02 de diciembre de 2021

Personal Milestone Today regarding Identifications

During COVID times, I have gotten more serious about my share of responsibility to iNaturalist in the form of helping with identifications. I have developed a daily practice of aiming for at least fifty IDs each day. I try to check material in the San Mateo County BioBlitz, then in the wider Bay Area, and in a few taxa in which I feel confident.

I have been an active member of iNaturalist since 2012, and have always been willing to do some identifications. But this regular habit, which I started tracking in May of 2021, now accounts for fully 1/3 of all the identifications I have made.

I have made a total of 37350 identification, of which 12504 have been done since mid-May of 2021. The math is clear (33.478%) yet astounds me still. And I've improved over this time; I've come to better know my limits, to learn more about the range of diversity within species, and to see the need to help new participants. When I am feeling strong, I even target utterly unmarked entries, the "?" "Unknown" entries.

This practice is one I would recommend to every user. The search tools under the "Identify" tab have improved over the years. You will benefit, iNaturalist will benefit, and Community-Science will benefit.

Anotado en 02 de diciembre de 2021 a las 05:38 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de noviembre de 2021

My Small Contribution to Maryland BioDiversity

This strikes me as a prime example of the value of iNaturalist, and the value of the specific sorts of "mapping" things I like to do. It happened over two years ago. Peggy (@tui ) and I were touring the Eastern Shore, going into all sorts of nooks and crannies, just for the heck of it. And at one site I took this picture of a Marl Pennant dragonfly
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30344233#activity_comment_da07c8c1-4699-4455-a90a-4b5d0b187989

It turned out to be a first state record, and, when local ode-addicts started using iNaturalist, they soon found another state first species! In the words of @hholbrook , my sighting "may have changed a few minds of ode enthusiasts in MD about the value of iNaturalist. There has been a noticeable uptick in identifiers since. ;). "

Some sightings will languish for awhile, maybe even years, before the right eyes settle on it. This one got attention right away, and spurred something positive in terms of mobilizing more observers and identifiers, This is how it is supposed to work, I do believe.

I am proud, but in a humble sort of way. I did not know that I had found something unusual. I just appreciate pretty dragonflies, and the photographic challenge they pose (when they pose). But that spark of curiosity sometimes sets a series of sparks flickering.

Anotado en 17 de noviembre de 2021 a las 06:04 PM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 13 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de agosto de 2021

Urban Great Horned Owls

Lately I have been finding a lot of feathers belonging to Great Horned Owls. A few have been right in our neighborhood. We have heard good ol' Bubo virginianus from our back windows, but there is suitable habitat in that direction. The feathers I am finding have been in very seemingly inhospitable places.

Anotado en 25 de agosto de 2021 a las 04:49 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de agosto de 2021

Birding and Baseball

I really love birding while at baseball games. It is like a Big Sit with entertainment. I've attended more games at the Oakland Coliseum than any other venue, and it has a few good features - a wide-open sky, a large adjacent parking lot, and a moat around that lot. So water birds - like herons and egrets - can occur, as well as birds of prey and plenty of gulls.
Today's game in Oakland was poor in number of species, but it generated a new bird to my Coliseum list - a Belted Kingfisher! It makes some sense that it would be there, because of the moat, but not to fly over the stadium silently while a game was in progress. Peggy spotted it first, and through some miracle I got a poor-but-still-identifiable picture.

Anotado en 22 de agosto de 2021 a las 04:40 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observación | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de agosto de 2021

Cute Insects

Insects don't get much respect for their beauty, with the exception of butterflies. But they really have their cute side. Today on a neighborhood walk, I found an Outer Bark Louse with cute big eyes, and then, best of all, a sleeping beetle inside of a rose petal.

Anotado en 20 de agosto de 2021 a las 02:15 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de agosto de 2021

San Bruno Mountain: Old Ranch Road Trail

Today I did some coverage along the Old Ranch Road trail, from its start to the spot about 3/4 of a mile where it officially leaves the park. At one point I went into a small copse of conifers, and evidently this move of mine set some California Quail into semi-alarm mode. I could hear their little bubbling noises, and when I emerged, I saw them ahead of me on the road, a group of four. Very well-marked. This is a species that reveals itself in quiet moments.

Also I recall that @metsa had mentioned that Hereodermia leucomelos, Elegant Fringe Lichen, was more common on San Bruno Mountain than in other places. Just that hint, and my senses were more alert. I was very happy to find one today!

Anotado en 19 de agosto de 2021 a las 05:41 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de agosto de 2021

The Naïvete of Youth

On another neighborhood walk, I heard a rather frantic jumble of Anna's Hummingbird scolds. I gave a little "pish," and up hopped a very pale young Calypte anna. It perched on an open branch, and eyed me suspiciously from a few different angles. I think younger animals are learning their environment, seemingly with wide-eyed curiosity. Or perhaps I anthropomorphically project

Anotado en 18 de agosto de 2021 a las 04:45 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de agosto de 2021

Animals and Society in My Neighborhood

A nice neighborhood walk at mid-day brought me to a house where I could hear people talking in a small family group. It made me reflect on COVID times, and their unfortunate ongoing continuity, disrupting these sorts of little family gatherings.

And then...a Bewick's Wren chimed in. It was a magical counterpoint to witness - and record.

Anotado en 16 de agosto de 2021 a las 01:28 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de agosto de 2021

Exercise, Attention and Serendipity

Today, after yesterday's iNat immersion, I had other work to get to, and then I delayed exercise-walking to watch the end pf Tyler Gilbert's no-hitter for Arizona against San Diego. By the time I left the house for my neighborhood walk it was 7:45 pm, and most birds had gone to roost.

To meet my exercise goal, I did not want to stop too much, but to meet my iNat minimum of one entry/day, I had to stop somewhere - and soon, as it was getting dark. On Bucknell Drive, I spotted a cultivated neighborhood tree with Gold Dust Lichen (Chrysothrix candelaris) on the trunk. I got set to take the picture, when a fly came in.

I have a category of observations that I have playfully named "Random Diptera" sightings. Most of these are a few common Calyptera species that land in my way. But I've learned some things by concentrating on flies - patience, slow movement, and trying for multiple angles to get the shape of the body. This fly, though, defeated me. It would stand perfectly still, but I was literally having a difficult time telling the head from the tail. The posture and behavior were odd. The fly itself was about 60% the size of a Lucilla species. iNat has tentatively identified it as in the genus of Woodpecker Flies (Medetera).

It was only the combination of disciplines - Exercise, my eBird and iNat streaks, my ongoing attention to flies, and the serendipity of stopping when and where I did - that made this possible. Before I practiced such things, how much escaped my attention, both actually and metaphorically?

Anotado en 15 de agosto de 2021 a las 04:52 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Pedro Point Headlands for my iNativersary

Yesterday I went on my iNativersary walk with nine friends, to celebrate the ninth year of iNatting for me. My iNativersary personal practice is to go somewhere local that I've never visited before, or never iNat-ted before, and do a mini-blitz with my friends.

We had a lovely day along the trail system, where the fog belt has contributed to some plants blooming later than in the rest of the county, like Ceanothus. There was an abundance of Red Beard Lichen (Usnea rubiconda) and many Monterey Pines scattered around the coastal terrace prairie. The two trails we took - the South Ridge Trail and the Arroyo Trail - form a natural loop. The South Ridge Trail is largely elevated and open, with some steep climbs but remarkable views. The Arroyo Trail is at a lower elevation, with more plant variety.

While birds were not omnipresent, due largely to the season, we had an unusually high number of found feathers. Many of them - at widely separated locations - were of Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). It makes me want to come back and listen/look for them at some twilight hour, especially in late winter/early spring. Many members of my group were also convinced that this could be a bonanza for fungi and slime molds come winter.

Many thanks to my amazing iNat community on this walk: @dpom , @elkman22 , @virusmanbob , @sea-kangaroo @cmaci , @christinnew , @tui , @merav and John E.

Anotado en 15 de agosto de 2021 a las 04:41 AM por gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario