Journal archives for December 2016

December 02, 2016

Automatic aggregator -- if you observe a carnivore in DFW, it will automatically be added to the project!

I just turned on the 'automatic aggregator' for this project. The two rules: the observation must be within the DFW metroplex and it must be of the order Carnivora.

Set up some camera traps, look for tracks, and always keep that camera ready! Thanks for all of the contributions.

Posted on December 02, 2016 17:23 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 09, 2016

Standard responses to observations that need guidance...

One of the most beautiful things about iNaturalist is the community of naturalists. I was so warmly welcomed into it, and I especially appreciated the folks that provided me with some gentle guidance (except for all the times that @gcwarbler yelled at me for not cropping my images enough – kidding!).

So, I’m going to work on some standard responses that I’ll add onto the comment section of observations and observers that need a bit of guidance. I’ll be referring back to this journal entry frequently to copy and paste these on the specific observation. Please tell me if there are other instances that you notice and what all you say in the comment section. :)

If the observation is of a cultivated plant:

Since this is a cultivated/planted plant, please mark it as cultivated. You can do this by clicking “no” to the question “Is the organism wild/naturalized?” on the data quality assessment. Try your best to observe plants and animals that aren’t cultivated or in captivity. The wild organisms are far more interesting and important to document! :)
If you need some more help, be sure to check out the getting started page:
http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

If the observation is of a captive animal (like a pet or in a zoo):

It doesn’t look like this is a wild animal. You should mark it as captive. You can do this by clicking “no” to the question “Is the organism wild/naturalized?” on the data quality assessment. Try your best to observe plants and animals that aren’t cultivated or in captivity. The wild organisms are far more interesting and important to document! :)
If you need some more help, be sure to check out the getting started page:
http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

If the observation is too blurry/unclear/dark/too far off to make out a specific ID:

It’s hard to tell what this is just by this photo. Next time, try to get a clearer shot . You can also add multiple pictures to an observation that may help with the identification.
If you need some more help, be sure to check out the getting started page:
http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

If the observation has multiple pictures of different species:

An observation on iNaturalist is just for a single species. You have multiple different species in this single observation. You should separate these all out so that each one can be recorded separately. It’s ok if they were all in the same spot – you can use the same location. Please do separate out each image.
If you need some more help, be sure to check out the getting started page:
http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

If the teacher/professor of the class needs to give more guidance (multiple observations from various students that are poor quality):

If you would, please tell your teacher/professor to give some extra guidance on how to use iNaturalist properly. Some of these observations could use some extra help.
He/she should look at all of these observations, give some pointers on the difference between cultivated/captive and wild organisms, and assist with how to properly take pictures for identification.
http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/teacher's+guide

Update -- check this page for other standard responses: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/responses

Posted on December 09, 2016 02:32 by sambiology sambiology | 29 comments | Leave a comment

December 31, 2016

My big year 2016!

So, this year I challenged myself to observe more species than last year. Well, I pulled it off – I observed 2113 species in 9465 observations. That’s even more than last year! *wipes sweat from forehead and blows smoke from camera* Whew. :)

I suppose that is what amazes me about iNaturalist – I continue to enjoy it. This tool enhances my experience outside. It’s enhancing the time I spend inside too. I love to look at what others observe and in some cases, provide a bit of guidance to an ID or give a “great observation!” As I meet more naturalists from around the world, I’m encouraged to go out and explore even more… I’ll go out and look for things similar to what others are finding. “Community, exploration, knowledge, curiosity, friendship, guidance, data collection, fun…” I use these words when I talk about iNaturalist.

My belief is solidified – this kind of thing can change the world. My life sure has been enriched by it. :)

One of my favorite challenges this year came from the iNat folks. Thanks to @loarie, @kueda, @tiwane and the others at iNat headquarters that came up with the critter calendar concept. It may have fizzled out for some after the first couple months, but I put the target taxon for each week in my calendar this year. Every week I pulled it off (although, I did use end up using just evidence for the hummingbird and swift week in February!) and, most importantly, had great fun.

Just for giggles, here are the critters that I observed this year for the critter calendar and the particular one that I enjoyed observing for each week:

Suliformes (cormorants) Jan 3 – 9: 1 observation
Double-crested cormorant from Mansfield, TX

Piciformes (woodpeckers) Jan 10 – 16: 7 observations
Yellow-bellied sapsucker from Hudson Oaks, TX

Accipitriformes (hawks and vultures) Jan 17 – 23: 6 observations
Northern harrier from El Paso, TX

Anseriformes (ducks) Jan 24 – 30: 36 observations
Northern pintail from Arlington, TX

Pelecaniformes (herons) Jan 31 – Feb 6: 2 observations
American white pelican from Weatherford, TX

Cactaceae (cacti) Feb 7 – 13: 4 observations
Christmas cholla from San Antonio, TX

Caudata (salamanders) Feb 14 – 20: 1 observation
Small-mouthed salamander from Arlington, TX

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish) Feb 21- 27: 1 observation
Western mosquitofish from Cedar Hill, TX

Apodiformes (hummingbirds and swifts) Feb 28 – Mar 5: 1 observation
Chimney swift (evidence) from Dallas, TX

Rodentia (rodents) Mar 6 – 12: 5 observations
Fox squirrel from Dallas, TX

Bryophyta (mosses) Mar 13 – 19: 7 observations
Green-tufted stubble moss from Cedar Hill, TX

Boraginaceae (borages) Mar 20 – 26: 3 observations
Corn gromwell from Dallas, TX

Apiaceae (carrots) Mar 27 – Apr 2: 6 observations
Shepherd’s-needle from Dallas, TX:

Fabaceae (legumes) Apr 3 – 9: 20 observations
Eve’s necklace from Dallas, TX

Hylidae (tree frogs) Apr 10 – 16: 3 observations
Blanchard’s cricket frog from Sherman, TX

Sauria (lizards) Apr 17 – 23: 1 observation
Little brown skink from Fort Worth, TX

Brassicaceae (mustards) Apr 24 – 30: 2 observations
Annual bastard cabbage from Lewisville, TX

Ranunculaceae (buttercups) May 1 – 7: 4 observations
Prairie larkspur from Cedar Hill, TX

Asparagaceae (agaves and asparagus) May 8 – 14: 2 observations
Asparagus from Cedar Hill, TX

Serpentes (snakes) May 15 – 21: 1 observation
Cottonmouth from Fort Worth, TX

Rosaceae (roses) May 22 – 28: 3 observations
Callery Pear from Denton, TX

Testudines (turtles) May 29 – Jun 4: 3 observations
Common snapping turtle from Arlington, TX

Poaceae (grasses) Jun 5 – 11: 39 observations
Carolina jointgrass from Hudson Oaks, TX

Bufonidae (true toads) June 12 – 18: 1 observation
Woodhouse’s toad from White Settlement, TX

Plantaginaceae (plantains) Jun 19 – 25: 3 observations
Largebracted plantain from Hope, AR

Odonata (dragonflies) Jun 26 – Jul 2: 54 observations
Royal river cruiser from Fort Worth, TX

Coleoptera (beetles) Jul 3 – 9: 21 observations
Carolina metallic tiger beetle from Garland, TX

Ericaceae (heathers) Jul 10 – 16: 1 observation
Sparkleberry from Arlington, TX

Lamiaceae (mints) Jul 17 – 23: 1 observation
Lemon beebalm from Cedar Hill, TX

Lepidoptera (butterflies/moths) Jul 24 – 30: 68 observations
Anna carpenterworm moth from Dallas, TX

Diptera (flies) Jul 31 – Aug 6: 5 observations
Palpada furcata from Fort Worth, TX

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) Aug 7 – 13: 10 observations
Eastern cicada killer from Fort Worth, TX

Artiodactyla (deer) Aug 14 – 20: 1 observation
White-tailed deer from Hudson Oaks, TX

Hemiptera (true bugs) Aug 21 – 27: 9 observations
Concheula bug from Big Bend, TX

Ranidae (true frogs) Aug 28 – Sep 3: 1 observation
American bullfrog from Cedar Hill, TX

Polygonaceae (knotweeds) Sep 4 – 10: 2 observations
Pinkweed from Denton, TX

Asteraceae (sunflowers) Sep 11 – 17: 25 observations
Texas skeleton plant from Benbrook, TX

Orthoptera (grasshoppers) Sep 18 – 24: 2 observations
Admirable grasshopper from Dallas, TX

Columbiformes (doves) Sep 25 – Oct 1: 1 observation
Rock pigeon from Cedar Hill, TX

Sapindaceae (maples) Oct 2 – 8: 1 observation
Box elder from Cedar Hill, TX

Araneae (spiders) Oct 9 – 15: 5 observations
Arrowhead orbweaver from Kountze, TX

Fagaceae (oaks) Oct 16 – 22: 1 observation
Southern red oak from Centerville, TX

Pinophyta (pines) Oct 23 – 29: 1 observation
Loblolly pine from Navasota, TX

Lecanorales (lichens) Oct 30 – Nov 5: 2 observations
Star rosette lichen from Fort Worth, TX

Mollusca (snails) Nov 6 – 12: 4 observations
Marsh rams-horn from Fort Worth, TX

Carnivora (carnivores) Nov 13 – 19: 3 observations
Common raccoon from Mineola, TX

Pteridophyta (ferns) Nov 20 – 26: 3 observations
Wavy scale cloakfern from Arlington, TX

Charadriiformes (shorebirds) Nov 27 – Dec 3: 4 observations
Wilson’s snipe from Arlington, TX

Crustacea (crabs) Dec 4 – 10: 1 observation
Common pill-bug from Cedar Hill, TX

Orchidaceae (orchids) Dec 11 – 17: 1 observation
Great Plains ladies’ tresses from Hudson Oaks, TX

Agaricales (mushrooms) Dec 18 – 24: 2 observations
Split-gill mushroom from Cedar Hill, TX

Passeriformes (songbirds) Dec 25 – 31: 65 observations
Hermit thrush from Seagoville, TX

2016 was a good year. Looking forward to learning and exploring even more in 2017! I hope you do the same. :)

Posted on December 31, 2016 22:19 by sambiology sambiology | 1 observations | 8 comments | Leave a comment