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Timing of spring birdsong provides climate insights.

Jan. 19, 2018 – Climate change has scientists worried that birds’ annual migration and reproduction will be thrown out of sync with the seasons. Because birds’ songs are correlated with their breeding behavior and are easily identifiable to species, monitoring birdsong can be a good way to keep tabs on this possibility, and a new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications takes advantage of this approach to provide new baseline data for the birds of northern California.


Posted on January 20, 2018 10:50 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Picky songbirds demand native oaks.

Watching wildlife near his Sacramento home, Airola noticed migratory songbirds tended to prefer valley oaks to other trees. He teamed with UC Davis professor Steve Greco, an urban ecology expert, to do a formal study, centered in Airola’s Curtis Park neighborhood – home to valley oaks that are centuries old.


Posted on January 20, 2018 10:44 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Picky songbirds demand native oaks.

Watching wildlife near his Sacramento home, Airola noticed migratory songbirds tended to prefer valley oaks to other trees. He teamed with UC Davis professor Steve Greco, an urban ecology expert, to do a formal study, centered in Airola’s Curtis Park neighborhood – home to valley oaks that are centuries old.


Posted on January 20, 2018 10:43 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Rabbit rescued during California fire released back into wild.

VENTURA COUNTY, C.A. (KRQE) – The rabbit whose rescue was caught in a viral video during California’s Thomas Fire is back in the wild.

The rabbit that was captured in the video has been recovering at the California Wildlife Center in Malibu.


Posted on January 20, 2018 10:31 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Handheld Flash for Macro

I am always tweaking my camera setup to try and squeeze the most out of it. My base setup of a Sony a6300 with a Sony FE 90mm Macro Lens is about as good as anything on the market. However flashes have always given me a lot more trouble.

First I got a Sigma Ring Flash. It did alright, but it unfortunately isn't really a ring flash. It is a twin flash which is built with no easy way to provide diffusion. That has lead to disappointing image quality compared to some other products on the market.

After six months of using the ring flash, I got a ridiculously good deal on to a Sony Twin Flash. This was a really solid macro flash. It suffered from a few problems though. It was pretty fussy, with lots of little pieces which always needed adjusting. It also it lacked high speed sync which made it almost useless for taking photos in full sun. Worst of all, it died in about six months. It was under warranty, but Sony refused to replace it and instead refunded it. Since I got such a good deal, buying another one with the money I got wasn't an option so I went back to the ring flash for another year.

After researching more, I decided that the way to go was a hand held flash. Something like what is done in this video. That is a far lower cost alternative than a dedicated macro flash. However it created some conundrums. How do you photograph at night when holding a flashlight? Also, I am usually dragging kids down trails so I often need two hands. So I decided to get a flash bracket which my flash usually goes to, but get a quick release to allow me to remove it and use it as a hand held flash.

The basic setup is:

Godox Ving V860IIS flash
X1T-S Wireless Flash Trigger
Straight Flash Bracket
Quick Release Plate

I bought a packaged deal which included the first three items, but with a diffuser which is perhaps too small. Then I bought the larger diffuser because I wasn't sure what I wanted. Here is what the setup looks like:

This setup really does produce much better images than the sigma ring flash. Here are two very tiny Big-Headed Ants, one with the ring flash and the other with the Godox:

The lack of diffusion with the ring flash (top) leads to a lot more white spots on reflective surfaces. Also, the shadows are always coming to the far side of the camera. In a way this is good, the side you are looking at is illuminated. However, a more artistic type would probably complain about the inability to control the location of the shadows.

I am also trying this with a much larger 13"x8" diffuser. This diffuser is probably too large, but it does seem to give fantastic results so I may keep using it.

Using the larger diffuser seems to give fantastic results, but it messes up the center of mass of the camera rig so bad that it is unwieldy. Whether the slightly higher image quality is worth the fuss, I have yet to decide. I may get a medium sized diffuser in a few weeks.

This whole system is really an amazing deal. For under $300 you get a flash which can do TTL, High Speed Sync, and is radio controlled. It also can shoot thousands of macro shots on a single battery due to the Lithium ion battery. Unlike the similarly priced Sigma Ring Flash this flash is also useful for more than just macro as it is a typical speedlight.

Someone who wanted to reduce the cost could go with the Godox TT685S, it is basically the same flash just with AA batteries.

Someone trying to save cost and weight could go with the Godox TT350S. That flash reduces cost but at the cost of lower recycle times and lower maximum power.

Someone trying to save money could also go with a TTL flash cord. I don't actually recommend it though. The radio flash works amazingly well and the TTL cords seem over priced. There is a trick though with the transmitter, you need to turn it onto macro mode. This is done by holding down the test button while turning the transmitter on. If you forget to do this, it sometimes fails to fire unless it is more than 1 foot from the transmitter.

Someone wanting a bit higher quality flashes could use the Sony HVL-F45RM flash with the Sony Radio Control Wireless Commander. Again, I don't really recommend it. The setup costs three times as much for a slightly less powerful flash.

Posted on January 20, 2018 03:41 AM by glmory glmory | 0 comments | Leave a comment

A developer replaced the bounding box for Lorton with the KML I extracted from U.S. Census.

Now I've got a request in replace the bounding box for "Mark Center" with a KML I created from a map in an Alexandria City Plan map. I think the MC map will be a good draw for my coworkers and the Alexandria map will be a nice draw for the kids who come to science night. I'm not sure the developers have seen the KML I gave them or whether they have other things to do - or perhaps an unofficial KML is insufficient. We'll see. I'll wait a while and mention it again.

There's a woman at work who has expressed interest in doing a nature exhibit for science night - I may show the site (and the map) to her first to see if she has an interest in including this. Maybe should could incorporate this into her exhibit. OTOH, I could do a separate brochure - of recommended websites, say, and/or recommended apps and then give some pointers to iNature. I'll think about it.

I've made a decision that I'm not going to try to recover my old stuff. Maybe a few things - but mostly I'm going to start from scratch. As I type this I'm thinking of 4 or 5 older ones I would really like to keep. I'm a bit excited for spring to get here, but I'm strongly limiting myself to no more than 4 hours a week on this project of mine, unless it's combined with some other interest.

I deleted my formal project. I still have "my" project, of course - but I'm not implementing "my" project as an iNature project.

I need to understand better what the limitations are - both strict limitations and things that are discouraged. For example, it seems like cultivated plants / bred animals are not welcome, although the site clearly has a check box for indicating whether an observation falls into that category - so it appears its not strictly forbidden. OTOH, I think my intent to take pictures of shopping carts abandoned in the woods or trash accumulating in a flood plain are inappropriate for iNature, not for my bigger project - I just need to figure a way of documenting that stuff and linking. There are some things that are borderline - such as my discovery of and fascination with what I think was otter poop near my house. I was really excited for weeks - though my wife was annoyed about it. "You bought a camera to take pictures of that???" Anyway, I want to spend more time experimenting and reading through the site, so that I feel comfortable and even confident when spring comes round.

Posted on January 20, 2018 01:14 AM by elbillaf elbillaf | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Observation of the Week, 1/19/18

Our Observation of the Week is this hoarfrost-encrusted Gray-headed Coneflower, seen in Illinois by @bouteloua!

“I started undergrad wanting to be a human doctor, but now I’m sort of a prairie doctor,” says field botanist cassi saari. “I work in the field of ecological restoration where I design and monitor habitat restoration projects and help people inventory and manage their natural lands, from ponds to woods, streams, dunes, marshes, prairies, or savannas.”

Lucky for iNat, when cassi isn’t tending to the prairie’s needs, she’s taking care of things on iNaturalist as one of our most active Curators. She’s enjoyed “stepping up my...curator activities on iNaturalist: maintaining the taxonomic database, helping new users, resolving issues, and improving the quality of the data.” Keeping up with taxonomy and our community is a huge job, and our noble Curators, like cassi, are people who spend some of their free time helping out in the many ways cassi mentioned. They’re a vital part of iNat.

Now back to that frosty flower. cassi spotted it on

a foggy but very cold morning drive to the office [above]. The drive is quite dull - all city, then suburbs, then long, flat stretches of harvested fields of corn and soy…[it’s] always a stark reminder that 99.9% of the prairie lands in Illinois have been destroyed by farming, grazing, and development.

But the land around cassi’s office (pictured above) is “a little oasis of wetland and prairie with hundreds of species of native plants...part remnant, part restored.” When she pulled up in her car, she says “I saw the hoarfrost clinging to plant stems and couldn’t help but stop and make some observations.” One of which, of course, was the Gray-headed Coneflower you see at the top of the page. “Working year-round as a field botanist is a fun challenge in winter botanizing. One of my favorite things about iNaturalist is adding to the growing database of plant photos when they’re not flowering (which is usually when I need to be able to identify them),” she explains.

When describing Gray-headed Coneflowers, cassi first mentions their distinctive shape, calling them “one of several prairie sentinels that forms a charismatic silhouette at dawn and dusk at any time of the year.” Like other member sof the Asteraceae or “sunflower” family of plants, their “flowers” are actually inflorescences made up of many tiny  florets, with about 15 of them on the outside growing the large petals we recognize. “The flowers and fruits are easily recognized and its frequent use in prairie restorations makes it one of the first native wildflowers that people learn around here,” says cassi.

An iNat user since 2012, cassi has mainly focused on plants, but says “this year I’m aiming to be a 100% naturalist by observing more animals, fungi, and other creatures, since sometimes I seem to have the opposite of plant blindness…”

- by Tony Iwane

- You can check out cassi’s personal website here.

- In 2017 the Illinois Native Plant Society held its second annual Illinois Botanists Big Year and cassi came in at number one, contributing over 900 species.

Posted on January 20, 2018 12:11 AM by tiwane tiwane | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Orchids in winter


One of the many Liparis that flowered over the summer.

Platanthera lacera.

A lone Platanthera lacera that I missed during flowering season.


Yet another Liparis, barely tall enough to stay above the snow.

Posted on January 19, 2018 10:31 PM by arethusa arethusa | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Sign up to be a Boston partner!

Hello Boston CNC Participants,

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is back! This year the CNC is international with 65 cities worldwide participating in this global effort to document urban biodiversity. We are spearheading the Boston Area campaign for 2018 and are again focusing within the I-495 corridor and out to Stellwagen Bank to discover and document our unique biodiversity.

We have an amazing team of partners, but need your help to reach more people and record more observations. If you or your organization is interested in helping out, please fill out this Google Form by January 26. More ways to get involved below.

Here are a few of the ways you can help highlight the amazing biodiversity in our region and position Boston to be a leader in the CNC:
Spread the word! Send out information on the CNC to your member or volunteer lists.
Incorporate CNC into your existing events. If you're already holding an event or events during April 27 - 30, we can help with resources for using iNaturalist at the event. Hikes, restoration events, festivals - all of those could provide great opportunities for making observations. Let us know the details of where, when, and who you are targeting and we’ll add it to the calendar of events.
Plan an event specifically for people to make iNaturalist observations. A short bioblitz? A nature documentation hike? If you and/or your staff are willing to hold an event it would be AWESOME! If aren't familiar with iNaturalist, we may be able to come give a short iNaturalist training (in-person or virtual) so you feel comfortable with the platform (and see how cool it is for this sort of biodiversity documentation!)
Have your site listed as a place to go to make observations. We can help drive people to your location by listing it as a place to go to observe. Consider offering a discount for admission during the CNC to get people out!
Help make IDs during the event and the identification period (4/31-5/3)! The more observations we get down to species level, the more species we add to our tally!
• Make use of the data collected by the CNC to help your efforts. Let us know what kinds of data you need for your conservation, management, research or general interest purposes and we can help identify the best way of accessing the data collected from iNaturalist.
• If you’re an educator (formal or informal) let us help you get youth involved with our Educator’s Toolkit! This includes NGSS-aligned pre-, during, and post-event materials.

However you participate we want to support your efforts. Our resources can help build your capacity. We have flyers, iNaturalist how-to handouts and trainings, science quests to delve deeper, and an Educator’s Toolkit to help you engage others. We have a website and will also have social media, an event calendar, and list of places to visit to help drive participants to your site.

The City Nature Challenge is a great introduction to citizen science and urban biodiversity. Again, if this sounds interesting to you or your organization, please let us know by completing this Google Form by January 26. We will get back in touch to coordinate in February. Please feel free to recommend additional contacts, or forward this to others who you think might want to participate.

On behalf of the Boston City Nature Challenge Steering Committee, happy observing!

CNC: Boston Area Steering Committee:
• Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England
• Aimee Bonanno, New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
• Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute
• Priyanka deSouza, MIT
• Colleen Hitchcock, Brandeis University
• Erin Kelly, Mass Audubon
• Amy Lorenz, Encyclopedia of Life
• Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England
• Rob Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston
• Marie Studer, Encyclopedia of Life

Posted on January 19, 2018 09:35 PM by heatherhops2it heatherhops2it | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Bird guide!

You can find the bird guide for the Taos area here:

Posted on January 19, 2018 09:32 PM by jaybirdgatlin jaybirdgatlin | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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La malacofauna terrestre e dulcacquicola dell’area “Arcipelago Mentanese-Cornicolano” (Campagna Romana, Lazio)

Caricata su ResearchGate la monografia “La malacofauna terrestre e dulcacquicola (Mollusca: Gastropoda, Bivalvia) dell’area “Arcipelago Mentanese-Cornicolano” (Campagna Romana, Lazio)” di Luca Tringali, Daniele Gianolla, Sebana Pernice e Pierangelo Crucitti.
Sono state identificate 59 specie appartenenti a 52 generi di 31 famiglie.
Questo il link per leggere il lavoro e/o scaricare il pdf:

Posted on January 19, 2018 09:09 PM by finrod finrod | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Notes on Macroinvertebrates and Diet of Rainbow Trout in Guadalupe River Canyon Tailrace

GRTU conducted a study in from Aug 2006 to July 2007 on the diet of stocked rainbow trout in the Guadalupe River downstream of Canyon Dam (Canyon Tailrace). The study found that macroinvertebrates were abundant in the river, but that overall, the fish fed primarily on algae, detritus, and gastropoda. The further downstream the fish were captured, the higher the percentage of their diet that consisted of macroinvertebrates. At site #1 (river bend roughly 1/2 mile upstream from Rio Raft), the diet consisted of roughly 25% gastropoda, and 30% LEAVES. At site 2, (deep pool in bend near island downstream of GRTU access site old #5), the diets consisted of roughly 35% isopods (sowbugs). At site 3, (Rocky Beach), the diet consisted of roughly 15% detritus, 10% ephemeropterans, 20% gastropoda, and 20% unidentified insect parts. At site 4 (near Riverbank Outfitters), the trouts' diets consisted of 40% ephemeropterans and 20% unidentified insect parts. Algae made up roughly 20-25% of the stomach contents of the fish at three of four localities, but only 15% of the diet at site 4.

Macroinvertebrate samples were collected from the river by various methods. Predominant taxa collected in drift nets at sites 1-3 included: Chironomidae, Baetidae, Simuliidae, Isonychia, Stenonema, with the former 3 being the most prominent. Chironomidae were the most abundant taxa at all three sites. Site 3 produced significantly more macroinvertebrates than sites 1 and 2. This could be related to favorable stream conditions further downstream of the dam?

Temporally, the macroinvertebrate community varied. In summer, diptera and hemiptera dominated. In fall, ephemeroptera and diptera dominated. In winter, ephemeroptera comprised almost 50% of the community, with diptera representing roughly 25%. In the spring, diptera comprised over 50% of the community.

Posted on January 19, 2018 07:00 PM by mattgeo1990 mattgeo1990 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Yosemite would close: How a federal shutdown would affect people.

National parks: Parts of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Yosemite National Park and other parks would close. However, closures in many areas would not be fully enforced. The Presidio in San Francisco would remain mostly open.


Posted on January 19, 2018 10:54 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Wildlife officer removes plastic ring stuck around deer's head.

A deer that had a plastic chicken feeder stuck around its neck is now freed.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service says Wildlife Biologist Tim Kroeker was able to tranquilize the deer so he could remove the plastic feeder.


Posted on January 19, 2018 10:42 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Proper Handling of Euthanized Animals Critical to Protect Wildlife.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed three recent incidents of pentobarbital poisoning in raptors and would like to remind veterinarians and the public about proper handling of euthanized companion animals, horses, livestock and poultry to prevent further incidents. Any animal that has been chemically euthanized must be cremated or buried at least three to four feet deep to prevent exposing scavenging wildlife to euthanasia drugs.


Posted on January 19, 2018 10:40 AM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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SeaKeys is the first large collaborative project funded by the Foundational Biodiversity Information Program. Over the next three years, more than 30 SeaKeys team members from many organisations will work together to unlock marine biodiversity knowledge and opportunities.

SeaKeys is the first large collaborative project funded by the Foundational Biodiversity Information Program. Over the next three years, more than 30 SeaKeys team members from many organisations will work together to unlock marine biodiversity knowledge and opportunities.

The SeaKeys project will deliver national species lists, new species records, Encyclopaedia of Life pages, DNA barcodes, new species descriptions and identification guides. And the project team will ensure that all this information flows up the biodiversity knowledge chain to make a difference!

The success of this project is dependent on contributions from researchers, post-graduate students, citizen scientists, marine managers and decision makers. Core to this is are four new atlas projects on three web-based platforms.

To contribute, please add this Project "SeaKeys" to your observation.

The four atlas projects are:

• Sea Fish Atlas – mapping the distribution of our marine fish species: check out the fish submissions starting to come into iSpot. Please use the tag "Sea Fish Atlas"

• Sea Slug Atlas – please start photographing nudibranchs, bubble shells and seahares and add to iSpot. Please use the tag "Sea Slug Atlas"

• Sea Coral Atlas - this will target hard, soft and black corals, seafans, soft corals and even anemones on iSpot. Please use the tag "Sea Coral Atlas"

• Marine Invasive Atlas - The project also includes a group of scientists working on marine alien and invasive species and we will also request the public to photograph and report potential introduced species. (Further information with target species such as the European green crab currently only confirmed from Table Bay and Hout Bay will come later). Please use the tag "Sea Alien Atlas"

The three platforms used were:

iSpot (now on iNaturalist) - will be used to collect marine species observations.
We are asking scuba divers, fishers, snorkelers, beach-goers and any interested public to assist us. Photographs of marine species (including those found in estuaries) can be uploaded along with locality (using Google earth maps or GPS co-ordinates) information to create detailed distributions of South Africa marine species . These will be used in habitat classifications and in the assessment of species threat status and protection levels. iSpot is also a great place to learn how to identify species and we need as many experts, students and knowledgeable public to help build and mentor marine species identification skills.

Echinomap - Atlas of African Echinoderma:
Please add your photographs of starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars and feather stars to this site.

SA Jelly Watch –
Jellyfish are becoming more common and they threaten many coastal activities. By taking a few minutes to observe them in your area you can help us to understand if they pose a threat to our way of life. Record mass outbreaks and records of jellyfish on this site.

Posted on January 19, 2018 09:07 AM by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Milvago chimachima

En los meses de diciembre y enero se han observado abundantes milvagos en el municipio de Vegachi, con sus sub adultos cambiando plumaje y aprendiendo a volar, alimentándose tanto en carretera de carroña como de insectos y pequeños vertebrados en los pastizales de potreros de varias fincas, con sus padres parchados en los doseles de arboles cercanos.

Siempre vocalizando ruidosamente y moviendose fuerte y agresivo por los nidos de los Myiozetetes.

Posted on January 19, 2018 04:21 AM by sebasdavilamv sebasdavilamv | 0 comments | Leave a comment


Ingresando por la via terciaria que conduce a puerto estafa observe una pareja de Odontophorus por la carretera, no pude realizar una identificación precisa, espero poder verlos nuevamente y registrarlos fotográficamente.

Posted on January 19, 2018 04:18 AM by sebasdavilamv sebasdavilamv | 0 comments | Leave a comment


More than 750 bird species can be found under Malaysia’s chattering jungle canopies – that’s a whole lot of feathers for a relatively small nation.

Posted on January 19, 2018 02:05 AM by hingkik hingkik | 1 comments | Leave a comment

Crotons of the Trans-Pecos

Unless otherwise stated, plants lack silvery scale-like hairs, have entire leaves, and have five sepals.

1. Shrubs

Croton fruticulosus: Leaves ovate and a somewhat bright green on upper surface, minutely serrated marginally.

Photo credit Chuck Sexton: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3646945
Photo credit Nathan Taylor: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/6076384

Croton incanus: Leaves oblong; plants growing along and near the Rio Grande, SE Brewster Co. and east.

Photo credit Justin Quintanilla: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5556460

Croton suaveolens: Leaves ovate, broadly elliptical, or obovate, greyish green on upper surface; plants monoecious growing in the Davis Mountains.

Photo credit Cullen Hanks: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3364616

Croton sancti-lazari: Leaves ovate to elliptic-ovate, plants dioecious and growing in desert mountains and canyons.

Photo credit University of Texas Herbarium (TEX-LL): https://prc-symbiota.tacc.utexas.edu/collections/individual/index.php?occid=1401721

2. Herbaceous perennials

Croton dioicus: Plants with silvery scale-like hairs, typically compact; leaves typically broader than linear-lanceolate.

Photo credit Nathan Taylor: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5524764

Croton bigbendensis: Plants with silvery scale-like hairs, typically bushy; leaves typically linear-lanceolate.

Photo credit Kenneth Bader: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1140068

Croton pottsii: Plants without silvery scale-like hairs
Croton pottsii var. pottsii: Stems straight; leaves often acute; common and widespread.

Photo credit Chuck Sexton: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1534378
Photo credit Ellen Hildebrandt: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/6267607

Croton pottsii var. thermophilus: Stems zig-zaging; leaves typically blunt and smaller than var. pottsii; plants grow in hot desert locations in calcareous soil or rock.

Photo credit Sam Kieschnick: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4139576

3. Herbaceous annuals

Croton glandulosus: Leaves serrated.

Photo credit Nathan Taylor: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/7466075

Croton monanthogynus: Number style branches 4.

Photo credit Sam Kieschnick: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/8269457
Photo credit Nathan Taylor: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4427442

Croton lindheimerianus: Number of style branches 6.

Photo credit Richard Reynolds: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/515698

Croton texensis: Plants with silvery scale-like hairs, primarily found in sand dunes.

Photo credit Sam Kieschnick: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4252617
Photo credit Sam Kieschnick: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/9279063

Croton lindheimeri: Sepals 6, all incurved, only one record probably introduced with a bale of hay.

No photo

Source: Powell, A.M. and R.D. Worthington. in press. Flowering Plants of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas.

Posted on January 18, 2018 08:38 PM by nathantaylor7583 nathantaylor7583 | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Illinois Botanists Big Year 2017 Results

cross-posted from INPS website and slightly edited for iNat audience

The 2nd annual Illinois Botanists Big Year has come to a close. The results are in and the winner is…

cassi saari with 921 species/subspecies!*

Most Species/Subspecies Observed

1st: cassi saari (@bouteloua)
2nd: Mark Kluge (@sanguinaria33)
3rd: Erin Faulkner (@elfaulkner)
4th: Sheri Moor (@missgreen)
5th: Vanessa Voelker (@vvoelker)
*all stats are as of January 16th, 2018. Statistics will change slightly as observations are further refined/identified on iNaturalist

Congrats to everyone who helped contribute to a worldwide database of nature observations and those who perhaps found more plants than they ever had before in a single year and place. There were almost 30,000 plant observations contributed by over 1,600 different people. Of those, 18,733 observations were identified to species or below and reached Research Grade. A total of 1,457 species and subspecies were identified, representing approximately 40% of the Illinois flora. Huge thank yous to all the people who help identify on iNat; top identifiers of 2017 Illinois plants were @evan8, @bouteloua, @sanguinaria33, @eattaway92, and @mcaple.

Other Winners

-Most Observed Species: Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), with 260 observations. Congrats, milkweed!
-Longest Streak: Mark Kluge / @sanguinaria33 with...365 days! Amazingly, Mark uploaded at least 1 observation every single day of 2017. Looks like he’s on track to do the same in 2018. Read more about Mark's "365 Days on iNaturalist" here.
-The Sedgehead: cassi saari / @bouteloua, with 42 species in the genus Carex. We’re keeping an eye on @sedge and @vvoelker for 2018...
-The Grassmaster: cassi saari / @bouteloua, with 62 species in the family Poaceae.
-The Singularly Obsessed: @flexfolks, with 61 observations tracking populations of the invasive Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil), all at their stewardship site Poplar Creek in northwest Cook County. Many photos with the familiar blue dye...thanks for all your work you do.
-The 100% Naturalist: Jeff Skrentny / @skrentnyjeff, a naturalist who didn’t just observe plants, or just birds, or just reptiles, or just fungi, but a good sampling of them all. There are a ton of ways to think about calculating this, but here is what we had decided on: of the participants who made at least 500 verifiable observations in Illinois in 2017, we calculated the relative percentages of their observations that fell within each of iNaturalist’s “iconic” taxa, i.e. not just documenting plants, but also fungi, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, arachnids, insects, mammals, molluscs, other animals, chromista, protozoa, other). We then took the standard deviation of the percentages. The person with the lowest standard deviation has observations well-representative of all the different types of life. Great observations, Jeff! (In case you’re wondering, the person with the highest standard deviation was Chris Benda / @illinoisbotanizer, who only uploaded observations of plants!)

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens by Vanessa Voelker

The most-observed native plants were Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed, 260 observations), Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple, 170), Trillium recurvatum (prairie trillium, 155), Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells, 145), and Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot, 139). The most-observed non-native plants were Lotus corniculatus (birds-foot trefoil, 232 observations), Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass, 131), Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn, 117), Phragmites australis (common reed, 105), and Daucus carota (wild carrot, 102).

Hypericum swinkianum by Mark Kluge

Here are a few thoughts from some regional naturalists (emphasis ours):
Derek Ziomber / @dziomber:

“[iNaturalist] has the potential to be a great tool to encourage new people to explore the natural world more and hopefully learn something along the way, but more importantly to foster a sense of respect and responsibility for the natural world and its other inhabitants….iNat provides a way to keep your ID skills sharp and a means to travel to new landscapes and learn about plants that you might not otherwise ever see. Sure, you can always do the same by looking through books or websites, but those lack the interactive aspects and sense of community that iNat has. Books and websites are still invaluable to me, but the added benefits of iNat have made it a fun tool in my quest to understand the natural world.”

Vanessa Voelker / @vvoelker:

“One of the things I've appreciated most about the Big Year specifically, and iNaturalist in general, is that it's become a great resource for learning vegetative and early life stage characters. A few of us went on a journey of discovery this year with Polymnia canadensis, which has early growth leaves that look confusingly similar to several other species, and not terribly similar to most field guide photos of the plant at maturity.”

Erin Faulkner / @elfaulkner:

“While I’m sure I’ve tested the patience of many a hiking buddy with my frequent data-recording stops, I like the idea that I’m contributing to a growing body of scientific knowledge. My favorite part is expanding the range maps for different species, and the particular thrill of adding a species found outside its normal range or being the lone state record. The Illinois Botanists Big Year has lent focus to the madness and has pushed me to get off the couch and visit a wider range of Illinois’s preserves and ecosystems than I ever have before.”

Bartonia virginica by Erin Faulkner

Iza Redlinski / @marshmaiden:

“I had a resolution in 2017 to hone some of my woodland as well as sand species plant identification. It proved to be a good way to document what I saw at a given site and to take pictures of some of my lifers...the map also allowed me to pinpoint where some of the invasive problems were (I could upload the data later on and overlay it on a Google map). I enjoyed seeing how various species bloom at different times in different locations and thinking why that would be.”

Mark Kluge / @sanguinaria33:

“When I was nudged into joining iNaturalist in 2014, I had little idea that I was getting into one of the most significant citizen science projects ever conceived. Yes, it’s fun to crunch statistics, but iNat also makes it simple to look at your observations and say, hey I need to pay more attention to Dichanthelium, or hill prairies, or Helianthus, or wetlands, or whatever. IBBY 2017 was a prime vehicle for me to achieve a different goal, which was making at least one observation every day of the year. That was a great way to really work on plant phenology, as well as to keep active on those days you would much rather be on the couch! Some favorite observations were something I found while looking for something else, observing the plant that was the type collection for a recently described species, and enduring 25 ticks to track down a nice orchid population.”

Mackenzie Caple / @mcaple:

"Even though I don't have as much opportunity as I'd like to go out and add my own observations, IDing other people's observations has been a great way to keep sharp on plants I know, as well as learning how to ID new ones-- all while contributing to science. The crowdsourcing aspect is especially fun and helpful!"

Nabalus crepidineus by cassi saari

Want to participate in 2018? It’s easy. Simply add your observations at iNaturalist.org or use the iPhone/Android app. You can also help the community by identifying plants on iNaturalist. Here is the new Illinois Botanists Big Year homepage. Bookmark it!

Contact cassi here on iNat or via email at cassisaari@gmail.com with ideas, questions, or comments.

Previously...Illinois Botanists Big Year 2016 Results

other folks who observe or ID plants in Illinois who many find the stats/info above interesting:
@coreyjlange @psweet @mn2010 @rgraveolens @hikebikerun13 @outdoorsie @randomrover88 @hannawacker @kennedy9094 @nicothoe @janebaldwin @jhowell @cjosefson @dsuarez @catalpa_joe @jackassgardener @wildernessbarbie @charles18 @mjadams @akstone @scottmohan @tonyg @michael_morin @tamandua2 @nfurlan @aaroncarlson @rcurtis @bugman1388 @wdvanhem @dziomber @choess @eknuth @krallen @jeremyhussell @thebals @tanyuu @thisnatureblog @gwynethgovers

Posted on January 18, 2018 07:06 PM by bouteloua bouteloua | 3 comments | Leave a comment
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Winter’s good time for gopher control in nut crops.

Gophers are active all year-round, and winter months, before they begin to reproduce, are the best time to begin control measures.


Posted on January 18, 2018 02:57 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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West Covina wants to know when you see coyotes in the city.

West Covina officials recently launched an interactive map that allows residents to report coyote sightings in their neighborhood.


Posted on January 18, 2018 02:17 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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West Covina wants to know when you see coyotes in the city.

West Covina officials recently launched an interactive map that allows residents to report coyote sightings in their neighborhood.


Posted on January 18, 2018 02:15 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

20180116- Lunch Break Walk

Sunny, breezy day, good for a lunchtime walk.
A lichen-rich beech tree on the path, usual crowd of fowl on the river

Posted on January 18, 2018 02:15 PM by rjdee88888 rjdee88888 | 6 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Mass tree die-offs lead to disaster, and a Cal Poly professor is looking for answers.

Cobb’s research reaffirms that the large-scale die-offs seen with sudden oak death — a disease that’s killed millions of trees along the Northern California coast — and the bark beetle infestations in the Sierra Nevada that are turning huge swaths of pine trees brown, have been increasing in severity and frequency across the world.


Posted on January 18, 2018 02:09 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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What does California’s future look like? Scientists asked trees.

Blue oaks have up to 500 years of climate history written in their rings.


Posted on January 18, 2018 01:58 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Bighorn sheep get new home at John Day River Basin.

The Central Point man parlayed his position on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission into a key role during the capture of 20 California bighorn sheep from the Deschutes River Canyon and their release in Oregon’s John Day River Basin.


Posted on January 18, 2018 01:44 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Birders Get a First Look at How 2017 California Wildfires Affected Wildlife.

Witter said that's where citizen scientists, like the birders from the Christmas Bird Count, can step in. Citizen scientists don't need to wait for grants, they can start studying the effects of fire as soon as it's safe.


Posted on January 18, 2018 01:29 PM by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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Hi all we need more close ups of fish and creatures on the shores of shark island at low tide!!!!! We have hardly any!!! Also we need to encourage Lucy to add all her close ups.and to add more of yours too Pam .there are so many on the shared photo site that we need to add and help identify if we have the time on e day together maybe? with books..and Debbie and Greg and Diana and Pam A and Pam M all looking up the internet and books to speed the process up!!

so far we have 98 or so observations!!!

Posted on January 18, 2018 11:24 AM by pam_darook pam_darook | 0 comments | Leave a comment