20 de noviembre de 2020

Early morning birding and birding in November and some other notes

So next week we at TCC and many other educational institutes get a week off and I got my geology quizzes done for this week and my week just got a small extension. Early this morning I made myself my grandmother's famous special milk drink which is just milk mixed with some sugar with some added vanilla for flavor. I normally drink this blend around this time of year for it reminds me of her and it just makes me feel better after a stressful time. She passed away in 2018 so it has been hard on all of around this time of year. She loved Thanksgiving and Christmas time and loved taking out winter trips. Aside from all of that. It seemed like a good idea to destress even more. I went out to the garage and got my gear. My camera and my tripod. At first I set up my rig at the kitchen window but then I decided to head out to the back porch. I fixed up my tripod so I could sit in my favorite lawn chair that has a bit of a recline and just sat back and watched the fun unfold.

As I watched I got to see the Dark-eyed Juncos come back to my yard, I also saw my first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season. I got too see a few Cardinals, one Blue Jays, and some other birds. It was a pretty chilly morning so I was pretty bundled up wearing my black sock cap, my 4th Doctor Scarf from Doctor Who, my thicker regular jacket that was plaid and a pair of black sweats and my rubbers. Hey like I have been taught as a Master Naturalist we are no in this to win a beauty contest. I looked like someone who had just stepped of the pier. It was quite funny but I kind of like the sailor look at times. I do after all like the ocean, the wildlife around it, the history. I am not a stranger from listening to old sea shanties of the days of sail and what not.

Still the winter birds in the yard are officially coming back for the wintertime. I spent a little time in my backyard and then I went to the front yard for a little bit. I did see some Cedar Waxwings but was not able to get a photograph of them. I attempted too but a flock of Robins decided to ruin my shot but still I was able to get one of them in my tree in the front yard. It is very nice to get back into the swing of birding. In the spring and summer I do easily get thrown off track when I am out in nature for there is so much to see like birds, insects, arachnids, reptiles and what not. In the winter time it is a lot easier for me to focus on the one thing that truly lead me down the naturalist path and that was birding. I always try to rekindle my love for birding when I can. I have seen quite a few species so far. I have been hanging around Village Creek Drying Beds for a while now. I have seen a Northern Harrier out there along with the American Kestrel, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Eastern Bluebird, White-crowned Sparrow, and several other birds. I mean it has been cool this year for when the first cold front came in I was already on the scene and got in earlier than I have in previous years. It has been really neat to really see all the stuff coming in.

At my house in the early evening just as the sun sinks I will often stand in my front yard and listen to the sounds of nature. At some points I have heard and seen big flocks of American Wigeons flying over my house. There is a true magic of this time of year for it is the transition of not just species migrating or hibernating it is also a time for a transition in weather patterns and also the transition of color. For me the birds do kind of signal the return of fall but I think the cold fronts are the true herringers of fall. The weather does signal the change. I just love this time of year when you can really see the movement and change of nature. I mean all season bring change but not so much as Spring and Fall. They are the two seasons that signal the most change and movement in the year.

Birding this month has been very good. I have seen some Franklin's Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls, tons of Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teals, Ruddy Ducks, Gadwalls, Northern Pintails, White Ibis, White-faced Ibis, I did see a Common Gallinule early on at the Drying Beds which was pretty cool. I don't get to see those unless I am at the coast even then I don't get to see them too often. I also have seen a few Blue-winged Teals, some Wood Ducks, a Harris Sparrow, and some other things. This year has been a great year for birding. Last year and this year I have had a blast birding. I have gotten to go out to a few new locations in the last couple of years and have had a big boost in my birding numbers since I have gone to Colorado, down in the piney woods and hills of Texas, Arizona, and even Arkansas and Louisiana and Oklahoma. I have got to see a ton of different things in the last couple of years. I have seen a lot of birds so far. In more recent days I have not added any new lifers to my list but I have had some very uncommon things show up. So that is really nice to document some of those things. I am doing very well to get all the species as they transition to the best of my ability. My observations count has really sky rocketed. I am almost to 4000 observations for 2020 alone which is not shabby at all considering all of what has gone down.

I am just so glad the holidays are here and coming up around the bend. I sure hope I get to take a few day trips and what not. I am also compiling my Christmas list for this year. I have found some good and inexpensive things that I want to add on to my camera. I have been working with a bunch of folks and will be working with a bunch of folks on various projects. A lot of what they ask of me is to take photos and what not. I have found a cool Macro lens I am looking at, a light ring flash system, and a few things for my GoPro adventure camera. I am also working on some side projects and keeping my Facebook and Instagram updated and of course gotta keep my iNaturalist files updated as well. I am wanting to make an educational YouTube channel that caters to all and to show case some of the things I have found and also have some virtual hikes and things. I have been planning to do some stuff with that on top of other things. I am currently working on a big research project out at the Fort Worth Nature Center with a couple of folks and I am taking photos of all we find. It is on hiatus until the spring and summer but I am still trying to make some more plans and what not. I am also trying to get some other stuff lined up. So even though I am just doing a lot of volunteer work it is still kind of a "job" in a way. I am still in school and what not and have been asked to help with a few things so I am currently working on lots of projects and things. Hey gotta do something might as well do nature work.

Still I am hoping to get out and do some day trips and what not depending. I am just so glad that the year is almost over. I am so ready to turn the page. But so far birding and nature watching and all the stuff I do in nature is all good. I have been out to a few places and may get out tomorrow and do some stuff. I am not sure but I need to get back out in the field I have not been out in a couple of days except to look around my house for things. Still all in all it is a pretty good time just to enjoy the nice weather, take some joy in the season, spending time with family and loved ones, just to enjoy the nice weather and to enjoy nature. It is a great time to watch animals and things. I know a lot of folks who don't really think the winter is good for wildlife but I tell them they be dead wrong. Winter may look pretty bleak but to some you can find some pretty neat stuff if you look high and low and very carefully. I will be doing a lot of stuff over the winter break. I wish all of you a very safe Thanksgiving and may all your days be merry and bright. It has not really been the most ideal of situations but we will get past this conundrum one way or another. It is just a very hard row to hoe right now. I wish you all the best. Keep the faith get out and explore nature and like always folks take it easy.

Ingresado el 20 de noviembre de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 94 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de noviembre de 2020

Insect hunting in rather chilly weather

Been staying up late trying to get some more observations and I have to say the last two nights have been rather interesting indeed. I have been keeping my kitchen light on at my house and have been able to get quite a few different kinds of insects and also quite a few spiders. Mostly everything I have found is quite small compared to the stuff I see in the summertime. Last night it was 58 degrees Fahrenheit and tonight it is a chilly 55. Still the number of insects and things I have been able to get is quite good. I have gotten a few flies, three species of Lacewing from what the reports tell me. I have also got a few spiders in the mix mostly crab spiders maybe a Garden Ghost Spider, and a few of the small house spiders and such. Tonight I found a few midges and also I have found some other things I am not sure what are. This will be quite interesting to see how many insects I will be able to find the remainder of the year. I am going to keep tabs and maybe even make a few charts of the best days I have had throughout and see if there is any particular time of winter when insects are the next to most comfortable. I know being ectothermic you need to be warm and what not. Right now it seems that I have been able to scope out a few good species. It is quite interesting. Normally it is pretty hard to get insects of many varieties up here. That is another thing I am going to look into and see what the most arthropod observations I get this year. I am quite curious to see what will be in store for me the rest of the year. Keep a chart on temp and insect count will be rather interesting. Just thought I would throw this out there. For all of you insect people keep an eye out. May not be too much but there are quite a few arthropods still out and about.

Ingresado el 19 de noviembre de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 21 observaciones | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de noviembre de 2020

A year in review for 2020

I know I have not written in a while but I thought it would be nice to recall all the stuff that has gone on in the life of 2020 in terms of nature and my travels and my adventure so far. A Charles Dickens once penned it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. 2020 certainly was a little bit of both for sure. I had a lot of fun in between all the chaos and confusion. However not being with my good friends this year who I normally BioBlitz with was hard for me. It was all going very smoothly at the start of the year. Then things started to spiral out of control. I was in Arizona when all the chaos seemed to unfold here in the U.S when the Covid-19 stuff happened. I was coming back from a grand adventure. I have to say I loved going back to Arizona for one thing. I went during my Spring Break. I had a lot of fun exploring the Cactus lands and seeing all the wildlife I did. I loved seeing the cool Toad Bug, the Diamondback Rattlesnake, the giant Saguaro Cacti, the Cactus Wren, the Gamble's Quail and what not. It was a great vacation. We finished off the trek at Palo Duro Canyon for some sight seeing and some more birding. This Arizona trip was very fun and I went to a few good places like Agua Fria National Monument, Dreamy Draw, Homolovi State Park, and Palo Duro Canyon. This trek was very fun. We also went to see the Texas Rangers Baseball team during Spring Training. That was the only game we got to see during the entire year in person. When we got back I went to volunteer at River Legacy and then it seemed that world had stopped. On the final day of the Spring Break Nature Camp we barely had any visitors. We had a few but it was like the world had stopped turning. Months past and the shut down was really getting to me and my brother. We finished off the school year and then summer came and we took some social distance trips. We went to Lyndon B. Johnson State Park, Balcones' Canyonlands State Park, we went to Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, Logolly State Park in Arkansas, we also went to a Caddo Lake State Park, and Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, we also went to Big Spring State Park toward the end of the year. I must say this sure was a wild year more ways than one but I was really happy with all the stuff I was able to do and see. This year and last year were both good years in terms of wildlife observing. In the spring I participated in the City Nature Challenge but was pretty bummed out that I couldn't spent it with my BioBlitz team and peeps like I am sure a lot of you can relate. I also did the National Moth week but I did something really special during these two events. I hopped on to Facebook and did a live stream set for my mothing. I did a lot of live streams during the hard times to keep people in the loop and to show them all kinds of cool wildlife. I also participated in the DFW Social Distance Challenge. It was very interesting for I got into more scrapes than one. I was almost bowled over by a group of deer at the Bob Jones Nature Center, I got covered by fire ants at the Village Creek Drying Beds and was stung over thirty times. I was also bit and attacked by a crazy Muscovy Duck at the Cliff Nelson Rec center. It was not cool but I did manage to get a lot of pretty neat observations despite the obstacles I faced in that time. On the up and up I did get to see @sambiology when I was filmed for an segment for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Things were good during that event. I was happy to have been included in that project. Things were full of ups and downs but having been filmed for that segment felt good and felt right. It was just a wonderful thing. A bunch of my friends from TCC South were there with me collecting data and stuff while we were being filmed in a BioBlitz setting. It was a great time we found some new stuff for the school list when we were out there and we had a great time getting together and just took the time to really do good for conservation and also outreach that day. This year has been full of ups and downs and it has been a rollercoaster of terror it seems for some. Many have died from the pandemic and the political situation was and is a rollercoaster so there was a lot going on this year. It may have not been the best but it was not all bad. I mean many of us were able to get out and document wildlife. And any time you go out and do iNaturalist stuff it is a great day for wildlife. I am sure hoping next year is better. It has been kind of crazy for this is the longest I have been without being with my Texas Master Naturalist friends (well the majority anyway). Safety is everything though and I am so glad that I can still get with them on Zoom. I have been on many Zooms and things throughout the year so it has been good that I get to see some of the familiar faces. It just has been year full of emotion. My schooling too has been a rollercoaster as well. I am doing great in my Geology class but I regret to say it but I will have to drop my Federal Government class for it has not been the best in that class. Too much going on and there was not a regular lecture and on top of other things. Next semester though I will be taking a Phil class and a photography class so a something a bit easier and less taxing maybe. I hope you all stay safe and healthy well into the new year and for always. I just wanted to let you know I am still here and not going anywhere. I have been just blown away by the whole situation. It has been a year I will never forget.

Ingresado el 15 de noviembre de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de abril de 2020

City Nature Challenge 2020: The Strangest by far

I know it is has been a long while since I made a post to the old journal here but it is that time of year when the CNC is upon us once gain. However it will not be as big of a to do for a cloud has appeared in the form of the Coronavirus or covid-19. It will be a strange time not being around good friends and new neighbors during this time of exploration and adventure. For most of us it will be getting observations from home and maybe at a local park. It will be weird not getting to rub elbows with other naturalists and share in the wonder on a personal interactive level. For me I will miss doing the events this year. I will miss seeing my friends @sambiology @wildcarrot @kimberlietx @charley @annikaml @k8thegr8 @brentano @cindylcobb5 and all my other friends during the CNC. I am always thinking of you guys. It will be weird not sitting around a mothing station interacting with people face to face. It will be a weird time not to be able to interact with people on the trail. However even in this time we still need to do the challenge more than ever for there have been some interesting natural changes since the time for social distancing and the time for quarantine. Animals that are normally shy are being seen out in the open due to less foot traffic. So it is an interesting time to get out and explore nature now more than ever. I never thought of the fifth City Nature Challenge to be quite like this. I thought it would be a bigger to do and a large celebration. Still we can celebrate nature and connect with our friends even though we are apart. We are a science community that is always connected through social media and of course let us not forget our iNaturalist site. As we approach the City Nature Challenge this year lets us remember that documenting as much as we can is still a common goal we have.

Even though we they say we are not treating it as a contest it is a time to come together as one and help find and document all the animals to show that we are still making headway for wildlife even through these difficult times. Remember don't be reckless and go on half cocked. The dangers of Covid-19 are real and are out there. If you decide to go out to a local park like I am planning wear a mask to protect yourself and stay six feet apart from other hikers. It will not be the same this year as we have had it in the past. This will be one for the history books of the iNaturalist community. I am confident that we will all do our part and get as much as we can. Our A games may not be the same this year as they have in the past but that doesn't mean we need to not give our all. Still make those observations even if you have to pace your backyard. It is important that we continue to document wildlife for research and data collection. It has always been very important for our understanding of our natural world. we need to all do our part and continue the yearly tradition for naturalists everywhere.

I will be doing a lot of different things this year such as going out to parks and getting data that way but I will also be getting observations by doing mothing at my home with my new mothing rig. I will be birding and insect hunting. I will be going on like business as usual but of course doing the suggested safety stuff like wearing a mask and social distancing and what have you. I am will be doing some of the normal stuff like beat sheeting and sweep netting and all of that sort of jazz.

I have also ordered some new macro magnification lens adapters and a rain coat for my camera. I have a feeling that we might see some rain on the last couple of days during the CNC but that would be a good time to throw on a poncho and throw on the rain cover for the camera and wait out the storms and get some photos of wildlife after the rain. I have waited out some storms and have seen some pretty cool stuff come up after the rain. The rain draws out the bugs and the bugs bring the birds a classic look at the food chain but it shows how some feeding is triggered by a natural event.

Also I have a final project coming up for my Photography I class at TCC and I have decided to do my project based on the adventure of the City Nature Challenge as well as the magic of Earth Day and what is is like to be a naturalist. I am going to take photos of landscapes, and a couple of animals and then I will take a shot of me looking thoughtful in a kind of homage to the old Cowboy song "we'll rest at the end of the trail" By Tex Ritter. I am really interested in seeing how that composition will look once I complete that project. But yeah I have a few things with in the CNC that I am obligated to do for a grade. But the best part is I got to choose the project. So yeah I am going to be really busy with this year's CNC even though my A game may not be very good this year since I will not be able to get to some of the bigger places since I am playing the caution card right now. It is just very weird but I will be visiting a lot of my nearby parks and am going to try and get as much as I can.

As always a few friendly reminders you should take heed of. If you are catching anything of any kind please don't stress out the animals. This is more for the younger kids and people that maybe a little in experienced with wildlife handling. Remember animals are like humans and can get stressed out. Don't handle animals for long periods of time. Take you shots and then put the animals down so they can go about their happy lives. Also don't go off trail and make social trails that will disturb wildlife nesting grounds and hiding places. Also please be curious to everyone around you and practice safe distance. I know I am kind of over stressing that but it is vital. If you don't feel like you should risk it then stay home and do stuff in your yard or garden or even take a walk around the block if you want to get a work out and want to see what is around your area of living. Be mind full and don't do anything that can be of risk to you or any of the wildlife around you. It is vital to stay safe during this time. Don't try anything hazardous to physically or mentally.

Still have fun and enjoy nature Earth Day is today but why not use this time to celebrate Earth Weekend. The CNC is the best way to get out and discover something new. It is a wonderful time of year and one of the coolest times to make a connection with wildlife both big and small and the naturalists who study all things natural. You can still make friends and interact as long as you have this site. I trust that all of you will give it your all or as much of your all as possible. remember don't go to overcrowded areas and stay in places that don't have a lot of foot traffic. Get out with family members do not travel alone just in case something screwy goes on. I hope that all of you have a good run this year during the City Nature Challenge.

This is a very vital data collection time it is one of a few big data drop periods so we need all the help we can get. It will allow you and your folks (especially kiddos) for it will give them some instructional time and help enrich their minds and get them out of the house for a few hours even if it is in the front or backyards. It good for all of us to pitch in and help further our understanding of nature in these times of change and uncertainty. We need all the help we can get and it is one of the best ways to make a connection and find your place in nature. We are in this together more ways than one. We can still make a difference and make a change. So until my next entry I will see you on the trail.

Ingresado el 22 de abril de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 10 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de febrero de 2020

The year so far and a new tool to use for insect data

Well my year has been going great so far. I am on a 49 day streak of iNaturalist data collection. It is kind of crazy that I have been on the streak for as long as I have so far. My goal is to get one or more observations for everyday this year. It is a tall order but I think it is manageable. It is pretty fun and helps raise awareness on the state of the ecology and wildlife. I have found some new lifers not birds but other things so far.

Today was a very special day too. @sambiology keep me posted on the moth nights for sure. @kimberlietx gave me an Ultra-violet Black light as a gift. I will be using that to document even more moths. I am planning several things now like camping out in my backyard and getting observations to double my yard list. I will be traveling with that thing too. So if there is any big mothing events I will defiantly bring my new setup. My aunt has a frame she built for her school's step team. I asked her if I could use it for mothing and she said I could. It is kind of large but it will hold a lot of moths and what not. I am going to go to the store soon and by a hook for the light, a sheet, and clamps for said sheet. I have been wanting to have my own mothing setup and think it cool that I now have the parts to make my own light trap. It is kind of neat and the possibilities are endless.

I will be able to participate more than just being an ID guy but I can contribute in other ways to help out and get more species and specimens on another extra sheet. I am going to be doing a lot of collection in the spring and summer so I will be able to see what all comes out during both spring and summer to get a better idea of what moths come out in which seasons and conditions. I do have a lot of insects in my yard and being out will also allow me to study more species of longhorn beetles. My yard is a hot bed for those guys. It does help to have a lot of plants in my yard and around the area. There are a lot of plants and stuff around so who know what else I might find. Moths have always been a favorite topic but there are only so many moth nights a year so I am going to change that and double my nighttime observation time. I am already a night owl as it is so it would be nice to put more observations in when I am doing nothing but making posts on social media.

But yeah my start to 2020 is a good start. I will be at 9,000 observations in no time. I have 8,718 about give or take. I am going all over the place most weekends. I have been in north and west Texas a few times already and then I have been to a lot of parks I didn't know existed so I am keeping my range expansion promise pretty well. I have no idea what I will be doing on Spring Break. It is kind of up in the air right now. I sure hope that I get a lot of stuff tomorrow. I am planning on going out and getting some observations and what not to try and get closer to 8,800. I am starting to see more and more insects and spiders starting to emerge. I am really keeping a close eye on things this year and trying to catch all the stuff I come across. I have been doing a lot of solo stuff now but I will be doing the City Nature Challenge and National Moth Week and what not. I have a few things penciled in with a few other naturalists and what not. So yeah it will be very interesting to see what else turns up in the next couple of months.

I am really excited for all the new gear I have got I just need to find time and use it. I will give the light a field test the weekend before the CNC to get an idea what to look for and to warm up on my nighttime photography. I am so excited right now. I am already trying to get a plan of action down so I can hit all the best parks with the best wildlife counts. I need to explore some of the new parks I have discovered recently as possible options. DFW is going to come in first this time. I have found some pretty cool parks that maybe under studied so it looks like I have my work cut out for me. I still have time to plan my CNC weekend and my plan of attack but yeah it is going to be fun to double my observations this year. I was up in the 600s for my observations but I am going to try my hardest to get even more for this year and try and double it with all the stuff I have planned. beat sheeting, sweep netting, and setting out my moth light will be strategies in my plans. I just have to make sure I evenly balance it all to my advantage.

Well I think that is all for this post. I will keep you all updated on what is new on my end. I will see you all on the trail.

Ingresado el 21 de febrero de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de enero de 2020

Missions for the New Year

Well it is getting close to the new year and the new decade and for me and many of us it is time to go on more adventures and explore more. For me I have a few places I want to go back to like Big Thicket, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, LLELA and other places in Texas. I am going to be looking for many different species this year including the Pileated Woodpecker, a live Luna Moth, and that illusive Dragonhunter. I have quite a few other thing on my list but I really want to see these three species alive and well. It is in the talks that my family will be thinking about going east and having a really nice summer vacation in Georgia. I am very interested in going to a few parks around there. I also would like to go to Louisiana and explore some of their areas a bit more. I need to start filling in more of my map. It is going to be a great year of exploring and going on even more adventures around Texas and other places around too. I am wanting to look for more places in Texas that I have not been too. I would like to get out and visit Palo Duro Canyon and a few parks west and north. I am really wanting to double my efforts and find twice as much wildlife in 2020. I am going to try and get over 10,000 next year. I am looking ahead and I know that the City Nature Challenge will be coming up and I am telling you right now that I am going to really bring my A game and double my efforts. I am actually going to try and get a brand new mothing light and do some more mothing in my own backyard. I will be looking forward to National Moth Week this year and all the other Bio Blitzes I will be participating in. I am going to be taking a new photography class in college and I am hoping to also improve my photography skills and do a lot more with it. 2020 is going to be a good year for wildlife for me I just know it. I am going to be doing more birding, more insect hunting, I am going to be doing a lot in the new decade so I am very interested in to know just what I will encounter in the new year and the new decade. So until we meet again in the new year I will see you on the trail.

Ingresado el 01 de enero de 2020 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de diciembre de 2019

My trip to Galveston and Big Thicket National Preserve

Galveston: Day One

I had another great adventure this winter and one I will never forget. This year we decided to head back down to Galveston after a long time of not being down there. This is our fourth trip down to the coast in the last couple of years. We left on the 21st and came back on the 24th Christmas Eve. On the first day we made a detour and went to Conroe Texas and tried to look for the Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers but yet again we didn't see any but we did find some pretty cool things there. We didn't spend that much time at the W.G. Jones site and had to get back on the road. We soon made it to Galveston in no time flat. We stopped by East Beach were we found some Gulls, Brown Pelicans, and one of my latest lifers the Black Skimmer. I had been looking for the Black Skimmer for a while now and I was surprise to see a whole bunch of them on a sandbar. It was so cool. Along the parking area were a bunch of shells I had to take the photos of them just to add more to the list. Soon it was time to find lunch. the we went near the old San Jacinto Fort site and saw a Herring Gull which was a new species for me as well. We went toward our Hotel and stopped at a Whataburger and fueled up before heading to Sea Wolf Park which has two World War II vessels on the property the U.S.S. Stewart and the U.S.S. Cavala. While exploring the upper decks of the ship on the Stewart we saw some more gulls and a Snowy Egret which was pretty cool. It was pretty chilly and defiantly jacket weather the wind coming off of the water made it even colder. Soon the sun was sinking but we made a stop by a place we would be a point of interest for us. Lafitte's Cove Nature Society was a stop we made and it was at the wrong time of day to be exploring there. We had some luck seeing some stuff but it was getting dark and we were unable to get any good photos. We decided to call it a night and headed down to the hotel. My aunt and I played a round of Basket Ball up to like fifty points or so and one round of pig. Then we went inside and made our plans to go to Moody Gardens.

Galveston: Day Two

The next day we went to Moody Gardens after having a very nice breakfast in the Hotel dining area. We arrived early before the Aquarium opened and waited for it to open for we didn't know how full it was going to be. We went in at 10 A.M. when it opened all of us purchased full day passes which gave us access to all the stuff the Aquarium, Rain Forest, a boat ride on the Colonel, gave us access to the ice sculpture garden, and the light trail. We first went into the Aquarium and explored some of the captive species to learn about some of the stuff about the species from around the world. Then we went to the Rain forest. The first parts of the day were to get some target practice in with the camera. I find that Zoos and Aquariums are not only good to educate yourself on different species but it is a very good place to warm up after being a little rusty on photo taking. Then we stopped and had some lunch. During our time in the Aquarium I got a patch for my vest. After lunch we headed to our boat ride on the paddle wheel known as the Colonel. We boarded and were greeted by a bunch of gulls. I believe the gulls were Laughing Gulls which were the main species we saw. We had to wait for everyone to get their photo taken for keepsake shots and then we were soon on our way for our hour voyage. No we were not tossed around in a big storm or get stranded on a desert island. If you get the reference kudos for you! No the ride was nice and very pleasant and the music was great especially when they played around of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. I am kind of a Parrot Head I am big Jimmy Buffet fan. They also played some Christmas music and some other things in the mix. Along the way the tape on the speaker said to look for wildlife including a lone dolphin that liked to follow the boat's wake. Along the way I saw a Common Loon, a few Cormorants, and a few more Gulls and Pelicans. It was a pretty cool ride and very fun. I really like rides out on the water it really makes me happy and very pleased. Before the boat ride I found some cool insects. There were very few insects on this trip. I found a little bee, a wasp, and a few Monarchs. I even had to save a little caterpillar of a Monarch Butterfly that could have been stepped on. We went on the day finishing with all the Christmas stuff; the ice house and the lights. We spent the whole day there and had a lot of fun. We went back to the hotel and got some rest.

Galveston: Day Three

This was the final full day of the trek. On this day we headed down to Galveston Island State Park which is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been too. We saw a bunch of birds there. We went on the Clapper Rail Trail first and what would I find but a Clapper Rail. That dude shot out in front of me and was pitching side to side as he walked. I had to act fast and get a photo or lose it. I got a few shots of the bird. I kept my distance but followed it until it finally disappeared in the tall grass. Then on the trail something big flew overhead and that was a Northern Harrier which I had been looking for for a long time. That dude was cool but I only got one good shot of it. I had read that they are one of the few survivors of the last ice age and have Harems instead of being monogamous like some of the other modern hawks. Then we went to another side of the park and we found a whole feeding group of Roseate Spoonbills, and a few herons and a Willet. There was a couple of other bird on that trail like a Eastern Meadowlark. It was a pretty good hike in that park and we saw a few other things like a few shells and a Broad-tipped Conehead. We headed down the road after we got done at the park after a quick stop at the duck pond and after I observed a Sesbenia Clown Weevil. We then headed to a place that was right next to the park and saw a White-Ibis and a Belted Kingfisher. After we saw all we could see there we headed back to Lafitte's Cove Nature Society and went there when it was still light outside. We found a few Bufflehead Ducks, Northern Shovelers, we saw a few plants, a few Eastern Phoebes and as we went into the interior of the park we heard a Great Horned Owl. I never got a photo of it but it was pretty cool to finally get that sucker on my life list since I heard it. A bunch of other birders saw me and we chatted a bit and looked for the owl but we never could find it. Then later on we saw some Yellow-rumped Warblers and a few other things too like a Virginia Opossum by the bank. We then headed to get lunch we then were back on the road and took a ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula and went to the flats. On that boat ride we saw some of the same stuff but we also got to see some Common Bottlenose Dolphins and a few other birds. It took us a little bit but we finally made it to the flats. There we saw a Loggerhead Shrike, a few Pied-billed Grebes on the side of the road. Then we made it to the beach where we saw a Black-bellied Plover, a Semipalmated Plover, and a few Piping Plovers along the shoreline. We found a few cool shells when we did some beach combing. It was a good part of the trip and the day with the most wildlife. I made a few observations but not too many for this was a very limited trip due to our budget but heck it was good. To wrap up the day we headed back and went to do some shopping. I found a really cool Shark shirt and my dad got us some key chains. It was pretty good trip even though it was pretty short but I have seen shorter and I take what I can get.

Big Thicket

My dad turned 73 yesterday which would be the 28th and we went to Big Thicket National Preserve. My goodness what a wonderful trek to finish off the 2019 year and the decade. It was a pretty fun hike through the pines and mix of other trees. It was almost like something our of Jurassic Park they had a bunch of ferns and a lot of tall trees. It was very beautiful. It was a pretty odd day yesterday there was a lot of rain and a lot of wind so birding was kind of a flub except for a chickadee and a yellow-bellied sapsuckers. We did encounter a lizard and an Green Anole. We found a bunch of cool stuff and there is only one conclusion I need to go back someday to find the insect eating plants and the Pileated Woodpeckers and the Dragonhunter Dragonfly. Yeah today I checked the species list and I must say there is a lot that I would like to try and find in the spring and summer. Lets just say I will be going back there in the near future. I got eighteen observations there but I have a feeling those will not be the only ones I will get from that place knowing that there is a lot more to find. I am going to try and double that.

But that was my winter trip in a nut shell. It was really good and very fun. I can't wait til my next adventure. Next year we are thinking about going to Georgia but that is way into the future of next year so in the mean time there are many places to explore and they ain't going to explore themselves so until my next big adventure I will see you in the new year everyone! this is Zachary Chapman AKA galactic_bug_man signing off.

Ingresado el 30 de diciembre de 2019 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de diciembre de 2019

New Mission for my GoPro camera

Okay so I have no idea where my mind has been all this time. It just dawned on me that my GoPro camera is waterproof and that gave me a great idea. I am currently going to be saving up some money to try and get a new remote shutter for the GoPro systems, a floaty to put around it, and a waterproof case just to be safe. I think I may be able to get some more underwater creatures. I am going to make my own safety system so I don't lose the small camera but I am going to try my hand and get some really cool underwater shots no matter if it is in a river, lake, or even near the ocean. I am going to be experimenting once I go to the coast this year but I am going to be trying other things once I am able to get all the other stuff. I need some more fish for my life list and what better way than to use my little GoPro that i have had all this time. I got it around the time I got my Canon Rebel T6. I was just going to use it for birds than I started to have a brain storm now I am going to pull out all the stops and go for something totally different than what I am used to. My underwater photography dream may be a lot closer than I think. I will have to start to practice with my new tricks. This will double my experience points for sure. I have just been in the dark it seems not even giving it another thought that I could be doing so much more with my photography than using my Canon T6 all the time to get shots from the surface. I tend to be a bit slow at times with the uptake. Oh it is on like Donkey Kong. I will give the old college try when I go to Galveston and see how it works. This is just a random thought I had and thought I would share it. It is going to be interesting this next few trips and things. I am very curious on how this will all work out. It will be very interesting indeed. I maybe able to finally photograph a shark or two if I am lucky. This will be very interesting. Man it hurts when you are so swamped with work and you can't think clearly. Anyway better late than never.

Ingresado el 03 de diciembre de 2019 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de noviembre de 2019

Galveston Trip 2019 and a little review

Well this year has been rather interesting. I thought I was going to reach 10,000 Observations this year but with my brother at school long hours like me that didn't happen. I have been rather busy with life by volunteering a lot that observations now are kind of few and far between. I have been on several more Bio Blitzes this year which is a plus. I have made it to 8,000+ this year. It was great back in the summer when I we got to go to Colorado. That was a fun trip. We also got to go the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Hornsby Bend Wetland Center and a few other places. This year has been a good one and the amounts of creatures have been much greater but the days of observation are fewer. It has been a very interesting year in contrast from last year. I had way more days of observations last year and really big numbers on some of those days. It has either been too hot or I have been busy with other things. I have a new Nature Club at school that I have been tending too so that has cut some of the observation time. Still it has been a very good year. I have had a slight boost in Mammals and some Reptiles which was really cool.

This year my aunt has set us up to go to Galveston Texas which I have not been too since I was a little boy. I was in the 3rd grade the first time I went. I am looking forward to doing some iNatting there. I have seen a lot of neat things to do and see. I want to go visit the Sea Wall again which is a must for any history nut like me. I been there once before. Sea Wolf Park and Galveston Island State Park are a few more places I want to visit too. I have found a bunch of neat things to do. It will be like Colorado where we revisit some of the old places. Moody Gardens would be a cool place to go too as well. However I am looking forward to doing some hiking and walking around looking for birds and other things. I am also hoping to load up on a few keepsakes and a few patches to add to my vest. I am really wanting to get a shark patch to put on my vest if I can find one. That would be the perfect patch for my first vest. It is almost filled up with patches from a lot of the places I have visited in the last six years. I am looking forward to going and seeing the sights of Galveston. I barely remember it but it will be a nice switch up from going to Corpus like we do most of the time. I am hoping to go to Kleb Woods as well when we are on the return trip up through Houston. I want to try and get over a hundred observations. I am hoping to find some new stuff that I have not seen before. There are plenty of thing to find but a life list like mine it is hard to find things that you haven't seen yet. It does not hurt to photograph the oldies but goodies thought especially if it was one that you don't get to see too often. I love doing iNaturalist stuff. If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly four years of using it is that citizen science is very important. It is a great tool that I love contributing too. Even now as we are facing climate change and what not it more important to track numbers of all of what we see on a daily basis. I know what I am going to be doing over the course of December and that is more birding. November I might go and bird a little bit. I have a plan to go with my mother and step-father and we will go and explore LLELA. I have a lot of stuff planned for next year. I am really excited to go to Galveston and look at the wild areas there. It will be fun to see just how many species I can get out there. I have not been there in a long time so it will be nice to visit and see all the cool things there. I want to go to a few of the museums and things but mostly what I want to do is explore the natural side of things. Do some beach combing and what not. It is going to be so much fun! I can hardly wait.

Ingresado el 02 de noviembre de 2019 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

24 de junio de 2019

Colorado Trip update

Well it is confirmed we will be leaving on Friday of this week for Colorado. We are so excited to be going on this trip. I am hearing a lot of good stuff right now about the northern states being all bloomed out so I am hoping for the best results on this trek. I am looking forward to all the sights and sounds once again. Rocky Mountain National Park seems to be one of the big spots that we want to visit along with other places around Denver. We will go to springs for a little bit but we only have so much dough for this trip which I totally get. We are going to have a great time I am sure. I am hoping to score some very neat types of wildlife.

As far as gear I will not be able to bring my beat sheet. However this might interest some of you that I will be taking my stick and will use my net as the sheet. It may have a smaller opening but heck I am very resourceful. I have my aunt's binoculars and mine but we still have yet to track down a pair we have been looking for a while. My mom never got to use them but we still need to find them for the trek. I have only a few books in a bucket to wedge under the seat. I will have to trade places with my brother in the back seat so I can get to my stuff easier. I have my net and my backpack ready to go with extra Petri Dishes. I have my choices of clothes that I will wear for the trek. I also have my vest and my new hat that I will be wearing for the few days we are up there. No trip is complete without my iPod I have to listen to Rocky Mountain High at least once when I get to Colorado while we drive through it. I will also have my headlamp for some night reading. I have that Star Trek novel I need to finish. I have most of my stuff already to grab and go. We will get road snacks before the trek.

It has been a long time since we have been though Colorado but it is going to be a lot of fun to travel around up there once again. Love Colorado for many reasons and I hope to rekindle some of those old memories once again but along the way make new ones too. I have iNaturalist in my corner now and part of the memories will be the ton of animals, plants, and fungi I will be able to track down and photograph. I have all of our cameras ready to pack up and ready to go. I may do some iNatting before the trek just to stay in practice and get a few more things but during this trip I don't think we would want to leave anything un photographed. I went there in 2007 or was it 08? I can't really remember but I didn't have this wonderful app to track my numbers but this time I will be ready for anything. We are going to make a few pit stops along the way. My brother wants to go to the Volcano in New Mexico. That will be a great place to go and get a patch and some photographs. I will be on the look out for some really cool patches and things while I am not this trip. I will even be looking for some very cool fossils to buy. I can't seem to go to Colorado without buying fossils from Rock Shops and things. I am doing a favor for a neighbor and he paid me fifty bucks to watch his chickens while he was on his trip. So I will use that as my vacation money. I think I have a little bit more in my shark bank that I can use too so I will be able to by a few things along the way. I am looking forward to this trek. I will be on facebook throughout the few days I am up there to go tell where we are at and what we are doing. It will be a lot different since the last time we were there but still it will be another adventure of a life time. So I have a lot to do until Friday but I assure you that it will be well worth the wait. So next we meet I will be going into a few of the highlights from th trip. I will also be posting pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and make a big play by play blog post on my Tumblr. So until next time here's looking at you. This is Zachary Chapman AKA galactic_bug_man signing off.

Ingresado el 24 de junio de 2019 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario