Archivos de diario de diciembre 2020

14 de diciembre de 2020

Winter is not that bad.

Obviously, winter (for us in the Northern Hemisphere) is a slower time here on iNaturalist. Observations dip downwards. The most colorful and fun aspects of the natural world are gone.

But there is still a lot going on! By having less to focus on, I am finding things I might not think about otherwise. Like many people, I had always thought of fungi as just kind of there. Now, in winter, with the plant life fading away and many birds and animals dormant or absent, I am noticing a lot of fungi. Also a lot of animal detrivores: millipedes and woodlice are cleaning up what was left by the autumn.

There are also more flowers than I remember. Part of that might be climate change, but here in the Willamette Valley, even after some nights of frost, we still have dandelions and daisies out. I am keeping a record of just how long they will continue to appear.

I think that the main reason for a dip in observations in these months is probably not because there isn't things to observe---there is still much to observe--- but because people are less inclined to travel and go outside, and also because shortened daylight makes observing more difficult.

But thanks to inaturalist, I am realizing just how much is still going on in the winter!

Publicado el diciembre 14, 2020 08:04 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

21 de diciembre de 2020

Microscope camera!

The exciting news for me this week is that I bought a field microscope, a Skybasic Wifi model, and that I started taking pictures with it. This is a pretty difficult process: centipedes don't really like staying still long enough to have their picture taken with a microscope. It is physically very exhausting to try to get these pictures: I am usually contorting my body into a shape where I can find a specimen, and then trying to keep my hand still enough to get the specimen in the center of the picture. The picture is actually taken in an app on my phone, which means using both hands. Most pictures don't turn out good, but the ones that do have shown me things I have never seen before. A spider that was barely noticeable to my unaided eye resolves into something where I can see its eyes...and its front legs, lifted up into what looks to be a defensive posture. Animals that I would have dismissed as "bugs" now show themselves to be discernible in detail. It has opened a new world for me!

Because it is a delicate instrument, I will probably use it close to where I am. But, of course, when a single shrub can show once-invisible species, it is not needed to take it out to larger parks.

And, in other news, the days are going to start getting longer tomorrow, and I am looking forward to getting out more.

Publicado el diciembre 21, 2020 06:28 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 1 observación | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de diciembre de 2020

A bit of backstory:

So I am just writing a bit of backstory on here, to explain the mindset I have on iNaturalist.

I have been into travelling and going new places for a long time---although it was really only something that I started to be able to do for real as a young adult. I am 41, and I have visited 44 states of the US. I have also lived in Taiwan (for 3 months) and Chile (for over 3 years). In the US, I have spent most of my time in the Pacific Northwest/Mountain states. I've lived in Washington, Oregon, Montana, California and Vermont. I've crossed the country by bus and train several times. I've always liked to go new places. And record what I saw.

I've also been interested in nature, but before iNaturalist, it wasn't always on the top of the list of things I observed. Or at least, I didn't differentiate it out. Social and technological aspects of a new location were just as important to me. I have pictures of myself visiting almost every metro station in Santiago.

Looking back at it, I feel like it was a missed opportunity, I wish I had known about inaturalist then! Especially in Chile! I took some pictures there, but it was basically when I saw something very novel. I imagine all the lost opportunities. As well as when I was in Montana: I would bicycle up into the Sapphire Mountains sometimes several times a week, and I got lots of beautiful landscape pictures, and I took pictures of things like Bald Eagles and Bighorn Sheep, but now I am looking back at it and thinking...I could have gotten to 100 observations on an average June day on the Skalkaho.

But anyway, now I think the pendulum has swung back too far the other way. iNaturalist has been a pandemic activity for me, and this year has obviously been one without a lot of travel options. I have gotten over 2000 observations this year, almost all within 10 miles of my two homes. I have a laser like focus, noticing small changes in fungi and insect. Which is good.

But having an intensive record of all the crows and dandelions around Eureka, California and Corvallis, Oregon is not really indicative of my interests! I am really looking forward to seeing something new, to visit a new place---even if the taxa I observe there aren't that different, if I could just go to a slightly new place, I would be happy.

Alas, we will have to wait to see when that happens.

Publicado el diciembre 31, 2020 05:52 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario