Archivos de Diario para mayo 2017

24 de mayo de 2017

The iNaturalist City Nature Challenge review

Friday April 15 2017

Easter weekend was a little different this year because of the City Nature Challenge. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I have participated in a BioBlitz before for Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park but that was a small scaled one and only lasted a day. This City Nature Challenge was a larger scale and lasted for five days. I participated in all five days of the challenge and it was the most fun I have had in a long time. I really enjoyed myself and really had fun looking for stuff to upload to my iNaturalist account. Friday the 14th was the start of the adventure and my first destination was a little park that I knew would have a bounty of insects to add to the tally. @lulubelle accompanied me that day she was on call and had some time to pal around with me on my bug quest. We met up with each other right when I was making the final turn with my aunt. I walked up to Lulu and greeted her and my aunt took her leave to go get some exercise while Lulu and I went on a bug hunt. We didn't just look for bugs we also found a few plants. One of which I didn't think about at the time was that infamous plant Bastard Cabbage. I never really seen that in the wild but there it was right on the trail heading toward the back forty. Anyway we found a few interesting things as we went along our stroll. We found a few Rose Chafers which I saw a couple of days before on one of my eye training exercises. I looked up at one point and saw something shiny on a flower and pointed it out to @lulubelle it was a metallic green flower scarab which was very interesting to me. I have seen the Kern's flower scarab and the Texas Flower Scarab but I have never seen the metallic green one before. I am not aware of its common name; I am not even sure if it has a common name but it had a crazy long scientific name. We went on with our trek and we encounter a few things and found a couple of spiders and stuff. We found several butterflies some of which were giving us a hard time to photograph. We soon encountered a very interesting moth known as a Oval-sided Bird Dropping moth. Yes the name sounds completely funny and I bet you ten times out of ten that a child would giggle or make a face that would make the adults laugh. I have never seen a Bird Dropping moth and it was defiantly encounter to make a note of. I love moths and I have been trying to get photos of every single one I could find. The Bird Dropping moth was trying to hide from us in the grass but he wasn't doing a good job I was able to get a couple of shots as Lulu was too. We moved on and found a few more things but our time together was drawing to a close we both were starting to get the munchies so we parted ways and me and my aunt went to grab something to eat. After lunch we headed off to a favorite birding spot to look for different things. Gateway park on Arbrook in Arlington was kind of empty due to the migrating water fowl going back to northern nesting grounds. We did manage to find a few different things a few Canada Geese and a few Mallards but I thought the most interesting thing we found there was the Spiny Soft shelled turtles. I didn't just see one I saw two that day. I had no idea they lived in the pond or basked on the back. They were kind of dark colored and they kind of obscured my memory of the normal colors I see which are green and speckled. They were flat though and had that oddly shaped head and nose. One was sitting near the drainpipe closest to the road that leads to the parking lot of the park. This one was a bit smaller than the one at the busy side of the pond close to the busy side close to the Taco Bell nearby; that one was a bigger and looked like he was the rule of the roost as he basked in his little patch of sun light in the thin layer of water from the drainage system. I have never seen one let alone two out there and it was by far the most memorable encounters I have had over there at the pond. Soon we left and got side tracked a little bit to take care of some business for home and we got some stuff at the store that were not perishable. We soon finished up and went to Elmer W. Oliver for a little bit before we had to get across town to get to Midlothian for the moth night which @sambiology, @brentano , and @kimberlietx would all be attending that night. We started our trek at the little pond at Elmer W. Oliver; I thought it was a good idea to go and get some shots of Damselflies or Dragonflies if they were out. I got a couple but we soon went into the interior. We headed to the bigger pond and looked around there for a little bit. We found a few things Red Saddlebags, and Black Saddlebags, and a few Blue Dashers, and other things. I made a blunder while I was taking a photo and accidentally dipped my pant leg in the pond sludge. Not one of my most brilliant moments ever but it happens. No use fretting in it which I really didn't care I am a naturalist and some times getting messy is part of the job. I got up and took a few more photos and then headed back toward the trail. I happened to pass the sign that said no swimming and found a huge Leaf-footed bug sitting on the sign. It was one of the largest ones I had ever seen and the photo made it look even bigger but it was not that big but still it was a pretty good size. We headed down the way and my aunt stopped me in my tracks and pointed out a pair of Texas Spiny Lizards on the trail a few meters away from us. One was doing push-ups which the Spiny Lizard does when trying to impress a female. The one doing the push ups was behind the other one and the other one did something I have never seen before it arched its back and walked toward the treeline in a scrunched up fashion which was really interesting. It was a very interesting encounter and I am one for interesting behavior. The lizards ran off into the woods and we moved on. We walked around the wildflower area and then headed back toward the front of the park because it was almost time to get going to Midlothian. We made one more scan around the big pond and I was walking down by the shore and I happened to look down and I got startled and jumped; there in front of me was a big ol' bullfrog. It was a large one and normally don't get startled by such things but I didn't expected a bullfrog to appear right in front of me. It was still there even though I jumped and yelped. It was a very big bullfrog and was well fed too. It was the largest one I have ever seen before. It was quite startling but I was able to get a few good photos of the sucker before hopped away. I just love bullfrogs but I guess I was startled because I almost stepped on him. If I would have stepped on him I would have been getting more than a pants leg wet I would have had a soggy and very muddy boot. Anyway I walked around the ponds to see what else I could find but soon we had to go and we headed to the car to get going to Midlothian. I met Sam and everyone who was running the show. I then went off to help people and start gathering observations. I didn't find much until the evening hours and got dozens of things. I got one interesting bug on some milkweed. It wasn't a milkweed bug but something else all together. It was an interesting insect and was very weird. Then I went to some more milkweed and observed some milkweed bugs. Soon the night hike was to begin and I was just along for the ride. Sam led the talk and it was fun to see the kids have a good time. Some of the kids acted silly but Sam is really good with children. We walked through the little bit of prairie land and then made it to our first moth light. I fist saw a spider of some sort and then looked at a Rove Beetle and then I saw several different things. One of the things I forgot to mention was a Green Plant Bug. It wasn't a lifer but it still was a good find to add to the bioblitz. We soon headed back to the front and then we got to look at all the other moth light set ups. At one point I was watching a Nymph of a Field Katydid when I heard the sound of kids squealing beside me. I looked over to find a large Wolf Spider. One of my favorites. Then later on i saw a field cockroach and a few other things. Unfortunately I was getting tired and sleepy so I decided to wrap it up early. I got home that night and did a bit of nothing at my backporch door light. I found an Aianthus Webworm Moth and a few other little things before I turned in that night. It was a good first day and was able to get a total of 97 different things the next day was going to be another great challenge.


I got up early and got breakfast and headed out to O.S. Gray. I was so excited to get the next exploration underway; I was very eager to get out and get some more photos. @brentano @sambiology were going to be a few of the people doing the events as O.S. Gray and Southwest Nature Preserve. This was going to be fun. I arrived and started off at the pollinator garden and then I went with Sam and Brent and went with them with a couple of others to the drainage ditch area. We were on a quest to look for some dragonflies. Along the way we found a wasp, hairy vetch, a little Convergent Lady Beetle. We soon made it to the ditch but we didn't find many dragonflies or damselflies it was still too early in the day and not warm enough for there liking. Soon we headed into a tree covered area that reminded me of something out of Jurassic Park or something. We headed into the forested stream and I found a couple of Acute Bladder Snails and things. It was a pretty cool start because I barely get to get different snails let alone aquatic snails. I am not really an aquatics kind of guy I mean I like water life forms but I don't really have the equipment to get in the water and look for stuff. I am more of a land lubber like looking for things above the water's surface. I take whatever I can and even though I love water life I didn't have my mud boots with me during this trek so I was unable to see what other forms of life there were in the stream. We soon headed back and went into the interior of the park. We found some really cool stuff a few of my favorite things we found were the Dog Vomit Slime Mold, the Rough Green Snake, the Speckled Kingsnake, and the Bee tree, I did like the racer snake I startled up but was unfortunately unable to get the shot. Anyway it was a four hour encounter and in my original plan I was going to go to Fort Worth Nature Center but since that was a short lived event I wanted an extra hour of observing so I went to the Southwest Nature Preserve where I originally started my Naturalist journey. Me and my Aunt ate lunch and then set off toward the preserve. Once we got there I met up with Mike our herpetology guy and started talked to him for a bit. Then Sam came up with his truck and it wa time to set up shop. A few of the Southwest Nature Preserve members then came up and I talked to them for a while and then after a bit I grabbed a net and headed for the fishing pond with the board walk to catch some Dragons and Damsels. I found one hovering just above the water surface. Normally I am quite clumsy with a net but I was ready to catch this one. Like a golfer I got my net in a lowered position and measured my aim and timed my swing just right. I flipped my net and I heard buzzing. I had caught the little guy and rushed it back to Sam to have it looked at. Sam put the thing in a petri dish after I got it and he wasn't too sure about the ID but he gave me an Idea. I went off with a few others and we went looking for different things. Chyanne was so excited about the Black Berries and I just had too sample one. It was a little tart but still very good. I love Dewberries now my grandmother is always ranting about how good the jam is when I mention Dewberry. I headed back to the front and @briang was there looking over my specimen that I was able to catch. Brian and Sam came over to me when I approached and they said that it was a first for the South West Nature Preserve and that it was the third time it had been found in the Tarrant county. The name of the Damselfly was the Slender Bluet and it was another first on my list. I have found several first to a park but this was a first to a park, a first for my life list, and a third for the Tarrant county area. I have found quite a few firsts many of them are common but have not been observed at the places I go. It is cool to get a first where people go often but miss out. I am not calling my self a hot shot but people have said I am very observant and am really good to detail and that I am good with insects. I am humbled to hear such kind words. I just love looking for insects both big and small. Anyway I set off to look for a few more things. I found quite a bit of stuff that day. Near the end I headed out with Brian and Brent who where going to to some bush whacking to get to the Fourth pond at the preserve. The fourth pond is close to the road but still kind of hidden from view. I just knew they were going to do some dragon hunting. This event was pretty cool at the end of the day me and Sam felt kind of shaky so we gathered at the front of the park with the others and talked and drank some refreshing and much needed water. I went home shortly afterward because I was so worn out. I got a total of 70+ observations that day. The next day was going to be even more exciting.

Easter Sunday

I got off to a late start but me and my mother went out and walked around the house when everyone else was getting ready to go. We found a few things like a Lunate Zale, a few Cellar Spiders, and a weevil or something which was interesting. We finally got in the car after everyone got ready; we missed the church service and just went to lunch and then we decided to head to the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center and poke around there for a while. I we found quite a few things including a Little Wood Satyr Butterfly, Ironclad Beetle, A few spiders, a Four Lined Plant Bug, a few moths and a Greater Roadrunner. I didn't find that many things only about 30+ species. It was a pretty dark night and me and my mother did do some back porch light mothing. We didn't find that much but we found a few things. It was a pretty good day that day; it was the next day that was all washed up.


I only found about 15 or so species that day. The rain came with a vengance and I had a Master Naturalist meeting to got to that night so it was a pretty soggy day. I found like one interesting thing that I had never seen before and it was the Swift Feather Legged fly that was spotted at the Southwest Nature Preserve. It did go to Lake Arlington and piddled around their for a bit and found a couple of things but all in all the winds started to pick up and the storm began to brew. It was not Turning out to be anyone's day who was on Team DFW. The next day was the last day of the contest and my last chance to make a rebound.


I had to go to school the morning of the eighteenth but I knew that there would be plenty to find at TCC South Campus. I thought it would be a good idea to get points for my mission as well as the contest. I found a couple of moths and things but not much was out and about that day. After school I headed out to S.J. Stovall park where me and @lulubelle when to on the first day of the contest to look for bugs. I found a couple of stuff we had over looked and a few different insects but I was only able to get about 30+ insects that day.

All in all it was a great contest; I alone got 265 species in the course of five days. That is the most I have ever got in a month. The whole month of April was full of large numbers of observations. I had a large amount of things on the days I did my training and that training helped a lot but still I overlooked a lot and needed to get the things I was less interested in. I should have been able to get about 300+ but failed to get to that mark but that is okay that gives me a challenge for next year. I would love to participate in another City Nature Challenge. As Sam said we are all winners in this there are now real winners or loser in the game of education and conservation. We all brought our best to the table and we shared some pretty amazing bits of our wild American animals and plants. We all did a good job and as Sam said Nature won; nature was the over all winner in this. We all had an interest in wildlife and we all went out and found all we could for science. citizen Science is a great tool and a great thing for any nature lover. To be invited to do this was an Honor and I thank all who were in charge of this for allowing us all to participate. This was the most fun I have had in a long while. I found it very fun and very educational; I would love to do another one and next year I will see if I can beat my old record of 265. I love documenting stuff and getting new stuff to my life list. Next year though I am going to get even more plants and fungus if I can. I am going to bring along my new net and my snake stick so that way I can look under logs and catch flying insects and better observe them. This was a very cool experience and next year I will be ready for more fun. I am an iNaturalist addict and love that what we find as citizens goes out to actual scientist who study all of this. This documentation is highly important and science is very important too in our lives. To use this is to track the rarity of species and to see if they are declining or if they are moving to certain areas. It gives us a visual map of what we can't see into a way we can watch it unfold. That is why I iNat is so that way I can contribute to finding what people may over look and to see what is moving into my area or other areas. I hope to see you all very soon and hope that when next we meet it will be an excellent adventure; until this this is Zachary Chapman AKA Galactic_Bug_Man signing off.

Publicado el 24 de mayo de 2017 a las 10:30 PM por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario