Take the ID plunge!

Dear San Mateo County Naturalists -

I've been doing some intensive ID work lately, inspired by doing more ID work during the City Nature Challenge. However, I have severe limitations. Take for instance, "Plants." I only know a few for which I feel confident making an ID. Or "Fish" or tidal creatures.


First, the good news - we are ahead of most projects, with over 60% of our sightings taken to research grade. Only 33% remain in need of more specific IDs. That's rather exceptional for a project this vast.

Second, more good news - it is easy to search through the project for either all entries in need of identification, or by specific species. Here's how.

  1. On the home page for the project ( https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/san-mateo-county-bio-blitz ), click on "observations"
  2. Once you've done that, just below the number of observations you will find five little boxes. One of them says "Identify" - that's your ticket - click it!
    3, This takes you to an "Identify" page that automatically brings up all the observations in this project in need of identification (other than your own). However, you can narrow this using the two empty rectangles at the top - "Species" and "Place". I will daily put "Birds" in the species box, for instance - that will bring all Bird observations in need of IDing to me. If you are an expert in the plants at Edgewood, put in "Plants" and "Edgewood County Park". You can get even more detailed using the Filters link - I can look for @leslie_flint observations of insects at Edgewood Park over the last three years, to check on her gall sightings! Amazing stuff that the intertubes bring to us!

  3. While it does not take an entry to research grade, anything that helps to gain more specificity is great. So if someone described their entry as "Plants" but you known it is a "DIcot" - that's helpful. If the observer said "Fungi" but you know it would fit under "Common Lichens" (Lecanoromycetes) do that. Any refinement helps guide entries to better specialists (I check Lecanoromycetes, but I don't check all of Fungi, for example).

Third, the less good news -
At the bottom of the general identification page, you can see how many pages remain of observations to be identified for the project. Every page contains 30 entries. We currently have over 4000 pages of observations in need of identification!

Fourth, the bright side - If we make a push now, in 2021, to clean this up, we will put the project on a strong footing moving forward, especially as more of us become familiar with how to do these identifications. All of us, at some point in life, even post-COVID, will have times when boredom, or physical illness, mobility limitation, etc., will keep us indoors or laid up. What better to do than continue contributing to the scientific record!

Thanks for listening - remember, it's not your ego that concerns me - it is your ID!

Posted on 18 May, 2021 17:49 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon


BTW, I really REALLY need help with the tidepool critters and mollusks in general. I mean, I can't even keep the Tegula straight in my own head! No obligation, but calling on a few knowledgeable friends here - @dpom @mhannibal @kestrel @rebeccafay @susanhewitt

Posted by gyrrlfalcon almost 3 years ago

Give me an URL, and I will see what I can do.

Posted by susanhewitt almost 3 years ago

See if this works - I set up the filters for Mollusks in need of identification - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Mollusca&project_id=san-mateo-county-bio-blitz

Posted by gyrrlfalcon almost 3 years ago

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