Archivos de diario de julio 2018

25 de julio de 2018

Mothing Night at Parr Park mission briefing

Tonight is hopefully going to be a great one. Tonight is Moth Night at Parr Park in Grapevine. Back in June I had the pleasure of going there for a data collection day out with @sambiology @wildcarrot @lovebirder @brentano @kimberlietx and several others. Tonight I am heading back out to get some more night fliers and things. Being near a creek system I wounder what might be out there. I have checked a few of the species I have an interest in and they have been spotted in the surrounding area. Parr Park is slightly new and they are wanting us to get a list of all the wildlife at the park. I for one love getting stuff for parks and wild areas. Citizen science has always been in my blood. I love to document all I can at many parks. Some people don't really like the park setting which I understand but me I find all areas important and love to explore places that get overlooked or that don't get much press. I for one love the park environment to get data and raise awareness for local wildlife. I can't wait to head out there tonight I am going to head out there a tad early so that way I can go search for a Sanddragon If I can find one. @briangooding found one in the creek bed the first time I was there and I missed it. I am hopping I can get it on the rebound and a few more dragonflies before it gets totally dark and before the event starts. I am hoping to get a few more new species to my list of 1,024 before this month is up. I have a feeling that I am going to find a lot of cool things to marvel at and add to my data collection. I am always interested in what I find. Whether if they are old observations or new all data is important. Sometimes I do forget this but in the long run everything is important to document whether it is flora or fauna. I am bringing my flashlight just in case I spot something else besides night insects I might want to photograph. Mothing is one of my favorite night time activities since my first Night Hike at Elmer W. Oliver and the mothing event at Mockingbird Park I have been totally in to the night realm of the moths. It isn't just the moths that interest me but all the tiny insects that are attracted to lights at night are all very interesting to document and observe. Sometimes the only way to see something is only by the cover of darkness. All you need is a good bright light and a sheet or just a porch light and begin to observe and document all you can. I use my porch light more than anything but it looks like I will be getting a more powerful fixture. I am going to get a high wattage work light, a good bit of white material, clamps, and a PVC tube frame and make my own mothing set up once we get more money. That is what my family is getting me for my birthday so that way I can do mothing at my house more often and on a more scheduled basis. Aside from that thought I am hoping that the mothing is good tonight and hope to find some good stuff. I hope to make a few new friends too. My aunt is taking me tonight and I hope she will join me when we get there. She is kind of the shy type and on top of that doesn't like insects much but I am working with her and the rest of my family with the whole insect thing. Our thing is we still don't know how I totally got into insects when the rest of my family doesn't particularly like them. I mean they like ladybird beetles, praying mantises, butterflies, dragonflies but anything creepier than that and they get squeamish but me I live for the weird things in the natural world. The weirder the better I say and that is coming from a guy who love science fiction monsters. I love sci-fi and the creepier the animal the more it reminds me of my favorite genera of film and TV and book. Hope tonight is a good one and hope that it is not too hot but just hot enough to attract the moths. We shall see how this goes and it looks like I will be staying the whole night we are out there so that way I don't miss anything. The last couple of times I have done a Moth night I have missed something really cool. I need to make sure I have batteries and make sure that I have my tape with me as well as my flashlight in hand so that way I can get better photos. Here is hope for a great Moth Night at Parr Park. See you on the trail and I will see you tomorrow to give you the outcome of the event. This is Zachary Chapman signing off.

Ingresado el 25 de julio de 2018 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de julio de 2018

Four years of being a Naturalist

Well July 19th is right around the corner. I turn twenty four this year but my naturalist adventure turns 4 this year. Well this chapter anyway is four years old. July 18th was a very special time for me and would help me become a better volunteer and a better nature nerd. It was on a hot summer day and my aunt was finishing up work at her old school where she used to teach. I used to love taking photos out there at the old farm stock tank and the surrounding grasslands of Everman Texas. I had just got done getting a few photos of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron wolfing down a tiny Crayfish. We soon leave to eat at Chick-fil-a I kid you not that is part of this equation. I sat in a booth with my brother and I am showing him the shots and I am amazed about one shot in particular and it is a shot of the bird with the crayfish by the claw. A worker comes up and she tells us that there is a park near Bowman Springs that you otta check out. I was interested and it was a park only three years old at the time. I looked at the Southwest Nature Preserve website and I would find that there was a herp walk on the 18th of July. I asked if I could go and sign up to volunteer. I was unemployed from Six Flags Over Texas due to a kidney issue I have had since I was born; it was only a matter of time until I had to have the issue taken care of. I decided to check out the park and go on this herp walk. I went there and met up with @apcorboy, @janmiller @lynnjhealy and several others. I was kind of dressed like a geek that day wearing my wildlife viewing vest and stuff. I have always been one for the extremes. We went on the hike and I was pretty impressed with the park and decided to sign up to volunteer right on the spot. We came back and I was told of an app to use called iNaturalist. I had not used that particular app before; I used a completely different one that I hardly ever use anymore. It wasn't long until I learned of the Texas Master Naturalist program and the Eco Summit 2015 meeting. I got to check out both things and met @sambiology and @brentano who I would really identify with. I went on a dragonfly walk at Elmer W. Oliver an other place that I would voluteer at and collect a lot of data from with the iNaturalist app. As the months went by I met many others like @elizarose @charley @melindawpajak who I would also talk too and have connections with. I got my chance to become a Texas Master Naturalist in 2016. I sent in my application and got the okay to be part of that class and it would change my life. I soon met @rrichter @troutlily57 @eangler @cindycobb @lulubelle and many other people through this experience. I learned so much and really bonded with you guys over the years. After that and the more volunteering I did I would meet @suz @sammyjames @wildcarrot @kimberlietx @lovebirder @wildcarrot and many others. Out in the field and on this little thing called iNaturalist. Life's journey has brought me closer to a bigger realm; one that I am proud to be part of. I never would have thought I would do that much with citizen science but as fate would have it and the way my dice rolled I would be introduced to you whom I consider friends, mentors, and collaborators. I am hoping for many more wonderful years of discovery and volunteer work as well as good old natural fun. Four years has gone by pretty fast. I may be only three years into the Master Naturalist life but hey I still say the adventure started at this point. I really love this because it has brought me closer to nature than ever before. I enjoy doing the volunteer tasks and making connections with people. I love to go home at the end of each meeting, each outing, or each gathering and tell my family what I have seen and what I have learned. I love having my little tribes. This tribe is the one that really hits home with me. Sure I admit I am a big television and silver screen junkie I am a huge nerd and love my daily dose of science fiction or cartoons or whatever. However there is nothing that can replace nature. I am a naturalist first and a fanboy second. You need a planet before you can have anything else is my motto. I think that getting out in nature is a great way to connect with people and the world around you. I have always loved nature. When I was a boy I always had my nose stuck in a wildlife book or a National Geographic special. I grew up watching Kratt's Creatures, Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, Zoo Life, Steve Irwin, Merlin Perkin's Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, David Attenburough, Jeff Corwin, Nova, PBS's Nature, Nova Science Now, Walking with Dinosaurs, and tons more stuff like that. I was not all Star Wars and stuff but I had a lot of educational stuff to watch that fascinated me. Not to mention all the zoo and aquarium treks my folks took me too. They wanted me to experience everything I could and it has made me a nerd for nature. They took me on birding trips, hiking trips, caving trips, trips to state and national parks. It has been a whole lifetime affair with me. I was a Doctor Doolittle at the house I grew up in. I had dogs, hermit crabs, fish, hamsters, silkworm moths, it was like my own little nature center. Shoot we even had an Green Iguana and a Hedgehog. It was a zoo in there. I also raised rabbits two of which were prize winning bunnies at my schools Agriscience show. Yeah FFA was a really big part of my high school life. I was always getting myself into something and I was really into it. I was a reporter my senior year and I did so much more. I didn't want to leave high school. With the Master Naturalist group and my other affiliations I am starting to feel the same way I did back in high school with the animals and stuff. With iNaturalist I am out nearly every day trying to get all the stuff I can cram on to my life list. I love this and it has been a four year mission to do as much as I can with iNaturalist. I love this tool and love to connect with the people who use it. I am constantly learning from it and gaining so much knowledge about the organisms I know and the stuff that I don't know. It has been a guide that I use daily. I use it religiously and I am proud to be a citizen scientist. There was not much I could do back when I worked for the amusement park but even though I am still looking for work to support school and the nature volunteer work I am having the time of my life exploring and keeping my feet on the trail. Here is hoping to many more years of exploration and wonder with you my friends. Have a great day and hope that you guys always keep your eyes to the road ahead with open minds and muddy shoes. This is Zachary Chapman signing off.

Ingresado el 17 de julio de 2018 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 13 observaciones | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de julio de 2018

Baby Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Yesterday was kind of an interesting day for me. My brother that morning went out with my aunt for a while while doing a Pokemon GO community day event to catch a Squirtle or something to that effect. Anyway they came across a Scissor-tailed flycatcher in a tree in a church parking lot. My aunt was the one who saw it and reported it back to me and later took me to the area it was found. I thought it was just a stand alone. I just knew it was going to be gone by the time we got there; boy was I wrong! My aunt came and picked us up and we headed to the area where she had said she found it. As we came up and circled around we saw a tree the adult had been spotted in but little did we know that we were looking at a nesting site. This was the first time I had ever seen a flycatcher nest but little did I realize I would get more than I bargained for. My aunt parked the car and I got out. I was very careful when I approached the nest. I was back a few feet to better my safety. I have been around these birds long enough to know that Tyrannical flycatchers mean business when it comes to defending their territory and especially their nesting sites. I stayed back as I took my photos and kept my distance. I moved a tad bit closer and discovered a chick with it's head totally exposed out of the nest. If you carefully at the photo you can see part of the wing at the shoulder. I think he might have been using either brother or sister or brother and sister as a stepping stool. Normally these birds can have 3-6 eggs in a clutch. This nest almost seem too little for this chick. What was even funnier was the way the nest was made. It had some kind of cloth which I read on the All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology site to be pretty normal for this bird. The adults thought a dash of fluff from what we think might have come from the donations bin. It had been lined with the fluff and then it had some string and at one end it had a plastic grocery bag. I have seen birds make nests out of crazy things on videos and on wildlife tapes but gosh I never would have guessed that these birds would make hash out of something to line their nests. I guess they wanted what was best for junior. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but there are more that can be said about this one. The chick was even more interesting for when I listened it was making a soft whistle like chirp. I have been around Wrens while they are nesting and their young stay pretty silent when they parents are not feeding them when they go and make a bug run. I know for fact that the parent wrens tell their kids to SHUT UP! so that way predators don't hear them. This Scissor-tail chick apparently didn't get the memo on your out in the open just button that beak! It was kind of a fun photo and I am glad I was able to get about three good shots before cheesing it myself. I didn't know how long it would before another feeding. I have been watching NatGeo wild in recent days and I watch a show called Animals Gone Wild and they tell of some birds actually aiming their beaks at the back of peoples heads. I do not want to be on the receiving end of that assault. I have been pooped on once by a bird and that is not as bad a possibly being bludgeoned or bloodied up by a bird beak. That would not be a good way to spend the day. When getting photos like that don't get too close just keep your distance and make the encounter short, don't try to touch the bird at all. Just leave it alone and make your get away as soon as you can. I remember one day when I was at TCC South Campus a couple of semesters ago I saw two Scissor-tails fighting and they were really going at it. That kind of put some healthy fear into me. Don't tick off a bird or it can get pretty ugly. I may love wildlife but you have to know the playing field and you have to know when to give up. I am saying this to the people who are just starting out with this iNaturalist game who might be inexperienced with it. Learn the animal's behavior before you step out. Remember this is real science and to learn the behavior of your targets is part of the battle before embarking on your mission. Never get too close. I was close enough to where I could see the bird and though I may not be an expert and still a little green I trained myself to look for possible danger. Never let an animal feel uncomfortable that can lead to even bigger danger. Knowing your target's behaviors in any given situation is always key to sucessfully watching them in the wild. I am not say that mistakes don't happen anything can happen but being prepared for what to expect is a good way to go on a hike. It will better you and your abilities to be an iNatter and a good hiker. Babies are fun too look at but some mothers can be pretty defensive never approach a baby animal too closely. If the adults think their young are in danger the results can be pretty dramatic if your not careful. This is just a public service announcement for the younger iNaturalist users not necessarily the adults of course some can benefit from this portion of information. I may not be an expert. No offense intended. Pass this message on if you know someone who is just starting out as a young naturalist or if you are beginning to do iNaturalist. I thought that I could use this photo as a cautionary tale about what could have happened if I hadn't kept my wits about me and cut my observation short. The photo told me all I needed to know that is how I described it so well in detail was from the analysis of the photo. Until next time I am Zachary Chapman.

Ingresado el 09 de julio de 2018 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 observación | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de julio de 2018

Moth Night at Parr Park mission debrief

If I had to rate the experience I had Wednesday I would rate it a perfect ten. That was a fun mothing event and by far the best I have ever been on. We saw tons of things and I made quite a few lifers on this trek. I made over 104 observations in one day. That is something I don't normally do unless I am doing the City Nature Challenge. It was a good night for sure. Let me break it down and give you the highlights of my adventure with @sambiology @kimberlietx @annikaml @brentano and @wildcarrot

It sure was a wild night in the making; I arrived around eight to help out and get things set up. We all met up at the front and made our plan of action to see where we wanted to set up our stations. There was going to be a lot more stations but we only had about four for the entire night. We got the stuff all fixed up and everything was set by the time it got dark. The first moth that we would see was an Anna Carpetworm Moth. I must say that was one of the fuzziest moths I have ever seen in my life. Its legs almost reminded me of those of the Southern Flannel Moth. I was really impressed with the color and it was probably just as big as the Southern Flannel. With that moth we all had high hopes of seeing tons more. We didn't know what else would come up but we all watched the stations eagerly to see what might come into the light traps. There were tons of Caddisfies and Leafhoppers even before things got up and ready to take off. I walked in between stations and I went to our bright station and got my first look at an Four-spotted Owlfly. I hadn't seen an Owlfly outside my days when I was in the Future Farmers of America group. I did the Entomology contest once in 2011 and again in 2012 and it was one on my list. I love it when I find one that was on my list. It brings back as sort of nostalgia and reminds me of old friends and fond experiences from high school. The Owlfly was really hairy too and was much bigger than I remembered. It was just flitting all over the place. I was with a bunch of people when I caught the guy with my petridish so people could get a closer look. It was really cool to see the eyes and those long antenna. I can see why people would get Antlions and Owlflies mixed up with Dragonflies because they look very similar they all have four wings and similar shaped bodies but the one thing that helps me distinguish them is the way they fly and the antenna. That is what I notice when I get a first look at an Antlion or the Owlfly that and also the way they sound when they fly or the way their wings are held when in flight or at rest. It was kind of a cool little insect and one that was not going to sit still so I had to get several shots until I had a decent one. It was kind of hard with all the twitching but I was able to get two pictures that would work. I always try to get duplicates of the more interesting insects to share of Facebook and Instagram. I always like sharing wildlife photos from my travels when I am on an adventure just to help and promote what I love.

There were quite a few Belted-Grass Veneer Moths and there were a few Ashy Gray Ladybeetles. They seemed to be almost as constant as some of the others but they were not there the whole time while we were out. Then there was another one from the Desmia Genus known as Desmia Subdivisalis there were a couple of boys in the field with us that were super sharp and knew their insects enough so they could rattle off even the most complex scientific names which I have to say I was blown away when they would talk I was really impressed with how they could name pretty much anything they recognized. If only kids these days had interest in wildlife. Their dad was teaching them right by nurturing their love for wild things. I must say it isn't everyday I hear this kind of talk from ten or eleven year old kids. I have to say they are up to something and I see bright futures in entomology for each of them. If only my brother could be like them then I would truly be one happy camper. Too bad he is all video games instead of wildlife like he used too. The little Desmia was kind of cool at first I mistook it for a Grape Leaffolder moth but I was mistaken. Luckily I had the iNaturalist group give me a hand in correcting me. They look so much alike if you don't know what to look for.

Later on we saw a really cool Pawpaw Sphinx. I have seen Pawpaws only once before and it was at the Botanic Garden of Fort Worth. This one seemed much larger than the ones at the Botanic Gardens. It was huge. I love the Sphinx moth group. I love their size and their pattern but me I love all moths even the most common ones I have an interest in. Those Micro Moths are evenly fascinating. Then on the same sheet we saw something that would be a new lifer for me and a call back to my high school days in agriculture. The creature in question was called a Larger Pygmy Mole Grasshopper. I am familiar with Mole Crickets from my days in FFA but I have never heard of Pygmy Mole Crickets. That one was really interesting they are much tiny than their cousins. They still have those turned out claws used for digging. It is amazing how much they look like a mole the claws even have little claws at the tips. Moles are just nature's little steam shovels and Mole Crickets are no different although one is a mammal and ones and insect.

The next thing I seen was an Eggplant Leaftroller Moth hanging on the bridge. This little moth was in the same position that I found a Yellow-collared Slug Moth the first time I came to Parr Park back in June. I now know that this stance is a defensive position but if you ask me I would not want my rear anywhere near my head. It may work for the moths but for humans we'll pass. I have to say that looks rather uncomfortable but it is very interesting to see how they defend themselves. This one was really skinny and almost looked like the skeleton of something but that is the moth. It was kind of interesting to look at. I just love the colors of this one and its features just added a unique flair to its character. I was very interested in this one. With these kinds of events I can't stay put for long and had to make some more observations.

As I finished viewing the Eggplant Leafroller there was another more larger moth on the playing field. This one was almost as big as the Pawpaw maybe a little bit bigger. It was an Underwing moth. One of the boys said it was a Sad Underwing because it had a little blue on the hidden wings. He would never open his wings for us but it sure was interesting to look at. The patterns were almost as heavy as the Black Witch moth which is one that I have only seen a dead specimen of. I handled this one like I did the Pawpaw Sphinx but no matter how much he would flit and flutter back and forth he would never show us his wings but they were blue from what we could gather from closer observation. It was a very beautiful one. Good thing we got that second generator that first one was about to drive us all mad as if kept on messing up and going out on us. A few minutes later I found a Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp. That was one of the biggest Parasitic Wasps I have ever seen in my life. It was beautiful to but too some it might be considered menacing. Me I don't really have a problem with these even though they do have a strange way of living. They are not so bad though once you understand what they do and why they do it.

I walked around for a little bit around one of the black light traps and there was one thing that I hadn't seen since my time in FFA of course the one at the FFA Entomology contest was dead this one was very much alive. It was a Mantidfly and was having it pretty rough. Mantiflies are like the Platypus of the insect world just a bunch of odds and ends thrown together to make up a new animal. With a body like a wasp or something and a body of a Mantis it almost screams Centaur or something from Greek Mythology. It is one cool insect that I have been on the look out for; for years. It looks so alien what is not to like about it if you are a half crazed Star Trek geek like me. I live for weird things and like and this was one of the most interesting creatures of the night by far. It was having it rough because his wings were all tattered probably and most likely from a bad emergence after it passed its larval form. This thing may look like a wasp and a mantis but it is closer related to a Lacewing. It has Mantis shaped forelimbs to catch prey and with as deadly precision as the ninja like mantis. It is a true alien on earth. A really cool find for the night. I am so glad I got to see it. I want to see more of these when I get my light trap.

There was so much to see last night and there was plenty to photograph. There was a small Micro Moth known a Jalisco Petrophila. That was one of two Micro Moths that I would encounter last night. I am surprised my camera was able to pick up all of that detail. I was pretty shocked that my camera got all the shots it did. Some were pretty messed up but there were a ton of good shots that were worth posting. Micro Moths are cool and these were the first Micro Moths that I have ever seen. They are absolutely beautiful and are really cool. I just love too add all the stuff I can to my life list no matter how hard it is to get and no matter how challenging I want to add it to my long life list. I keep track of everything that I catch on camera no matter what it is (nature stuff only of course). This was just one cool night and I am glad to have been here. With all the stuff that had been going on at my house I almost for got that this week was Moth Week.

There were Cicadas and many other insects but there was also a Dragonfly make an appearance. He was attracted to the big light and the species is known as the Spot-winged Glider. It like a bunch of this stuff from Wednesday night is new to the life list. It was such a good night. The eyes on this thing were crazy; Sam picked it up and showed everyone the eyes of that sucker and they were intense when light shined in them. It was like a 60s or 70s lava lamp the way it looked. You could possibly be hypothesized by them if you stared too long (maybe not) but that is the way they looked. My gosh they were incredible! This one is one of my new favorites. It is a really cool looking dragonfly. Kind of plain looking at first glance but once you zoom in and look closer POW all kinds of patterns start to show up. It is incredible to have seen this one. That one makes Odonata species #45 for me. It is a very cool one. I love gliders and skimmers they seem to be the ones that I encounter the most but I do like the Clubtails too which are another favorite of mine. I like the Darners but they don't seem to land much. The Skimmer and the Clubtails seem to be the most photogenic of the species and will let you photograph them when they are out and about. Dragonflies are very cool and I love them.

There was one instance where I saw something big on the sheet of our bright station. They had just gotten the second generator or something and there was a Long-horn Beetle known as Eburia haldemani. It was one of the biggest Long-horned Beetles and one of the largest Beetles in general that I have seen in my life. This one was a light maple color with a couple of spots on his back. I took a few free standing photos and then took it to Sam who them put it in his hands and it started to make sounds. Little chirps something that sound like an electrical outlet or a lower key Cricket Frog mating call. I had no idea beetles made any kind of noise but now I know and it is darn interesting! Really cool to hear. You had to be really close at times to hear its buzzing sound but sometimes it would just carry in the air. The beetle was really neat. I need to do more research on this group of beetles the things I could possibly learn about this group might be of some interest to me. Beetles are starting to be a really big interest for me now that I have seen this one. I have seen only a handful of Long-horned Beetles and they are beautiful and very cool. I just love that head gear on them. I love the big beetles but there were even more beetles that were just as equally interesting to observe.

The Colliuris pensylvanica was a really cool one. It was a beetle with a really long neck. It reminded some of us of the Giraffe-necked Weevil that is Endemic to Madagascar. This one also reminds me of the Snakefly with the way its neck is shaped but this beetle is far from a weevil or a fly it is just a funky looking beetle with a odd shaped noodle. It is an orange colored beetle and fairly small. In the good light of the flash light he kind of had a shine to him. In fact most of the observations we made there was a nice iridescent shine on the backs of wings or shells and stuff. It was really cool. This beetle was really cool I don't really know that much about it but it is something to look into and do research on. I am rather interested in the stuff that I have seen that night. There is a lot of research I need to do on all of my observations aside from the field guide entries but the actual science papers on each species. I have a lot to do on my off time and when I have breaks at school. It is going to be another math semester for me and I am going to have to put a lot of energy on that and a lot of time in the math lab so there may not be much found this semester but that will get me time to look at some of my old observations and learn all I can about them in my spare time. I will see what happens though and hope something pans out.

It was such a good day thought the last thing I observed was the Carolina Metallic Tiger Beetle. It is an older entry on my life list another one that was first found at the Botanic Garden in Fort Worth when I was out on that Eco Summit back in the summer of 2015. This one is a cool one and very shiny when you put a flashlight to it will shine so bright but when you use flash photography it will scatter and run faster than you can say anything. I love Tiger Beetles but man they love to run. They do a lot of running around. Here is a fun fact: Did you know that when a Tiger Beetle runs at full force that its mind actually goes dark so it loses full contentious when it runs but when it stops it regains contentiousness. it is kind of weird but it is true. Learned that little tidbit on Monster Bug Wars. Tiger Beetles are so cool. You have to love them. They are one of my favorite predatory insects of all time. I love their colors and I love their ferocious behavior.

Ingresado el 28 de julio de 2018 por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 32 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario