Journal archives for June 2015

June 10, 2015

Using the app and the camera... A hybrid approach!

The folks at iNat have done a really great job on the app.

I've been bumping up my observations lately by using the app. In the past, I wasn't too crazy about the app, solely based on the image quality that I got from my iPhone. Well, either the app improved or my camera on a newer iPhone improved, but now I use that a bunch! The image quality is pretty good, especially after clicking "large" or "original" on the image. It's quick to observe too -- just a couple touches on the iPhone. I try to only observe organisms that I'm fairly certain of the ID with the app... A lot of these are the "common weeds." Despite the commonness, I still want to document their existence in space and time. :)

As I was trained in the herbarium, a fertile specimen is a good specimen, so I try to only observe plants with flowers or fruits. Most if not all good keys use these reproductive structures. So, I think it's important to get flowers or fruits with my observations.

Now, I use my camera (nothing spectacular -- it's a Nikon Coolpix P530) on most moving critters -- dragonflies, birds, mammals, etc... I do this for the zoom capacity and the image quality. I'll crop the photos with the camera too (I used to not do this, and I'm sure it was fairly annoying to see my observations). I also use my camera on the plants that I'm not certain about -- or weird unique ones that I'm unfamiliar with. It takes a lot longer to upload these, as I manually put in the location and maybe write a little bit about the observation, but it's worth it to learn a little more about the organisms.

I try to take a few images for each observation too -- if it's an organism I don't know, I'm not sure which angles are important... So I try to take several! Trust me, not all of them turn out great... But hopefully a few are usable.. :)

So, do you use the app or a camera or both? If you only use one or the other, try using both!

Posted on June 10, 2015 19:21 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment

June 21, 2015

June - my big month! Also, sorry for spamming up your dashboard... And - a challenge!

Since we've had a crazy wet May here in TX, I've decided that June will be my big month. I'm setting a personal objective to observe as many different species as I can this month! It's quite fun, and I've spotted some brand new ones for me.

Most of these observations I'm making this month are very common species in TX. Am I wasting my time to post these? Well, I don't think so -- each observation is a point of data on that individual's or population's existence in space and time.

I'm still looking at plants a lot, and I try to only post the plants that have reproductive structures (flowers or fruit). This is crucial to the ID of the plant, and I'm quite cautious to ID a plant based just on vegetative characteristics.

Recently, I've been getting into dragonflies! These are such amazing insects. Big time thanks to the folks here on iNat that are giving me guidance on their ID's.

A challenge -- go outside and observe more! Even if it's something extremely common, I challenge you to go ahead and observe it and post it. Visit a park you haven't visited before, too. Who knows what kinds of neat critters/plants you'll spot?!? :)

Posted on June 21, 2015 02:57 by sambiology sambiology | 9 observations | 4 comments | Leave a comment

June 23, 2015

Damselfly and Dragonfly guide to Oliver Nature Park!

We're working on some of the guides for the organisms at Oliver Nature Park! Right now, we have a few:

Birds of ONP:
http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/1570

Dragonflies and Damselflies of ONP:
http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/2016

These are especially cool with the phone app -- if you go to "guides" and search for "Oliver Nature Park," you can load these up. And bam -- you've got a field guide in your hand! :)

We'll be working on the other organisms too (there is one that is "organisms of Oliver Nature Park," but it is too cluttered to be useful just yet...).

Stay tuned and be sure to bring a camera out to the park to make some more observations! There are lots of critters yet to be documented at the park. :)

Posted on June 23, 2015 15:33 by sambiology sambiology | 1 comments | Leave a comment