September 24, 2022

My second journal post -- numerous random thoughts or comments

2022-09-24: I wish I had more time to write in this journal.

With a Category 3 hurricane predicted to hit the Florida Gulf coast somewhere between the Big Bend and Fort Myers in the next 4 or 5 days, I'm depressed.

I have embraced iNaturalist the way I embraced eBird before its leaders chose the Dark Path and alienated me. I have so embraced the idea of Community Review and Research Grading that I do not consider non-RG records to be of any value.

I have exceeded 4,000 RG records, currently (as of 1052 EST) at 4,020 RG records of 1,308 RG species. Considering that I had zero records in iNat until 16 Apr 2021, I regard this as a notable accomplishment. I am curious to see how many RG species I will attain once I input all my non-bird photographs into iNat. (I have already uploaded to iNat at least one record of the 509 species of birds that I have photographed in Florida, although several swans are not RGable because they have been deemed to be personal property [an idea that I disagree with, but ...]). I have 1,429 non-bird photographs that I still need to upload to iNat. It's a fairly slow process to upload because they are from all over Florida, requiring lots of care and time to add all the data properly. I'm also now VERY ACTIVELY seeking non-birds to photograph, which has boosted by RG species total by several hundred species over the past 8-10 months. Hopefully, all my as-yet-non-iNatted images will be uploaded over the next six months,

I am extraordinarily grateful to those iNatters who have RGed my non-bird images. Three people stand out for the volume of my records that they have Research Graded: Mikie Green (@coolcrittersyt) for bugs, and Jay Horn (@jayhorn) and Tom (@tadenham) for plants. Thank you all!

On the other hand, I am disappointed in the lack of experts for the following taxa, which in my experience usually get ZERO identifications, even months after uploading:

Mushrooms
Cactus
Spiders (beyond the easy ones)
Moths
Fiddler and Mud Crabs

I have almost given up ever seeing most of the taxa in these groups being RGed. I still photograph them when I encounter them -- I can't ignore them! -- but with little or no expectations that they will ever be RGed.

I have adopted several non-birds as Favorite Taxa (yes, it's a sacrilege, but, oh well). I haven't looked into how to "officially" favorite them so that they show up on my Profile as favorites, but here are some, along with at least one of my records in iNat:

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): I have not really appreciated the beauty of this plant until recently. It's wonderfully common, easily grown from seeds, the berries are gorgeous, and birds love the berries -- what more can I ask for?: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95105110

Regal Jumping Spider (Phidippus regius): just the coolest-looking spider. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/120344595

Delta Flower Scarab (Trigonopeltastes delta): I didn't know this insect until a year ago, but now I realize that they are pretty common. You can't mss that big yellow triangle. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134114691

Atlantic Grasshopper (Paroxya atlantica): a sharp-looking insect. I can now identify this species on sight. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/128551229

Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta): Tina Turner's dreadfully horrid 1984 song gets a humorous entomological rewrite: "I'm your Powdered Dancer, a dancer for money, I'll do what you want me to do." https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126710942

Coffee-loving Pyrausta Moth (Pyrausta tyralis): what a wacky name! I now know that the dozens of little moths that fly up as you walk through tall grass include lots of Coffee-loving Pyrausta Moths. There must be billions of these moths in Florida. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/121418233

Luna Moth (Actias luna): who doesn't love this moth? It's huge, green, and gorgeous -- and I have a particular talent for finding them. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126657628

"Sweadners's" Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus sweadneri): an awesome little butterfly -- maybe one inch in length -- reaches the southernmost terminus of its range along the Gulf of Mexico at my favorite birding/iNatting spot: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/132727212

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae): I have known this species for years; it is sharp: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134103506

Florida Tree Snail (Liguus fasciatus): the patterns; the colors; it just wouldn't be Florida without Liguus. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126695927, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126695934, and
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/120344591

"Southern" Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus): a decades-long favorite. It's small, docile, colorful, and gratifyingly numerous (but usually hard to find): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/121073521

Peter's Rock Agama (Agama picticauda): a ridiculously colorful, large lizard now roaming southern Florida. Some people call it the "Obama Lizard" due to the name similarity! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84904412

"Florida" West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris): sadly, human population growth is rapidly dwindling the population of this magnificent animal. They're still plentiful along the northern Tampa Bay area where I live -- if anybody wants to see any, let me know. During the winter months, they're guaranteed if one is willing to drive up to 50 miles from here), but their long-term future is in serious doubt. Sadly, many of the survivors of boat collisions show propeller scars that they will wear for the rest of their lives:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/118698511, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/118698463, and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/118698506

I'll try to post more later.

Posted on September 24, 2022 16:04 by billpranty billpranty | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 22, 2022

My first journal post ...

2022-08-21: Given my introversion, writing journal posts about myself and my iNatting "exploits" seem really awkward. But since I'm stuck in a hotel room in Orlando with a loudly snoring co-worker/roommate for the next five nights, here goes...

A week ago, one of my two birding/iNatting friends -- there's that introversion again! -- birded/iNatted Aripeka Sandhills Preserve in northwestern Pasco County. It's my single favorite spot in Florida (I have visited more than 200 times), and even though it is only 200 acres in size, it has a nice diversity of habitats. Birdwise, it's hit or miss during migration and is usually painfully slow from late June through mid-August. Since I have discovered iNaturalist, I have another reason to get out. I know birds like the back of my hand, but am pretty bad when it comes to all other taxa (although hairstreaks, robber flies, and tiger beetles are cool. Skippers, on the other hand, can go away.). Anyway, I have set a goal of documenting as many taxa at Aripeka Sandhills Preserve as possible -- and within reason; you won't see me sitting on the ground examining grasses with a lupe! I was photographing one of the butterfly peas since I now know that at least two species are found in the preserve: Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum) and Pineland Butterfly Pea (C. arenicola).

When I got home and examined my digital images, I noticed that I had photographed a beetle on the Butterfly Pea flower (this has happened to me many times). I iNatted the beetle, letting iNat's artificial intelligence identify it for me. It came up with an ID of Four-spotted Collops (Collops quadrimaculatus), which I accepted. After getting no hits on the identification, I looked into the species and found that there is as yet no record in Inaturalist from Florida. The ID does look sound (my photo is blurry and the insect's head is only partly visible), so I'm waiting for somebody to RG my sighting. (According to Bug Guide, Four-spotted Collops is known from Florida, but rarely). I have tagged the top two identifiers of the species in hopes that either or both of them will chime in with an identification. So far, nothing. But stay tuned.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/131623687

By the way, even though iNat-recommended bird identifications from Florida of Pacific Duck x Mallard hybrids or of Eurasian Moorhens drive me batty, overall, I am very impressed with iNat's machine learning skills. Many times, iNat's recommended ID is the correct one.

UPDATE: two iNatters came through and RGed my bug. It is not a Four-spotted Collops as I thought, but the very-similar-in-appearance Tetraonyx quadrimaculata, which I guess has no English name. It is not the first record from iNat in Florida, but it is only the third Flprida record. Plus, it is the southernmost record, plus it is just the eighth record worldwide in iNat! So it is even rarer than the Four-spotted Collops. Thanks to @granticadubia and @nicholasrocha for their identifications.

Posted on August 22, 2022 01:26 by billpranty billpranty | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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