Archivos de diario de agosto 2020

10 de agosto de 2020

Observation of the Week 2017-03-02

This Timor Flying Dragon, seen in East Timor by vincekessner, is our Observation of the Week!

“I consider myself to be an amateur malacologist,” says Vince Kessner, “my main interests are collecting and studying land and freshwater molluscs.” Over 45 years, his passion has taken him throughout Australia and around the world, including Indonesia, Europe and the Middle East. A recent iNaturalist member, he sees “iNaturalist as a great source of information, learning and ID tool.”

In 2006 Vince “initiated a systematic survey of non-marine molluscs in East Timor (Timor Leste - or TL), which was the first land and freshwater survey ever undertaken in that country.” On a trip there in 2011, he and his timorose friends “just arrived at Bemalai Lagoon, started getting ready for the survey when in the corner of my eye I noticed something moving. The [Timor flying dragon] just landed on the spare tire. No big drama, my camera was within my reach, so I just took a few shots. I was simply in the right place at the right time.”

“Timor flying dragon” is a bit of a misnomer, as it actually doesn’t fly but glides and, as far as we know, doesn’t breathe fire or hoard gold. However, it’s an exceptionally cool reptile, one of about forty species in the genus Draco, or gliding lizards. Extra flaps of skin and flexible, extendable ribs are how the “wings,” or patagia, are constructed, and allow to the lizards to escape from predators. Some glides have been recorded at 60 m (200 ft)! The Timor species are sexually dimorphic - patagia of the males are bright yellow, and patagia of the females varies depending on each island’s population.

Lizards are cool, but Vince’s mollusc work on East Timor has resulted in some pretty great findings:

Prior to the survey, only half a dozen species were reported from the country. Preliminary result are amazing: so far we have discovered about 140 species of land snails belonging to 45 genera and 23 families. The results are really preliminary and will change, once all the mountain peaks over 1700 m above sea level and the Oecussi District are surveyed, and all the species positively identified or named.

The East Timor project is really exciting - beautiful mountains, nice people, lot to see and discover. I wish I was 10 years younger. I am nearly 75 and climbing those hills and mountains can be quite painful experience for me…

- by Tony Iwane

- Vince is a Resarch Associate at the Australian Museum in Sydney, who is helping with the Timor project. Here’s an article about some of their findings, as well as the home page for the expedition.

- The BBC has amazing (and over-foleyed) slow motion footage of a flying dragon, of course. 

Ingresado el 10 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-03-09

This Alitta brandti polychaete worm, seen in California by raulagrait, is our Observation of the Week!

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, “with iguanas climbing into in my bathtub and lizards always nearby when I played outside or in my backyard,” Raul Agrait is now a San Francisco Bay Area resident. By day he’s a software engineer (“I once fixed a bug on iNaturalist for iOS - hooray!”), but he’s also become an amateur naturalist.

“My wife introduced me to BioBlitzes and iNaturalist a few years ago, and it has completely changed the way I interact with nature,” Raul explains. “I've always enjoyed going on long hikes and being outdoors, but since I've started using iNaturalist, I've gained such a deep appreciation of the intense diversity that is around us.”

Facing a deadline at work the other week, Raul felt he needed to take a nature break during lunch, so he drove to nearby Candlestick Point State Recreation Area to photograph some birds. He continues,

After walking for a short while, I saw the Horned Grebe and noticed that it seemed to be pulling on something. From a distance, I thought it might be a piece of kelp, because I noticed that it dragged on for quite a way behind the Grebe...then I noticed that a duck started following the Grebe and grabbed ahold of the other end of the worm. At first they swam in the same direction, but after a bit they started doing a tug of war and pulling in opposite directions..After a while, about a half dozen other Scaups joined in and started gnawing at the worm as well.

Eventually several other Scaups joined in the fray, but unfortunately Raul had to return to work so he couldn’t capture the rest of the feeding frenzy. “Frankly, I had no idea what kind of worm that was, or if it even was a worm at all, and find it so amazing that it could be identified and shared with so quickly by experts in the field,” he says.

iNat user leslieh, marine worm identifier extraordinaire, was able to get this worm to species: Alitta brandti, which is the longest polychaete worm along the western coast of North America, reaching lengths of 1-1.5 meters (!). Like all polychaetes it has a body made of segments that have parapodia, or protrusions on each side. These parapodia often end in bristles called setae, and are used for locomotion as well as respiration. When immature it often lives on the seafloor, but when sexually mature it begins swimming to find mates, often in spring or summer.

Not only does Raul go on solo nature jaunts (“[iNaturalist] makes my brief walks in the middle of the city mini adventures where I can now identify House Sparrows, Bushtits, Anna's Hummingbirds, and Red Admirals.”), nature and iNaturalist have become a family affair:

Our whole family enjoys browsing through observations on iNaturalist together, we use it to plan our family outings ("What species are nearby here?", "What's the closest place we can see this bird?"), and will share observations with each other as readily as news articles. My daughter, who also uses iNaturalist, went away to college out of state this past year, and one of my favorite things in the world is when she shares her observations with me ("Look at this different Phoebe!", "I finally saw a Belted Kingfisher!").

- by Tony Iwane

- Of course there’s a video of an Alitta brandti (here known by a synonym, Nereis brandti), this one found off the coast of Oregon. A great look at its parapodia at work.

- And more wormy wonders of the ocean. 

- July 1st is International Polychaete Day, and the Smithsonian posted a great article listing 14 facts about polychaetes!

Ingresado el 10 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-03-16

This busy Mason bee mother, seen in Bulgaria by exonie, is our Observation of the Week!

“My deeper interest in biodiversity started when I turned nature photography into a hobby,” says Dimitǎr Boevski (@exonie). “Searching for subjects to photograph I started noticing creatures I hadn't noticed before. Upon getting home, I would check my books and the Internet for an ID and read more about the animals that I photographed. Gradually I built up my knowledge and learnt more about their ‘hiding places.’ I was amazed how many different and interesting species were living in my immediate surroundings.”

It’s Dimitǎr’s eye for detail and his endless curiosity that led him to the beautiful series of shots you see above. “At some time in the past I noticed that some of the holes in the wall have been sealed with mud and it was a mystery for a while how that came to be. One spring I found them open and not long after, I saw a bee getting inside. I stood there quite some time watching her buzzing around and going out for pollen. And, naturally, i took some photos.”

He didn’t stop there, though. “As usual, I wanted to learn more about what i have witnessed and found lots of interesting info - including,” he says, “that some people make artificial nests for solitary bees. This inspired me to make such a nest myself.” His artificial nest has one wall made of transparent plastic, so “you can see the internal structure of the nest with the chambers separated by mud walls. And lots of pollen.” So cool.

While they do nest in tunnels, often tunnels in wood, Mason bees (Genus Osmia) do not make their own tunnels (however their relatives, the Carpenter bees, do). As their name suggests, Mason bees find tunnels then use mud, clay, or similar substances to block-off sections of their nest tunnel into cells for individual eggs. A mother Mason bee will collect a large provision of nectar and pollen, then lay her egg on it and seal off the cell. She’ll soon start a new cell after that. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat up the nutritious provisions and pupate overwinter in the tunnel before emerging the next year. Some farmers put artificial nests in their orchards and gardens to the attract the bees, who are quite good pollinators.

Dimitǎr continues to explore nature and hunt for species (“much more interesting than pokemons!”), and finds that iNaturalist is a great place for him to organize and share his observations. “The data is very well structured which makes it possible to search it and view it in many different ways,” he says. “It is also very open, allowing other projects to use it. Being an editor in the Bulgarian Wikipedia, I always believed that information should be made as widely accessible as possible.”

- by Tony Iwane

- More Mason bee amazingness from Dimitǎr. This one is covered in pollen-eating mites that hitch rides on bees and gorge themselves on their pollen provisions.

- There are over 2,000 observations from Bulgaria on iNat. Explore them here!

- Check out some Mason bee action in this video.

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Observation of the Week 2017-03-23

This Cyerce nigricans sea slug, seen on Lord Howe Island by ianhutton, is our Observation of the Week!

Ian Hutton grew up in Sydney, Australia and came to know the outdoors through Boy Scouts, but it is on Lord Howe Island, a remote speck of land 370 miles (600 km) east of the Australian continent, where he’s lived most of his life. “After school I joined the Australian Weather Bureau as a way of getting out of Sydney and exploring Australia by working in some remote areas,” he recalls. “I’d done a little bit of travelling up the East Coast with the Weather Bureau and in 1980 I came to Lord Howe Island on a Bureau posting and have been here since.”

Ian has explored the island thoroughly throughout his many years there, studying birds, plants (he discovered about 12 new species), and intertidal creatures, as well helping researchers (“It was a great time for me. I enjoyed their company and learned a lot by being with them,” he says), and publishing a dozen books.

“I have photographed every plant of Lord Howe Island with flowers, fruits, bark, and seedling, all the birds in various stages and behaviors, and many insects,” says Ian.

But perhaps I am most fascinated by the intertidal marine life. The seashore is the place I can go and lose myself for a few hours, wandering around rock pools at low tide, and always see something I haven’t seen before – animals, a behavior, and endless fascination. The sea slugs are a particularly beautiful group of marine animals and I love finding these and photographing them, over and over. …… and….. my favourite is of course the Black and gold cyerce or Cyerce nigricans shown in this image –  quite rare and I [see] only maybe 6 a year, and always take photographs.

While it resembles a nudibranch, the Black and gold cyerce is not in the nudibranch order but is instead a sacoglossan, or “sap-sucking” slug that eats algae. Some sacoglossans are even able to keep chloroplasts from the algae in their bodies and use them for photosynthesis (kleptoplasty!), but that is an ability the Black cyerce lacks. Unlike other slugs in its genus it is vibrantly colored and patterned, which warns predators of its foul taste.

“Living here is like living in a David Attenborough documentary,” says Ian, when describing his island home. “It has rainforest clad mountains 2,850 feet high with many plants found nowhere else in the world, thronging seabird colonies with fourteen different species breeding, the world’s most southerly coral reef with its myriad of tropical marine creatures.” He also notes that it’s a leader in conservation, having eradicated invasive animals such as cats and goats, and they are hoping to eradicate rodents by 2018. Ian himself has initiated a weeding ecotour program of the island, which has run 81 times since 1995 and contributed over 25,000 volunteer hours, and for which he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.

Ian heard about several recent projects involving the Australian Museum, and says “so I thought I would plug a few photos in and introduce iNaturalist to Lord Howe Island and see where it goes from here. It seems a very professional operation with huge potential for sharing knowledge – and that hopefully will encourage conservation of our amazing planet. I will certainly enjoy being part of it, sharing photos not only on Lord Howe Island but wherever I travel.”

by Tony Iwane

- Check out the Lord Howe Island Nature Tours page for more info about Ian, the island, and tours.

- There are over 800 observations from Lord Howe Island on iNaturalist, you can see them here. Amazing stuff!

- If you want to learn more about sea slugs, Sea Slug Forum is where it’s at.

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Spring Bump and Overall Growth 2017-03-30

Numbers! Sure, they don’t have feathers, fangs, or pseudopodia, but they can be pretty cool. Taking a look at our Stats page, you can see that iNat is experiencing our yearly “spring bump,” coinciding with spring in the northern hemisphere (which came early this year) and the explosion of flowers, insects, reptiles, etc. But you can also see an overall trend in total growth of about 100%. In fact, March 27th was our biggest day of overall traffic ever, and right now we’re recording over twice as many observations compared to the same dates last year (e.g. 29,172 on March 27th (A), 2016 vs 71,005 on March 27th, 2016 (B)). 

With twice the amount of observations, you’d expect to see a similar change in active user numbers, and comparing March 27th, 2016 (A) and March 27th, 2017 (B), that’s almost exactly what’s happened - 7,387 vs 14,440, and climbing steadily this year. Even the slowest day in the doldrums of winter has doubled, from 4,024 to 8,064. Users are also increasingly turning to mobile platforms - iOS observations are up 250% over this time last year, and Android observations are up 600%!

What’s cool is that the quality of observations and community engagement has also been increasing, along with quantity; research grade observations now make up a higher percentage of overall observations. Right now we have about 4.8 million verifiable observations, about 2.4 million of which are research grade. A year ago, of the 2.3 million verifiable observations, 1.1 million were research grade, so the ratio of research grade to total observations is becoming more favorable. Keep on using the Identify page to ID more observations!

All told, iNaturalist should be hitting 4 million verifiable observations (and 5 million total) in the next few weeks and, if trends continue, it’s possible we’ll be at 10 million total observations in about another year.

A big thank you to everyone for making iNat a vibrant, growing community, we’re looking to see more big numbers in the upcoming City Nature Challenge!

- Tony Iwane (with lots of data help from Patrick Leary)

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Observation of the Week 2017-03-31

This Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis beetle, seen in in Indonesia by tickteng, is our Observation of the Week!

While not a professional naturalist, Patrick has always been interested in the natural world. As a child, he says, “I spent a lot of time watching documentaries, learning about nature. I'd chase any insects and collect them. My favorites were grasshoppers and mantids. I'd go into the muddy pool to find any little fishes or critters. I find that the life of these little creatures is fascinating and too pretty to be missed.”

He recently joined iNaturalist because he wanted to share the photos of wildlife that he’s taken, and we’re glad he did. The above Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis beetle photograph above became one of our most viewed social media posts ever, with nearly 12,000 views on Twitter (and garnered the nickname Power Ranger beetle) and nearly 6,000 on Facebook (where it was called an Iron Man beetle)!

Like a past Observation of the Week, Patrick found this animal while waiting for a bus. “So, it was Friday, the sun was scorching hot,” recalls Patrick about the day he took the photograph. “I just finished doing my work, waiting for the bus. It took a while for the bus to come, so I decided to explore the grass nearby. And there, when I turned a leaf upside down, I found that little beetle, gleaming in its gold armor. That was not my first encounter with this beauty. I picked it up and then took a photograph of it in my hand. After a photo or two, the beetle then flew away from my hand, back to its peaceful sanctuary.”

Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis beetles can be found throughout much of easter and southeastern Asia, from northeast India through China and down to Indonesia. As a member of the “tortoise beetles,” it has elytra (the hard outer wings) and a pronotum (thorax overing) that spread out to cover the legs. In this beetle’s case, those parts of it anatomy are translucent and have gold and red patches, which fade once the animal dies. Both larvae and adults feed on plants in the morning glory family, and the larvae even cover themselves with fecal shields!

- Tony Iwane

- You can check out Patrick’s Instagram feed here.

- Can’t get enough tortoise beetles? There are over 400 observations of them on iNat!

- More about fecal shields from Wired Magazine. Yup.

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Observation of the Week 2017-04-27

Our Observation of the Week is this duo of Green Marsh Hawk Dragonflies, seen in Indonesia by oldman19510!

Steve Jones was an aviculturist for most of his life, having lived in Australia and is now retired and residing in Bali. “[I was] always trying to identify any bird species (in Australia) that I came across in the wild, I wanted to identify birds here in Bali so I bought a field book and binoculars,” he explains. “I then started photographing birds with the aim of getting all Bali birds and have 265 species on [my] eBird life list.”

However, with his birding lens in the repair shop for awhile, Steve says “I started taking close-up and macro with a Canon SX 50 and a couple of iNat members suggested that I record my findings and so this is what I do.”

After iNat user briang helped Steve identify a Green Marsh Hawk eating a Ditch Jewel, he began to get more interested in Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies), which led him to the sequence shown in this post. “When I saw these two flying together (but not in mating position) I followed,” he recalls. “Predator was able to fly quite strongly with his victim and when he had placed his prey on a suitable perch, he started feeding in earnest. The victim never put up any resistance, perhaps a bite to the neck when captured would have been a near fatal blow.”

Green Marsh Hawk dragonflies (Orthetrum sabina) range through much of the Eastern hemisphere, from Australia through North African and southeastern Europe and are, like all dragonflies, strong predators. I asked briang about this particular observation, and he notes that “Cannibalism among dragonflies is not uncommon in some species. That being said, I don't believe cannibalism accounts for the majority of a species' diet (at least in species I've observed)--it seems to be more of an opportunistic prey choice.” He says many will take tenereal (freshly-emerged) dragonflies, but that these two look to be both adult males. “It's possible the prey was in tandem with a female and thus an easier target or maybe he was just unwary and the other male saw an opportunity...I would have loved to see how this interaction went down.”

“My hobby is photography – nature is the subject,” explains Steve. “I now have a greater appreciation of nature and am amazed at what I see on a daily basis. The luck is finding something interesting to photograph but the challenge is to try to identify each species before I post and look to iNat for conformation or correction.”

He continues to explore his new home (like birding Mt. Agung, in the above photo), and says that “Indonesia has such a huge potential for finding something rare or unusual. I am now planning to travel to other islands and look forward to what can be found.”

- by Tony Iwane

- There are more than 300 observations in the “Odonata - eating” Project. Check them out!

- If you wanted actual video of a Green Marsh Hawk devouring the head of another odonate, then you’re in luck! Here’re two: and

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Observation of the Week 2017-04-20

This Cryptocellus tickspider, seen in Panama by stephane_degreef, is our Observation of the Week!

Belgian-born environmental engineer Stéphane De Greef has a humorous yet insightful take on the field of biology:

I think every child is interested in nature until their mother tell them “Don’t touch that! It’s dirty! Dangerous! Disgusting!" Children who just ignore these warnings usually become biologists! In many of us, you’ll still find the same enthusiasm, passion and curiosity we had when we were children. It’s intense, it’s in us 24/7 and, frankly, it’s often contagious! When I was a kid, I lived near a small forest in Belgium. Every weekend, I would walk out early morning with my gumboots and my pocketknife and go exploring the nearby woods, streams and caves...And guess what? Thirty years later, I’m still doing the exact same thing. And I love it.

While he has spent over a decade in Southeast Asia, Stéphane is now spending an entire year in Panama’s Cocobolo Nature Preserve, studying arthropod diversity. He has a “soft spot” for ants and arachnids, and wants to “use my findings for awareness and education, and to promote the place so that more people can experience the rainforests and cloud forest first hand and understand why it’s so important to preserve it.”

He found the amazing organism pictured above while leading a group of students from Virginia Tech, collecting unusual arthropods. “So there I was,” recalls Stéphane, “walking in the rainforest with my gumboots, looking under rotting logs for unusual critters, when I noticed these small arachnids. Too stocky to be harvestmen. Too flat, thick and slow to be spiders. But I knew I’d seen them before in photos elsewhere: on Piotr Naskrecki’s Facebook wall.”

Stéphane collected several specimens and photographed them back at the research station, for the Meet Your Neighbours site. Stuart Longhorn on iNat was able to identify them as members of the genus Cryptocellus, which belong to the small arachnid order of Ricinulei, or the Hooded Tickspiders.

Numbering only 58 described species, little is known about the Hooded Tickspiders. They are tiny, usually only reaching 10mm in length; predatory; and have a retractable “hood” that covers their chelicerae (mouthparts). Lacking true eyes, they use the chelicerae and their long second pair of legs as sensory organs, and in males the third pair of legs are modified for copulation. In fact, this third pair of legs can be used taxonomically to differentiate between genuses and species. They are found only in the Neotropical region and West-Central Africa. Oh, and like ticks and mites, tickspider young only have six legs - the other pair grows in later!

Outreach is an important part of Stéphane’s work, and while he uses Facebook, he says it’s not great for organizing his data, “which is why I turned to iNaturalist. It allows me to share my findings in a nice, clean, efficient way, including my photos, my field notes and geolocation. I get the benefits of crowdsourcing the identification and people who are not keen on Facebook can still access my work. It’s nice, tidy and efficient, and the species catalogs are exhaustive and up-to-date...While iNaturalist hasn’t changed the way I interact and see the natural world, it definitely changed the way I share my discoveries with the world.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Stéphane has a great website that includes his photos, a field guide to arthropods of northwest Cambodia, information about his upcoming Bug Camps in Panama, and more. Check it out!

- In case you wanted to know more about tickspiders...

- Gumboot dancing is an artform in Africa, here’s a cool video about it. Oh, and Paul Simon’s Gumboots is a great song as well.

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Observation of the Week 2017-05-04

This Hestiasula mantis, seen by muir in Indonesia, is our Observation of the Day!

“My work takes me to a lot of interesting nature these days,” says Matt Muir. “I'm proud to be a biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in our international program. We help partners in other countries conserve and recover their wildlife populations, and have a huge network of field projects trying to accomplish the near-impossible in some very difficult settings. Although I usually work in central Africa, this project was a threats assessment for two national parks in Sumatra that are important refuges for Sumatran tigers and rhinos.” On his journey, Matt was also able to meet up with iNatters @dewichristina “(who is awesome), and was traveling with the amazing @stsang.”

While the megafauna may have brought him to Indonesia, Matt is also fascinated by smaller organisms, especially after having moved from Alaska, where he was born and raised, to the east coast of North America. “I had to recalibrate my enjoyment of nature from wilderness to appreciating the small things,” he explains. “So it's funny that one of the most charismatic critters I found [on this trip] was on my first morning in Indonesia in the hotel garden. Lesson is keep your eyes open everywhere!”

At first, Matt couldn’t figure out what he was looking at, thinking at first it was a pair of beetles. “I was looking through my macro lens, trying to figure out what the heck I was looking at, when it ‘boxed’ me [above], displaying one dark forearm, then the other. My friend Mini [pictured below, with Matt] fell in love, and had me show the mantid to people across southern Sumatra. Glad to see now that it's getting some global attention!”

With their large eyes, articulated neck, and “arm-like” forelimbs, mantids often come off as more personable to us humans than other insects, but all three of those features are fantastic adaptations for a predator. Mantids are visual hunters, so their large eyes help them spot prey, whereas their flexible necks - rare in the insect world - help them look around while not moving their bodies and betraying their camouflage. And of course those famous raptorial forelegs allow mantids to catch prey then hold it while they dine.

As an avid iNat user (over 14,000 observations and over 3,000 identifications), Matt says that not only has iNat caused him to get more field guides and camera equipment, it’s changed how he sees nature: 

When I travel, I think I look for more opportunities to find wildlife that's new to me. And post-trip, iNat extends my enjoyment of being outside. In addition to tapping into the identification expertise of the iNat community, I love to search through the observations page to see where else I saw a species, how my observation compares to the overall distribution, and use the species page to check seasonality etc. I sort of think of iNat as steroids for natural curiosity.

I think a lot about how iNat can be a more useful tool for wildlife conservation in the future, so I also try to record both common and uncommon wildlife. Our great species conservation challenge is keeping common things common, and alleviating human pressure on rare stuff, and I hope iNat will contribute to that goal one day.

- by Tony Iwane

- If you were thinking Hestiasula mantids are just as cute in motion as they are in photos, well, you were right.

- Here’s some information about Sumatran tigers and rhinos from the IUCN.

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Observation of the Week 2017-05-14

This Green Bee-eater, seen in India by saurabh_chinkara, is our Observation of the Week!

It’s funny how the search for one organism can be unsuccessful but nevertheless lead to a great observation out in the field. That’s the case with Saurabh Agrawal’s beautiful Green Bee-eater shot above. A tour guide for his own company Chinkara Journeys, Saurabh had heard about a butterfly that had been spotted in a park close to his home, one which has not been recorded in central India.

Although he spent several hours looking for it, Saurabh was unsuccessful in his search. However, he had spotted a Green Bee-eater flitting about, catching flies. Unlike many of us (myself included) who would have been happy to snap a photo and move on, Saurabh used patience and attention to detail to get the perfect shot. “After observing it for some time I found that bird was using 2-3 branches of Ipomea plant as a perch to look out for another fly,” he recalls. “I crawled as quietly as possible and focused my camera on one branch which was receiving good light and had no obstacle in the background and hoped the bird would come. After waiting for 15-20 minutes I got this bird sitting exactly where I wanted it.”

As its name suggests, the Green Bee-eater is an insectivore, and often specializes in consuming beetles, wasps, and bees, flying out and catching them from a low perch. Once it catches an insect, the bird will thrash it against a branch or other hard surface, breaking the exoskeleton and/or removing any stingers, before swallowing it. Its many subspecies range from Sub-Saharan Africa north and east through Vietnam.

Befitting someone with such patience, Saurabh is

currently compiling information and photographs of the birds found in central India. My aim is to include as many photographic records for reference for others. This will include birds in flight, stationery, the difference in sex, plumage, morphs etc. My main area of study is [the] Bastar region which is the southern part of Chhattisgarh. The area has never been studied properly. It is one of the last pockets of almost virgin forests still left in the peninsular region. Many birds and amphibian species found here cannot be seen elsewhere in central India.

He also takes school and college students into the field to teach them about bird identification and conservation. “As a result,” he says, “we have now over 100 people who go out in the field on a volunteer basis and report sightings and look out for threats to local wildlife and if required necessary action can be taken with the help of local government body.”

Professor Michael Hogan, one of Saurabh’s clients, introduced him to iNaturalist. “I am still in learning stage but have found it very useful in creating a database of species that I have seen and photograph. It is a great platform for a person like me share their sightings with the rest of the world,” he says.

- by Tony Iwane

- You know you wanted to see a Green Bee-eater smashing an insect. It’s a thorough process!

- iNaturalist users have taken many great shots of Bee-eaters. Check them out.

- Little African birds called Honeyguides often parasitize the nests of Bee-eaters. Their eggs often look like Bee-eater eggs, but that’s not to fool the host...

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