5 days, Stonewall West 14PA15 and capturing your first 30 observations

Stonewall West 14PA15 is located in the RM of Rockwood. The town of Stonewall lies on its eastern boundary. The square is underlain by the Gunton escarpment raising it above the surrounding areas. The Prime Meridian Trail runs along an abandoned rail line near its western boundary. Agriculture dominates the land use in this square.

At the time of posting, 125 observations had been uploaded by 23 observers led by @friesen5000 . 77 species have been observed including 43 insect species. The most frequently observed - species is the Painted Lady with 6 observations. The survey for the Breeding Bird Atlas of Manitoba confirmed 19 bird species nesting here, with another 65 species probable or possible. Here's the full list.

The City Nature Challenge event is an introduction to the iNaturalist community for some participants. It is my hope that many of you will find that iNaturalist becomes a useful tool in your field kit. There is a little bit of a learning curve involved so I very much encourage those of you who have posted fewer than 30 observations to go ahead and do that today - the sun is shining and the wind has dropped - it is a great day to get outside.

The first step is to find living organisms. You could start with your dog or your houseplant or the apple tree in your yard. If you do, please remember to check the the captive cultivated flag when you upload the observation. Most of the things you will likely observe in this exercise are hidden in plain sight. To find them you need to slow down and observe closely.

I suggest that you start by locating a mature tree - bonus points if it is a native species like an oak . For most trees, identifiers need about three images - one of the entire tree, one of the branches and trunk and one of the leaves. Now today only evergreens have their leaves on the branches so if you have chosen a deciduous tree, look on the ground underneath for last years leaves and any seeds.

After building your observation of the tree itself, I expect that you will likely find other living organisms to observe on the tree. Mosses and lichens can be found on the bark of most trees in our region - and usually there is more than one species of lichen to be found. Identifiers of these like to have an image showing where the organism is growing, another of the whole form of the organisms and super closeups of the little structures - the bumps and fringy things.

Next on your checklist are the fungi. Some species grow out of the trunk of the tree like shelf brackets. Identifiers like to see the top surface and the bottom surface of the fruiting body of any fungus. The underneath of the shelf fungi can have complex toothlike structures, or a pattern of tiny pores to release their spores. Check the trunk for places where the sap is running freely on the outside of the trunk. This can be an indication of a fungus working away inside the tree - particularly if the tree or the sap has an unusual color. Look around for fallen branches. These often have different fungi growing on them than those found on the main tree.

If today is as warm as I expect, there will likely be some insect activity. Now getting images of active insects can be tricky - do the best you can. Photographing things that move is a bit like playing golf - some shots are whiffs, some are holes in one, but most are in between. Practice reduces the number of whiffs but holes in one always remain chancy. No worries if you are currently constantly whiffing - we can also hunt for galls, eggs and chrysalids. None of these move at all. Look for small details that just don't seem to belong - lumps, bumps, ridges. Some will be brightly colored and shiny, some have thick fuzzy surfaces or many spines. They can be on the twigs or buds or even on last years leaves on the ground. Each type you find represents a different living organism.

Once you feel satisfied that you have documented one tree's community, go on to another. The process also works for woody shrubs. Experiment with looking at more than one individual of a species. You are welcome to upload more than one observation of a single species. If you take more than one image of a single individual, then please combine those images into a single observation when you upload them.

Some BC partners have put together a guide iNaturalist Photo Guide: Tips, tricks, and guides to help get your sightings identified which you may find useful. Feel free to tag me (@marykrieger ) in your observations - or message me in the app - if you would like more help getting going. I will be offline and out and about during the day but will check in on things each evening.

Happy Saturday!

Lähettänyt marykrieger marykrieger, 24. huhtikuuta 2021 14:20

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