*NEW*Daily Post - Well, Maybe Not Daily, LOL!

Reading several iNat's observer posts got me to thinking. Some of you have nearly daily - or weekly posts of your daily excursions into the natural world, be it your back yard, your vacation of a lifetime, or the great outdoors you are fortunate to have nearby. You do that because a good naturalist keeps a diary - a journal - of what he or she sees. Some of the journal entries are long and elaborate giving details and circumstance of what is seen, felt, experienced like a good writer such as Peter Matthiessen, Diane Fosse, or say George Schaller or Edward O. Wilson would write. Never mind the classic authors like oh, say Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace, or Marston Bates. Be sure to throw in Roy Chapman Andrews as well, and many others like Rachael Carson (The Sea Around Us, Silent Spring). Anyway, you get my drift. To me one of the things I like about the specimen collecting most of us do here on iNat is we always get our prey...er, subject...er, specimen. And unlike collectors and 'naturalists' of the past, we don't have to get our image after blasting our quarry out of the sky, or the forest or the prairie or swamp or what have you. We just go 'click' and we've got our prize.

And just like back there in real science academies and halls of learning,, our image becomes our specimen, becomes a sample laying dormant in our collections that first number a few, then grow into the thousands in no time. Now our observations go into a body of work of both our own and into an 'academy' of like examples that now make up the iNaturalist data base, a museum, if you will. Of course, our observations are labeled, dated and located geographically with the aid of smart cameras, computers and software, but the result is just as if a specimen was found, identified and catalogued by a scientist in the field many years ago. From there, here on iNat, your observation is seen, IDed - or not, your ID is approved - or not and your object is included with others who have identical identifications elsewhere - or not. And that is usually the end of it, isn't it?

Well, if you ask me - and you aren't, I know - that all seems a bit too much like the old days where specimen were collected by gunshot, mostly, skinned, tagged, stuffed and delivered to a museum or warehouse somewhere where other scientists could compare their specimen. And so on. But often what is missing in collecting these specimen is the natural background of their existence. What are these specimen doing at the time you observed them. What were they doing? Why? What was the outcome if they were seen in imperiled situations? Wasn't there more to the story than we're seeing besides the sheer volume of images we're producing?

So as I have seen some of you have already done, I would like to see more journal work done by us all, starting with me. Tell us about your most notable weekly outing, experience or specimen and give us real context.

With that, I'm off for another look at LBJ National Historical Park Settlement to see what I can see today. I'll tell you more about what - if anything - I find. Of course, there is always hundreds of specimen right at your feet every day, right?

Now let me give credit where credit is due: I owe three people for this project: amzapp, ellen5, and mikaelb. There are many more of you, I assure you, as well. So thanks to you all:-)

Day 1, November 13, 2018

I walked out to the LBJ National Historical Park today expecting to see not much in the way of insects, plants or flowers due to the extreme Arctic Cold Front blowing in from the High Plains yesterday. Temperatures for this area was predicted to be 29°F. That prediction was way off, fortunately, and I shot photos of butterflies, bees and other insects and a few plants and flowers primarily of Cowpens Daisy. Reptiles were a no show and I thought birds were following suit, but was wrong. While not getting shots of many, the first bird I saw was a Sparrow Hawk soaring in the clearing blue skies that had produced about a half inch of rain for the area. Nevertheless, I was totally wrong about birds. As I worked along the old pioneer rock corral I spooked a Mourning Dove that flew up nearly underfoot. Later walking a fence line I had followed many times previously along a gravel road, a small bird shot into a clump of Cowpens scarcely ten feet in front of me. Still, I could never find it in the foliage. Tough luck. Just then my luck changed.

I walked out into the dirt road boarding the pasture I had been reconnoitering for a few months and was presented with small birds perched in Mesquite trees along the riparian dry creek a few yards parallel to the road. I slowly stalked towards the birds and was able to close a dozen steps thanks to the windy day to get a closer shot. Then my camera's battery failed and I could only stop and look as birds crept close to me and gave me great profile, dorsal and ventral shots I could not record. Most, if not all of these birds were Warblers, but with my vision and their mute colors I could not ascertain their species. I don't think they cared. What I noticed was the twinkle in their eyes, glad to be alive. Turned out the birds were a mix of Sparrows, Bluebirds and Warblers, as my observations show. At any rate, that was the highlight of my walk and I'll just have to see where I go and what I see...tomorrow. Observations will be added as needed.

Just a note to say I have hit up against reality and there will be no way I make a daily report of my observations. There is just not enough time in the day, so I hope I'll at least from time to time, be able to describe important experiences. But here is my alternative to writing up each day's highlights: Video. Yes, that's right, video. As it turns out, I have been posting short video clips I've been shooting hand held of various critters that allow me the time of day to record a significant event, be it a call, a song, or some activity that we know happens all the time out here in Nature, but don't actually see it ourselves or pay any attention when it happens. Hence, I am adding these amateur video clips to my Flickr page which you can access here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/ And of course, they relate to an observation for x species and I also have the link on the observation page. I think just from the volume I see on the video that many are finding their way to the videos and I hope that enhances everyone's appreciation for what is happening out there in the 'real' world. I know most of you have similar experiences and would encourage you to follow suit.

Happy viewing.

Lähettänyt billarbon billarbon, 13. marraskuuta 2018 16:17

Havainnot

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Amerikanpelikaani Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Lokakuu 11, 2018 10:30 AM CDT

Kuvaus

Fall migration definitely underway. White Pelicans flying south on the North wind riding thermals as the temps heat up this morning. As seen on flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/43437193360/in/dateposted-public/

To me they really look like Pteranodons more than other birds which don't. Oh, wait, maybe Man O'War, the pelagic fish eater do, but aren't they also related to Pelicans? As a matter of fact, yes, Man O' War is a Pelecaniforme. These days this Fregatidae is better known as the Magnificent Frigatebird. Birds and Pterosaurs are not related as you know.

https://www.beautyofbirds.com/magnificentfrigatebirds.html

Pteranodon information here:

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/pterosauria.html

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Amerikanvarpushaukka Accipiter striatus

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Lokakuu 21, 2018 12:51 PM CDT

Kuvaus

Back again the next day with another kill. This one I did not see take place. She allowed me to photograph her while she ate. Later she moved lower in the tree allowing a closer look after she finished her meal.

See videos of this bird here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/43742198140/in/dateposted-public/

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Amerikanvarpushaukka Accipiter striatus

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Lokakuu 25, 2018 06:09 PM CDT

Kuvaus

She's back! And secured another meal without a whimper. This bird has been visiting our place downtown for a year now. She behaved this way last year but often missed grabbing herself a meal from the Sparrows that roost in our Loquats in the evening. She seems to be so apt at capturing her prey, scarcely a day goes by without me seeing the results. Pardon the poor quality photo, but it's off the video.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17790909

Please see the following video on my flickr page.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/43742198140/in/dateposted-public/

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Marraskuu 13, 2018 12:29 PM CST

Kuvaus

Mature grasses after a rainy fall
See video here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/44082627850/in/dateposted-public/

Visit here for more information:

http://www.lbjcountry.net/jcpage.htm

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Marraskuu 15, 2018 11:25 AM CST

Kuvaus

My No 400th species count for Blanco County? Stay tuned for video on flickr.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Hevonen Equus caballus

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Joulukuu 2, 2018 01:48 PM CST

Kuvaus

Feeling his oats!

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Iso-Orava Sciurus niger

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Joulukuu 10, 2018 02:27 PM CST

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Kyyhkyhaukka Accipiter cooperii

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Joulukuu 16, 2018 05:57 PM CST

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Keltaperäkerttuli Setophaga coronata

Havainnoija

billarbon

Päivämäärä

Joulukuu 23, 2018 05:42 PM CST

Kuvaus

Warbler invasion this afternoon. While doing outdoor chores noticed an invasion of Warblers in the lot. The birds - several in number including other species - flew into a blooming Loquat Tree. The Warblers were hunting insects and several came out of the tree with various butterfly species in their beaks. There were two waves of invaders in my presence. The invaders greatly agitated the White-winged Doves that roost in the tree. The photos are of the last foray into the flowering Loquat Trees. See related video here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151313979@N08/45729379864/in/dateposted-public/

Last photo shows blooming Loquat which can continue blooming after light freeze.

Kommentit

I'm honored to be thought of in relation to your journaling project, thanks! Alas I think of things to write while I'm in the field far more often than I actually write them. But I do make myself post highlights from group walks that I lead, and sometimes I write about solo outings. (I've been blogging about birding and nature observation in my NW Austin neighborhood since before iNat was around here: https://birdingonbroadmeade.blogspot.com)

You eloquently describe some ideas about iNat that @sambiology promotes. And your post makes me think about how our iNat contributions might have just as much if not more positive effect socially as scientifically. Sharing more detail, and our emotional experiences, while observing nature could have more potential to promote interest in nature than just our observational data does.

Alas, the iNat journaling feature is primitive. Adding observations to a journal entry is difficult if you have many, or if the observations are not your most recent. And we've lost a feature I really appreciated. It used to be that when an observation was attached to a journal entry, there was a link to that journal entry on the observation's page. No more, and I don't know why. It seemed like a great way of discovering relevant journal entries when browsing observations.

Thanks again, Bill. I look forward to reading your journal!

Lähettänyt mikaelb melkein 3 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

@mikaelb. Here's how I've modified my post to better reflect the reality of my ability to write up highlights of my daily journeys into nature. I'm going all in for video. Most still cameras have this capability these days and it is silly not to push the envelope of the technical advantages of our equipment these days. And all always, each new iteration of camera confronts us with hard choices of how much better our photos or observations would be if only I had...such and such brand and model = how quickly our equipment becomes outdated, LOL! BTW, your journal is still the inspiration for this.

Oh, and as far as the feature you mention being lost. I guess those of us who never had it don't miss it, but there is no doubt that the journal feature should be easy to use and more of us should use it. It's the one place you can expound upon your experience and give depth to a place or natural moment second to none.

Lähettänyt billarbon melkein 3 vuotta sitten (Lippu)

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