04 de abril de 2020

Emotions during COVID19 - and my iNat activity...

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on."
~Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Someone sent me that quote, and I thought, "Oh, that's a nice quote" but then I really thought about it more and more and more and more, especially right now. I guess that's the nice thing about quotes -- we are allowed to interpret them however we want to. :)

To me, this quote is so appropriate for what we're going through right now. I will admit, I only know a few people that have COVID19 currently, but my parents are at high risk, and many folks that I know and deeply care about are high risk as well. It's a creepy amount of time that I've been thinking about other folks right now too! Each time I go outside, not only am I looking at the critters and plants, but I'm thinking about the people that have given me guidance on the ID's...or for whatever reason, I just think about these folks...

I'm extremely fortunate to be able to still go outside right now. Of course, I'm staying crazy careful -- I avoid touching anything that other people touch, I'm wearing a little fabric face mask, I go to places where others aren't, and I wash my hands like I've got OCD. So, I'm taking all of the precautions, I think. Yet it's spring, my absolute favorite time of year. The bugs are out, the birds are singing, and every single weed has a bloom on it. For my mental, emotional health and sanity, I just have to be outside. I bring iNat with me each time too -- to share observations with others, but also just to explore. With iNat, I can travel vicariously through other naturalists' observations, and some travel with me too.

I guess that's the kicker -- when I'm out exploring, by myself, I actually bring a lot of naturalists with me. I'm physical distancing, but also figuratively walking alongside lots of folks. And that's a good feeling. :)

Going back to the Mary Oliver quote, this time of quarantine, social fear and anxiety, has reminded me of my place on the planet. I'm here but for a nanosecond geologically, and I'm so freaking lucky to even glimpse at the fellow residents of the ecosystem. To learn their names is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

Anywho, hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy, washing hands, and if you're able to, going outside just a little to look for a bug or two. :)

Publicado em 04 de abril de 2020, 10:38 PM por sambiology sambiology | 16 comentários | Deixar um comentário

26 de março de 2020

Narrowing down ID's -- Spring-time boost of observations!

So, spring is pretty much here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and the number of observations is growing along with the plants! Despite the quarantine and 'shelter in place' orders, folks are still going outside to get observations. This is a great thing -- getting outside and enjoying nature is crucial to our health, I think. I still try to do it every day!

In the past few months, I've been trying to identify observations from the "Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairies Ecoregion in Texas":

But now, I'm going to start to just focus on the DFW metroplex with ID's:

I wish I had some time and energy to focus on specific taxa, but instead I've decided to focus on an area and all taxa. Nonetheless, please tag me if you'd like for me to look at an observation outside of DFW! :)

Here's the ID page for DFW observations:

Also, since lots of folks have been mothing lately, here are the top 500 species documented in DFW:

Keep on observing! :)

Publicado em 26 de março de 2020, 02:23 AM por sambiology sambiology | 2 comentários | Deixar um comentário

10 de março de 2020

Discouraging public... "Remove the wildlife!"

Lately, it seems like I've had a lot of requests for presentations on dealing with 'nuisance' species... Coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, opossums... It's actually a bit of a bummer.

A few weeks ago I gave the most difficult presentation I've ever had to do to an angry group of homeowners that wanted nearby coyotes trapped and removed. I tried my best to stick to the message... Don't feed the wildlife, control trash, and hazing techniques... Alas, these folks didn't want to hear any of it.

Outside of that presentation, there's just been an influx of calls and emails about 'nuisance' species. Not gonna lie -- it's discouraging.

So, I'm curious how other naturalist/nature enthusiasts respond to the "let's get rid of it!" response... I guess I'm just fishing for some novel or convincing lines that you use when talking about the importance/value/appreciation of wildlife.

Oh, and iNat is where I go to get encouraged again. :)

Publicado em 10 de março de 2020, 10:14 PM por sambiology sambiology | 20 comentários | Deixar um comentário

22 de dezembro de 2019

2019 was my 'big year' -- a great year!

I was very lucky in 2019… I got the chance to observe and appreciate a lot of nature on several trips. Florida, North Carolina, Costa Rica, Oregon, and several spots in Texas – so amazing to see lots of different kinds of nature all around.

Of course, I bring the tool of iNaturalist with me wherever I go – it amplifies my enjoyment of nature immensely! If you’re curious, here are my stats for this year:


It’s truly not about numbers – it’s about the enjoyment of nature. It’s been extremely fun to learn the names of so many different species. We share this planet with some incredible biodiversity. Let’s appreciate it!

One of the other amazing things about using iNaturalist is the community of naturalists that I get to interact with. I haven’t yet gotten the chance to meet all of them in person, but it gives me a lot of hope when I see what others are seeing – we are part of a huge and growing community of naturalists. It’s a big deal – and it makes me happy. :)

Not to push too hard, but I’m also a proud financial supporter of iNat. I don’t have a lot of money or ‘disposable income,’ but I’m happy to throw a few bucks at iNat each month. It’s a tool that provides me so much joy and excitement… and LOTS of knowledge. I feel like a better all-around naturalist because of my involvement with iNat. If you do too, check out the donation page:

So happy to be on this journal with all of you, and I hope to meet more naturalists and more species next year! :)

Publicado em 22 de dezembro de 2019, 12:25 AM por sambiology sambiology | 7 comentários | Deixar um comentário

22 de novembro de 2019

Species unobserved by me... "&unobserved_by_user_id=sambiology"

So, I think it was the amazing curator/observer/identifier and all around rockstar @bouteloua that chimed me into the filter "&unobserved_by_user_id=sambiology" -- it's a fun thing to use after doing a search of the species in an area.

I've not really considered myself to be a "lifer" sort of person, but I do like seeing new organisms that I'd not seen before. :) Using this filter is a pretty easy way to see the things you'd not seen before. As iNat grows and grows, more species will be documented from specific areas, so the filters become more and more powerful. I'm using this filter for the species I've not seen in spots.

Try it sometime! Search for a place on the filters as you explore... say a county or specific park (that has a place in iNat already), and then copy/paste the "&unobserved_by_user_id=____" and replace the ____ with your username.

You can filter by taxon too -- so I like to see what plants I've not seen in an area. I went down to Tyler County in southeast TX to Watson Rare Plant Preserve, so I explored the plant species (fine-tuning to species level) that have been observed there:

Then I wanted to see the plants that I'd not seen before:

Neat, huh?!? :)

Publicado em 22 de novembro de 2019, 05:13 AM por sambiology sambiology | 6 comentários | Deixar um comentário

12 de setembro de 2019

Back to ID'ing! :) Regional experience with the local organisms.

After the City Nature Challenge at the end of April, I was a little worn out from doing ID's. I did around 7k ID's during the CNC, and took a loooong break from regularly scrolling through observations.

Now, I'm back! :) I focus almost all of my time to my 'region.' This is the DFW metroplex, and a bit larger area, the "Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairies ecoregion."

I try my best to go through all of the observations made in this region... I search both the ones that are already 'research grade' and 'needs ID.'

I then search through each day with a calendar that I cross out.. So far, I've hit just a couple weeks, but it's good to be back. :) Just a few more months of observations to search through!

I wish I could devote more time to a larger 'region' or a taxon, but for the time being, I think it's best that I focus on my general 'region.' It's a good way to become more familiar with the organisms I'd likely find as I go outside locally.

Publicado em 12 de setembro de 2019, 11:52 PM por sambiology sambiology | 12 comentários | Deixar um comentário

06 de agosto de 2019

Texas Panhandle iNaturalist Gathering -- save dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020


Save the dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020.

Matador Wildlife Management Area: 3036 FM 3256, Paducah, TX 79248 -- 28,183 acres
Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area: FM 2266, Canadian, TX 79014 -- 5,886 acres

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA.

******* original message follows ******************

Hey friends,

So, iNat gatherings are the best. I really like them. It's fun to get together with fellow iNatters in an area to make loads of observations and enjoy each others' company.

We've had bioblitzes in a few different parts of TX, but not yet the panhandle. Let's change that!

Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area (5,886 acres) is relatively unexplored on iNaturalist:

Only 2 insects (both dragonflies) have been documented there...

There's bound to be more than that! I've not visited the area, but it does seem pretty interesting:

Also, Lake Meredith is not too too far away from Gene Howe WMA:
Perhaps few days here and a few days at Gene Howe.

Now, dates... I'm not really familiar with the conditions in the Panhandle... I'd think we'd shoot for a mid May time. A few dates that we should avoid: city nature challenge on 24-27 April through 1-4 May. So many a couple weekends after that 1-4 May (as many of us may be a little worn out!)... What about 15-18 May or 22-25 May???

PLEASE comment -- I need some feedback from folks that might want to attend. :)

*tagging a few folks in the comment -- please tag others that may be interested!

Publicado em 06 de agosto de 2019, 09:49 PM por sambiology sambiology | 118 comentários | Deixar um comentário

16 de julho de 2019

Coyotes -- working on a little video with TPWD...

So, I'm working on a short Texas Parks and Wildlife video about coyotes, and I've tried to get some good video footage of coyotes with no success...

Anyways, would anyone be willing to share some coyote images/footage with me that I could use for this video? I'll definitely credit any images! I'll be sending a few messages to folks that have observed coyotes in TX:

Thanks! :)

Publicado em 16 de julho de 2019, 04:34 PM por sambiology sambiology | 12 comentários | Deixar um comentário

30 de junho de 2019

Costa Rica. Wow.

I'm so incredibly lucky and fortunate.

From 23 to 28 June, I went with a group of educators to experience the global section of BRIT bootcamp (https://www.brit.org/educators/e-stem-educator-boot-camp). I facilitate a class for BRIT bootcamp 1 for the past few years, so they invited me to come with them to Costa Rica! Holy moly, was it great. Here's a little synopsis of the trip!

23 June 2019: Super early morning -- had to get to the airport at 4 AM for a 5 AM flight to Miami, and then to San Jose, Costa Rica. Arrived in Costa Rica at about noonish. We went with Best Costa Rica Travel (https://www.facebook.com/BestCostaRicaTravel). Jimmy Alvarado was a phenomenal guide from moment one -- full of information about all aspects of Costa Rica. Our first stop was at the Trogon Lodge (https://www.trogonlodge.com/). Such a cool place up in the mountains. Photoed a few neat birds and a few crazy cool plants at this spot. Set up the black light tonight, but it was mighty chilly, so not too too many moths/bugs showed up. Nonetheless, everything that was there was NEW!

24 June 2019: Birding early in the morning to look for quetzals. Spotted quite a few -- like 9! Headed back to the Trogon Lodge for a lovely nature walk. We then went to a really nice lunch spot with a wonderful overlook and lots of colorful birds flying around. Then we went south to San Vito and Las Cruces Biological station (https://tropicalstudies.org/portfolio/las-cruces-research-station/). Not much daylight left, but we ate supper with some researchers and students - it was really inspiring to hear about the various research projects going on here. Afterwords, I went walking around the campus and gardens -- saw loads of moths around the lights and many spiders.

25 June 2019: We met with Ro at the Wilson Botanical Garden (https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/wilson-botanical-garden/) and did a few data collection studies of the tree ferns. In the afternoon, we continued the studies and data collection. In the evening, we did some discussion of educational articles with the group. This night, I also tossed on the black lights and spotted some AMAZING moths. Also, on this evening, we experienced a BIG earthquake -- apparently a 6.2 on the Richter scale. We ran out of the room as did many others because it was shaking fairly violently. Crazy interesting experience -- my first earthquake! There were a few aftershocks in the next few days, but I didn't really feel them.

26 June 2019: Went on a longer walk around the Las Cruces forests in various stages of succession (https://archive.tropicalstudies.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=221&Itemid=422). At a few stops, we also took some data of soil moisture, photosynthesis rate, and soil temps. It lasted most of the day, and I was definitely feeling the long hike! As though I didn't have enough, we went on a really great night hike lead by @jeisson -- it was one of the best night hikes I've ever been on. Loads of frogs, katydids, moths, spiders, and other cool stuff.

27 June 2019: Today, we were supposed to go to a high school, but the students were on a protest, so we didn't get this opportunity... Instead, we stayed at a sustainable farm most of the morning and afternoon. At this farm, we planted some trees -- I learned about how out of shape I am when I was digging holes for trees! In the afternoon, we worked with some compost and soil microbes. This 50ish acre farm is a really neat place with some commendable practices. We ate a pretty fancy dinner in San Vito. On the return to the biological station, I had to stay out to look for stuff. I went out solo to explore the forest at night -- spotted even more neat organisms.

28 June 2019: Left mighty early to take a charter plane to San Jose, flew out to Miami, and then back to Dallas/Fort Worth and home at around midnight. It was a long day in the airports, so I was looking through the various photos I took this whole week. Lots of cool organisms that I was fortunate to document. :)

I'll be uploading these hundreds and hundreds of observations in the next few weeks, hopefully... I'll be working on the ID's for...months and months, likely! I'll filter what has already been observed from Costa Rica to act a bit like a guide:
There have been 9000+ species observed by others, so this process may take a while! Please feel no obligations to add in any ID's or verifications, as I'll be working on these for a good while. I do want to upload them as quickly as I can and then work on the ID's though. :)

Costa Rica is a special place. It was my first time to visit the country, and I am already wanting to go back! The biodiversity is a bit overwhelming, and each minute it seemed like I was seeing something new. Many of my photos are blurry of no fault to the camera, but my excitement made it hard for me to steady my hands! :) Again, I can't wait to go back!

Publicado em 30 de junho de 2019, 03:45 AM por sambiology sambiology | 11 comentários | Deixar um comentário

12 de junho de 2019

Moth week in DFW!

Here are some of the public mothing events going on in DFW for National Moth Week!

All events are around 8:30 until... well, until we leave. :)

Saturday, 20 July: Acton Nature Center, Acton
Sunday, 21 July: Samuell Farm Park, Mesquite
Tuesday, 23 July: Twelve Hills Nature Center, Dallas
Friday, 26 July: Parr Park, Grapevine
Saturday, 27 July: Heard Museum, McKinney

If you know of others happening in/around DFW, let us know!

Publicado em 12 de junho de 2019, 05:41 PM por sambiology sambiology | 17 comentários | Deixar um comentário