03 January, 2024

The Great Arkansas Lepidoptera Survey!

This year I am holding a Lepidoptera bioblitz! The blitz runs from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024. The top three contributors who post the most species will win this t-shirt in their choice of size and color: https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Insect-Illustration-Collection-T-Shirt/dp/B09K59TLDQ/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1704256123&refinements=p_4%3ADark+Academia+Goblincore+Cottagecore+Clothing&s=apparel&sr=1-2


1). Insects must be observed in Arkansas during the year of 2024.
2). Observations must be in the Biodiversity of Arkansas project.
3). All observations must be of wild specimens.
4). Have fun!

Posted on 03 January, 2024 04:35 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 comment | Leave a comment

30 April, 2023

City Nature Challenge & Bentonville

Today is the second day of the city nature challenge. It rained most of the day, but I went out as soon as it cleared up. Longview has just opened a new trail that connects Guthrie Park to the Paul G. Boorman trail, so I walked along it looking for birds and interesting plants. The trail section goes through a marshy area adjoining a creek; it looks like good dragonfly habitat. I did find a new plant species for Gregg County, the Stinking Chamomile, but it's an invasive. :-(

I want to visit a place I haven't been yet tomorrow, so I looked on Google Maps and found the Chandler River Park, which goes along the Neches River. Hopefully it isn't flooded.


In other news, this time next week I'll be on vacation in Bentonville, AR, to observe the plants and animals of the Ozarks and hopefully catch an Ozark Bass.

Posted on 30 April, 2023 04:22 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

24 March, 2023

Grace Creek Mountain Biking Park

This park was closed for a bit while the arboretum was under construction, but is open again. It's been a few years since I've been. I noticed that some of the trails have been improved. However, this park suffers from the same problem some of Longview's trails have: invasive trees and shrubs greatly outnumber the natives. One section of the park is a monoculture of Carolina laurelcherry. For this reason, I find this park to be dull from a naturalist's perspective. I did find some plants I haven't documented for Gregg County yet, but they were all invasives: Shepherd's Needle, House Holly Fern, Star of Bethlehem, and Smooth Tare.

Posted on 24 March, 2023 03:30 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

16 January, 2023

How many fish species can I find this year?

Fish life lister Leo Sheng https://www.youtube.com/@extremephillyfishing is having a 2023 fish marathon. How many species can he catch this year? I decided to do my own marathon. I'm counting not just catches, but anything photographed.

I know I can't beat this self-described pokemon master, but trying is fun. Why the phrase pokemon master? Life listing is the same as playing pokemon. The game was invented by an entomologist who modeled it after collecting insects. In the game, the field guide is called the pokedex, and checking off species is called "filling out the pokedex."

I started today and got several species from an urban creek. They happen to be the most common ones and finding more is going to get harder and harder.

Posted on 16 January, 2023 00:17 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 comments | Leave a comment

10 October, 2022

Results of walk at Sulphur River WMA

I concentrated on finding plants and pollinators yesterday. I walked a bit near the boat ramp on Long Slough, and after lunch walked along a pipeline clearing on the other side of the river. I recorded a total of 87 species:

45 plants
34 insects
2 mushrooms
2 spiders
1 snail
1 reptile
1 bird
1 mammal

A lot of these included county records for Miller County and one state record. I used the iNat and GBIF data as a reference. Since most of Arkansas is poorly documented, I expect to keep finding more records on future visits.

County Records:

Walnut Sphinx
Boneset Stem Midge
Catchfly Grass
Round-leaved Boneset
Variegated Meadowhawk
Southern Paper Wasp
Two-striped Grasshopper
Trichopoda lanipes, a fly
Scaly Bee Fly
Isodontia philadelphica, a wasp
Red-banded stinkbug
Chinese Mystery Snail (!!!)
Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar Moth
Orange-tufted Oneida Moth

State Record:

Southern Paper Wasp. This one has been documented in surrounding states, so I'm not surprised to find it in Arkansas.

Other interesting notes

---The only previous county record for Swamp Beggarticks is a museum specimen from 1894.
---One species found listed as Critical---Cooper's Hawk

Posted on 10 October, 2022 02:44 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

04 September, 2022

iNat White Oak, and another park with zero observations!

I was working on mapping the vegetation in Longview's Cargill Long Park but quit. I was harassed by a drug addict who became angry and aggressive when I told him that I don't have any drugs; I'm just here to watch birds. This guy came across as very creepy and unstable. Usually there are several other walkers and bicyclists on the trail, but that day I was alone. I don't feel safe going there right now, especially alone, since I've seen him there before and I believe that he's camping out in the woods there.


I heard that the White Oak City Park has a nice hiking and biking trail, so I went Friday after work. I didn't have much time, so I walked along the creek and looked for the trail. I was hoping to find new plants and critters for the Gregg County pokedex, and I was rewarded with finding a Seepage Dancer, which turned out to be a county record! I spotted some plants I haven't found in the county yet, but didn't have time to photograph them. Plus, the mosquitoes were terrible and I forgot my bug spray.

I went again this morning, focusing on the creek again. I walked the trail all the way to a wooded area, then went home because the humidity was terrible. The trail is 2.2 miles and isn't well marked, so I'll tell you how to get there. Park in the parking lot near the splash pad, at the intersection of Parkway and Magnolia. You will see a metal bridge going across the creek. Walk across the bridge and go to the left. You will see orange arrows spray painted in the grass. Follow the arrows.

In other news, I found another northeast Texas park with zero observations! I was looking for new parks on Google Maps and found Thomas Lake Park in Cass County near Wright Patman Lake. It's a free park ran by the federal government. I looked on iNat and it has zero observations! https://www.inaturalist.org/places/thomas-lake-park

I'll try to go after coming back from Tennessee.

Posted on 04 September, 2022 03:49 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

31 August, 2022

iNat Memphis!

Next weekend, I am going with two of my cousins to see a Backstreet Boys concert in Memphis, TN. I hope to spend a bit of time at Shelby Farms Park while I'm there. https://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/about I looked at the park checklist and noticed that most of the observations are of birds and bugs, but there aren't many of trees and flowers, so I'm going to focus on plant observations.

Oh, I promise to get an observation photo of the Backstreet Boys. ;p

Posted on 31 August, 2022 22:35 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 comments | Leave a comment

20 August, 2022

Northeast Texas Trail Update

The Northeast Texas Trail has received an $18 million grant from USDOT to aid in completion. https://theparisnews.com/free/article_5d94490e-1f08-11ed-bf6e-4f1067aeeca2.html?fbclid=IwAR3yEr1L9h15dGXjTYsW9NWZbPk4gWJ-c4sQtzw6sXdQltbkJA3tz7y1wXc

The NETT is 130 miles long and stretches from New Boston to Farmersville. There is a possibility that this could become a state park. See last paragraph in the article.

Posted on 20 August, 2022 23:40 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 comments | Leave a comment

09 July, 2022

SW Arkansas Bioblitz!

On Saturday, October 8th I will hold a bioblitz at the Sulphur River WMA and the adjoining Alex Smith County Park in Miller County, AR. This area borders both Texas and Louisiana.

Map of the WMA: https://www.agfc.com/en/zone-map/770/

Alex Smith Park: https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Smith-Park-Miller-County-Arkansas-104580878637542/

The WMA is ten miles long but has few trails, so it is very rugged. We will use Alex Smith County Park as our base of operations, since this park has showers, bathrooms, picnic tables, and a campground.

I plan to have everyone meet at the Sulphur River boat ramp in Alex Smith at about 8 am. We will gather for lunch at noon. Bring anything you would like to share with others, such as paper plates or drinks. I am going to see about getting permission to do some blacklighting.

Directions to the boat ramp: At the intersection of Blackman Ferry Road/Hwy 237 and Smith Park Road, you will see a sign for the county park. Go straight down Smith Park Road until it makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Keep going and you will see the boat ramp.

Feel free to tag anyone who may be interested!


Access to Arkansas WMAs and state parks is free! The state uses part of the sales tax to fund the parks, and the state figures that since you're already paying for them every time you buy something, admission is free.

Alcohol in the WMA is not allowed.

You can either camp in Alex Smith Park or stay in a hotel in nearby Atlanta, TX.

@jim_keesling @gcsnelling @thebirdnerd @theo_witsell @little_metal_weirdo @moondevg @artemesia @arbutterflynut @eric_hunt @hmcook @jrichardabbott @cherrielee @jenogle @mfria631 @mayfly1963 @tallpaultheforester @sedgehead @jhousephotos @kaptainkory @royaltyler @sambiology @lauramorganclark @phototime @annikaml @jasonpike1980 @connlindajo

Posted on 09 July, 2022 23:59 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 13 comments | Leave a comment

15 March, 2022

iNat Walk in Kilgore April 9th

In preparation for the City Nature Challenge, the East Texas Master Naturalist Chapter will be doing a series of practice walks to teach the public how to use the iNat app. I will be doing one in Kilgore on April 9th at 9am. We will be meeting in the parking lot of Creekside Trail.

Directions: In Kilgore, on S. Henderson Blvd, on the south end of Kilgore College, turn on Dudley Road. The trail is just past the golf course on the left. There is no roadside sign, so it's easy to miss if you're not paying attention. If you get to the gas station, you've gone too far.


Posted on 15 March, 2022 02:07 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 comments | Leave a comment