Journal archives for July 2013

July 13, 2013

Fungus in the East

Over the last two days, hiking in Eastern woodlands, there have been lots of fungus. I have taken many pictures but, with my iPhone out of commission, and with my knowledge of fungi being quite minimal, these pictures are a kind of banking of future images for analysis.

Posted on July 13, 2013 03:45 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 23, 2013

Giving Back to iNat: How I Do My Bit for the Integrity of the Database

I have a regular practice, that I try to undertake three-five times a week. I choose a species about which I feel confident in my understanding of its identification, range, and habitat, and bring up all the records of that species in iNaturalist. I then check all the records with photographs for that species, that have not yet achieved "research grade" status, and/or about which there is some controversy in identification. This is fun and informative. Here are the advantages to me and (I humbly submit) to iNat:

1. Some really old records in the database, from the first few years of the project, which could easily get buried in the exponentially increasing wealth of materials being submitted, are rediscovered and vetted.
2. As a corollary to that, some folks who may have started iNat, but not continued it, find their interest rekindled.
3. Gaps for certain species (either a low number of total records, as I found for the LeConte's Thrasher, or geographic holes in coverage, as I noted for much of Nevada while examining Ash-throated Flycatcher records yesterday) can be noted and drawn attention to (for instance, I alerted the prodigious submitter (and my friend) finatic, to the LeConte's Thrasher issue).
4. It has helped me to learn about different plumages (especially across regions) of some species I thought I knew.
5. Given all the assistance I receive from iNat'ers for IDs on the many taxa I am learning, I feel this is a way to give back.
6. Extraordinary errors are found. For instance, today I found a photograph of a Song Sparrow identified as a Bewick's Wren!
7. Extraordinary puzzles can be found. Yesterday, a mis-attributed Ash-throated Flycatcher record set off a great discussion (with permission) on my Facebook page, with no fewer than five species being suggested for the juvenile bird pictured. Both the original submitter, and myself, and the commenters on my Facebook page, have strong bird ID skills. These kinds of conversations make iNat the strong community resource it promises to be (in to perpetuity, I hope!).

Posted on July 23, 2013 23:46 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 comments | Leave a comment