat observation);
2) edit the example basic code string in the blog post below and add to this post as a comment.
https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/karoopixie/21170-adding-photos-to-journal-and-news-posts

Example from Cape Breton, NS (January 2020)

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Tech Tip Tuesday: Computer Vision

Welcome back to another installment of Tech Tip Tuesday everyone! I’ve really appreciated your feedback and conversations in the comments section every week. It’s helpful to know what works and what doesn’t, and exciting to see the information that gets shared.

Some of you tuned in and offered your favorite identification resources two weeks ago. For those of you who missed that epic discussion and want some new guides to check out, you can find all of the resources discussed (plus some extras) on the Vermont Atlas of Life Identification Resource Guide. Although TTT has moved on to other topics, I highly encourage you to keep suggesting additional beloved resources.

Sorry, no anecdotes about the weather this morning. I’m still recovering from the disappointment of a very slushy cross-country skiing adventure this past weekend. However, if this warm weather keeps up, we may begin to see spring species out much earlier than usual, who knows. Keep a lookout for any sightings of seasonally out of place plants and critters, and be sure to add them to iNaturalist!

This Week on Tech Tip Tuesday

When I first started using iNaturalist, I loved that it helped me identify observations the moment that I began to upload. In fact, I still love this feature – even if I can’t always receive a species-level identification, I enjoy the instantaneous feedback about my observation. I’m sure that I’m not alone. However, like me, you may be wondering how iNaturalist accomplishes this? That’s what I’m here to talk about today.

It all begins with artificial intelligence (AI). For a lot of people, the phrase “AI” may conjure up images of human-like robots (Ash and Bishop from the “Alien” movies usually come to mind for me). While this interpretation isn’t wrong, it does only represent a very specialized (and futuristic) subset of AI’s potential. In general, AI refers to any machine operating in ways that mimic human intelligence. Many of us probably aren’t even aware of all the ways we interact with AI on a regular basis. One example is the suggestions provided by Amazon and Netflix on what to buy or watch next based on your previous interactions with the site. In this case, a machine has learned how to make complex decisions about what to recommend.

For iNaturalist, the AI is programmed to identify distinct species and groups of organisms through a process called Computer Vision. In order for it to learn through Computer Vision, large numbers of labeled images are fed through a model that learns to associate features with that label. These images are previously uploaded iNaturalist observations and the label is the research grade identification associated with the image. The model can then be used to assign labels to unlabeled pictures with the same characteristics.

Not every species has gone through this process. In order for Computer Vision to develop a model for a species, the species needs to meet a set minimum number of research grade images – twenty to be exact. The observations fed into the model also need to come from twenty or more different users. This is done to protect the model against possible errors or biases associated with individual users. Based on these criteria, about 10,000 species were eligible when Computer Vision was originally implemented. The last reported numbers indicate that 85% of all documented species are labeled and that new species cross the twenty distinct observations threshold every 1.7 hours.

So, how does this come to play in your daily life as an iNaturalist user? When you go to identify your observations, iNaturalist provides a list of possible species and genera that your observation could belong to. These suggestions are based on a list of possibilities that the model weights depending on how consistently the observation matches with the model. Computer Vision provides this weighted list instead of a definitive identification because technology is not always perfect and therefore it allows room for human judgement as well (one time iNaturalist suggested that my White-headed Woodpecker was a Giant Panda…). In instances where your observation may fall under that 15% of species lacking a model, the program will provide a coarser filter, such as genus or family, allowing human users to establish the species-level identification.

Ultimately, the program is always learning. Any new research grade observation that gets added is run through the model, helping the program improve its identification abilities. That’s one reason why it’s very important to make sure that research grade identifications are accurate.

AI and Computer Vision are complex and fascinating areas of work that are becoming increasingly common in our daily lives. If you want to learn more, iNaturalist and The Atlantic wrote great articles explaining how iNaturalist uses Computer Vision.

TTT Task of the Week

First, I encourage you all to go and read the articles linked above. They’re not long and I don’t doubt that you will walk away from them with a better understanding of how iNaturalist works. Use this info to impress your friends! Second, look back through some of your research grade identifications and use some of the resources included in TTT #12 and the Vermont Atlas of Life website to verify that users provided the correct identifications.

Thank you for helping us map Vermont’s web of life and happy observing!

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por emilyanderson2 emilyanderson2 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Arbres du monde aux jardins de l'Europe

Ce matin je suis allé aux jardins de l’Europe à Annecy observer quelques uns des 230 grands arbres qui peuplent ce parc. Avec un ciel couvert, la lumière n’était pas excellente et en cette saison la plupart des arbres ont perdu leurs feuilles. Mais quelques individus peuvent mériter notre attention même en hiver. Il s’agit bien sûr d’espèces introduites ; les plus grands ligneux remontent à l’installation du jardin en 1864 et ont donc plus de 150 ans. L’identification en l’absence de feuillage est facilitée par les cartels apposés sur les troncs. Nous avons relevé ce matin, un cyprès de Louisiane, un épicéa du Colorado, un pin de Corse et un bouleau de l’Himalaya. Il me faudra y retourner pour poursuivre le voyage et retrouver la seule espèce sud-américaine du parc : un faux-hêtre de Magellan, Nothofagus antarctica.

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por alainc alainc | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies.

A new study from Columbia Engineering and Harvard identified the critical physiological importance of suitable temperatures for butterfly wings to function properly, and discovered that the insects exquisitely regulate their wing temperatures through both structural and behavioral adaptations.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/cuso-bth012420.php

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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The dates have been set for the 2020 City Nature Challenge - interested in a side challenge?

As participants in the global CNC we have no control over the dates of this event. The fact that it is held in April may be considered as bad timing for many areas in North America. It is not an opportune time to perform bioblitzes in our areas and compile complete datasets that might highlight our local biodiversity... Last year in Calgary they had a little dump of snow on the CNC weekend - this didn't stop them tho - many Calgarians still came out and participated. In Halifax the weather on the Saturday was miserable and many of the organized activities were cancelled - even the ducks looked unhappy.

The CNC April event is an excellent opportunity to introduce iNat to our communities and a means to get people outdoors observing nature and looking for signs of spring. We must remember the saying 'there is no such thing as bad weather, simply bad clothing'. (Perhaps on a cold, wintry day before the CNC starts you might wish to explore the origins of that statement - there are a lot of interesting articles especially from Norway)

In 2019, Chicago issued a challenge to fellow CNC organizers to see if other northernly challenged groups were interested in a side competition. Thirteen cities accepted this challenge. Halifax almost reached the top spot on the leaderboard - we had Chicago in our sights!

In 2020, Halifax and Chicago are reissuing this challenge - Do other CNC groups wish to compete with/against us? Lets show the world that there are a lot of keen iNatters in our areas - the weather will not daunt us!

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por mkkennedy mkkennedy | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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3000

Funga chilena reached 3000 observations!

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por crriquelme2 crriquelme2 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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CNC 2020 Gaborone FAQs

Frequently asked questions:

Q? Do planted/captive organisms (excluding dogs and cats) count?
• Yes, all living organisms count. But the focus is on wild and natural organisms. Please mark any observations that you definitely know are planted or captive as such. Note that aliens and weeds are wild !

Q? What happens if my plant/goggo cannot be identified ?
• Observations that cannot be identified to species level wont add to the species tally, but will still count to the number of observations score. It is important though to take several pictures of different features from different angles, with some closeups. This will help get precise identifications.
• We hope to get experts in many groups to help us with identifications. So with luck , most of your observations will be identified to species level.

Q? Do the insects in my garden count to the totals?
• Most definitely. As do the plants and other animals that they are feeding on or associated with.the garden plants. Please include plant diseases on your plants.
So do animals and fungi in your house: the ants, moths and other visitors also count. Please record them all. If you know that your garden or street trees are planted, please mark them as such.

Q? Do I have to register to participate, or is joining iNaturalist enough?

• All you have to do is join iNaturalist and make observations during the four days of the City Nature Challenge (24-27 April 2020) within the City of Cape Town limits - from Bokbaai to Kogelbaai and from Cape Point to Helderberg and Atlantis, and upload them on or before the 3rd of May 2020 .
• Some groups have special projects we are requesting them to use. So Scouts will add their Scouting project, CREW volunteers will add the Habitat project, and so forth. if you would like to add your own tags or notes you are most welcome.
• At the same time as contributing to the City Nature Challenge, observations will also automatically be contributing to the Nature Reserve, Greenbelt, and other places, checklists and projects. The iNaturalist website will handle that all automatically. All you have to do is photograph and upload with the iNaturalist app.

Q? What happens if the weather turns ugly and we cannot get out on those days?
• There are four days (24-27 April 2020). We will just have to try harder on the best days.

Q? Why are we having it in autumn, instead of spring and Summer when things are happening?
• A very good question. Some say we should organize our own southern hemisphere City Nature Challenge in our austral spring, rather than during the northern spring. Still we have enough biodiversity around Gaborone to match any northern city in spring during our autumn.

Q? Who will identify my observations?
• We will have teams to help make identifications after the data collection period of the City Nature Challenge. So your observations will be identified over the next few days from 28 April until 3 May 2019.
• However, it will help if your observation contains good closeups of features, such as heads, legs, wings, and bodies of animals, and flowers, bracts, leaves and stems of plants, and views of the gills or undersides of fungi. Several pictures of different parts from different angles will help considerably with making an accurate identification.
• If you can help with identification, it will be appreciated. We need both experts who know all the local species in a group, as well as those who can help to put observations into families or genera. . Identifiers can be from all around the world, so please rope in your relatives overseas if they can help!

Q? By when must observations made during the 4 days be uploaded?
• After the four days (24-27 April 2020) are up there are a few days grace (until 4 May) to upload. However, we do need to identify the organisms, so as soon as is possible please - aim for the 3rd May at the latest..

Q? Can I photograph dead things or do the animals and plants have to be living ?
YES ! Photos of bones, fossils, roadkills, horns seeds, dry pods, bulbs and tubers can be uploaded as observations. But not bones from a butchery !
Nests and eggs are observations but inaturalist very strongly discourages disturbance of nests and taking of eggs.

Q? I would like to photograph small things! How do I get good photographs?
• It helps to zoom in. Enlarge the image on your screen before taking the photograph. If you desire, you can use a magnifying glass in front of your smartphone lens.
• One can also buy magnifying accessories at many smartphone stores, that clip onto your phone and can make minute ants look huge. if you can get hold of one and focus on our really small life, it would be really cool!
Alternatively, if you have a macro lens, that would be perfect.

Q? How can I track progress during the challenge to see how many observations and species and participants there are?
• Visit this project, or bookmark this link: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-Gaborone. It will continuously update as the challenge progresses.
Check out the competition here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020 - this is continuously updated, so you can monitor progress. Remember that we are near GMT, so almost half the world is ahead of us (starting with New Zealand 10 hours ahead) and half behind (ending with Hawaii 14 hours behind).

Q? How do I find out where a species has been recorded in the city?
• On the iNaturalist web page, choose "Explore", and add in the organism name (you can use common names) and the place (Gaborone) and you can look at the map, observations, species (if you have chosen a genus or family), and the observers and identifiers in the area.

Q? I am stuck at home and cannot get out What can I do?
• Your garden is a perfect biodiversity enclave. Record the visitors: bees, flies, butterflies, birds. Also your pests: aphids, millipedes, snails and caterpillars. Why not look for chameleons and lizards as well? And don't forget to include your garden plants, especially if they interact with pollinators, or fruit dispersing birds or are a food source for other wildlife. Even your pot plants: just mark them as 'planted'.

Q? Can several people take pictures of the same plant? Will it be useful if they did, or rather a waste of time? I guess it would add to the total observations but not to the total species observed.
• It is better if they dont. Why should they? There are lots of plants. Rather send your friends to find other plants.
Of course it will happen that several observers may photograph the same species on your excursion. If they are more than a few hundred metres away then the distribution information is useful. If they are less, then it is still useful information. But please discourage an entire class photographing the same bush.
Inevitably it will happen that a really special plant/goggo/bird/etc. is found. And everyone wants to record it to add to their life list. These things happen, and should not be discouraged. Not only will everyone want to photograph it, but some will want to come back and photograph it again. That is also OK, as it contributes to the phenology data - growth, flowering, fruiting, even flowering times during the day (or night): the data are always useful.

Q? If I photograph a plant and then see another of the same species nearby, should I photograph it? How far away should these be to qualify as different observations? (1m, or 5m, or 20m,..?)
• If you are going to photograph each species every 1m, then after 5 hours you will have crawled 50m and be exhausted. A rule of thumb is to think population-wise: try and get every population. So for some trees it will be 5km away. For some rare post-fire herbs, every 50m should be adequate. If it is rare, record every clump. if it is common, select a few places along your route.

For monitoring trees for Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle infestation each tree is permissible. Remember to add the project and record the level of infestation (or null if there is no sign of attack).

Q? If I photograph a plant non-indigenous to our area (ie planted), how should this be labelled? A thumbs-down to "Organism is wild"?
• Yes, this is the correct thing to do. On the app, just click not wild. Note that if it is a special plant and you want confirmation of the ID, it might be wise to hold back marking it as planted until you get confirmation of the ID, because observations marked "not wild" go out of the "Needs ID" queue. For the CNC, this does not matter as one ID is enough for our purposes.
• Dont confuse "not wild" with "not indigenous": lots of alien and near-alien species are very wild! Not wild is for those plants that you know were planted, and those animals still captive.

Q? Identification - I assume this is needed to species level - genus level is not enough? What about common names - are they good enough?
• Identification. Our southern African common names are still not all yet on iNaturalist . INaturalist has many Setswana names for trees already in the system. Otherwise the common name would give you the scientific name automatically (unless there were complications - like several species with the same name).
• For purposes of posting the ID, dont worry. Just add the name that you know (common, vernacular, scientific, pet name). The identification teams will mop up afterwards. Get the observation in the bag, and don't worry about identification during the four days of the challenge.

Q? Who determines whether the plant is correctly identified?
• We do. You and I, and everyone else. If you see an incorrectly named observation, please provide a correct ID. Even if you dont know what it is, if you know that it isnt that, then make an ID to a higher level.
An example. Someone posts an ant and uses the Image Recognition System to make an ID. All our southern African ants will be misidentified by this as North American species. If you notice this, just ID it as "Ant" (iNat will make it Formicidae - Ants) and choose, "I don't know, but it is definitely not North American Ant". The Ant team will then mop these up. If we don't have time during the challenge, we will work through them more leisurely afterwards.

• Note that anyone can help. We will need people to ID plants to families or genera to help the expert teams make species-level IDs.

Q? When getting the total score for each city, what weight is given to the three criteria: number of species, number of observations, number of observers? Surely the number of species should count much more than the others if they want to find the most biodiverse city?
• The challenge is much more than that. There are three separate criteria, and they are not merged. The winning city is for each category, and if a particular city wins more than one of these, then it is the overall winner.
• There are also other criteria reported on, but not on the challenge per se. These are the proportion and number of observations identified, and identified to species. And obvious additional criterion could be the number of identifiers, but these tend to be worldwide and not specific to the City involved. And then of course there are other possible criteria, like taxa (e.g. birds, mammals, insects plants (note that it is unlikely to be to families), fungi (ditto). And also marine vs terrestrial. And also wild versus planted. And additional perhaps: identified to research grade. Then there will be summaries by climate zone, by the area of the city and the number of people in it.
And we will probably look at additional criteria in the post-challenge evaluation. But we will summarize these here.

Q? So anything wild goes. Or invasive. Cool
But what about: Anything planted if in a park or Nature Reserve? I think of moringa, jacaranda, orange, palm trees and mango trees to name a few !
Or trees at Gaborone Botanical Garden and the urban open spaces? Mostly planted.

• All count. Just mark them as planted. This will present a problem for the ID process as they wont be "Needs ID" if marked as planted. But we will get around that.
Not only do these count, they are part of our urban biodiversity and must be recorded. Please dont skimp on them. There is no ways we will meet our targets if we only do indigenous plants For now, we need all our urban trees and weeds.
So yes. Indigenous - tick! Aliens - tick! Urban plants - tick! Plants planted to beautify our reserves, verges, and parkscapes - tick! (and ditto the animals and fungi!). Remember to mark planted (if you are 100% certain it is planted and has not escaped).

Q? How does the counting work? If I see a chameleon, sunbird, lizard, whatever each of the 4 days in my own garden and post an obs thereof each day. How would that count/work? Or for that matter a dove on the side walk each day!
• That would strictly be cheating. The same chameleon (or even another) in your garden over a few days should count as one observation. But those in your aunt's, or niece's gardens would count as different observations. Similarly if you saw the dove in a different block or park or suburb, then those are definitely different observations and can (and should!) be posted. Within a nature reserve a few hundred metres would suffice: unless you were monitoring "clumps", in which case each clump would be acceptable. Use your discretion: - distances to a new observation will be much smaller for a millipede than an eagle. .

Q? Hidden localities! We have some Red List species in Gaborone. If iNat obscures these, then they wont show up and count to the city, and that will put us at a considerable disadvantage? What should we do?

More FAQs will be added as questioning people ask question !

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por botswanabugs botswanabugs | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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FAQ

CNC 2020 Gaborone FAQs


Frequently asked questions:

Q? Do planted/captive organisms (excluding dogs and cats) count?
• Yes, all living organisms count. But the focus is on wild and natural organisms. Please mark any observations that you definitely know are planted or captive as such. Note that aliens and weeds are wild!

Q? What happens if my plant/goggo cannot be identified?
• Observations that cannot be identified to species level wont add to the species tally, but will still count to the number of observations score. It is important though to take several pictures of different features from different angles, with some closeups. This will help get precise identifications.
• We hope to get experts in many groups to help us with identifications. So with luck most of your observations will be identified to species level.

Q? Do the insects in my garden count to the totals?
• Most definitely. As do the plants and other animals that they are feeding on or associated with.
So do animals and fungi in your house: the ants, moths and other visitors also count. Please record them all. If you know that your garden or street trees are planted, please mark them as such.

Q? Do I have to register to participate, or is joining iNaturalist enough?
• All you have to do is join iNaturalist and make observations during the four days of the City Nature Challenge (24-27 April 2020) within the greater Gaborone limits - see the map on the main page, and upload them on or before the 3rd of May 2020 .
• Some groups have special projects we are requesting them to use. So Scouts will add their Scouting project, CREW volunteers will add the Habitat project, and so forth. if you would like to add your own tags or notes you are most welcome.
• At the same time as contributing to the City Nature Challenge, observations will also automatically be contributing to the Nature Reserves, Botanical Gardens, and other places, checklists and projects. The iNaturalist website will handle that all automatically. All you have to do is photograph and upload with the iNaturalist app.

Q? What happens if the weather turns ugly and we cannot get out on those days?
• There are four days (24-27 April 2020). We will just have to try harder on the best days. In the very worst case scenario of four days of major storms with torrential rain and flooding, we will make up for it in 2021.

Q? Why are we having it in autumn, instead of spring when things are happening?
• A very good question. Some say we should organize our own southern hemisphere City Nature Challenge in our austral spring, rather than during the northern spring. Still we have enough biodiversity to match any northern city in spring during our autumn. We proved it it 2019. Let us prove it again. Doing it during our spring will just be far too easy.

Q? Who will identify my observations?
• We will have teams to help make identifications after the data collection period of the City Nature Challenge. So your observations will be identified over the next few days from 28 April until 3 May 2019.
• However, it will help if your observation contains good closeups of features, such as heads, legs, wings, and bodies of animals, and flowers, bracts, leaves and stems of plants, and views of the gills or undersides of fungi. Several pictures of different parts from different angles will help considerably with making an accurate identification.
• If you can help with identification, it will be appreciated. We need both experts who know all the local species in a group, as well as those who can help to put observations into families or genera. Please contact your nearest CREW or Botanical Society group to help us. Identifiers can be from all around the world, so please rope in your relatives overseas if they can help!

Q? By when must observations made during the 4 days be uploaded?
• After the four days (24-27 April 2020) are up there are a few days grace (until 4 May) to upload. However, we do need to identify the organisms, so as soon as is possible please - aim for the 3rd May at the latest..

Q? I would like to photograph small things! How do I get good photographs?
• It helps to zoom in. Enlarge the image on your screen before taking the photograph. If you desire, you can use a magnifying glass in front of your smartphone lens.
• One can also buy magnifying accessories at many smartphone stores, that clip onto your phone and can make minute ants look huge. if you can get hold of one and focus on our really small life, it would be really cool!
Alternatively, if you have a macro lens, that would be perfect.

Q? How can I track progress during the challenge to see how many observations and species and participants there are?
• Visit this project, or bookmark this link: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-gaborone. It will continuously update as the challenge progresses.
Check out the competition here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020 - this is continuously updated, so you can monitor progress. Remember that we are near GMT, so almost half the world is ahead of us (starting with New Zealand 10 hours ahead) and half behind (ending with Hawaii 14 hours behind).

Q? How do I find out where a species has been recorded in the city?
• On the iNaturalist web page, choose "Explore", and add in the organism name (you can use common names) and the place (Gaborone and surrounding villages) and you can look at the map, observations, species (if you have chosen a genus or family), and the observers and identifiers in the area. For instance:
Acacias: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=143794&subview=grid&taxon_id=72418
Kingfishers: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=143794&subview=grid&taxon_id=2114&view=species_id=13685 (click on the species tab to see the species recorded)

Q? How do I find a checkist for a nature reserve or other place?
• On the iNaturalist web page, choose More, select places, and enter the name of the place you are interested in. On the page, choose the checklist option below the filters on the left. You can narrow down the checklist to any group, family or genus that your are interested in. For instance:
Botswana Botanical Gardens: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=129556
Kgale Hill: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=126314

Q? I am stuck at home and cannot get to the activities. What can I do?
• Your garden is a perfect biodiversity enclave. Record the visitors: bees, flies, butterflies, birds. Also your pests: aphids, millipedes, snails and caterpillars. Why not look for chameleons and lizards as well? And don't forget to include your garden plants, especially if they interact with pollinators, or fruit dispersing birds or are a food source for other wildlife. Even your pot plants: just mark them as 'planted'.

Q? Can several people take pictures of the same plant? Will it be useful if they did, or rather a waste of time? I guess it would add to the total observations but not to the total species observed.
• It is better if they dont. Why should they? There are lots of plants. Rather send the team or bioblitzers to find other plants.
Of course it will happen that several observers may photograph the same species on your excursion. If they are more than a few hundred metres away then the distribution information is useful. If they are less, then it is still useful information. But please discourage an entire class photographing the same bush.
Inevitably it will happen that a really special plant/goggo/bird/etc. is found. And everyone wants to record it to add to their life list. These things happen, and should not be discouraged. Not only will everyone want to photograph it, but some will want to come back and photograph it again. That is also OK, as it contributes to the phenology data - growth, flowering, fruiting, even flowering times during the day (or night): the data are always useful.

Q? If I photograph a plant and then see another of the same species nearby, should I photograph it? How far away should these be to qualify as different observations? (1m, or 5m, or 20m,..?)
• If you are going to photograph each species every 1m, then after 5 hours you will have crawled 50m and be exhausted. A rule of thumb is to think population-wise: try and get every population. So for some trees it will be 5km away. For some rare post-fire herbs, every 50m should be adequate. If it is rare, record every clump. if it is common, select a few places along your route.
it also depends on the projects. For Western Leopard Toads photograph each toad, showing its "finger print" markings on the back. For European Starlings, one photo per flock per week is almost too much.
For monitoring trees for Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle infestation each tree is permissible. Remember to add the project and record the level of infestation (or null if there is no sign of attack).

Q? If I photograph a plant non-indigenous to our area (ie planted), how should this be labelled? A thumbs-down to "Organism is wild"?
• Yes, this is the correct thing to do. On the app, just click not wild. Note that if it is a special plant and you want confirmation of the ID, it might be wise to hold back marking it as planted until you get confirmation of the ID, because observations marked "not wild" go out of the "Needs ID" queue. For the CNC, this does not matter as one ID is enough for our purposes.
• Dont confuse "not wild" with "not indigenous": lots of alien and near-alien species are very wild! Not wild is for those plants that you know were planted, and those animals still captive.

Q? Can I photograph dead things or do the animals and plants have to be living ?
• YES ! Photos of bones, fossils, roadkills, horns seeds, dry pods, bulbs and tubers can be uploaded as observations. But not bones from a butchery!
Nests and eggs are observations but iNaturalist very strongly discourages disturbance of nests and taking of eggs.
Also spoor, tracks, feathers, faeces, dung and holes: if it was made by an animal we can probably get an ID on it. Best to get several pictures , and look for additional clues.

Q? Identification - I assume this is needed to species level - genus level is not enough? What about common names - are they good enough?
• Identification. Our southern African common names are still not yet on iNaturalist (we are still waiting for the community to be installed before doing this). Otherwise the common name would give you the scientific name automatically (unless there were complications - like several species with the same name).
• For purposes of posting the ID, dont worry. Just add the name that you know (common, vernacular, scientific, pet name). The identification teams will mop up afterwards. Get the observation in the bag, and don't worry about identification during the four days of the challenge.

Q? How many "agree"s are needed for identification?
• Two agreements are needed for "research grade". But for the purposes of the City Nature Challenge, a single identification will suffice. But it wont suffice for us in Cape Town. We will endeavour to get two agreements for our critical observations - where a critical observation is one that gives us a name towards our species total. We dont want wrong Identifications. Some will undoubtedly occur, but we want to catch them as soon as possible. So the short answer is only one ID is needed for the CNC, but two are needed for Cape Town's contributions.

Q? Who determines whether the plant is correctly identified?
• We do. You and I, and everyone else. If you see an incorrectly named observation, please provide a correct ID. Even if you dont know what it is, if you know that it isnt that, then make an ID to a higher level.
An example. Someone posts an ant and uses the Image Recognition System to make an ID. All our southern African ants will be misidentified by this as North American species. If you notice this, just ID it as "Ant" (iNat will make it Formicidae - Ants: so don't worry about the vloekname), and choose, "I don't know, but it is definitely not North American Ant". The Ant team will then mop these up. If we don't have time during the challenge, we will work through them more leisurely afterwards.

Q? Will you be creating a "place" called "Gaborone and surrounding villages" or something like that for all the observations? Then we can look at that place only for the identification stage.
• That is already done.
The place is - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=143794 - but that is not really useful, unless you add a time filter for the Challenge
The project is - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-gaborone - and that only shows challenge data, so is ideal. Not only that, but it gives the exact current total for the observations, species and observers.
• And during the identification parties we will be using the Curatorial Tool "Identify", filtered by the project: like so (it is empty now):
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?project_id=52245&place_id=any - merely choose your group (e.g. Birds) and open the tool by clicking on the first card.
We will have both courses and identification parties for those interested. But yes, there is no reason why one cannot work independently at home or in a coffee shop or with a friend.

Q? If I photograph, say, a tree that I am not sure about - is it a good idea to take an educated guess as to the species, and which someone can correct if necessary, or to leave the identification as tree?
• Firstly, in the field, leave it out. Leave identifications until after all your observations are loaded. Unless you are sure and it does not take much time.
• During the identification period: If in doubt leave it out. It depends how much you are not sure, and how many other choices there are. If you are not certain which Tree it is, but it might be Acacia, then perhaps just ID as "Acacia". But if it is either Vachellia or Senegalia, then make the ID and in the comments say - "or possibly simplex".
• Note that anyone can help. We will need people to ID plants to families or genera to help the expert teams make species-level IDs.

Q? Are there any arrangements being made for the identification stage or are we each just going to do what we can when we have time?
• You are welcome to work on your own. But we will be having ID parties. Courses and details will be made available closer to the time.

Q? When getting the total score for each city, what weight is given to the three criteria: number of species, number of observations, number of observers? Surely the number of species should count much more than the others if they want to find the most biodiverse city?
• The challenge is much more than that. There are three separate criteria, and they are not merged. The winning city is for each category, and if a particular city wins more than one of these, then it is the overall winner.
• There are also other criteria reported on, but not on the challenge per se. These are the proportion and number of observations identified, and identified to species. And obvious additional criterion could be the number of identifiers, but these tend to be worldwide and not specific to the City involved. And then of course there are other possible criteria, like taxa (e.g. birds, mammals, insects plants (note that it is unlikely to be to families), fungi (ditto). And also marine vs terrestrial. And also wild versus planted. And additional perhaps: identified to research grade. Then there will be summaries by climate zone, by the area of the city and the number of people in it.
And we will probably look at additional criteria in the post-challenge evaluation. But we will summarize these here.

Q? So anything wild goes. Or invasive. Cool
But what about: Anything planted if in a park or Nature Reserve? I think of Strelitzia, Bauhinia, Gardenia, palm trees and oaks to name a few!
Or trees at Gaborone Park and the urban open spaces? Mostly planted.
Or the huge Heritage and Ancient Trees? And the very huge Gum tree planted yonks ago but planted!

• All count. Just mark them as planted. This will present a problem for the ID process as they wont be "Needs ID" if marked as planted. But we will get around that.
Not only do these count, they are part of our urban biodiversity and must be recorded. Please dont skimp on them. There is no ways we will meet our targets if we only do indigenous plants - the bulbs, annuals and hidden species are just too many: those are for spring! For now, we need all our urban trees and weeds and or champion and heritage species.
So yes. Indigenous - tick! Aliens - tick! Urban plants - tick! Plants planted to beautify our reserves, verges, and parkscapes - tick! (and ditto the animals and fungi!). Remember to mark planted (if you are 100% certain it is planted and has not escaped).

Q? How does the counting work? If I see a ladybird, sunbird, skink, whatever each of the 4 days in my own garden and post an obs thereof each day. How would that count/work? Or for that matter a ibis on the side walk each day!
• That would strictly be cheating. The same sunbird (or even another) in your garden over a few days should count as one observation. But those in your aunt's, or niece's gardens would count as different observations. Similarly if you saw the Ibis in a different block or park or suburb, then those are definitely different observations and can (and should!) be posted. Within a nature reserve a few hundred metres would suffice: unless you were monitoring "clumps", in which case each clump would be acceptable. Use your discretion: - distances to a new observation will be much smaller for a millipede than an eagle. .

Q? Hidden localities! We have some Red List species in Gaborone. Quite a few of these are on the edge of the city! If iNat obscures these, then they wont show up and count to the city, and that will put us at a considerable disadvantage? What should we do?
• No they will count. To see how look at the map for the City - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=52245 - and note that the outliers are included. ((This only works for "official iNat" places, and not for places added by observers, so the data will be safe from "mining". Note that this map is all our data to date, not just the challenge data)) So there is no need to devise devious ways of getting our data in: they will all be counted - every single one.

Q? Are there any special projects that we can contribute to during the challenge? A sub-challenge so to speak for those who want a little more focus.
• Yes there are several. Perhaps one of these will stir your interest:
Ants: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ant-atlas-of-cape-town (we hope to expand this to all contributing cities in southern Africa)
Schools: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/cape-town-school-nature-challenge (we hope to expand this to all contributing cities in southern Africa)
Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/polyphagous-shothole-borer-beetle-pshb-atlas-s-afr
If you have any ideas for other projects, please tell us.

(Acknowledgements - adapted from: https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/29259-cape-town-city-nature-challenge-2020-faq)

Your question not asked? or not answered? Post them as a comment below:

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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CNC stats and Leaderboards

The goals of the CNC in the Maritimes are simple – we wish to provide an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to explore nature. A few may stay indoors, a few may explore their immediate neighbourhoods, and others may set out on adventures and cover many 10s/100s of kilometers during the 4 day event.

The CNC is not a typical bioblitz – it is a means to introduce citizen science to our communities and to promote the use of iNaturalist as a tool to share observations of wild plants and animals.

The third letter in CNC is ‘challenge’ and a few Maritimers plan to take this seriously – the friendly banter has started already between a few ‘iNatters’ that participated last year. Its recognize that fact that it is unlikely that our Canadian entries will be near the top of the global leaderboard but it will be interesting to follow changes in the Maritime and Canadian leader boards as the CNC progresses.

Last year HRM almost caught Chicago in the race to the top of the northern climate leaderboard. To view the 2019 stats click here.

The global CNC project page will include a leaderboard where we can see how well individual areas are faring during the 4 day event. We recommend following this page and if you see that we are falling behind in our stats then encourage your friends, neighbours, colleagues, strangers in the street to get out and participate! The stats tracked are the number of participants, the number of observations, and the number of species. Here is the link to the 2019 leaderboard (HRM had 7,646 observations so it doesn’t appear on the first page – you have to click view more!)

In any competition there will be a group of ‘normal’ participants and there will be a group of ‘super players’ (aka geeks/nerds/fanatics). You may hear a bit of banter amongst these iNat addicts as the date of the CNC approaches. You don’t have to join any group to join this group of competitors – you can silently simply get outdoors and start iNatting. Sneak up the leaderboard!

Remember that although observations do need to be recorded between April 24-27th there is a short grace period after the event to upload photos. And remember – just because it is dark doesn’t mean that you can’t find wildlife – look in your basement for spiders or listen outdoors for frogs.

There are leaderboards to climb. Records to set. People to beat.

Good luck to all!

List of umbrella projects with leaderboards to follow:
Global
Northern Climates
Canada
Maritimes

And of course remember to follow your own personal stats and contributions to local CNC projects.

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Rare whale sightings surprise sightseers in Monterey Bay.

"Now that the humpback population has greatly increased since the 1970s after the end of whaling, not all the humpbacks head to the breeding areas. This is a sign of success for this once depleted population and many of these young whales are now concentrated in Monterey Bay due to the abundance of fish."

https://www.sfgate.com/whales-sharks/amp/january-winter-whale-watching-monterey-california-15007931.php

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Predator fish that anglers love faces uncertain future in California water wars.

In California’s never-ending water and fish wars, the striped bass doesn’t get nearly the publicity as its celebrity counterparts, the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt.

Yet the striped bass is at the heart of a protracted fight over California’s water supply, 140 years after the hard-fighting fish, beloved by anglers, was introduced here from the East Coast.

https://amp.sacbee.com/sports/outdoors/hunting-fishing/article239531963.html

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2020 por biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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The sneaky Masked Lapwing

I only ever seem to see Masked Lapwings when I'm in the car so can't get a photo observation for them.

But, I swear, one day I'll post a pic of one of those sneaky buggers! ☺

Ingresado el 27 de enero de 2020 por fairypossum fairypossum | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Newt Survey Monday 1/27/20 - North half

Coverage: North half of Alma Bridge Road, from the parking lot to the stop sign.
Time: 8:30 - 10:30 am
Rainfall: 0.0 so far today. 2.83" MTD, 15.15" YTD via Weather Cat
Vehicles: 14
Other: 2 bicyclists, 2 joggers
Live Newts: 0
Dead Newts: 317
Other species: (2) juvenile snakes, likely Garter Snake species

High number of dead newts following weekend rains. A few juveniles but not many. More fresh ones than usual - and still-squishy ones than could have been dry, then 'rehydrated' somewhat by the rain.

Ingresado el 27 de enero de 2020 por anudibranchmom anudibranchmom | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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The Hat-trick Walk to Sihagad

26th January 2020

Time:
10:00 am to 03:00 pm

Walking members: Pavan Damoor, Savita Bharti, Himanshu Pandav, Mahesh Ghanekar, Prasad, Sourabh.

Yes, a hat trick walk! The first walk of 2020 for Pune Butterfly Group was 12th January to Sihagad Valley guided by Pavan Damoor. This was our first walk to Sihagad and having spotted butterflies not reported from the habitat before got us all excited! Pavanji visited the valley again on 19th Jan and got another big sighting not reported from Pune District before. Surely this was running on the backend when he posted on group for visiting on 26th hoping for a third record. So we called this a hat trick walk to Sihagad. Plan was posted on group and those who were interested and could make it decided to meet at location.

I met Pavanji right at the bus stop the moment I got off from bus. We both had a filling breakfast of missal pav and started the walk. Himanshuji was to join us at the spot little later, Mahesh ji to was attending a republic day parade confirmed joining after 11. We started the walk, saw Prasad on the birding spot at stream, we were meeting first time. Called and waved at him. He waved back saying he will join us in a while.

The first butterfly photograph we took was a common tree brown. This was a new addition to our list from previous visit. Somewhere around here, Prasad joined in along with his friend Sourabh. As we were walking a beautiful wanderer in all its hues of blue flew by. It was nectaring on flowers by the stream. We got down to photograph it. Prasad got some lovely frames. He promised to share the same on group.

We went to location number one, that still had wild growth. Sun was shining bright and butterflies have started warming up. We had tough time deciding which butterfly to follow, painted lady, common sailer, danaid eggfly, great eggfly, chocolate pansy, grey pansy, evening brown etc like last visit were around. Plenty of common sailers, evening browns and chocolate pansies mostly in DSFs were observed. Few individuals of sailers were double the size we photographed last time.

Pavanji had mentioned on last visit about spotting commander here and this visit it flew right infront of him. I was constrained with a macro lens, am sure other got the photograph! We must have spent about half an hour here, Himanshuji joined in along with a birder friend. A great eggfly female was in a mood to bask out on the soil. Commander was competing with her for the spot. Pavanji also spotted a DSF of a bush brown here. We guess it’s a common bush brown. No upper side could be photographed.

Himanshuji’s friend who knows quite a bit of habitat here with birding trips was helping us spot butterflies. (I must have counted like 20 chocolate pansies he showed me) Few moth activities were also observed. One in particular interest was the salt and pepper moth. I wanted a photograph of it for some time, managed it now. We saw the pretty looking DSF for common pierrot here. It gave us a nice studio pose for photography.

The scenery had changed a bit from last time, I thought the lantana clumps (good source of nectaring) we spotted butterflies on were cut down, but Pavanji assured its little ahead. We moved ahead. We were crossing dry stream with few trees on the sides. A trinket snake got into a little hole right infront of my foot. I could not manage a photograph but realised wearing a shoe in field is so important. Little ahead were spotted quite a few common tree browns and evening brown under a tree trunk (part of its root was exposed due to water erosion). A great eggfly female was seen resting on the leaf of the same tree trunk giving us beautiful photographs. As we moved up from the dry stream the field was tilled and I completely forgot visiting the place when I spotted the loranthus on mango we saw last time, the tiny flowers were now big and were in bloom. I knew we were heading in right direction. In a hope to spot some caterpillar we scanned the plant. It was flowering and sunbirds were coming on it for nectar. An empty chrysalis of a baron was spotted on the loranthus. It must have been around when we visited last but such a camouflage that we did not spot it then. While we were looking at it, something flew fast like a flash to another mango tree ahead. We are sure it was a royal but could not get a good glimpse to confirm which one.

We reached the spot where lantana bushes were in plenty. The same spot where Pavanji had his lifer of abnormal silverline last week. Pavanji was ahead and I was walking with Prasad and Himanshuji. Something flew in air, a deep blue and I mentioned it is a blue pansy. Keeping a track saw it rest on ground. It did not look like a pansy now in closed wing. It was like seeing stars in daylight. Here was the silver streak blue again. Resting on grass, infront of us. All three laid flat on ground and got good macros of it. On the lantana bushes the stripped tiger, common crow, leopard, painted lady were doing their routine rounds. A seasoned bulbul was on its perch deciding which butterfly to catch. This lantana bush is little higher to ground level. We have to climb a bund to be at eye level of flowers. Below we had a medley of forget me nots. Males were flashing up the lavender blue while females were more interested in nectar of alternanthera. Gram blue, tailless line blue, psyche, chocolate pansy, common pierrot, angled pierrot etc were giving company in the medley.

We even managed to locate the small castor plant that had eggs by castor on our visit two weeks back. The caterpillars have grown in size maybe in their third instar. We could see two caterpillars. I was trying to photograph them when Pavanji called out, 6 pansies! We rushed to see them, spotted a peacock pansy. This was addition to our list of 5 pansies already spotted here, so this was no 6 actually!!!

Since the sighting was good, we thought could explore a bit more to see if stream is wet somewhere and we get to see puddling activity. A little further, a suffused double banded judy with a broken wing was spotted. No wet patch or butterfly activity so we decided to move back. We had this stinging nettle plants around (Girardinia diversifolia), a while ago Pavanji had accidently rubbed his hand on one and he immediately developed itch. Luckily, he was wearing a full sleeve T shirt and after first hint of itch he immediately washed his hand with water, not much harm was done. Second reminder that in field we need to be fully covered to avoid bites and accidental touching of harmful/allergic wild plants.

While heading down for stream, a nawab came and settled on animal excreta right in middle of walking path. We decided to wait for it to come back on excreta. Little water was poured on the shit that smelt just too bad; however, the same stinking smell invited the nawab again. We got our first photographic record from Sihagad. This was on my wish list for years. The first time I read about nawab, found where I can photograph it in Pune, Sihagad visit was must on my hit list. The birders were gone by now and we wanted to check the puddling spot right at beginning. We bid goodbye to the nawab and headed ahead. Another nawab flew over our heads and we quickly spotted where it was to photograph it. The stream has open defecation, the nawab was headed to that. Sensing our presence, it stayed on a dry twig high up for long. After a while we lost interest and moved further.

A nice cold lemonade awaited us. Gutting it down in a breath we rushed to the puddling spot. Met Mahesh Ghanekar ji waiting for us here. As luck would be, a very fresh nawab visited to absorb nutrients from soil. A female paradise flycatcher was waiting for eating it. Our presence deterred her a bit. We also met Manas (the new addition on group yesterday). Another nawab visited. While Pavanji and Maheshji went to photograph it, we focused on the first individual.

The bird attached the second nawab and in a little while both of them just vanished from the spot. Luckily the bird did not catch it infront of us! Two cerulean were moving up and down in air, in a while both perched on the Karanj plant (Pongamia pinnata), instinctively I went around and spotted two single egg. When I blew the pic to see close up, it looked like that of sunbeam. The one on top was of cerulean. After coming home saw all my pics and realised there were more eggs, we did not see them easily on first glance. Just as we were taking the pics, Himanshuji showed me a skipper photograph. I had never seen that before and immediately went looking for it. As he had described I found it on stream taking in water. It did not even bother much to fly away. Was perhaps hungry. We got ample time to photograph it. Another lady joined us here, joined us as in she asked me to step aside so she could also photograph the butterfly. Her name was Savita as well. I though she is friends to members on group and so joined us. Later realised she has come for birding and got interested in our activity. Asked me to add her to group but sadly that was not the moment to take her no or add her. Perhaps another meeting is needed with her for this. Later Pavanji confirmed id of the butterfly as Vindyan bob, another lifer from Sihagad. I had photographed it only once in Rajmachi, a single frame then to plentiful today, my quota got full.

We explored a bit more, found nothing more interesting and the hunger pangs were growing louder so decided to call it a day. It was around 3 pm. Went to same shop for pithla bhakri, this time also ordered batata vada. A hearty meal, going over our list of butterflies we decided to call it a day.

Himanshuji had carried his calendar for us, was lucky to have a copy. It looks more lovely in print, esp with the butterflies on it.

With two visits, I observe there is a lot of variation in species diversity and number. Being more on greener side on a hill this habitat has lot more promises for us. A detailed, periodic survey here will yield good results for us, the butterflying community. I hope the efforts are continued further that helps in documenting the diversity rather than getting lifer shots or tick on lists.

We saw at least one representative member of all 6 families found in the country. The count for first time reached half a century in couple of hours. This gives a good boost to do more and more walks, in different habitats. Here is the list

Sl no Scientific Name Common Name

Hesperiidae/Skipper
1. Arnetta vindhiana / Vindhyan Bob
2. Parnara/ Pelopidas Species

Lycaenidae/Blues
3. Castalius rosimon / Continental Common Pierrot
4. Caleta decidia / Indian Angled Pierrot
5. Leptotes plinius / Asian Zebra Blue
6. Pseudozizeeria maha/ Grass Blue (Pale/Dark/Lesser)
7. Zizula hylax / Indian Tiny Grass Blue
8. Euchrysops cnejus/ Oriental Gram Blue
9. Catochrysops strabo / Oriental Forget-me-not
10. Lampides boeticus/ Pea Blue
11. Jamides celeno / Oriental Common Cerulean
12. Prosotas dubiosa/ Indian Tailless Lineblue
13. Prosotas nora/ Indian Common Lineblue
14. Rapala manea / Bengal Slate Flash
15. Curetis thetis/ Indian Sunbeam

Nymphalidae/Brushfooted
16. Melantis leda/ Oriental Common Evening Brown
17. Lethe rohria / Dakhan Common Treebrown
18. Mycalesis perseus / Dakhan Common Bushbrown
19. Ypthima baldus/ Sahyadri Common Five-ring
20. Charaxes athamas / Oriental Common Nawab
21. Phalanta phalantha / Oriental Common Leopard
22. Neptis hylas / Indian Common Sailer
23. Ariadne merione / Dakhan Common Castor
24. Junonia almana / Oriental Peacock Pansy
25. Junonia atlites / Oriental Grey Pansy
26. Junonia iphita / Oriental Chocolate Pansy
27. Junonia lemonias/ Chinese Lemon Pansy
28. Junonia orithya / Pale Blue Pansy
29. Vanessa cardui/ Painted Lady
30. Hypolimnas bolina/ Oriental Great Eggfly male + female
31. Hypolimnas misippus/ Danaid Eggfly male + female
32. Parantica aglea aglea/ Coromandel Glassy Tiger
33. Tirumala limniace/ Oriental Blue Tiger
34. Danaus chrysippus/ Oriental Plain Tiger
35. Danaus genutia / Oriental Stripped Tiger
36. Euploea core / Indian Common Crow
37. Moduza Procris/ Sahyadri Commander

Papilionidae/Swallowtail
38. Pachliopta aristolochiae/ Indian Common Rose
39. Papilio demoleus / Northern Lime Butterfly
40. Papilio polytes Romulus/ Indian Common Mormon (male)

Pieridae/Whites and Yellows
41. Catopsilia Pomona/ Common Emigrant
42. Catopsilia pyranthe/ Mottled Emigrant
43. Eurema hecabe / Oriental Common Grass Yellow
44. Eurema laeta / Indian Spotless Grass Yellow
45. Delias eucharis/ Indian Jezebel
46. Leptosia nina / Oriental Psyche
47. Cepora nerissa / Dakhan Common Gull
48. Belenois aurota / Indian Pioneer
49. Pareronia hippie/ Indian Wanderer male + female

Riodinidae/Metal Marks
50. Abisara bifasciata/ Suffused Double Banded Judy

Ingresado el 27 de enero de 2020 por savita savita | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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