Journal archives for November 2015

November 01, 2015

Submitted dragonfly for Guinness book of world records...

I had lots of fun heading down to the hill country for the Master Naturalist conference -- especially exploring a few new areas for me. One of these neat places was Cooper Nature Park in Lampasas. I had an encounter that will live in infamy... :)

So, I have officially submitted a dragonfly to the Guinness book of world records as THE HARDEST DRAGONFLY EVER TO CATCH. My word, this sucker took me a loooooong time to catch. First of all, it never stood still to roost/rest. Secondly, it seemed to zig-zag more than any other dragonfly I've ever seen before... It was crazy. I don't know if this one was just hyper or ate some sugar fed fruit flied or something, but it was crazy hard. Also, I think it must have planted some traps for my net in the way of cockleburs... I would swipe with my net and then it would get loaded up with the spiny fruits of Xanthium strumarium... I was almost sore from swiping so many times to catch it. I thought it was a 'darner' at first simply because I said "darn!" so many time (among other words/phrases)... Finally, out of sheer luck, I was able to accidentally catch it -- I think it was a sympathy catch -- it saw how hard I was struggling to get it. And yes, I did release it, and it went back to zig-zagging along the stream. :)

Thanks much to @greglasley for the ID of this dragonfly -- pale-faced clubskimmer. It's a new one for me, but one that I shall always remember. I think it currently holds the title for the hardest dragonfly to catch. Or at least, the hardest dragonfly that Sam has ever caught. ;)

What do you think? @greglasley @jimjohnson @scottking @ericisley @dianaterryhibbitts @mchlfx -- do you know of any contenders for this title of hardest dragonfly to catch?!? :)

Posted on November 01, 2015 15:01 by sambiology sambiology | 2 observations | 9 comments | Leave a comment

November 05, 2015

Fall/Winter is the time to look for birds at Oliver Nature Park!

Come to see some of the birds migrating through (or stopping by for winter) at the park.

Last winter, we had flocks of yellow-rumped warblers, juncos, goldfinches, and I'm sure several more. If you go, be sure to bring your camera and post what you spot! :)

Posted on November 05, 2015 22:31 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 13, 2015

Kinda like shooting hoops with Jordan...

So, I was euphoric the other day. Seriously euphoric (characterized by or feeling intense excitement and happiness). I had the awesome opportunity to go down to Dripping Springs to meet up with some other TX iNaters with the gracious invitation from Greg Lasley. It was so wonderful to finally meet face-to-face with so many iNaters that I'd only corresponded with before. As I was driving down, it really felt like I was going to a family reunion. As someone once said, "people don't remember what you say, they remember how they felt." It felt really awesome to meet up with these people.

I was also trying to explain what it was like to some folks that aren't into nature... I told them "it felt like shooting hoops with Michael Jordan. Also, Jordan didn't think that you sucked." :)

I'll be posting the observations I made down there in a bit, and I know they were likely over-observed by several iNaters, but I want to recall as many details from this trip as possible. It was so dang awesome.

And yes, I'm even more motivated to spread the word of iNat now -- the community is magnificent.

Thanks much to @greglasley @gcwarbler @robberfly @maractwin @mksexton @mchlfx @taogirl @annikaml @lotus @mikaelb @blubayou @brentano @gpstewart @connlindajo @cullen @billdodd @cgritz and, of course, special thanks to @kueda -- looking forward to the future of iNaturalist!

Posted on November 13, 2015 21:32 by sambiology sambiology | 21 comments | Leave a comment

November 23, 2015

"Mediocre at best..." iNaturalist making me less of an expert but more happy.

Elizabeth (my wife) and I just got back from our little vacation down to south TX -- sorta a copycat trip from @greglasley 's trip with @kueda @maractwin @robberfly @gcwarbler a week before. We went down to see some of the birds and bugs and made a few stops along the way (although, it did rain on us a few days, and that was a bit of a bummer... we spotted lots of stuff nonetheless). I'll be uploading a BUNCH of observations sooner before later, so be forewarned -- your dashboard may fill! I'll try my best to study the organisms that we spotted, but any guidance on the ID's is greatly appreciated. It was filled with new things for me!

We were quite lucky to stay at the Alamo Inn and meet up with a couple of folks that were trapping moths -- Charles and Richard. I was out with them for quite a while, talking a range of topics scientific and not so scientific... Anyways, they asked what my "specialty" was, and I said "well, I'm trying to learn a little bit about everything now." Richard responded, "well, if you don't have a specialty, then you'll only be mediocre at best."

So, it got me thinking -- is iNaturalist making me this way? I finally focus on the entire ecosystem and all of the natural participants, but I suppose I'm becoming less and less of an expert on any group... I'm finding out the names of LOTS of different things, but I have trouble remembering all of their names. When I used to be solely focused on plants, I could name most of the plants in my local area, and perhaps even called myself an active 'botanist in training.' So, is an active 'naturalist in training' always going to be simply mediocre?

I suppose I don't have to prove anything to anyone, and that's a good thing -- I must admit, having this entire ecosystem approach to nature is making me quite happy! It's so much more filled with discovery and ah-ha! moments -- even if becoming an "expert" in it would be out of my reach. :)

Just mumbling some thoughts -- mumble along with me, if you want. :)

Again, stay tuned for LOTS of observations of many things that really excited me this past week! :)

Posted on November 23, 2015 15:42 by sambiology sambiology | 17 comments | Leave a comment

November 25, 2015

LOTS of observations... South Texas diversity!

So, I took the day off today, and I'm going to be focused on uploading lots and lots and lots of observations from my trip down south. It was my first time headed down there, and wow -- I was blown away with the diversity! Elizabeth and I had a really great time. Some day I REALLY want to go to Mexico... Hopefully I'll be able to sometime.

Now, many of these observations I won't have an ID -- I've got a lot of flipping through field guides and examining other observations from other folks to try to figure out the ID's... As a matter of fact, I think this is pretty important. I have the responsibility to study my observations and try to make them as accurate in ID as possible. At the same time, I sure won't turn down any guidance on ID's! :)

As we start getting into the colder months here in TX, life kinda chills out, and I'll be spending more time going back through my observations that don't yet have ID's and devote quite a bit of time to giving guidance on other folks' observations too. It's all good fun. :)

Stay tuned for lots of observations from south TX! :)

Posted on November 25, 2015 14:30 by sambiology sambiology | 5 comments | Leave a comment

November 29, 2015

Observations every day... slowing down a bit! I'll be spending more time ID'ing.

Inspired by @jmaughn , I've been trying to observe organisms each and every day. I do it for a philosophical reason: every day we interact with organisms that we share the planet with! Anyways, the temps are falling and the weather is getting a little more dreary, but I'll still try to find time each day to go out and explore. I'll try my best to stick with my rule of posting plants only with reproductive structures (flowers, or more likely at this time, fruit and seeds). I'll probably post more birds than any other taxa.

Also, I'll try to ID my older observations that are still lacking ID's, and I'll be ID'ing some other folks' observations that still need ID. :) Stay tuned!

Posted on November 29, 2015 13:57 by sambiology sambiology | 2 comments | Leave a comment