Archivos de diario de enero 2021

12 de enero de 2021

Why do I notice things when I do?

This Friday, I rode my bicycle to Monroe, Oregon, which is 18 miles from Corvallis. It is January, I have limited options during the pandemic, so despite the cold weather and lack of daylight, I want to ride my bicycle places.

One of the interesting things to me is that in Monroe, I made a new observation: Townsend's Chipmunk. This isn't a rare animal, but it isn't a common animal, either. Mine was the 22nd observation in Benton County. I had never seen one in or around Corvallis, where I live, and yet within my first half hour in Monroe, one ran right across my path!

It is interesting to guess why I saw one there. There is a good chance that Monroe might be a friendlier environment for them-- Corvallis has around 60,000 people, Monroe less than 700. It might also have less of the invasive mammals and plants, such as crows and eastern grey squirrels, that gather around human habitation. So maybe Monroe is a friendlier environment for them.

It could also be that because I was in a new place, I just had a wider awareness. Just a marginal change in scenery might have made me see things I wouldn't normally see. It is very possible that I see Townsend's Chipmunks regularly, but because I am in my "normal environment", they just slide by,under my awareness.

So that is (one of the reasons) why I like to get out and go to new places---Monroe is obviously a lot like where I am, it is within 20 miles of where I live, but just the opportunity to see somewhat new terrain opens up my eyes and lets me notice new stuff.

Publicado el enero 12, 2021 03:06 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 1 observación | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de enero de 2021

Arbitrary goals sometimes produce great things. Or at least interesting things.

The main point of this site is that we learn more about nature, learn more about ourselves, get outside, connect with others, contribute to science...all of those are great goals.

I also like racking up numbers. There is a competitive part of my personality that likes to see numbers go up, and a completionist part that doesn't like leaving stones left unturned. And sometimes I set rather arbitrary goals for myself. The next county to the north of me is Polk County, and compared to the county I live in, it is undersurveyed. The flora and fauna are mostly the same, and there isn't a lot there that is that different from what is just around me. And yet, I wanted to see my name move up the Polk County, Oregon Leaderboard. So I got on my bicycle and bicycled north to the settlement of Buena Vista. Buena Vista is also one of three towns in Oregon that has a ferry (although I did not ride the ferry). It was an interesting day, although due to the lack of daylight, I couldn't stay long. Also, I didn't get any extraordinary observations--- lots of kestrels and daisies.

On the way back, though, I did find a state park that somehow I was totally unaware of---Luckiamute River State Park, which has around 2 miles of riverfront on the Willamette. I only saw part of the park, but I am hoping to go back soon.

But it is interesting to me, that setting a goal---even a very arbitrary, almost petty one...allows me to expand my horizons.

Publicado el enero 21, 2021 06:54 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de enero de 2021

Doing technical support...

About ten days ago, my internet ceased working the way it was supposed to. But only under specific conditions. I spent a week tearing my hair out, eliminating one possibility after another of what was wrong.

The problem manifested itself in a very specific way: I had full speed internet, and could even do intensive tasks like video conferencing. But, when I attempted to upload a file, over a few megs, my internet would not be able to do anything else. This can be a problem on here, because while a file is uploading, it will load the map selection screen. Or, in my case, it would not. This would cause problems where the observation went through but didn't have a location. Or sometimes it would go through but tell me it hadn't.

Trying to isolate the problem, I got out my Windows laptop, seeing if it had the same problem (wanted to isolate OS versus connection problems), and, since this Windows laptop had a busted keyboard, I had to use it with a plugged in USB keyboard. Anyway, while doing so, and just to check, I uploaded the first file available: a photo of a cultivated Plane tree back in Santiago. The upload had the same problems, thus confirming it was a line problem. And after some time, my ISP told me they would send me a new router.

Anyway. If you have read this far, my point is that when viewing someone's observations, remember that some of them might have been uploaded during technical stress. These observations are not always transparent, not always what we are looking for. Sometimes observations are filtered through whatever camera and computer programs the person is dealing with. Bad location and time data are things that happen, and they are not always the user's error.

Publicado el enero 30, 2021 01:06 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

My two most significant observations probably don't look that significant

I had made a lot of observations this January. Some of them were pretty, some of them were blurry brown blobs, some of them were interesting to me, others were just things I took because I had an opportunity to take them.

The two observations that are probably most significant were some Onion Earthballs, taken west of Philomath, Oregon, on the 25th, and a Planthopper (of some sort) taken in the Mary's River natural area on January 13th.

According to iNaturalist, there are only 174 observations of Planthoppers in the US in January, and only two in Oregon. And there are only 14 observations of Onion Earthballs in the US in January, and only two in Oregon. So these two organisms, which would be so easy to overlook, which would be so unremarkable for someone who wasn't looking, are the two rarities I managed to capture. Maybe they have scientific interest---maybe they are a sign of climate change -- or maybe of some other scientific curiosity. But to me, they are a sign of just how much is out there when we go looking, and how much things that used to just be a fuzz on the edge of my vision are now of interest to me.

Publicado el enero 30, 2021 01:34 MAÑANA por mnharris mnharris | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario