18 de noviembre de 2020

West TX iNat gathering -- April 16-19, 2021! Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area

So, gathering with fellow iNatters is one of my favorite things to do in life. I love doing a gathering each year too.

Last year was a bit smaller in the Panhandle, and this upcoming one will likely be a bit smaller too. It's important to watch the COVID numbers, especially in Texas:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Texas
The entire state may be completely shut down to travel by next April...

In case that it isn't completely shut down, perhaps we could gather over in West TX at Elephant Mountain WMA in April 16-19! Elephant Mountain is 23,000 acres, so there is plenty of area to 'spread out.'
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=7
Here's the place on iNat: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57408

I'm calling it a gathering rather than a bioblitz -- the data collection will happen as a by product, no doubt, but the more important aspect of this is the gathering. If you do come to gather, of course, let's mask up if you can't keep distant, especially at the black-lighting.

Alpine is the closest 'city' and there are some hotels there:
https://www.hotels.com/de1746170/hotels-alpine-texas/
No bunk house availability (and I don't want folks to gather inside) -- but camping should work for folks. I'll likely camp most of the days.

Not sure of a specific schedule or anything, but those are the dates that I'm planning on jumping over to west TX to hopefully gather with a few others! Anyways, mark the calendars if you're wanting to come!
April 16-19, 2021 at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area!


Some asked questions....

Can we drive on the WMA?

So, this will be a special gathering, so we should be able to access many of the roads throughout the WMA. Now, there may be some spots that we won't access (big horned sheep area, perhaps).

Can we stay at bunkhouse?

Nope. We'll maybe set up some blacklights around it (and there is electricity there), but we won't stay in the bunkhouse. I don't want to put more than 1 person in a building during COVID. It'll all be outside. :)

Can my friends come?

Sure! Although, I do hope that folks that do come are at least willing/open to doing some iNatting with us all. :) I hope this is a celebration of iNat and the folks that enjoy iNatting -- although, we're a welcoming group, so if someone isn't an iNatter, hopefully he/she/they will be after this event!

Can we collect specimens?

Wellll.... I do have a permit, and specimens can be collected under my permit, but I'd really like to narrow down some physical collection of specimens. There are a few folks that have asked me about this already, and we've discussed it a bit in detail. Ideally, if specimens are collected, we want to make sure to leave a herbarium voucher or specimen voucher at the nearby university (Sul Ross).

Do I have to get a limited use permit to come?

You don't HAVE to (again, I'll be there and it'll be under my permit), buuuut I sure would love it if you do get a $12 limited use permit (or especially a hunting permit)!!! :) It does help the WMA. Even if you don't plan on hunting, it really does help the entire TPWD Wildlife program:
https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/annual_public_hunting/

Why aren't you calling this a bioblitz?

Again, I want this mostly to be a gathering of naturalists to engage with nature. Sure, we'll collect some data, but that will be as a side-effect of the gathering. :)

Is this responsible to have a gathering during a pandemic?
I've had a few folks ask this, and it's genuinely a good question that we all need to take to heart. We will be playing this by ear, and I don't want anyone to feel any pressure or obligation to come if they don't feel comfortable to do so. There WILL be more of these in the future, so totally no frets if you can't make this one. I plan on wearing my mask throughout this gathering, and I'll pretty strongly enforce masks especially during the blacklighting when we'll be somewhat close together. I plan on going on quite a few times just by myself so I'll be able to keep a good distance from others. There are 23,000 acres, so hopefully we'll find some ways to keep at least 6 feet apart. :)

All of this to say that this gathering may be cancelled. The state may officially close the WMA entirely, even to outside TPWD folks (permit or not!). If that is the case, yep, we'll cancel this gathering and do it again when it's open and safe.
The pandemic is something that we should treat seriously, and I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable.

If you do have some concerns about this, please let me know (either here or on a message or whatever). We will do more of these, so if you're not able to make it, we WILL do it again. :)

Ingresado el 18 de noviembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 57 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de noviembre de 2020

"An Overview of Computer Vision in iNaturalist" - a good watch!

Just as an FYI -- Ken-ichi did a great presentation on some of the finer details of the computer vision of iNat. If you've got an hour of time, check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfbabznYFV0

Ingresado el 03 de noviembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de octubre de 2020

New life list feature!

So, I've been playing with the new life list feature. It's pretty cool! As with all new features, I'll have to play with it for a good while to get familiar with it.

One of the things I'm going to use the most is the "unobserved species" with the place filter. I can see the thousands of species that I've not yet seen, even in my home area!

Here are the nitty gritty details on the iNat blog:
https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/42454-a-new-kind-of-life-list

iNat gets better and better. :)

Ingresado el 28 de octubre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de octubre de 2020

An observation a day.... :)

So, some folks know that I've been trying my best to make at least one observation every day. This was inspired by @jmaughn , who has made daily observations for over the past 7 years! Well, I'm a couple years behind James, but for the past 2053 days, I've made at least one observation. Here's a fun "find your longest streak" program to see what yours might be:
https://mapsandapps.github.io/inat-streak/

So, why? Why in the heck would I do such a thing? It's sort of silly, right? Well, at first, it was just a challenge for myself. I won't lie, there are some miserably hot or miserably cold (believe it or not, we do get some cold icy days in TX!) where catching an observation was a challenge.

However, my reason for doing this has changed. Every day we interact with nature. I'm extremely lucky to live in an area where there are nearby parks or some green-ish roadsides to find some different plants or bugs. I'm also lucky to have relatively good health to walk around and search for things. Every day, I've been lucky enough to engage with some other species that are occupying the same space as I am. That's a cool thing!

And geez, I'm crazy lucky to be an urban wildlife biologist where I'm asked to know the local flora and fauna! Someone pinch me!

Like exercise, it feels better when you're doing it and afterwards. I definitely don't regret any day that I've been able to spend even a moment outside looking at/for nature. :) Being a plant and bug guy makes it a little easier -- these taxa are abundant in Texas!

Anyways, even if you're not making iNat observations, hopefully you're engaging with nature in some way, every day. :)

Ingresado el 22 de octubre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 13 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de septiembre de 2020

LLELA black-lighting on Friday, Sept 18th!

Hey friends,

We're planning to do some more black-lighting/mothing at LLELA on Friday, Sept 18th! Wanna come?!? Please let me know if you're planning on coming or want to come.

Also, make sure to wear a mask for this event -- there will be some UNT students joining us and we'll probably be doing a Facebook live vid or something.

I'm not exactly sure where we'll be meeting or the time yet, but as soon as I get that info I'll let yall know! :)

Ingresado el 11 de septiembre de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 24 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de agosto de 2020

How to use iNaturalist -- youtube videos

So, every now and then, I love to see the videos about iNaturalist on youtube or vimeo. First of all, the iNat folks (@tiwane) has made some really good ones:
https://vimeo.com/user7188222

As I was checking today, @cmeckerman did some EXCELLENT how-to vids on using iNaturalist -- from the app to the website and the grading process. Awesome.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTUQr59uFmFk0v3H6sIhOaQ/videos

@carrieseltzer did another really good presentation to the Ecological Society of America that highlights some of the research too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1qedUYwNvY

@joemdo did a cool one on blacklighting in Florida too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tavmTa7WoPk

It's also fun to search on some of the more recent iNat videos on youtube too:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=inaturalist&sp=CAISAhAB

And check out @donovanmoxley 's great iNat videos too:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXSO4dzajDlMJOLi22IqqUg/videos

So great to see all of these videos. :)

Ingresado el 21 de agosto de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de agosto de 2020

Blacklighting at LBJ - Saturday, August 29

Woo hoo! Meghan @wildcarrot is back in TX, so we're going to celebrate with some mothing/black-lighting at LBJ on Saturday, August 29th! Who wants to come?!? Of course, we'll practice some social distancing to keep everyone safe.

The next question is what unit(s) should we blacklight... There are quite a few in the LBJ grasslands:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/Lbj_Grasslands_Map.gif

One particularly interesting spot has some pretty old pine trees:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=33.399519316939646&nelng=-97.59809627297025&place_id=any&swlat=33.3945928298241&swlng=-97.60613217117887

Other spots have some camping available too.

Chime in if you want to come, and where you want to blacklight. :) I doubt we'll be anywhere with electricity, but I've got about 5 set-ups that would work.

Oh, and tag anyone you think would be interested too. I'll tag a few of the 'moth-lings' in the comments. ;)

Ingresado el 18 de agosto de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 51 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de julio de 2020

Escaping the news a bit -- venturing off to nature! Also, donate to iNat. :)

So, I was getting a bit overwhelmed and stressed out by all of the news... Lots of suffering and anger and bad news. It sucks. I even heard a new term: doomscrolling... You scroll down on your news feed and get bad news after bad news... We're inundated and saturated with it. :-/

Soooooo, I broke a bit of the rules and social distanced far from home the past few days. I know, I know, I know -- I should stay at home, but I just had to shuffle off and really escape. I headed west! I went to Big Springs State Park, Monahans Sandhills State Park, and then to Balmorhea State Park (well, the outskirts -- it's still closed). It was about a 7 hour drive to the furthest spot, but wow, did I have fun. I black lighted at several spots, and I've got a whole slew of photos to go through. :) I've got lots of ID'ing to do as well! Also, I tend to make lots and lots and lots of stops on the roads. This is mostly just to keep me awake as I drive - I have to pull over and stretch my legs and look at a weed or two.

Anyways, it was nice to clear the mind a bit, but I also thought a lot about the community on iNat and iNat in general. It's amplified my enjoyment of nature big time. I take it with me every time I go outside, and it's opened my eyes so much to the biodiversity all around me. It's just a tool, but it's like a bridge -- connecting me with nature even more. I like it! :)

As with most things these days, I bet it's not immune to the financial hardships of all non-profits. If you've got a few extra bucks, you should think about supporting iNat, especially right now. I've also double checked, and yep, the funds DO go straight to iNat and not some other bucket. :)
https://www.inaturalist.org/donate

Anywho, it was mighty nice to escape to nature for a bit, clear my mind, remember what's important in life, and check out some bugs and plants. :) Hope everyone else is doing that every now and then too!

Ingresado el 10 de julio de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 12 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de julio de 2020

Not so public mothing events in DFW/North Central TX...

Soooo, we had a few mothing events in DFW on the books, and as expected, most are cancelled. There's one left that I know of. It's at Acton Nature Park on Saturday, July 25. It's not really a public event - instead, it's going to just focus more on collecting some data to compare it with the other year's events... If you're coming, we'll maintain social distance and wear masks when necessary.

LLELA mothing event on Thursday, August 6th!

Also, to celebrate @wildcarrot 's return to TX, I'd like to plan one at LBJ grasslands in August or so. :)

Anyone else know of others?

Also, let me know if you're planning/wanting to come to the Acton Nature Park. :)

Moths of DFW:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=57484&subview=grid&taxon_id=47157&view=species&without_taxon_id=47224,47654

Ingresado el 04 de julio de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 46 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de julio de 2020

Publishing new records without voucher specimens?

Curious... I was looking through the relatively recent papers that use iNaturalist data (https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/published-papers-that-use-inaturalist-data-wiki/2859), and I'm wondering if anyone has published a paper on a state/county/country record based JUST on iNaturalist observations... I think most publications use physical vouchers as well as photovouchers, but I'm not sure if there's been one with JUST photovouchers. Anyone know?

Traditionally with plants and bugs, I think a physical voucher is usually required for publication... I guess it would depend on the journal, but I'm not finding any papers that use solely photovouchers.

Would love any input! :)

Ingresado el 03 de julio de 2020 por sambiology sambiology | 11 comentarios | Deja un comentario