2022 Seminole County, FL Big Year!

In 2022, I was invited by some friends to participate in a friendly iNaturalist competition -- who could see the most species of anything and everything within a single county throughout the year. I selected Seminole County, FL, my home county, which is located north of Orlando. At 309 square miles, it is the third smallest county in Florida and has no coastline, but thankfully there are some fantastic preserves and parks.

I made an effort to visit most of the parks at least once, though there are a few parks that I missed. OK - maybe more than a few. My friend @scottsimmons will be dismayed that I completely skipped his favorite spot, Little Big Econ State Forest. It wasn't intentional! Here is a map of all of my 2022 observations.

I ended up with 1,404 species for the year – birds, bugs, plants, lichens, everything. That is about 80% of my Seminole County life list (1,758 species) though only 35% of the total number of species recorded in Seminole County by all users (3,992 species). Those 1,404 species were out of a total of 3,541 observations uploaded to iNaturalist. I added 738 species to my county life list in 2022. Not too shabby. [Technically we were counting taxonomic leaves and not species in this competition. So if I was able to identify something to genus, and I didn't have any other observations of that genus, it still counts as 1. If I also had another observation within that genus that was identified to species, then the first observation at the genus level wouldn't count.]

There are a few species that I added via kayak, such as searching for aquatic plants on Wekiwa Springs or when I was looking for dragonflies among the lilypads at Prairie Lake. More on that in a future post. It always feels like an adventure when I pack my net on the kayak and camera in my lap and and then try not to dunk my camera. I haven't yet -- and swinging a net from a sitting position isn't easy!

Birds: 146 species

My Seminole County life list is 258 species, so yeah – I didn’t focus on local birds. However, I did manage to add five species to my County list: Cerulean and Blue-winged Warblers (Thanks, Lori!), Philadelphia Vireo (Thanks, Scott!), Hairy Woodpecker, and Cave Swallow! The swallow was a surprise – I was trying to photograph dragonflies flying over my yard, because by Nov 1 I still didn’t have photos of Phantom or Twilight Darners for the year. There was a fairly persistent Tree Swallow flight, and then there was one that wasn’t! We also had a couple hurricanes this year, so I was able to add a few coastal terns to my year list including Sooty. Another surprise was hearing a Clapper/King Rail calling over my house one evening in May.

Mammals: 9 species
Reptiles: 21 species

Highlights were Pygmy Rattlesnake, Rough Greensnake, and Brahminy Blindsnake. The blindsnake is a tiny, introduced snake that looks like a black worm or planarian. I’ve now found a couple in the yard.

Amphibians: 6 species
Fish: 6 species
Insects: 577 species

The not-so-secret weapon for finding biodiversity is attracting insects with a blacklight or UV light. I added a mercury vapor light (e.g. a heat lamp from a pet store) to my setup this year, and I found 188 species in the backyard. I usually waited until the boys went to bed to set it up, though they loved getting out of bed and joining me in their underpants to see what the lights attracted.

Odonata: 68 species.

This is a fraction of my county life list, 81 species, but I found a few good ones: Taper-tailed Darner (Gomphaeschna antilope), Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus), and Blue-striped Spreadwing (Lestes tenuatus) [found by Scott Simmons]. Fifteen of those 68 species were observed in my suburban yard, including Florida Baskettail (Epitheca stella) and Fine-lined Emerald (Somatochlora filosa).

Butterflies: 49 species, including the locally rare Eastern Pygmy-Blue, Fulvous Hairstreak, and American Snout.
Robber Flies: 18 species
Arachnids: 30 species
Mollusks: 9 species
Plants: 457 species, including 5 orchids and 8 airplants (Tillandsia)
Lichens: 68 species

I started performing UV and KOH testing toward the end of the year. Chemical tests are necessary for identification in many cases. I expect lichens to feature prominently in next year's competition!

Other Fungi: 55 species
Protozoans: 3 species

How respectable is 1,404 species? I’m not sure, though it’s more species than most individual users have recorded from populated counties in Florida. I don’t know if anyone else has tried something like this before in Florida. I was competing with some friends in other states, and I didn't win the competition. So I guess I could have done better!

One of the great things about iNaturalist is that experts and other volunteers help each other along the way. A number of folks helped me with identification, especially plants which I'm still learning. Among the many folks who helped, @jayhorn, @florida_flora, @marykeim, @tadenham, and @simonsr35 helped me the most with plants, @coolcrittersyt and @brandonwoo with grasshoppers, and @nomolosx with leafhoppers and tree hoppers. It was a fun game – one that found me furiously scanning tree bark on December 31 looking for more species.

Some of my favorite Seminole County observations throughout the year are included with this post!

All species and observations can be viewed here

Posted on January 21, 2023 11:18 PM by stevecollins stevecollins

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue-striped Spreadwing (Lestes tenuatus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

February 26, 2022 12:12 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Furtive Forktail (Ischnura prognata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

February 26, 2022 12:19 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Helocassis clavata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

February 26, 2022 12:51 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Small Butterwort (Pinguicula pumila)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

February 26, 2022 01:29 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Lettered Sphinx (Deidamia inscriptum)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 1, 2022 08:33 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden Bluet (Enallagma sulcatum)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 6, 2022 02:49 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Baskettail (Epitheca stella)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 6, 2022 03:38 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Unicolored Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris ssp. unicolor)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 22, 2022 12:03 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis ssp. pratensis)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 26, 2022 12:11 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Vesper Bluet (Enallagma vesperum)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 26, 2022 01:17 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 26, 2022 02:14 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Comet Darner (Anax longipes)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 26, 2022 02:18 PM EDT

Description

I rarely find these perched

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 26, 2022 03:07 PM EDT

Description

This was my target for the day. I've tried to re-find this species here for the past few years.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 27, 2022 03:11 PM EDT

Description

ID based on very small size observed in field, extensive pale yellow on legs, and vertical hairs on scutellum

Photos / Sounds

What

Bee-mimic Robber Flies (Genus Laphria)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

March 27, 2022 04:17 PM EDT

Description

Laphria near macquarti aka Laphria floridensis

Photos / Sounds

What

Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis ssp. georgina)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 9, 2022 10:30 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Palmetto Tortoise Beetle (Hemisphaerota cyanea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 9, 2022 11:36 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue-faced Darner (Coryphaeschna adnexa)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 9, 2022 12:22 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 16, 2022 08:03 AM EDT

Description

on Myrtle Oak

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Ivory Millipede (Chicobolus spinigerus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 16, 2022 09:50 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Elephant Mosquito (Toxorhynchites rutilus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

April 26, 2022 11:53 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Clubbed Mydas Fly (Mydas clavatus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 4, 2022 11:30 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Tersa Sphinx (Xylophanes tersa)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 14, 2022 10:41 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Typical Rails (Genus Rallus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 14, 2022 10:30 PM EDT

Description

NFC
King or Clapper Rail

Photos / Sounds

What

Sandhill Milkweed (Asclepias humistrata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 27, 2022 12:04 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium pseudofea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 10:02 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 10:20 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Brown Wasp Mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

May 29, 2022 11:13 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

June 12, 2022 02:42 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

June 12, 2022 03:31 PM EDT

Description

If Diogmites ternatus is a valid species, I guess this is it. I was struck by how small it was in the field, and most D. ternatus should be smaller than D. neoternatus. The central stripe is very bold and does not fade to red anteriorly -- the black reaches the pronotum.
robberfly.org/diogmites

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 17, 2022 10:56 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 17, 2022 11:01 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Four-spotted Mantidfly (Dicromantispa interrupta)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 21, 2022 10:25 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Moustached Tiger Beetle (Ellipsoptera hirtilabris)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 23, 2022 02:58 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Scabrous Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scabrosa)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 27, 2022 11:36 AM EDT

Description

In the field I thought, "What an interesting scabrosa with those extra maculations on the elytra!" And then I look at the photo and realize it's sand : )

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 27, 2022 11:41 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 28, 2022 10:54 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Beautiful Mantidfly (Leptomantispa pulchella)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 29, 2022 11:02 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Curtiss's Milkweed (Asclepias curtissii)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 2022

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 30, 2022 01:46 PM EDT

Description

Keep your friends close ... for when you're feeling peckish.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bramble Cladonia (Cladonia floridana)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

July 30, 2022 01:27 PM EDT

Description

Large primary squamules. Podetia appear to match this species.

Cladonia furcata is the only other similar Cladonia, but the Podetia should be taller.

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 7, 2022 09:56 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Royal River Cruiser (Macromia taeniolata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 20, 2022 03:02 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 20, 2022 03:04 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 20, 2022 03:13 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius ssp. barbouri)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 20, 2022 03:39 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon conanti)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 20, 2022 03:46 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Spring-run Spiderlily (Hymenocallis rotata)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 28, 2022 12:12 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

August 28, 2022 12:31 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sand Post Oak (Quercus margaretiae)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 4, 2022 05:00 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 20, 2022 09:45 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 20, 2022 10:17 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 20, 2022 10:35 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 29, 2022 01:04 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

September 29, 2022 01:16 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

October 2, 2022 09:31 AM EDT

Description

Found by Scott Simmons

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

October 8, 2022 01:14 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Jeweled Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium xerophyllum)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

October 8, 2022 02:03 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

November 16, 2022 05:29 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Cave Swallow (Petrochelidon fulva)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

November 1, 2022 04:58 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

November 26, 2022 01:49 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

December 23, 2022 10:54 AM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Salted Shell Lichen (Coccocarpia palmicola)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

December 23, 2022 02:00 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Dwarf Sundew (Drosera brevifolia)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

December 23, 2022 02:26 PM EST

Photos / Sounds

What

Jingle Bell Orchid (Dendrophylax porrectus)

Observer

stevecollins

Date

December 2022

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevecollins

Date

December 31, 2022 11:21 AM EST

Description

K- thallus
K+ apothecia

Comments

Steve,
Love your write-up. So impressive! Love the picture of your son, too :)
I will continue to follow you on iNat with enjoyment.
Chase

Posted by chaseyb about 1 year ago

Thanks for the link. Interesting journal and impressive results!

Posted by marykeim about 1 year ago

I loved te blog! It was so fun going with you once or twice and taking photos of everything we saw and then having help to know what it was. A great site!

Posted by auwingit about 1 year ago

That's really impressive!

Posted by scottsimmons about 1 year ago

fantastic!

Posted by nomolosx about 1 year ago

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