October 19, 2021

TPWD Video on microfish!


Nice to see this promoted by TPWD! I went microfishing today and got a mosquitofish. I would have caught more species, but then I fell into the creek and had to go home to change clothes. ;p

Posted on October 19, 2021 21:48 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 observation | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 17, 2021

Longview is Getting a New Park

Longview is turning Lake Lomond into a park that will include a paved trail, a kayak rental, and a fishing pier. The trail should open in a year, and I can't wait to see it. :-)

I'm glad that this lake will soon be open to the public. As long as I've lived here, it's been fenced off and used as an illegal garbage dump. Longview and Gregg County are in desperate need of green spaces, and we don't have anything like this.

In fact, I am going to plan a little one-day bioblitz when it opens. Since it will be a year from now, I don't have anything in particular planned yet, other than it will be on a Saturday. I hope that we can show the city that east Texans do care about nature and want things like this.

@sambiology Maybe you'll come out here for that? :-)


Posted on October 17, 2021 23:56 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 10, 2021

Explore the Pineywoods: Jim Hogg Park

Today I visited a new park today---Jim Hogg Park in Rusk, TX. https://naturerockspineywoods.org/greenspace/jim-hogg-park

I looked up this park a few days ago and saw that it only had 14 observations, all made a few years ago, so I had to iNat this place. Jim Hogg Park is the birthplace of its namesake, and his parents are buried here. There is a museum, a playground, picnic tables, and a nature trail.

The trail mostly wanders through flowery fields and groves of pine trees. The fields were mostly goldenrod, camphorweed, foxglove, and soft goldenaster. These fields were full of butterflies, bees, and wasps. I tried to photograph as many pollinators as I could, but didn't manage to get many. I would like to go back here in the spring to see what kind of flowers there will be then.

The park is big enough to take multiple trips to explore, so I'd definitely recommend it, especially since it needs more data.

I encourage everyone to find a local park that needs more iNat data and go exploring!

Posted on October 10, 2021 23:59 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 18, 2021

Are you ready for the Odolympics?

The Dragonfly Society of the Americas is holding an Odonate (dragonfly and damselfly) bioblitz starting this Saturday, June 19th, through Sunday, June 27th. The event takes place over the entire western hemisphere. My local Texas Master Naturalist chapter had a practice run last week and we had a lot of fun!

To participate in the Odolympics, you MUST have an Odonata Central account. After registering, you can import your iNat observations to the OC website.

Event details here: https://www.odonatacentral.org/odolympics/#/

Posted on June 18, 2021 02:24 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 16, 2021

Can you find this Arkansas Plant?

@theo_witsell has published a new book, Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas. In this video by The Ozark Society, Theo talks about some rare plants in his book. One of them is the American Barberry, which wasn't known to exist in Arkansas until Theo found a museum specimen collected in 1888. Theo hopes that people will go out and try to find it. Wouldn't it be cool if an iNat user was to find one? I know I'm going to make more trips to Arkansas to look for it! I plan on making a weekend trip to Hot Springs National Park this spring to look for plants!

Watch the video: https://www.facebook.com/The-Ozark-Society-105080184374291/videos/405297544225384

Support Theo Witsell by buying his book here: https://www.uapress.com/product/trees-shrubs-and-woody-vines-of-arkansas/?utm_campaign=Social%20Promotion&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=Trees%20Shrubs%20and%20Woody%20Vines%20of%20Arkansas&fbclid=IwAR20jfvHIuqcT7cObzpns3iOZ0TuEjv4TdJSrMflLEPRd5SZBCf0DURrEsI

Posted on January 16, 2021 22:53 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 06, 2021

Arkansas Fish Bioblitz!

I'm posting this here for the people who don't follow the Biodiversity of Arkansas project. I am having an Arkansas fish bioblitz this year! Whoever posts the most wild Arkansas species in 2021 will win a free Mystery Tackle Box! Details: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/biodiversity-of-arkansas/journal/45234-arkansas-fish-bioblitz

Posted on January 06, 2021 02:17 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 31, 2020

New Trail Section in Kilgore, TX

Recently Kilgore opened an additional mile on the Bighead Creek Trail aka Creekside Trail. I like this new section because it winds through a hardwood forest with giant monster trees, while the older one goes through a more "developed" area. The dominant native trees are southern sugar maple, hophornbeam, hornbeam, and various oaks. Some of those oaks are among the biggest I've seen in this area.

This trail has all the elements I look for in a good mushroom hunting ground: a large variety of trees, old giant trees present, and it's a low-lying wet area.

Unfortunately, I found an invasive species that I haven't seen in this area before, the thorny olive. I discovered the remains of an old homestead: a piece of a wall made with a particular brick that was popular in the 30s, an old cement garden urn, a rusted old-timey bicycle, and more. That, along with the presence of a large number of popular landscape plants (Chinese privet, nandina, Chinese photinia, common ivy, Chinese holly, etc.) make me think the original land owner planted some thorny olives in a garden, and it later multiplied like crazy.

As the park name suggests, the trail follows a creek. I hiked along it looking for fishing spots, but it's too shallow to contain anything other than microspecies (teeny tiny fish like darters). When it warms it warms up in the spring, I'm going to put on my waders, grab my dip net, and see what kind of critters I can find.

Posted on December 31, 2020 03:10 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 25, 2020

The Northeast Texas Trail: De Kalb

Yesterday I visited another stop on the Northeast Texas Trail---De Kalb. https://netexastrail.org/trail-maps/avery-to-dekalb-tc/

I parked at the De Kalb City Park, which is beside the trail, and waited for the drizzling rain to let up. It was a nice little park with a pond in the back, which means next time I'll have to bring my fishing pole and dip net to see what's in that pond. It'll be nice to come back in the spring and see what kind of dragonflies I can find, too.

I then walked on the trail, heading west toward Avery. The trail was nice and smooth, good for taking my mountain bike next time. I was alone except for a pair of cowboys riding their horses. The trail starts out as a mowed grassy lawn, and after passing the lumber yard, turns into a thicket of evil privet and Persian silk tree, and then finally into a native forest.

The next stop is Avery, a tiny town of about 450 people. There is no trail yet going west to the next stop, Annona, so I will walk east back toward De Kalb. Avery has a little park with a lake, which I will have to check out.

Posted on October 25, 2020 15:59 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 20, 2020

The Northeast Texas Trail: Farmersville

The Northeast Texas Trail is a 130 mile long trail that is under construction. https://netexastrail.org/ It stretches from Farmersville, near Dallas, to the New Boston, in the northeastern corner of Texas. It was once an abandoned rail line that is being turned into a trail. The trail committee wants the state to turn it into one long state park when it is finished.

I've traveled along the New Boston section, which only has a couple of miles finished. On Sunday, I went to the opposite end, Farmersville. Since it is going to eventually be a state park, I think it would be useful to document what is already there. I know I can't document the whole 130 miles, but I'd to eventually visit each stop along the trail. Many of the stops are in tiny towns with very few observations.

I spent all afternoon in Farmersville and made a little under 100 observations, mainly the most common species like poison ivy and the American crow. It's what I do the first time I make a sweep of a place. I wish I could have afforded to book a hotel for the night, because there are other nature things to do in the area like visit Lavon Lake.

Later this week, I plan on going to the DeKalb section, which is much closer to Longview.

Posted on October 20, 2020 23:36 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 observations | 4 comments | Leave a comment

October 18, 2020

The Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest

Today was the first day of my vacation. It's actually a staycation because 1). I can't afford to book a hotel 2). coronovirus. Today I went back to the SFA Experimental Forest in Nacogdoches, TX. https://srs.fs.usda.gov/4159/experimental-forests/stephen-f-austin/

I found it a couple of weeks ago while exploring Nacogdoches. After my first visit, I uploaded my observations and was surprised to see that the forest only had one observation before I uploaded mine. That's weird, because Nacogdoches has a lot of observations.

I found some plants that I haven't seen before, such as Strawberry Bush and Single-stem Bog Aster. I'd like to explore some more in the spring, when there will different plants and butterflies around.

I'm not sure where I will go next. I think I'll ride around on the Northeast Texas Trail some more.

Posted on October 18, 2020 03:46 by cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment