28 May, 2024

Deep Dives in Microscopy

Over the course of the last few nights I have been burning the midnight oil looking through sand samples. I have been increasingly interested in the realms of inner space. From small inverts, to looking through pond sludge seeking Diatoms, and other creatures. I had collected some sand from Padre Island. This was not intentional but it is what happens when I collect seashells from the coast. I had went back in December and I had been rather interested seeing what is in the samples I had.

I had seen many micro views of sand and knew there were tiny creatures. Protists are things I have only ready up in books and to actually get some data on them is pretty incredible. You might say with me it opened up a completely big can of worms. I had originally thought that these were micro fossils which do occur with the Protists as I have researched. I have been watching quite a few videos of Forams. I got the samples from around Christmas vacation so I logged them from the exact time and place they were picked up. There was not a huge diversity in the samples but there were plenty to find interesting. I also did come across a fair share of micro fibers which drove me insane.

These are something I am new to these Protista. I had taken basic biology but we hardly ever touched on them. I love finding new things to delve into study. I have books on these types of things but maybe I just had to see them and add some extra context for them to click. Nature on this planet never ceases to amaze. I am going to be doing a lot more microscope works in the near future. Diatoms were just the tip of this iceberg but I love doing microscope work just to see how things go. Nature is just that a puzzle and a mystery and the more you find the more you lose yourself in it's diversity. I have not done a lot of microscope work; I have my own personal one but to be fair I have been rather reserved with it; yet, I think it is time to do more with it especially with summer on the rise. I need to log in things I see from all seasons.

Down one rabbit hole and out the other.

Posted on 28 May, 2024 06:41 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comments | Leave a comment

04 January, 2023

The new year and new adventures

Well I am still at it and back at it in 2023. Christmas vacation was great; I had a lot of fun down at the coast and explored a lot of the Lower Rio Grande Valley which was a first for me. I have covered a lot of new ground in 2022 but 2023 is another chance to make more happen. For Christmas I got some fun camera equipment and that came in the forms of some macro lens filters and extenders. I also got an awesome stabilizer. I am ready to rock the new year in style. It is going to be a rather interesting year. I am at UTA now and this is my second semester and I will be taking a new class in photography this year; another chance to up my game will come in this class. It is Black-and-white photography but it is all good I will more than likely pick up a lot of useful tips and tricks.

This year I am going to be doing a lot more birding and a lot more insect counts than before. I am going to be doing my usual load of volunteer work like I normally do. However, I have been in the loop of other circles and have some more interesting things lined up. I am looking forward to this year's City Nature Challenge and I am looking forward to all the major BioBlitzes as usual and National Moth Week. I am also excited about this being the 100th anniversary of the Texas State Parks system so I will make it a point to explore these parks and get some more under my belt since it is a special commemoration. I will do what I have been doing all this time but I will be doing a lot of different photography stuff.

Last semester I go a new Jintu Manual 45mm-800mm telephoto lens and I am going to be doing a lot with that lens so I can continue my search for that illusive Dragonhunter. This is among my priorities for the year. I have been on the search for this dragonfly for nearly eight years now. I am going to be rather busy but that is the way I like it. I am going to be doing a lot more with my microscope photography too. I have been rather reserved with some of my photography. I need to continue to explore the micro realm since it has a lot to do with what I like the most in terms of birds and insects. I am going to be kicking it into high gear this year. I am going to try and double my species list and observations list. It is a steady growth.

One of my new goals to break 3,000 species on my list. I am very, very, very, very close. It is going to be pretty easy once it gets warmer. I am thinking about getting to the mothing a lot earlier than I normally do. When it is warm I will be doing some here and there. I am not going to do it yet but I will be prepping for it. I am always checking the weather charts and once that first snap of warm weather hits it is on. I am going to try and focus on more plant photography as well. With some of my lens filters it has brought me into wanting to add some more layers to my work. If you really want to know what gets me so involved in citizen science and photography it is pretty much all the layers I add to what I do and what I like. It has been a constant learning and love affair with wanting to know how things are all combined and intertwined. Sure geology and fossil exploration when I was younger really blew the cap on expanding to all forms of life.

I am hoping 2023 is filled with more road trips. I am going to try and shoot for some more places I have never been too. I have been to a lot of states in the last few years but I like to explore a lot of areas outside my home area to get an idea of what else is out there and make connections back to where I come from. No matter how you look at it even the most far off places are connected to everything around. I am going to be doing a lot of upgrading in my native plant garden. I hoping to do a lot in the new year with other things but these are some of the basic naturalist goals I have for the year. This year I am hoping to really get into the thick of some more things and get up to my armpits in exploration. Already at the start lets see how things go from here.

Posted on 04 January, 2023 06:16 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comments | Leave a comment

04 April, 2022

City Nature Challenge plans and picking up speed

Huh... finally! Getting out of this slump. With all of that cold icy weather we had in the winter I am now back in action for the long haul of 2022. I have hit a slump in a few ways. One was the ice and cold; in many areas it hindered me from getting out. The snow was not bad but we had a bit of ice in the area that prevented me from getting around in my backyard for my porch and drive were frozen solid with black ice one some days. I have also been really busy with classes. I am finishing up my final year at Tarrant County College. This is my graduating semester. I have already been accepted in UTA and will be going into a wildlife photography field and filmmaking. I am not sure which exact direction I am taking for I still have some things to work out but I have the ball rolling to get to UTA in the fall of this year.

With that said classes have been a bit time consuming but have been rather good and interesting. I am taking an awesome geography class and a very interesting federal gov. class. I am now enjoying a very nice spring and with spring the City Nature Challenge is about to come around the bend. I am already well into training. I am ready to take on this year's contest. If you ask me the last couple of years for the City Nature Challenge were kind of lagging in morale. That was mainly due to the pandemic but I have to say last year even though I was not feeling it at first was my best run yet. This year I hope to break that record I made. I had well over 900 observations even though I didn't get to hit that big thousand.

This year it is no holds bar. I am going to be working double time and bringing my super A game. I have started mothing pretty early this year. This weekend I began mothing and everything is A-okay. Every year I like to check the bulb on my UV light just to make sure it doesn't need to be replaced. It is still working like a charm. I got quite the load the previous night. I was able to get quite a few different things. I didn't get much but I did get quite a few things. It was not that hot or sticky like my little friends like it. However, it was a very good run for the early part of April. I have a few new things I will be using some new tools I have acquired in the last year. For my birthday in 2021 I got a new scope and even a cool little game cam. I will be using these to get some better images and more images. The game cam will come in handy when I am away or asleep. This will be a good tool to use to help boost my numbers somewhat.

I have been using my game cam a Primo's Bulletproof 2. It is a good new tool I have. The scope is great too. I need to find a screw I can use to put my phone holder back together so I can use my cellphone to take photos. This is going to a bigger season for me. I am already going outside of my house more at night now that I am starting to see more and more creatures emerge. I have been really busy trying to round up my observations too. I am at 17,550+ but I am hoping to round up to about 18,000 or more. It is just something I feel will be good to do. I try to round up before the contest anyway. Sometimes I gain species before hand and there are some I am likely to miss. Still it is good to look high and low and to see what you can find before hand. I know it is still a ways off but I am pumped. I like to get in the zone when I do this thing. April is always my busy time anyway. I am hoping for a good City Nature Challenge run this year. I am hoping for a good outcome this year. I am told that we will have some more ground to cover in some areas. I will be going to my the big places again. I am going to try and do more mothing events and what have you. Plans are still taking shape but I am getting a battle plan formulated. This CNC is going to be amazing.

Posted on 04 April, 2022 05:55 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 37 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

19 February, 2022

Great Backyard Bird Count 2022

Looking forward to this year's big Backyard Bird Count. I am so glad that I will be back at River Legacy for this event. Last year we got snowed in but still got a lot of good data on that day and got a pretty good count. This year I will be volunteering like I normally do but I will be getting around to do some of my own stuff after the event I am working and during the course of Sunday. I have been doing this event for a good while now. I love being with the kids and talking about birds. I am hoping we have a good run this year. With the last bit of rain and the high winds I am not sure what to expect. I am hoping that we have a few new things blowing in.

I will have to put some seed in my feeders so I can get a good count in my yard this year. I will also give my scope another go in the field. I am looking forward to using the scope for this event. I will be using it at River Legacy. I am thinking about after the event I will go down around the river and see if there is anything hiding. I will also swing by the Village Creek Drying Beds just to see if anything is out there too. I have been a little rusty with some things. For one my computer was on the fritz, so we had to get a new one. It is working like a charm and is very nice. I am practicing editing my images to compensate for the resolution. I never really had that as an issue but since this a different computer all-together well tweaks have to be made to the way I edit my images.

I am glad I will have a break from classes and the house for a bit. I have been doing well but I need a bit of brain break. I am trying to not have a nervous breakdown. With this being my last semester at Tarrant County College I am needing to make sure I do not falter in my grades. I have been doing good so far. I have been partaking in some of the cultural stuff for Black History Month at my campus and have been participating in some of the other events. I am doing what I can to mix classes with some fun but not trying to overindulge. I am starting to come to the busy season and will be doing a lot more with volunteering starting tomorrow onward until the winter. It seems to be the cycle. This is the start of my busy season for sure.

Looking forward to some good birding. I have been doing a bit off and on. I did a lot of it when I was at the coast over the course of the Winter Break. That was a rather fun trip. Got to go to some new places that I have never been to. I did manage to get some different birds. So, I have not been too rusty with spotting birds. I did break my good pair of glasses by accident so now I am running on spares until my new frames come in. That will hinder me a bit I am beating myself up about it. I am glad I got some new frames but with all the Covid-19 stuff going on still; there is a bit of a hick-up with factory work for my frames. Still, I will manage. It is not the first-time stuff like this has happened and it won't be the last. I have all my gear packed and all set. I will have to figure out how to carry all my stuff. I keep joking and keep saying I need a pack donkey to pull around with all my things. Don't know why that is the joke but it is just something that I keep throwing out there since I have so much to carry now besides just the backpack, binoculars and the camera bag.

I do have to move some things around tonight. I will have my fanny pack that will have my personal count list. I have some note pads that I got from multiple people that will come in handy. I will keep a park list too. I will be in charge of our white-board and will be keeping the tally like usual with some help of course. Anyone can put things on the board, but I am the one who kind of helps keep things in order. This will be a fun event. They have switched it up a bit and we will be doing more of the citizen science part and less of the hikes and things which is quite interesting. This shall be fun; it always is. Anytime you get to work with wildlife it is a fun time. Work is fun when you are working with wildlife.

Posted on 19 February, 2022 00:14 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 comment | Leave a comment

17 November, 2021

Sea trip 2021: Planning

So I am finally getting some plans drawn out for another trek down at the coast of Texas. I was afraid with all the stuff going on like an expensive roof and ceiling repair we were not going to make it. We had a branch penetrate our roof during a pretty big storm but have since got the repairs in order. Most likely we will be around Corpus and Port Aransas like we always are. This time around Seashells and shore creatures will be on my list of things to document and photograph. I have since become rather interested in looking for more shells and other things to add to my list. The last big trip I took out to Galveston I found some nice bone samples too of fish and some crab carapaces. I have quite a few shells from previous years but not in very good amounts as I would like to have on my species list.

Aside from that this will be another three day trip since we are trying to save up for a bigger summer vacation. Still birding will be a major point on this adventure like always since the migration has ramped up once more. I am going to be doing a lot of beachcombing. I normally do a little bit here and there but this time I am making it a point to do some more but more thoroughly for this trip. I am already working on a target species list. I am looking forward to getting more shells and maybe one of those cool Nudibranchs I have been hearing about. I was watching a Texas Parks and Wildlife episode on PBS one time and they had a guy that was birding and he was showing off a piece of seaweed to show what the shorebirds eat. He pointed out a tiny sea slug and I thought that was pretty fascinating.

Looking for more than just those specific things. I am also hoping to do some shell collecting more or so. I will be looking for a few complete finds to display and begin working on a reference collection. So far shells and fossils have been on my mind ever since the Texas Master Naturalist annual meeting. I hope this trip runs smoothly; I am looking forward to getting some great photos. I am also thinking about getting my Nikon Coolpix L830 fixed up. I am going to get a second opinion on it for that is the camera I can get some sharper images and closer shots of hard to see things. My Canon Rebel T6 works just fine but I also want something with me that won't get as much sand contamination. Still even if I can't get that fixed I always have my phone I can use. Sure I don't like to use the phone as much; but since I am doing a lot of iNaturalist presentations and what not with small groups I need to learn how to use the phone more to help people get started.

Either way it will be fun to get some new species and new photos in. I am hoping the Whooping Cranes will be one I get finally get a photo of. I have been to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge three times already in the winter and still have not been able to get a shot. I had one chance but they were flying overhead and the shock of it all made me freeze I was just in awe. I am going to be doing some birding around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge but I am also hoping to doe some stuff that I have not done before. One point I am looking into is the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. I have not been there before. I am also looking at Port Aransas Nature Preserve. I am trying to find some other places to find seashells; I pretty much have all the birding places I want to go already picked out for the trek. I also want to try and get back out to the Padre Island National Seashore and see what is out there in terms of birds.

I tell you guys back in 2015 it was all about the birds with me. I really failed to get a lot of the shells and other wildlife when I first went out. In 2016 I was able to come to my senses since I was on my way to become a Master Naturalist I taught myself to not just focus on the birds. 2017-2019 I have been doing much better getting observations and exploring more. Still I had kind of a slow start there for a bit but I have looked at my maps recently on this site and have been getting many more good tacks on the coastal map. I am looking forward to this year's exciting trip. I am looking forward to it.

After the trip and after Christmas I am planning to go to the North Sulphur River to do some fossil hunting around there. May do some iNatting around there too. I am so looking forward to the school break. I can just have sometime out in nature and relax. This semester has been good but stressful but the break is almost here and I am ready to kick back and go on another major adventure once more. I am still looking into going to the Atwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. I still have not been out there yet. I am hoping I can do that on the way down or the way back up from the coast. Not sure but I have to go to that place some time. I may have to go back to Oso Bay area as well. I went to their nature center and I must say that place is simply wonderful. I also like the Hans and Sutter Wildlife Refuge I went out to that park around dusk back in 2018 and got some really nice images of some birds feeding at night. That was one of my favorite memories. Well I am going to put a gate on this entry but everything is coming along swimmingly (Pun intended). It is going to be a good trip and I can't wait to smell that salty air, feel the sand and listen to the crashing waves once more. The beach has been calling me all year. It is time again for another awesome beach trek.

Posted on 17 November, 2021 17:41 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comments | Leave a comment

02 October, 2021

Game plan for Pollinator BioBlitz and the Lake Arlington Survey

I am gearing up for my run for the pollinator BioBlitz. Tomorrow I am going to be at Fish Creek Pavilion giving a talk on iNaturalist to help get more people in on how to use the site. This is a program I am doing with Been City Arlington. I have finished up my power point and all ready to present. So far only three people have signed up for our event. That will help if we have a small group then I can work more one-on-one with the folks that show up to help better. I am going to be doing a lot over the next two weeks with the two week long BioBlitz; perhaps the biggest thing is going to be on the 16th of this month.

There is a new lake project at Lake Arlington that is about to be opened as an education and learning area for school and academia groups. I will be heading there when the time opens and will be out with most of my gear. I will have my sweep net, scope, insect catching bag, and most of the other stuff. Being a new area to me and being a new area to explore to the fullest I am going to try and stay out most of the day. I am very close to 17,000 observations with any luck in these two weeks I will be able to surpass that. The Texas Pollinator BioBlitz had opened today however it has been raining all day here.

I have went out in my yard and checked a few of the flowers but I was not successful at turning up anything. I am hoping that tomorrow workshop fairs better. In my lecture I am also going to help our trainees get some observation time in. I will be helping get new accounts set up for our guests. It is going to be most interesting to do this in a group other than school. I have been thinking about my plan of action for this BioBlitz. Most of the time I plan ahead for every BioBlitz. The CNC this year I did have some what of a game plan but not in full during the Master Naturalist Social Distance BioBlitz my plan was kind of iffy.

However, this BioBlitz is one I need to focus on. One of our sub-objectives is to get more bee observations. Not just observations but more bee species. I have been doing a lot of research and working up to this point I have seen quite a few bees. I have been walking around a TCC South and TCC Southeast and exploring our native plant gardens and around the ponds for different Pollinators. I have been very successful locating some species of sweat bees and other pollinators. I have added at least one new species to my own counts but I am not sure about some of the other counts. I have been focusing on gathering new species data. This is just for Tarrant County. I am hoping to help our group shed some light on our bees so we can better promote native bees in this area. I am hoping to find more species as this time progresses.

I will be making a few more runs to Lake Arlington at Richard Simpson Park which has a nice patch of some flowers that are covered in pollinators right now. I am also seeing a lot of the Marsh Fleabane and the Goldenrod coming up in many places. I am looking forward to seeing the data that we gather. The new area is the one place I am most interesting to explore. Being an area with little to no foot traffic this will be a great place to study some of the local wildlife. Richard Simpson and Bowman Springs are so heavily congested and Richard Simpson seems to be the only place on the lake that seems to have the highest level of wildlife.

Lake Arlington in recent years has become a place of interest. I have seen many species that often don't show up in this area. I have had one recently that is called the Orange-spotted Flower Moth. I am interested in the species counts at the lake too. After they tore down the Yacht Club that was in terrible disarray for years it seemed that much of the wildlife started to show up. Being in part that new areas which had been previously closed are now open. This has been the case for a few years now. I am hoping that this new area has some good rewards. I am not sure what to expect to find. I am looking forward to looking at all the pollinator strongholds and looking for some bird species too. Since the migration season is also ramping up too it will be good to explore some of these other types of wildlife in the area too.

Posted on 02 October, 2021 01:46 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comments | Leave a comment

20 July, 2021

Updates for the big trek

Well, I am still going to Georgia but due to a few minor issues we will not be able to get to Florida right now. However we might be saving that for the Winter Trek. We go to the Texas Coast a lot and we are kind of thinking about making a big change up. Anyway, so now we have a few less vacation days but that does not mean that it will not be any less fun. We have found a few more options and one of those is to get the City Pass which includes entry to the Georgia Aquarium which is a must for me and my brother, I am also interested in the Fernbank Museum, the Coco-a-cola museum will be fun just because I am interested in learning not just about wildlife but also just how things are made and how things work. I love to go to some of those off-the-rails adventures. Fernbank as I looked up looks pretty cool. I have not been to this area of Georgia before so far as I know. Atlanta will be some new territory for me. In our adventure we are planning on going to a few National Parks since my dad does have the senior pass for us to get in free. So being tight on some funds this will help a bit. Okefenokie is a no go sadly but I can save that for our big Christmas Trip.

Yesterday July-19 was my birthday and I got a brand new scope that I can't wait to use in the field. I have been playing with that sucker a lot since I got it. I am getting my gear sorted and a check list made to make sure I don't forget anything. I am going to be traveling pretty lightly. Grabbing only some of the citizen science gear/ all the cameras/ some of the tools I use. No big nets or anything like that just the bare essentials. I will not have that much time to do a lot of in-depth stuff but this will be indeed a phase project I will be doing. I am hoping that I get to find a lot of cool stuff. I have noticed that Georgia has very few observations compared to some. I mean overall it is an impressive amount of stuff but for each areas it is quite an odd site. I mean in Texas I have seen many places with over a thousand species; however, when I see Georgia's record I am like wait hold up. Some areas only have like six hundred or so observations. I love to add stuff to counts out of state and this will be a good project. I am going to be looking for a few things but one of which is the Pileated Woodpecker. That sucker has been just as pesky to find as the Dragonhunter. However we will be deep in swamp areas so this will be very cool. I am looking forward to all the places we will travel too. I am looking forward to seeing that big Aquarium and their new Tiger Shark exhibit. I mean it is just amazing what they have in that place. I am looking forward to the all the big things we will do. A few patches will be collected and a lot of photos and some videos will be taken too.

I am all giddy with anticipation. This will be the first time since I was six years old that I will be going back this far east. I have made it my mission since I joined iNaturalist to go back to some areas I had been to that I thought were really cool and go back and pick up some of the pieces to help rekindle old memories. Find past possible lifers and also just have a new experience all together. Just like in Colorado I got to go to some of the old hangouts and some new places. So each time I go out I am making new connections with the roots of the past running deep. I mean it is amazing to see just how somethings have changed but yet how they stay the same. I mean used to I was not very observant but now I am always using my sense of observation more than I used to. So this is great to see old areas of exploration but adding more to the old memory card (my brain). I mean it is just going to be very interesting to see what I can find. I have seen the species list and there are quite a few things I am wanting to see. Also one of my targets is the illusive Dragonhunter. I will be in a good position for a lot of things but I will have to make the most what time I have out there. I will be doing a lot of things out there and with my trips no time is wasted for learning. True in Missouri I didn't go to too many wild areas but I did find a few good species to start on for that area. I need to go back to that place but there are some future trips that maybe in the works. My aunt is wanting us to get passports so we can go to Alaska sometime. I know I would love to do that trek. That one I will need to take some time to do. That will be amazing but right now we have to work our way up.

My family has always loved to travel around and see the sights and see new things. For me I have that rover spirit that just can't be contained. If there is trails I have not been on or places I have not been to I want to explore them. I have always been that way. I love making connections not to my own past or my own stuff but I like to explore history and the deep roots of different cultures. I love to learn and explore. Sure at the end of the day I do like my nice warm bed and love to have my home base and my garden and just my home life but every summer, spring break, winter vacations and most weekends I am hitting the trail and looking high and low for all sorts of things. I am ready to take on documenting more of the east. This will be another big leap in uncharted iNatting territory for me. I mean the place is not uncharted but not ever being there to do iNaturalist is like a new frontier of discovery. I am hoping to find some big things and maybe make some unusual finds. I am looking forward to seeing what I will see. I always am. This will be most interesting.

Posted on 20 July, 2021 08:26 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 2 comments | Leave a comment

07 July, 2021

Gearing up for Georgia and Florida

Well my big trip of the year is taking form slowly yet surely. It will be around the last week of July like we have planned. I am getting my gear together that I am wanting to travel with. I have been charging up my cameras and trying new things with them to do some things I have not done yet. For one I have gotten out the GoPro and do some things with that. I got into some of my camera parts. I had this display base I got with my Light-ring I got for Christmas and I noticed that it had a screw-port that could attach to a tripod. I also had a sticky base for the GoPro that I had not used. I stuck the port on to the light ring display base and made my own rig attachment for the tripod. With that I put the tripod in my backpack with the GoPro attachment and will be using it to take general images of the surrounding areas I am exploring for future videos. This is a generic thing I have come up for all my future trips not just this exploration.

I have decided to take all my cameras for this one. My Canon Rebel T6 and my Canon Vixia will be with me. I will not be leaving before my birthday and I am eyeing this scope like I have said. If I do wind up getting the birding scope then I will be able to take my old single lens phone as a back up camera. The scope in my plans will be an extra camera. It is not really a full camera but with the phone it will act like a bigger camera for some of the birds will be hidden and my Canon Rebel does not have the power to pick up things from too far off with the current lenses. It is not a problem for me. I mean I deal with what I am given and I make it work. Being Mr. frugal is not as bad as it may seem. I mean I get good quality even if it is a bit pricey but I got for cheaper end and then I make it work. So this idea getting a scope will be like getting an more powerful lens but at low cost and I will have the phone to take photos with the feature of a phone port attachment. I am not sure if it will pan out but we shall see.

I have been looking at the many species they have on iNaturalist and have consulted many of the my field guides that are US wide. I don't have many but when I don't have certain resources in book form there is always the internet. I have downloaded and printed out some species lists for birds. I have even found some other lists of mammals other bigger creatures. I am still gathering some last minute things and getting some good stuff around the National Wildlife pages and even state park lists. I have also found some places to go besides what is already on our possible itinerary. However, when I get down there I am going to treat it like it was an City Nature Challenge. Any bit of wildlife I can find will get a photo made of it. I have been itching to get out this far. I am going to combine some different techniques I have done on some of the other vacations I have done with my family.

For one: Rest stops seem to be a good place to be good for moths, spiders, birds, and other things. I have to stretch my legs a lot. We will be on the road for a long while. We don't fly; the way I see it if you fly you will miss things along the way. So this will be a good way to explore and to boost the lists of places that don't get much press at all. I also take photos of things on powerlines too. This comes from my adventures going to Colorado and going through New Mexico.

Two: We will be going to the beach at one point. I have learned of some things that are pretty cool that I have not seen before. If I can get some of the areas I will be able to find some different bits of sea life. I will have a shovel and bucket and look under the surface for shells and even look in the seaweeds and take photos of what is in there. I have been planning this out since the trip was thought of. So this will be a form of beach aquatics which I don't get to do that much. Now I will be doing this during our winter trips to the coast but this will be a good time to test this out. I am not going to let any shells or anything get out from under my nose.

Three: Now we will be having some things like we did in Missouri when we went to Branson. Disney World will be on the list since all of us want to do that. The Georgia Aquarium too is on the list and there is a museum in Florida we will be doing so these will be what I call the sticky spots but unlike Missouri I will be sure to get more than 88 observations for the whole time I am there. Still these will be good to explore and add to the urban wildlife counts which is what I am wanting to do with the rest of what I am doing on this trek.

I will not be bringing any books with me. I will be trying to pack as light as possible. I have one back pack ready to go, I have my camera back and I will have my hiking stick and my bucket and trowel too. I will even have the basic stuff I use all the time. I will have my net but I don't know how much beat sheet stuff I will do for this trek. I may do a bit but I am not too sure. Still this will be good all around.

I am not sure how many species I will get but from what I have been seeing and what I have been told there is a lot. I am so glad I am getting this opportunity to go and explore. This is another big jump for me. I have been as far west as Arizona and as far north as Colorado and those are some pretty big stretches; this will be the farthest east I have been in all the time I have done iNaturalist so this is another big hurdle for me. I am even training a bit just like I would for the City Nature Challenge or the smaller BioBlitzes I have done. Like I said Missouri was a little bit of hit and miss but after the City Nature Challenge numbers I collected and with the summer coming to its peak I am going to be in full observation mode. Call me ambitious but that is just the kind of person I am. I am so close to 16,000 observations and if I can come back with a hefty number of species and a good experience that just adds to the data count and more stories to tell and more wildlife to speak up for. This is the life I live for now and it has helped me gain an understanding of where I stand the relationships we all have with nature. INatting has become a big part of my life and every chance I get to do something like this or even just get to use it I do not waste time getting in some observations. You can just call me obsessed with it.

Posted on 07 July, 2021 04:17 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 June, 2021

Odolympics prep and thoughts

I am so excited for this year's Odoympics Citizen Science project run. I have been at the BioBlitz thing for a long time. I have done at some of the local parks and have been a huge participant in the City Nature Challenge in the DFW area since we began it back in 2017. What can I say I love the BioBlitz life. It is vital and very important to understand the ecology of small areas and even the big picture. However I have not just done a BioBlitz on one type of thing. Sure I have done the annual Pollinator BioBlitz however that has quite a range. With this one it is looking for Dragonflies and a lot of them. I have seen quite a few this year so far. However I have to say I think there has been a kind of decline in numbers. That may just be me and maybe only in some areas. I went to a few ponds to get some what of a warmup going however some areas don't have that many species but it is not peak season for many yet. I am going to give it as much gas as I can on this one. I will be doing some camps when this is going on but I will be able to keep it up as the week goes on and even on the weekend. I have been trying to find a bunch of different ones this year so far. This will be very interesting. I have been a major Ode fan for a while now. It was when I was with @brentano and @sambiology that day at Oliver Nature Park that I started to really get into them. After a while I have been on a few guided dragonfly hikes with them but mostly when I am on my solo adventures or with my family on vacation I try to find as many as I can. I love Dragonflies and Damselflies. When it comes to insects my biggest loves are Odes, Lepidoptera (both butterflies and moths), I also like Beetles, Planthoppers, tree, and leafhoppers are really growing on me. I love a lot of insects though. This Odolympics thing will be very interesting to participate in. I mean when there is a BioBlitz that I can make I will do it. I mean Citizen Science should be regarded as a civic duty that should be taken more seriously by some folks. I mean don't over do it but yes citizen science is the best way to help our in lab/ field scientists when they are in a jam and can't get out and about. It is also good as a bit of extra education and even public service. I don't know that is just me. Call me an idealist in some cases. I mean I have been totally involved with citizen science and I love it. I mean it may not be the most important thing on many people's scopes but with me it is a way to learn about the local ecology and to see how science is done in the field and how it plays out in real time. I also like how you connect with those around you. It is all about community and how we share our connections with nature.

With the snow storm that hit Texas in mind that has been the question on my mind; what has been hit badly and what has not??? I have seen some odd trends. I have seen a lot less dragonflies in some areas and I am not saying that declines are state wide but there are areas that have seen their own declines in population. I have seen a rise in some species and in some groups. Leafhoppers and things have been quite the common thing even the weevils have been out and about. Some things since their season is not yet peaked it is not certain if some species have been having it rough or not. In Texas I have seen very few dragonflies. However I did take a day trip to the Broken Bow area and got some really interesting dragons and damsels around. I also went out to Gus Engling early on and got some that I normally see way later. So with this said one of my biggest things I will be looking at are the trends not only of the groups as a whole but which species are more plentiful and which ones are not. I am planning to go to Georgia and Florida and this could be a good thing to look back in the data record and see what had been seen the most of. I always make it a point before on any of my trips or outings to check local, state, or national park data and see what things are the most common and so on. Going out to the swamplands of North America is something I have always wanted to do with my iNatting. I went when I was a kid but I was not doing this so it was kind of a bummer not to have photographic records of things. So most of the trips I take if I have been around are just to pick up the pieces and rekindle that memory and see how it has changed as well as trying to find things I have seen before.

This will be good for in some areas there is very little data in some states so this will give people a chance to pitch in and put some more observations in- in mass. That is another cool thing that I like about BioBlitzes when we do them we get things in big batches and this helps a lot. When one person is out doing a solo mission it can be hard to get a ton of data but the more eyes you have and the more images others take the more the big picture becomes clear. I know I am preaching to choir on this but I like to put all my ideas down to kind of get my thought process together and to understand what the mission is and to remind myself why we do these and what doing it means for our planet and our mission in natural understanding and conservation. I will be doing my part and I will be on the look out. I will be doing some camps with kids at River Legacy however I will be outside and lot and when we are looking for wildlife you can bet I will be looking for odes. Even after my shifts I will be going out and looking around. I am just a BioBlitz loving freak and that is the way I prefer it. Being a freak of nature just makes us awesome. Being a bit weird and mad and obsessive about things are just a few side effects of being awesomely nerdy. This will be most interesting. This is going to be neat. Now don't get me wrong I will take pictures of all I get but more focus on the Odonata species. This shall be most interesting.

Posted on 17 June, 2021 09:36 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 comment | Leave a comment

15 June, 2021

More summer updates

Getting around and about a bit more. Went to two state parks in Texas earlier this month. I also been to some new areas in Oklahoma this past weekend. It is quite funny that this year my spring was looking a bit more shoddy in terms of observations and numbers. It was not a very solid spring since school was being a bit more tense than usual since the Covid-19 pandemic. However summer so far has been singing a different tune. This year I have been out a lot but the days I observe have had bigger numbers in some cases. I have have a few less observations days but it is starting to ramp up once more. I do fluctuate as each year goes on but this year and last year have shown to be the ones that show the most interesting trends.

So far I have been trying to plan for our Georgia and Florida trip and I think that we maybe hitting more of the wildlife areas than we had originally planned. I am going to be so happy when we go. I don't know by we maybe going after my birthday which will be fine by me. I have a few things on my list and one of those things is a birding scope. I may have posted that before but so much has gone on I can't remember. I am glad I didn't recycle my old phone. I still have it even though the internet does not work and it doesn't have much to it. However that is perfect just in case I do wind up getting the scope. The one I am looking at has a phone holder and will essentially act as a third camera. Alas my lament grows more and more; my Nikon Coolpix L830 will unfortunately not be able to repaired by Nikon. It was going to be around 170$ or so to repair it but they didn't have the parts. So I am down a camera but I will see what my birthday week holds for me.

I am looking into some of the museums one of which is the Florida Museum of Natural History. That was a place recommended to me by a friend. I love what I am seeing with their nature trails, special exhibits and even their butterfly house and insects exhibits. Georgia Aquarium is also on the list and the Okefenokie Swamp. I have a few other places like some State parks. Don't know how many we will get to but we will also be looking around to go going to one of the beaches around Pensacola. I am so pumped. I mean I am still trying to think of all the gear I want to bring along with me. I will not pack that much but I am planning on looking at some more shells and look at some of the seaweed. I watched at Texas Parks and Wildlife episode on coastal birding and I found out that our seaweed has nudibranchs on it which are native which the birds eat. So I will be looking for some of them. This trip will be most interesting.

I am also doing three weeks of Summer kids camps. So I am very, very, very busy with getting things together. I am looking forward to all the fun stuff this summer. It has taken me a while to get some more volunteer stuff ramped up but that is the way it is for me right now. I am also going to be doing my part in the Odolympics I have read about on Odonata central. Beat you to it @sambiology I read about that before I saw your presentation. By the way great stuff. Learned a few new things. That part on wing structure was one of the coolest bits on the video.

Posted on 15 June, 2021 04:53 by galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man | 1 comment | Leave a comment