Journal archives for July 2015

01 July, 2015

Big month of June -- we aren't alone! :)

June! My big month! With all the rains of May here in Texas, I foresaw that we'd have a nice green June, so I took advantage of this and went out iNaturalisting… a lot. Again, forgive me for spamming up your dashboard with lots of plants and bugs. I saw some cool stuff this month!

I set my personal goal to observe as many different species as I could in this one month. I ended up seeing around 500 species in about 1000 observations. Of this 500, about 300 were plant species, 130 were bugs (47 dragonflies and damselflies!), and about 40 bird species. If you do want to see the fun list, here it is:

So, what did I learn? Well, again, this is a reason that I’m soooo bonkers about iNaturalist… We share this planet with lots of different organisms. We interact with lots of different organisms each day – if just with our eyes. I tried to intentionally notice as many different species as I could. I documented as many as possible (although, I do restrict myself with plants – I try to only observe/document plants that have reproductive structures like flowers or fruits) where ever I went. I tried to find some new spots that I hadn’t been before too! I didn’t travel too too far around TX this month, but I still spotted quite a few critters and plants in a small area.

I documented a lot of super common species and several of these are non-native, invasive species. It's still very important to document all of the common species. We interact with these common ones quite a bit. Even the non-native, invasive species are important to document – they share the planet with us too. :)

I encourage everyone to go out and observe even the common species. Get to know your neighbors! :)

Posted on 01 July, 2015 16:04 by sambiology sambiology | 21 observations | 9 comments | Leave a comment

13 July, 2015

Common names... Oh so many for some, yet for some so few...

So, I've talked to several folks about common names and scientific names. It's a funny thing -- people get bent out of shape about one or the other. It's really nothing to get one's panties in a wad about. :) The organisms don't care what we call them!

However, names of things are the first part of our understanding/appreciation of them. After all, "The first step in wisdom is to know the things themselves" (Carolus Linnaeus)...

So, I like to learn as many different names as possible for the organisms. I also like to attach common names to organisms too. Even if it's just a rough translation of the scientific name, I think that's ok. As I communicate with the public, I try to use as many names as I can remember -- "Texas bluebonnet, Texas lupine, or Lupinus texensis."

With iNat, there's one default common name, but there can be multiple common names used (and available for searching). Just look at all of the names for purslane/Portulaca oleracea:

I do like attaching a common name to as many of the species that I observe though. I try my best to remember the scientific names, but many times, I can at least remember a common name.

So, which is better? Well, common names and scientific names both have great uses. Common names are of great use to the general public (the public that should be able to appreciate the organisms without twisting their tongues), and scientific names are of great use to folks that want to understand the organisms' relationships with other organisms.

Both are good to know! :) It's ok to prefer one over the other, but I do hope all can recognize the importance of both based on the audiences. After all, when it comes to nature, all audiences are important!

What do you think?

Posted on 13 July, 2015 21:24 by sambiology sambiology | 14 comments | Leave a comment

15 July, 2015

Moth Mania! Friday night from 8:00 - 9:30 PM (although, it will likely last longer)

What do you know about moths? Did you know that there is tremendous diversity of moths here in North Central Texas? Well, hopefully we will observe a lot of these moths at this free Moth Mania program at Oliver Nature Park! The official time is 8:00 - 9:30 PM, but I do predict it will last longer. It will be a come and go sort of thing too.

We will have several light traps set up to lure the moths in. Dr. Chuck Sexton (gcwarbler here on iNaturalist) will be coming up from Austin to teach us some other interesting facts about moths.

Water and snacks (and bug spray!) will be provided. Hope you can make it! Questions or concerns? Contact Sam Kieschnick (

Posted on 15 July, 2015 20:44 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 July, 2015

Cool article about squeaking caterpillar -- and photo from iNat! :)

Every now and then, I 'google' my name -- you should too! It's interesting to see what the internet knows about you... Anyways, I came across this article solely because they used a shot of mine from iNat!

If only I would have known that they squeak, I would have had a lot more fun showing this caterpillar to kiddos. :)

P.s. I LOVE that they used a photo of mine -- I'm quite honored. I want any of my photo/observations to be used by anyone at any time. Credit or not, I want this info to be used and shared. I was lucky that they credited the site and name, just so that I could find it. :)

Posted on 17 July, 2015 01:10 by sambiology sambiology | 3 comments | Leave a comment

29 July, 2015

Trip to Costa Rica in November... Any suggestions?

Hey iNat friends and community,

So, my wife and I want to go to Costa Rica in the middle of November (our anniversary)... How many of you have been? Did you go through an agency? Did you get a package deal? Housing? Vehicle?

Would LOVE to hear of some of your travel experiences -- it'd be my first time to do this sort of thing, and I sure could use some advice of what to do...or not to do. :)

Posted on 29 July, 2015 01:51 by sambiology sambiology | 6 comments | Leave a comment