10. lokakuuta 2022

Results of walk at Sulphur River WMA

I concentrated on finding plants and pollinators yesterday. I walked a bit near the boat ramp on Long Slough, and after lunch walked along a pipeline clearing on the other side of the river. I recorded a total of 87 species:

45 plants
34 insects
2 mushrooms
2 spiders
1 snail
1 reptile
1 bird
1 mammal

A lot of these included county records for Miller County and one state record. I used the iNat and GBIF data as a reference. Since most of Arkansas is poorly documented, I expect to keep finding more records on future visits.

County Records:

Walnut Sphinx
Boneset Stem Midge
Catchfly Grass
Round-leaved Boneset
Variegated Meadowhawk
Southern Paper Wasp
Two-striped Grasshopper
Trichopoda lanipes, a fly
Scaly Bee Fly
Isodontia philadelphica, a wasp
Red-banded stinkbug
Chinese Mystery Snail (!!!)
Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar Moth
Orange-tufted Oneida Moth

State Record:

Southern Paper Wasp. This one has been documented in surrounding states, so I'm not surprised to find it in Arkansas.

Other interesting notes

---The only previous county record for Swamp Beggarticks is a museum specimen from 1894.
---One species found listed as Critical---Cooper's Hawk

Lähetetty 10. lokakuuta 2022 02:44 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 havaintoa | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

4. syyskuuta 2022

iNat White Oak, and another park with zero observations!

I was working on mapping the vegetation in Longview's Cargill Long Park but quit. I was harassed by a drug addict who became angry and aggressive when I told him that I don't have any drugs; I'm just here to watch birds. This guy came across as very creepy and unstable. Usually there are several other walkers and bicyclists on the trail, but that day I was alone. I don't feel safe going there right now, especially alone, since I've seen him there before and I believe that he's camping out in the woods there.


I heard that the White Oak City Park has a nice hiking and biking trail, so I went Friday after work. I didn't have much time, so I walked along the creek and looked for the trail. I was hoping to find new plants and critters for the Gregg County pokedex, and I was rewarded with finding a Seepage Dancer, which turned out to be a county record! I spotted some plants I haven't found in the county yet, but didn't have time to photograph them. Plus, the mosquitoes were terrible and I forgot my bug spray.

I went again this morning, focusing on the creek again. I walked the trail all the way to a wooded area, then went home because the humidity was terrible. The trail is 2.2 miles and isn't well marked, so I'll tell you how to get there. Park in the parking lot near the splash pad, at the intersection of Parkway and Magnolia. You will see a metal bridge going across the creek. Walk across the bridge and go to the left. You will see orange arrows spray painted in the grass. Follow the arrows.

In other news, I found another northeast Texas park with zero observations! I was looking for new parks on Google Maps and found Thomas Lake Park in Cass County near Wright Patman Lake. It's a free park ran by the federal government. I looked on iNat and it has zero observations! https://www.inaturalist.org/places/thomas-lake-park

I'll try to go after coming back from Tennessee.

Lähetetty 4. syyskuuta 2022 03:49 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 havaintoa | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

31. elokuuta 2022

iNat Memphis!

Next weekend, I am going with two of my cousins to see a Backstreet Boys concert in Memphis, TN. I hope to spend a bit of time at Shelby Farms Park while I'm there. https://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/about I looked at the park checklist and noticed that most of the observations are of birds and bugs, but there aren't many of trees and flowers, so I'm going to focus on plant observations.

Oh, I promise to get an observation photo of the Backstreet Boys. ;p

Lähetetty 31. elokuuta 2022 22:35 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

20. elokuuta 2022

Northeast Texas Trail Update

The Northeast Texas Trail has received an $18 million grant from USDOT to aid in completion. https://theparisnews.com/free/article_5d94490e-1f08-11ed-bf6e-4f1067aeeca2.html?fbclid=IwAR3yEr1L9h15dGXjTYsW9NWZbPk4gWJ-c4sQtzw6sXdQltbkJA3tz7y1wXc

The NETT is 130 miles long and stretches from New Boston to Farmersville. There is a possibility that this could become a state park. See last paragraph in the article.

Lähetetty 20. elokuuta 2022 23:40 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

9. heinäkuuta 2022

SW Arkansas Bioblitz!

On Saturday, October 8th I will hold a bioblitz at the Sulphur River WMA and the adjoining Alex Smith County Park in Miller County, AR. This area borders both Texas and Louisiana.

Map of the WMA: https://www.agfc.com/en/zone-map/770/

Alex Smith Park: https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Smith-Park-Miller-County-Arkansas-104580878637542/

The WMA is ten miles long but has few trails, so it is very rugged. We will use Alex Smith County Park as our base of operations, since this park has showers, bathrooms, picnic tables, and a campground.

I plan to have everyone meet at the Sulphur River boat ramp in Alex Smith at about 8 am. We will gather for lunch at noon. Bring anything you would like to share with others, such as paper plates or drinks. I am going to see about getting permission to do some blacklighting.

Directions to the boat ramp: At the intersection of Blackman Ferry Road/Hwy 237 and Smith Park Road, you will see a sign for the county park. Go straight down Smith Park Road until it makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Keep going and you will see the boat ramp.

Feel free to tag anyone who may be interested!


Access to Arkansas WMAs and state parks is free! The state uses part of the sales tax to fund the parks, and the state figures that since you're already paying for them every time you buy something, admission is free.

Alcohol in the WMA is not allowed.

You can either camp in Alex Smith Park or stay in a hotel in nearby Atlanta, TX.

@jim_keesling @gcsnelling @thebirdnerd @theo_witsell @little_metal_weirdo @moondevg @artemesia @arbutterflynut @eric_hunt @hmcook @jrichardabbott @cherrielee @jenogle @mfria631 @mayfly1963 @tallpaultheforester @sedgehead @jhousephotos @kaptainkory @royaltyler @sambiology @lauramorganclark @phototime @annikaml @jasonpike1980 @connlindajo

Lähetetty 9. heinäkuuta 2022 23:59 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 13 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

15. maaliskuuta 2022

iNat Walk in Kilgore April 9th

In preparation for the City Nature Challenge, the East Texas Master Naturalist Chapter will be doing a series of practice walks to teach the public how to use the iNat app. I will be doing one in Kilgore on April 9th at 9am. We will be meeting in the parking lot of Creekside Trail.

Directions: In Kilgore, on S. Henderson Blvd, on the south end of Kilgore College, turn on Dudley Road. The trail is just past the golf course on the left. There is no roadside sign, so it's easy to miss if you're not paying attention. If you get to the gas station, you've gone too far.


Lähetetty 15. maaliskuuta 2022 02:07 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

1. helmikuuta 2022

The Park with Zero Observations

In my last entry, I talked about my plans to iNat the Sulphur River WMA on the Tx/Ar border. AGFC (Arkansas Game & Fish Commission) sent me a .kml of Sulphur River WMA so I could make it a place and generate a checklist. I uploaded the file today and the park has zero observations!


The ArkLaTex region has a tiny number of regular contributors, and the Arkansas portion gets the least attention, so I've been trying to encourage people to come out here and make observations. We have a lot of empty spaces on the iNat map. If you can, come out the Sulphur River WMA and post something, even if it's just a pine tree or a blue jay. Let's fill up those empty spaces!

Lähetetty 1. helmikuuta 2022 01:26 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

31. tammikuuta 2022

Alex Smith County Park on the TX/AR Border

I find a lot of new places to explore by looking on Google maps, and I recently found Alex Smith County Park in Miller County, AR. https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Smith-County-Park-273743109956783/

It's about an hour and ten minutes from where I live in Longview, TX, and a few minutes outside of Atlanta, TX. I went mostly to check out the fishing lake and the hiking trails. Unfortunately, the lake was too shallow for fishing, but a park visitor told me that it's usually much deeper; the area is going through a dry spell. The man introduced himself as Gary and told me that the land surrounding the park is public land that stretches for miles. I asked, "Oh, is it a park? What's it called?" He said he didn't know.

I looked it up when I got home and it's the Sulphur River WMA. https://www.agfc.com/en/zone-map/770/

If you look on that map for a road named Smith Park Access, that little square cut out is Alex Smith Park. Gary told me that are very few trails in there (the WMA), but the trees are wide apart, so hiking is easy. He also said that the county has been trying hard to attract visitors to Smith Park, and just opened showers and restrooms for campers, so...you know what to do. Go iNat it!

I want spend some time this year at Smith Park and the adjoining WMA since it's not far. The WMA will be a challenge to iNat because of the lack of trails; I'll be tromping through the woods with my GPS and map.

There is another WMA a few miles from that location---LaFayette County WMA. https://www.agfc.com/en/zone-map/722/
I'm going to try visiting that one, too.

Edit 01-31-2022

The people at the AGFC were kind enough to send me a .kml file of Sulphur River WMA so I can generate a checklist. Aweseome!

Lähetetty 31. tammikuuta 2022 04:24 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 1 havainto | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

11. tammikuuta 2022

A Mosquito Book

The last time I went to the city library, I found a copy of Mosquitoes of the Southeast. http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/Mosquitoes-of-the-Southeastern-United-States,7164.aspx

I looked through the book and it seemed easy to use because the keys are illustrated, which helps with confusing technical language. I thought, I could borrow this book when the mosquitoes come back and try identifying some. I read online about mosquito sampling methods and the preferred one is to use yourself or a volunteer as human bait, which I'm not willing to do. My body likes to overreact to bug bites. I decided that I'll get a mosquito trap, hang it up overnight, and identify them the next morning.

Lähetetty 11. tammikuuta 2022 02:08 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

25. joulukuuta 2021

A very fungal Christmas for me. ;p

When you begin to study mycology, you quickly realize that you need a microscope to work through the keys, which will ask you to check for you to check for things like the shape of the spores. For Christmas, I bought myself a couple of cheap used microscopes from eBay---a dissecting or stereo microscope, useful for examining large things like beetles, seeds, and lichens, and a compound microscope for examining fungal spores.

I got the stereo microscope in yesterday and have used it to look at beetles and lichens. Those lichen keys are easy to work through once you've got the right equipment. I don't know when the other one will come in. It's currently sitting in a post office in Mumbai, according to the tracker.

To examine fungal spores, not any microscope will work. You need one with a x1000 oil immersion lens. This page explains how to use it to look at mushroom spores: https://www.mushroomexpert.com/microscope.html

Lähetetty 25. joulukuuta 2021 03:54 käyttäjältä cosmiccat cosmiccat | 2 havaintoa | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti