Journal archives for May 2017

May 05, 2017

Vacation in California. News flash: I like California.

Elizabeth and I had a wonderful vacation in California. We saw so much -- and I found out that plants in California are different than ones in Texas. Duh! But to see it all in person was just amazing! I've got many hundreds of observations to upload, but in the meantime, here's a little recap of the nature-y adventures that we had.

Sunday, April 23: We flew into San Francisco from DFW quite early in the morning. We did a couple things around San Francisco (along with what felt like millions of other people!). We also drove to Candlestick Point State Recreational Area and saw some neat plants. After that, we drove south and made a couple stops along the road -- the lupines in CA are super showy! We stopped then at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve and ended up walking around quite a bit. The sun was starting to set already, so we had to pick a place to stay -- ended up in Oakland to prep for a GREAT day tomorrow.

Monday, April 24: Today was one of the best days ever. I seriously could not have had a better day. Elizabeth and I met up with @kueda for a breakfast, then headed over to Mount Diablo. At Mount Diablo, we met up with @tiwane @alexshepard and @joelle . The plan was to walk a bit around Mount Diablo and then head over to California Academy of Sciences to see iNat headquarters. Well, we didn't end up getting there because Mount Diablo is freaking incredible! The diversity of plants and insects there is remarkable -- I was going ga-ga over even the most common plants. We spent like 7 hours walking around 7 miles all around Mount Diablo. I found out that I'm out of shape, but my adrenaline and excitement over seeing all of this new stuff kept me going. After one of the best hikes of my life, we grabbed some pizza in Oakland (got to meet @catchang too!). Elizabeth and I stayed at a place at Fisherman's Wharf. I crashed hard.

Tuesday, April 25: Elizabeth and I walked up to around Fisherman's Wharf in the AM and then went to California Academy of Science to see iNat headquarters. I really enjoyed this -- especially seeing some of the ideas printed out on the wall and the some of the thought diagrams written out on the dry erase board. I missed seeing @loarie @kestrel and @rebeccafay ... perhaps next time! Got some Mexican food with the group and Elizabeth and I headed north to see family. We made a few stops around Golden Gate Bridge and some of the natural areas. Spent the night with the family in Mill Valley.

Wednesday, April 26: We headed a bit north to a quilt store and some little urban parks, and then went to Point Reyes -- had a blast here. Spotted many different small plants by the lighthouse (the fog was mighty thick, so we couldn't even see the water from the cliffs). Headed back down to spend the night with family in Mill Valley.

Thursday, April 27: Today, we headed further north and stopped at some fabric stores at Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and Cloverdale -- while Elizabeth shopped, I was meandering in the ditches looking at neat weeds! We continued up north, stopped at Navarro River Redwoods State Park to see the mighty redwoods and some cute salamanders, then stopped at Van Damme State Park further north. I was hoping to do a bit of tide-pooling, but the tides didn't cooperate with me. All good -- more incentive to come back! Elizabeth and I stayed at Medocino at a pretty nice old-timey hotel.

Friday, April 28: We explored a bit around Medocino (although, the wind was brutally cold coming off the coast!), and then went more inland. We stopped at quilt store in Ukiah then continued down to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Saw a few neat things -- a ring neck snake with a bright orange belly was a highlight. We continued south to Sonoma to visit another quilt store, and I went to an incredible park close to the river. After that, we stopped in Napa, and then back to the family in Mill Valley.

Saturday, April 29: We went with family to the top of Mount Tamalpais -- great views of the city and saw some nice plants while up there. Elizabeth and I spent most of today being with family, and that was nice. We stayed at a hotel close to the airport for a fairly early flight out.

Sunday, April 30: Unfortunately, the vacation had to end, and we flew back to DFW.

Overall, it was one of the best weeks that I've had in a while -- I saw such diversity -- as Chuck Sexton (@gcwarbler) tells me, "Travel is taxonomically broadening" -- I couldn't agree more. It was an especially meaningful experience to spend time with the iNat folks. I tried to express to them how thankful I am for their work in this revolutionary tool. iNat is a tool that helps me greater appreciate nature. :)

Stay tuned for LOTS of CA observations!

Posted on May 05, 2017 05:05 by sambiology sambiology | 17 comments | Leave a comment

May 09, 2017

Pat Mayse WMA bioblitz -- May 12 - 14 -- plans and schedule

Hey good friends,

So, this weekend is the bioblitz! Again, my apologies that I haven't been a better planner in all of this, but I think it'll still be quite fun -- last minute fun! The weather looks pretty good -- potential for rain on Thursday and a bit on Friday. The rest of the weekend looks good right now.

__________________________________________________________________________

Ok, here are my general plans. On Friday late afternoon, at like 4 or so, I'll be at this location (https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B048'42.4%22N+95%C2%B041'02.3%22W/@33.811778,-95.686171,908m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d33.811778!4d-95.683977) -- by the intersection of Farm Road 1499 and County Road 35650. There is a bit of a pull in where we can call it "headquarters." :) If you want to come early, you totally can -- I hear that some folks are coming out on Friday morning to do some exploring. That's cool.

I hear there is a really good fish fry place in Paris, so at like 6 pm or so, if you want, you can join me there:
https://cityseeker.com/paris-tx/946342-fish-fry

Sunset is about 8:00, so I predict coming back to 'headquarters' a bit before to set up some stuff. Michael Fox is bringing a generator, and I'll have some moth gear, so hopefully we'll have some mothing success on Friday night.

Saturday morning, I'm thinking about meeting at the same 'headquarters' location... I'll be up there at like 8:30 or so (depending on how successful...er...late we stay up mothing on night one). I'll bring some Peanut Butter and Jelly and sandwich stuff on Saturday for lunch, and I'll bring extra for those that need some food. It'll be lots of exploring on Saturday.

Saturday evening, I'll bring some hot dog stuff, and hopefully we can find a place to grill. If anyone has a portable grill and would be able to bring it, please do so (and let us know if you can do this!).

Saturday night, we'll do some more mothing, but maybe at another location -- we'll see what sort of different areas might be good to do this.

Sunday morning, perhaps closer to the lake, like right here:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B049'00.5%22N+95%C2%B039'02.7%22W/@33.816813,-95.6523158,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d33.816813!4d-95.650762
This is at the end of County Road 34775 and next to the lake.

For lunch, I'll have whatever we don't scarf down of the PBJ sandwiches. If you want to bring some food for the group, by all means do so! :) I don't expect too much fine dining out in the field while we're out collecting data.

Oh, if at any point you have to leave or won't be able to show up until Saturday or Sunday, that's totally cool. :)

I'll bring some of the left over iNat shirts if you want to pick one up -- let me know if you need one, and I'll check to see if I have a size left. If you got one last time, hold on -- if there are extras, I'll let you know. If you have 10 bucks for the shirt, cool, if not, just write me an IOU or identify like 100 of my observations, and we'll call it even.

__________________________________________________________________________

There are places to stay in Paris -- Elizabeth and I will be at Days Inn on Friday and Saturday night. We'll go to the hotel before meeting up at like 4 at 'headquarters.' There are several hotels in Paris to stay.

If you want to camp, you can do so anywhere at Pat Mayse WMA, or there are places at the nearby Pat Mayse West Campground, just north of the lake -- these have electricity and water:
https://www.recreation.gov/camping/pat-mayse-west/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=73333

__________________________________________________________________________

A few notes: no facilities at all in Pat Mayse -- this will be roughing it, so if you need to use the restroom, there's a gas station towards Paris about 10 miles south of the WMA. Be sure to bring LOTS of water and sunscreen and snacks and stuff. Chiggers and ticks are likely out too, so if you'd like, bring some bug spray. You can bring some waders if you want to collect some stuff in the ponds or lake.

Right now, there are just 18 iNat observations around Pat Mayse WMA... So, please make lots of observations of anything and everything! This data will really help out the biologists and managers of the WMA.
http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/pat-mayse-lake-and-surrounding-areas

You can bring any sort of collecting equipment except spear guns. No spear guns. ;) Actually, bring anything you need to get a photo-voucher of the critter/plant, but we don't want to make any physical collections.

__________________________________________________________________________

If you have any questions or need any more info or anything, toss me a text: 817 771 8793 -- you can also save that number in your phone if you need me or have any concerns.

I really do hope that you're able to come. But if not, that's ok -- I'm thinking we'll do these sort of things at least once a year. It should be a blast!!!

Posted on May 09, 2017 01:10 by sambiology sambiology | 7 comments | Leave a comment

Pat Mayse WMA bioblitz -- May 12 - 14 -- plans and schedule

Hey good friends,

So, this weekend is the bioblitz! Again, my apologies that I haven't been a better planner in all of this, but I think it'll still be quite fun -- last minute fun! The weather looks pretty good -- potential for rain on Thursday and a bit on Friday. The rest of the weekend looks good right now.

__________________________________________________________________________

Ok, here are my general plans. On Friday late afternoon, at like 4 or so, I'll be at this location (https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B048'42.4%22N+95%C2%B041'02.3%22W/@33.811778,-95.686171,908m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d33.811778!4d-95.683977) -- by the intersection of Farm Road 1499 and County Road 35650. There is a bit of a pull in where we can call it "headquarters." :) If you want to come early, you totally can -- I hear that some folks are coming out on Friday morning to do some exploring. That's cool.

I hear there is a really good fish fry place in Paris, so at like 6 pm or so, if you want, you can join me there:
https://cityseeker.com/paris-tx/946342-fish-fry

Sunset is about 8:00, so I predict coming back to 'headquarters' a bit before to set up some stuff. Michael Fox is bringing a generator, and I'll have some moth gear, so hopefully we'll have some mothing success on Friday night.

Saturday morning, I'm thinking about meeting at the same 'headquarters' location... I'll be up there at like 8:30 or so (depending on how successful...er...late we stay up mothing on night one). I'll bring some Peanut Butter and Jelly and sandwich stuff on Saturday for lunch, and I'll bring extra for those that need some food. It'll be lots of exploring on Saturday.

Saturday evening, I'll bring some hot dog stuff, and hopefully we can find a place to grill. If anyone has a portable grill and would be able to bring it, please do so (and let us know if you can do this!).

Saturday night, we'll do some more mothing, but maybe at another location -- we'll see what sort of different areas might be good to do this.

Sunday morning, perhaps closer to the lake, like right here:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B049'00.5%22N+95%C2%B039'02.7%22W/@33.816813,-95.6523158,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d33.816813!4d-95.650762
This is at the end of County Road 34775 and next to the lake.

For lunch, I'll have whatever we don't scarf down of the PBJ sandwiches. If you want to bring some food for the group, by all means do so! :) I don't expect too much fine dining out in the field while we're out collecting data.

Oh, if at any point you have to leave or won't be able to show up until Saturday or Sunday, that's totally cool. :)

I'll bring some of the left over iNat shirts if you want to pick one up -- let me know if you need one, and I'll check to see if I have a size left. If you got one last time, hold on -- if there are extras, I'll let you know. If you have 10 bucks for the shirt, cool, if not, just write me an IOU or identify like 100 of my observations, and we'll call it even.

__________________________________________________________________________

There are places to stay in Paris -- Elizabeth and I will be at Days Inn on Friday and Saturday night. We'll go to the hotel before meeting up at like 4 at 'headquarters.' There are several hotels in Paris to stay.

If you want to camp, you can do so anywhere at Pat Mayse WMA, or there are places at the nearby Pat Mayse West Campground, just north of the lake -- these have electricity and water:
https://www.recreation.gov/camping/pat-mayse-west/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=73333

__________________________________________________________________________

A few notes: no facilities at all in Pat Mayse -- this will be roughing it, so if you need to use the restroom, there's a gas station towards Paris about 10 miles south of the WMA. Be sure to bring LOTS of water and sunscreen and snacks and stuff. Chiggers and ticks are likely out too, so if you'd like, bring some bug spray. You can bring some waders if you want to collect some stuff in the ponds or lake.

Right now, there are just 18 iNat observations around Pat Mayse WMA... So, please make lots of observations of anything and everything! This data will really help out the biologists and managers of the WMA.
http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/pat-mayse-lake-and-surrounding-areas

You can bring any sort of collecting equipment except spear guns. No spear guns. ;) Actually, bring anything you need to get a photo-voucher of the critter/plant, but we don't want to make any physical collections.

__________________________________________________________________________

If you have any questions or need any more info or anything, toss me a text: 817 771 8793 -- you can also save that number in your phone if you need me or have any concerns.

I really do hope that you're able to come. But if not, that's ok -- I'm thinking we'll do these sort of things at least once a year. It should be a blast!!!

~Sam

Posted on May 09, 2017 16:23 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 29, 2017

Excitement in the common species -- regional species are new to other folks!

So, we were quite lucky in the DFW metroplex to have @tiwane and @joelle come down from California for a short visit. Several of the iNat heavy hitters came out to explore just a couple of the neat places on the west side of the DFW metroplex: @kimberlietx @brentano @tadamcochran @briang @tfandre @dfwuw @elizrose @butterflies4fun @cgritz @wildcarrot @valt (I'm sure I'm missing some folks... Anyone?)

In the morning, many of us met at Southwest Nature Preserve in Arlington at about 9:30. By around 9:45, we realized today was going to be a hot one... the hottest day in DFW so far this year! SWNP was dragonfly-crazy -- the ponds here were swarming with various species of dragonflies. We grabbed some BBQ at Angelo's in Fort Worth at noon, and then headed up to the Fort Worth Nature Center in early afternoon. We stayed until about 5, then headed back into town and went to Tandy Hills Natural Area. At the end of the day, we got some good Tex-Mex in Bedford.

On Saturday, several of us went down to Acton Nature Center -- I was leading the citizen science training class for the Rio Brazos Master Naturalists. Tony videoed some of the presentation and little practice walk after. It was loads of fun, but again, quite hot! We got some BBQ ribs for lunch, then went back out to Acton Nature Center in the afternoon. After that, a few of us when by the Brazos River to do a bit more exploring.

Overall, it was a great weekend -- really glad that Tony and Joelle came to visit and that we had some of the great DFW iNatters join up.

Something did strike me though -- and I had this discussion with others before... The common species in a region can be super amazing to folks that are unfamiliar with them. I experienced the same thing when I visited California -- EVERYTHING was new! Even the most common of species was exciting to find. I guess that's another beautiful thing about iNaturalist -- as we post the species that we see commonly, others can feel that excitement through our observations. iNaturalist definitely makes traveling more exciting for me. :)

Posted on May 29, 2017 02:04 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment