Archivos de diario de julio 2017

13 de julio de 2017

Video Game contest 3 and a walk in the woods

This summer my brother had been going to quite a few video game contest. Two were a go the other was a no show. This was again back down to Houston and I have been able to find places to go with the trip for my naturalist needs. The first day was pretty much all about the thrill of that game Super Smash Brothers for my brother. I am not getting tired of these silly game contests but I would appreciate it if he was more in tune with nature like I am. He is not as relaxed playing with his DS system day in and day out. Anyway it was a really awkward setting for round one. We were at a medical complex and it was kind of out in the middle of the concrete jungle. Sure the place had some landscaping but there was not much besides none native Brown Anoles and a few moths around the place. It was kind of a weird set up and not the kind of place I really liked to hang around. It was kind of a strange place but we survived it. It was getting so hot we had to go in and watch the other gamers while my brother played. He lost unfortunately but he has to remember that these contests are hard and are for more experienced players. He is a good player and has won his school's gaming contest but he get so upset when he loses. Anyway he said the day was a waist but he just need to get better at the game. For me it was the start of the real adventure; the kind of adventure that I truly live for. We got dinner and headed to the hotel and ate afterward we went to the basket ball court and shot some hoops and went to the workout room to tire ourselves out. We all got a good nights rest and the next morning we had a good breakfast and headed for the places I decided to go to. We went to Sheldon Lake State Park first and let me tell you it was amazing. It was really gorgeous we saw a bunch of different things; one of the most interesting things I found were these little muddy cylinder shaped pipes that looked like little muddy chimneys or as I called them on Facebook little Mario pipes. As it turns out they are crayfish chimneys. They were a very curious formation and are just one of the coolest pieces of animal architecture. They were quite fascinating; there were dozens of them. We found quite a few dragonflies and things and a lot of different organizes. It was just very tranquil and peaceful. I just loved the look of the wetland area; it was just a sea of American Lotus flowers. It mighty pretty the way the flowers looked. This trip I was able to get a photo of the seed pods of the American Lotus Flowers and I got a great shot of the American Lotus flower. It was quite impressive and a little bit bigger than my hand. I remember when we were on the Aquatics field trip during the 2016 Cross Timbers Master Naturalist training course we did some canoeing and I did see the Lotus flowers there but that trip was not very camera friendly. It was a very hard one to take photos on but heck it was worth it. This trip totally made up for that. This trip I was even able to get a better photo of the Red-winged Blackbird; that little sucker has been the toughest bird for me to photograph. I first saw that one when I was helping my aunt with the school garden project when she taught out in Everman. I would always see them but the photos would never take right. The photos I took on this trip took better but some still hard to get the blur out. However I am thinking about getting the photoshop program and I may touch up some of my photos and then post them. This trip was not that bad and I must say it wasn't as chaotic as the first trip we took down to Houston this year. This trip I was able to get a few damselflies and dragonflies but I also got a few other things. At one point my mother was trying to get my attention and when I finally saw the creature she was pointing out I had no idea what it was. It was a grasshopper we could totally see that but it had a very interesting eye pattern and a very weird shape. I thought it was a katydid until @brandonwoo identified it as a Cattail Toothpick Grasshopper; a species I had no clue existed until this trip. The dragonflies were cool I was able to photograph the Needham's Skimmer, the Eastern Amberwing, Eastern Pondhawk, a forktail and a few dancers at the Sheldon Lake State Park. Yeah @sambology @brentano @briang have really opened my eyes to the world of Dragonflies. When I was younger I didn't think that much of insects but after a while my love for insects grew to where I am taking on a Pokemon like sense of philosophy and have to Catch Em All! I have just really been so involved with dragonflies this summer. I now have 28 different odonata species on my life list. I so far have over 200 insects species all in all. I love looking for anything and everything; I do fancy myself as a generalist but I am not without my specialties insects and birds are two of my major passions. I love birding just as much as I love bug hunting. I was able to nab one interesting shot just before we left Sheldon Lake. Right when I came up to the Pollinator garden we were near something blue shot out from beside me and it was a Eastern Pondhawk; I noticed his basket was deployed as I followed him with my eyes and then I saw something yellow in his legs and then it occurred to me he had his lunch. I am kind of weird and I love to take photos of things eating things because I find it kind of interesting and really fascinating subject matter. You will find if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram some of those photos @kimberlietx @lulubelle maybe you guys have seen the photo with the Yellow-crowned Night Heron with the crayfish in his bill? I just find it very interesting; hey I am a boy and still a kid at heart I find it cool when something gets eaten. When I was in high school and in the Future Farmers of America program one of my teachers had a Corn Snake as a pet and she would feed it mice every now and then and we all would gather around and watch it feed. It was just a little bit of excitement and reminded of the Star Wars Return of the Jedi scene when Jabba the Hutt's Rancor ate the Gamorian Pig Guard. I do volunteer at the Fort Worth Nature Center and let me tell you I get a kick out of feeding the animals there. It is kind of fun to watch animals eat. It is just interesting to watch animals hunt for their food. This Dragonfly was one of the most interesting photo subjects. I don't know what the thing is that the Pondhawk caught but I think it was a moth of some kind but it is up for debate. It was a very interesting photo none the less. On one of my trips to the coast back in 2015 I found a Great Blue Heron eating a fish that was almost as big as he was so it was interesting. We shortly left Sheldon Lake and made a drink and bathroom run and then we headed to our next location which was Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center. That place was very interesting and my kind of place. I may like the beach and Island life but I do like the Mountains and the Forests. I am quite at home in the woods and the swamp land. I just love the marshes but it is hard to say there is all sorts of interesting life that is unique to those areas. It was a very beautiful place and I can't wait to go back there and look around a little bit more. We stopped there and after checking out the nature center we went to the trail with the boardwalk hoping that it would be shady for my mom who has cancer. We I got out of the car and the first thing I saw was a little Tiger Beetle just a scampering as fast as he could. I turned on the camera and was hoping he would stop. He did fortunately and I was able to take it's photo. My friend Kimberlie said that it was an Ocellated Tiger Beetle; before I posted it here I posted it on Facebook and @kimberlietx said that she probably couldn't sleep without knowing what it was. That was my third tiger beetle that I have seen in my life time. I had a bandanna with me at this place and it was so hot and humid in that forest I had to wrap it around my head like as sweat band. I looked like one of the Colonial Marines for the the second film of the Alien franchise which is Aliens. I put my bandanna on and let me tell you I need a hair cut; this maybe gross but heck my hair is long and gets all soaked in sweat. You can just flip me upside down and use me as a mop on some days. I tied the thing around my head and looked down just in time to see a Horned Passalus beetle cross my path. I stopped dead in my tracks and got the thing tied at last and picked up my camera and took its photo. These must be very common in the piney woods. This is the second one I have seen with in a month or so. It is one of the most interesting and big beetles I have ever seen in my life. They are incredible and I do like beetles especially the big ones. This trip was proving to be one for the Odes the place was full of Blue-fronted Dancers and other Dancers. We finally made it to the boardwalk and I stopped to admire the Cypress knees and the Spanish moss after taking a few photos my aunt yelled for me and she pointed out one of the biggest Dragonflies on my life list. I took a few photos and then it moved and started to buzz around me and he would stop right next to me and hover and watch me; I guess he was trying to figure out who or what I was but heck it was very interesting and cool. It then landed in another branch and I got better photos and was able to identify it as a Swamp Darner. This has taken up the title of my favorite Dragonfly for now. This was a very cool trip and I came back with so many wonderful photos from the trip. I do collect patches and pins and other stuff like that on trips but now I like to take photos of the creatures that I have seen on my travels. They are like little treasures that make the time on the trip more memorable. These animals may just be subject for citizen science for the most part but for me they are beautiful natural works of art that I love to look at and study further. They are so much more than research fodder they are the amazing creatures I have dedicated my life to studying. I love the time I spend looking for all the stuff I have seen. That has been many hours spent in the field. I just love the time I spend looking for these little natural wonders and just love the creatures of my extended backyard. I don't have to spend a lot of money and time at a zoo or spend a lot of hard earned money on a safari to a far off place; my backyard and my local areas are full of wonderful things that are just as important and I love each and everything I find. It is amazing how documentaries I watch don't always talk about the things that are in our local areas which is kind of odd they only focus on the stuff that is endangered or exotic. I photograph the under appreciated stuff and the things that normally doesn't get put on TV. This is what I live for; I just love photographing wildlife for citizen science; but also for personal enjoyment. I get to spend all my time with animals I have never even heard of or seen before. To think that this Master Naturalist journey started out as a conversation at a Chick-fil-a back in the Summer of 2015. I got my camera back in the spring, started getting serious of birding, then when to Chick-fil-a a few days before July- 18th and was told about the Southwest Nature Preserve and on July 18th I met up with @apcorboy and the rest of the Southwest Nature Preserve crew. Then was told about the Texas Master Naturalist program and then I went to my first Texas Master Naturalist meeting and met Hester @sambiology @brentano and the rest of the Master Naturalist crew. Went to the Teaming with Wildlife Eco summit then kept going to the meeting and then 2016 rolled along and I submitted my application to take the class and then I was in the class with @eangler @lulubelle and the rest of my classmates and got my hours in and became certified in February of 2017; I have got my start and now it seems I have been seeing what I like and what I can do in life. I have wonderful friends helping me out every step of the way and I am pretty happy where I am right now. My life has been forever changed and now I must say I am a naturalist of the next generation. I am so glad to be taking this journey and going on many wonderful adventures. I hope to have many more and to continue to care about the environment. I still have a lot more ground to cover so what am I waiting for on to my next wild adventure! See you guys on the trail!

Ingresado el 13 de julio de 2017 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 27 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de julio de 2017

Odonata findings at East Metro Park July 1st 2017

Last Saturday on July 1st my little brother had planned to go to yet another video game contest. This time our destination for Manor Texas just north of Austin. I was really excited to go look around for some wildlife and had my gear and was already to go. When we arrived the gaming contest did not go on as planned. It was a no show because the site that my little brother checks for Super Smash Brothers Tournaments didn't give us the memo that they do not do contests at the High School in the Summer time. They didn't take it off the site in time. Anyway after we had lunch we decided to go look for a park. We made it to East Travis County Metro Park and it is one of the better fishing area in the city. I knew what that meant there were ponds and being the hot summer day it was I just knew there had to be odonata species flying around. We arrived at the park and I put on my new shark print draw string bag and that had my field guides and my net and I was ready to go looking for odes. I first saw a few of them flying around the tall grass. I attempted to catch an Eastern Pondhawk but that slippery little devil got away from me. The next one I did catch; it was a little widow skimmer. I brought it over to my aunt and showed it to her and my brother. My brother seemed a little enthused but he is not really a nature nut like I am. My aunt sure liked the little guy though she thought it was cool that I caught it. I let it go and then moved on. I went over closer to the tall grass of the Bullfrog Pond and found a Swift Setwing. This one was a male and was nearly solid black with some white. The one I saw earlier this year at Elmer W. Oliver was a female; so now I have seen both sexes. I was so excited and kept taking pictures when I was not preoccupied pulling beggar-ticks out of my net fabric from when I caught the dragons. I forgot to mention I caught a rather large Green Lynx Spider by mistake about the time after I caught the Widow Skimmer. Anyway back to the story. I walked around for a little bit searching and scanning the edge of the pond for other odes. It seemed like the good day for them because they were abundant. Aside from odes I did find a few grasshoppers and katydids who were hiding in the tall grass. They would hop out when I would scare them up by mistake but they made great subject matter. My tactic for me personally is to take everything as it comes and take not prisoners. I take pictures of nearly everything that comes my way except for a few regular grass blades. I only photograph grass if it has seed pods or is very distinctive. This tactic has a lot of pros to it and will get you really interesting stuff. Even if your not a fan of something you can still add it to your life list. Me I am interested in everything and love putting it on my life list. I have made a comprehensive life list for everything I find from birds to bug to plants to fungus I have covered a lot of ground and I am not done yet. Anyway for the most part I didn't think I was going to see any damselflies but if you look closer at things you can see the darnedest things. I found a couple of Blue-ringed Dancers and a few Double-striped Bluets. After getting the Damsels I looked up and saw something shoot across the pond. It was dark with an orange leaf like tail. I just saw it before it disappeared. I didn't think I would find it again. It was a huge dragon and it was a Flag-tail Spinyleg that I seen. I found one perched on one of the edging stones. This was one of my biggest dragons ever; however I didn't find just one of the big one but two. The second one was a Four-striped Leaftail. It was a touch smaller than the spinyleg but still quite impressive. I am very happy to have these on my life list. It was quite and awesome find. The day was totally picking up from a meh day to a day of personal discovery and life list points. The time at the pond was slowly winding down but I was able to nab a few more for this site. I saw a really cool female Roseate Skimmer which was cool; I also found a really big spider that was set up on the pond. It had a huge web and I don't think I posted the photo because it was kind of hard to tell but i may just to see if someone can ID it. The spider was set up in a lot of Dragon traffic. I thought for sure one of the dragons was going to get blasted into eternity but luckily no odonata were harmed during this adventure. Before we wrapped it up I found a really neat Dragon called a Four-spotted Pennant. That one I think is one of the more special dragons I found on that trip. East Metro Park is quite the place. It may not be a really wild place to go but it is where a few bits of wildlife call home. The time to go home was upon us and we were all hot, sweaty, and tired. It was a good thing we got to go here or I would have never seen such lovely insects I did until later on. This was one of my first trips I was solely looking for odes. I have never just looked for odes like I do the birds. It was a really neat switch up. I still got a few odds and ends in the mix but one thing is for certain I am barely disappointed in what I find. All of it is unique and special in its own way and all of the data I collect is valid and is always feasible. The day was not a total bust to me but to my little brother he was very disappointed. He just needs to get away from the games for a while and take a walk in the woods with me without any electronics. I know I take a camera with me but I always stop to take a look at the scenery when I am looking. That is what keeps me from seeing x-rays. I know I spend a lot of time on the computer and my phone but I am always getting out and getting my time out in the sun and taking breaks when I am not doing outreach on facebook and instagram. I am always doing something with nature. My brother has another video game contest soon lets hope this one is not a bust and let us hope that there is a good place to go looking for more wonderful wildlife near by. So stay tuned for more adventure updates. Until then this is your pal Zachary Chapman AKA galactic_bug_man signing out.

Ingresado el 04 de julio de 2017 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 11 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario