Archivos de Diario para julio 2019

27 de julio de 2019

Census of Waterbury Center Vermont Leps

This journal entry describes my July 2019 project (in fulfillment of the Biodiversity University Lepidoptera at North Branch Nature Center) to document a sample of Leps that I could find in the area around my home. My home is located in between Thatcher Brook and Hunger Mountain, in the forest, adjacent to a hay field and has 1 acre of wildflower meadow and gardens.

From 9:30pm. to 11:00pm during the week of July 20th, which happens to be National Moth Week, I documented different moth species, from Geometers to Sphinxes, and Grass Veneers to Tiger Moths. The repetitive activity of looking at a moth, trying to tell what family it is part of, and searching for it in the Peterson Field Guide to Moths or the Mississippi Moth Photographer's group website, was one of the most self-educating experiences for me this summer. The process of documentation was a bit shaky at first, trying to find the right headlamp to get the best lighting, getting the right position to photograph the moth, or the complex activity of arguing with one's camera.

The Process: After turning on our cheap Ultra Violet light (about a half hour before going outside), placed against our 8ft by 6ft picture window, lit by a chandelier of 5 LED cool color bulbs above, my parents and I first observe the amount of moths flying around from the inside of our house before heading outside, to let the moths settle down before overshadowing them. Then I wear a headlamp to illuminate the moths I take pictures of, since my camera (Nikon P900) can't focus on them without enough light. Next I adjust the settings: M (manual), ISO 1/320, f7.1, macro close-up, metering on. Finally I get to work and shoot both on the wall, windows, screens and plants. To avoid too much messy background, my mom - stationed inside the house - holds up a brown paper bag against the window. This helps obtain less reflection in the glass and makes for a less-busy background. Finally, I download my images, edit them, and begin the process of identification and uploading to iNaturalist (although this usually happens the next day since "mothing" can be exhausting).

My process of documenting butterflies was different than moths. The sunshine and cloud cover determines whether you'll see butterflies or not. If the sun goes behind some clouds for a few minutes the butterflies will also disappear. The one species that I noticed still flying around when the sun was covered was the monarch. When documenting butterflies, it's a different experience primarily because sometimes they don't land, or just fly off faster than you can take photos, whereas moths come to the light and stay put. I wasn't able to document all the species that I saw as they disappeared so quickly. On the plus side, my family is a fan of gardening (that's an understatement says my mom), so we have milkweed, wildflowers, and bee balm planted all over the hedgerows, with fancy Butterfly Weed varieties in our nursery and display gardens. Not to mention the numerous Valerian, Angelica, Shasta Daisies and other meadow flowers that attract pollinators like mad. Those are my go-to spots to document butterflies. Another spot is the adjacent field belonging to my grandparents, which is next to a hay field, and has an acre of low-growing wildflowers, such as red clover, Black-eyed Susan and yarrow. The most important part about the field is that there is a driveway the length of it, built of gravel, which is a perfect spot to find Nymphalidae and Hesperiidae, and other butterflies puddling. It's also pretty great because there's a drinking source for predators so there is a lot of scat to be found on it, which butterflies love.

As for taking photos of butterflies, I adjust the settings: Aperture-priority setting, ISO 100, and I change the number of shots I am taking from single to continuous since butterflies are more easily frightened or disturbed (by my shadow or movement) and they're just more active than moths.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience documenting and how much it's helped my learn more about the place that I live. Before really working on my own through this process, I hadn't much of an understanding. This process help me recognize and familiarize myself with different families and species.

Publicado el 27 de julio de 2019 a las 06:09 PM por tsuga025 tsuga025 | 30 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario