Magical Moth Night at the Heard - July 27th - need volunteers with Moth Set ups or that can help ID

We are going to be doing another moth night at the heard where we will set up mothing stations around a trail .. This will be from around 8pm to 11pm or later for those of us volunteering if we want to stay. I'm looking for people with equipment (any kind) that can set up mothing stations or help ID and education the public on what appears on the sheets. We did this last year and had a lot of fun. I'm also plan to show some live caterpillar moths and besides the hornworms I can get at the reptile store and interested in any easy to find caterpillar species. For example if you know a good plant I can usually find them on, etc.

If you are interested in helping, let me know. Note that this request is for moth volunteers as otherwise it is a fee event for the Heard. If you want to attend to help, please let me know. If you want to sign up just to attend and participate in all the other activities, you can got to http://www.heardmuseum.org/heardafterhours for registration.

Please add on anyone you think might be interested. We are thinking we can do 10 or more stations this year. Note that this is only part of the event going on. If we have a good group, we can meet earlier and do some inat on the grounds. More about the Heard here: www.heardmuseum.org.

Right now I've signed up @sambiology and me but hoping others that came last year can also attend.

@kimberlietx , @amymonroy , @annikaml ,@wildcarrot ,@katethegreat , @schylerbrown, @jblinde , @d-cntrbry

I put a few of you on, but figure same will post something when it gets closer for all the events. You can add others.

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2019年02月11日 20:05 所貼文 | 14 評論 | 留下評論


City Nature Challenge Begins!!! - April 27-April 30.

Over the next four days, each city is in friendly competition to see who can get the most people involved to record the most observations of the most species. All 64 projects using iNaturalist are in the umbrella project for City Nature Challenge 2018 so you can see how the cities stack up in real time as the observations come in.

If you’re in one of these metropolitan areas, get outside and start observing biodiversity (preferably the wild stuff)!

Even if you aren’t, you can still help. We expect half a million observations from 10,000 people, so there will be plenty of new observations to identify and new people to welcome. If you’re logged in to your iNaturalist account, check out all of the City Nature Challenge observations that still need IDs. You can filter from there based on your interest and expertise. Here’s a short tutorial video for the Identify page to get you started.

Observations must be made by April 30th but can still be uploaded and identified during May 1-3. The final tally from each project will be recorded at 9 AM local time on Friday, May 4, with the results announced after the 9 AM in Maui tally is made. More detailed results will be shared on Monday, May 7.

Here is the official Blog that talks how it got started. Read all about it and join in on the fun.


Dallas won last year on most observations so we have a title to defend.

Check here for all 64 cities and stats on who is in the lead: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2018 (Copy to browser)

I will be at the Heard Museum in McKinney on Saturday, April 28th 9:30-1pm to help the Public learn how to do this and looking for observations of my own. Come join us. Note fee does apply unless you are a volunteer or Member.

And if you can't get out in the field during these days, please help identify what was found.. We have until May 3rd to get all ID's to research grade.

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2018年04月27日 17:21 所貼文 | 0 評論 | 留下評論


The Solar Eclipse - My Observations

While Dallas wasn't in totality, we did get about a 75% coverage.. Our Eclipse started at around 11:40am with a peak at 1:09pm and then it started to reverse and was done by 3pm. The weather was pleasant during the eclipse and then I noted the strong heat about 20 minute after the midpoint as I began to sweat.

I monitored my backyard during the time and here is what I noticed.

I had two hummingbirds that came out when it started around 11am and chased each other till about 1:20 fighting over the turk's cap. I never see hummingbirds out during the day so I thought this was unusual.

Also, I noticed that during the eclipse that I did not see anything flying around other then the hummingbirds. As soon as we past the midpoint, I began to see butterflies, dragonflies, wasps and bees flying around. It was really odd that they seemed to have stopped before that.

Didn't noticed any different with the dog.

Of course this is not scientific, but wondering if it might have meshed with what anyone else might have seen.

I probably should have written observations the previous day to compare, but oh well... At least I have some practice for 2024 when it comes through Dallas.


由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2017年08月21日 22:15 所貼文 | 1 評論 | 留下評論

The Butternut Woollyworm... and the value of iNaturalist

I'm excited to hear that bugguide thinks my photo of the Butternut woollyworm is actually the first one to be posted on their bugguide from Texas so far. While it is not the first sighting in Texas, I'm just excited I am able to contribute something useful to bugguide after my many 'Frasses'. That is bugguide's terminology for you photo not being useful on their site. I know it is not the first sighting as there are 5 other postings on inaturalist in the Oliver Nature Park area of the same creature in 2014 and 2015. This really shows the power of how a crowd sourcing tool can uncover creatures that are around that may not have been seen by others.


Besides finding new creature for bugguide, I've also been able to find some new records for Collin County, at least for Rich Nelson, the PhD that keeps track of all the plants that grow here. Here are two plants that I found that he has now added to his list.. Of course these are new invasives. So again, I was happy to share what I see with someone that finds it valuable for their research.

Alligator Weed: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5944743
Branched Broomrape: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5515830

In addition to these, I've had several people ask to use my photos for which I'm thrilled. For example,
The Indian Chapter of Master Naturalist used my robber fly to show the halters in one of their newsletters: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3690985 and also I had a mason bee company ask to use this one on their website: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2773125 .. Here is their website with my picture which is so cool: http://foothillbee.com/osmia-ribifloris.html .

So I hope others are able to find value in what I post going forward and if you do, please let me know. I'm always happy to share my photos...Melanie

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2017年08月21日 02:14 所貼文 | 5 個觀察記錄 | 1 評論 | 留下評論


The Moth bug has Bitten

I'm not sure that this title makes any sense, but that is what @sambiology said when giving his Moth Presentation at the Heard Museum this month. Of course it means that he got very focused and interested in moths and with the purchase of my first moth light, I can say that I now fill the same way. (note: Moth is not a bug and they do not bite).

I purchased a moth light from BioQuip.com and got the 2804s AC/DC for $100 which has the AC and DC option. You can actually get one for 50-60 if you just need one of the options. While I easily have access to electricity at home, I'm envisioning being able to take this on the road like the others do on the bioblitz's around the state. (If you act quickly, the moth lights are 10% off in June).

Currently, I am recycling PVC pipe from my grown kids soccer goals and an old fitted bed sheet for the platform and using a hanging plant pole for the UV light. I set it up in the backyard against the fence and waited for nightfall.

At first I got LBBs. (that is what I call the little black bugs and little brown bugs that I see that all look the same)... I learned this term at @gailonbrehm 's talk on LBB (little brown birds) and how to ID sparrows at a Master Naturalist Meeting last year and I liked it.

It started out slow, but as the night grew darker more things showed up.. I was surprised to see the wolf spiders at first but then thought maybe they were there to catch an easy meal. Then I saw several lady bugs that I didn't realize flew at night. Some of favorite non-moth finds that first night were the Antlion & Icneumon wasps and all types of Rove Beetles that we are still trying to figure out.

Finally the moths started showing up. While most landed on the sheet, I had remembered from @annikaml to also check near the sheet on the fence, light pole and even grass. I was surprised how many I found this way. Some cool moths I found were the Garden Totrix that @sambiology describes as a scary clown, the Genista Broom Moth because now I know what the mother of the caterpillars that eat my mountain laurel blooms looks like and paler Diacme Moth which is a beautiful yellow color. The largest I saw is still yet unidentified so I'm spending time trying to figure them out with the online guides in iNat and also the moth photo group which can be intimidating. I also saw many tiny tiny tiny moths that I did not photograph yet as I have to pace myself.

Thanks to @pfau_tarleton for this one that provides many moths in the state and surrounding areas: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=37.30409286559174&nelng=-90.85243710937493&place_id=any&swlat=27.102526266329324&swlng=-104.51942929687493&taxon_id=47157&view=species&without_taxon_id=47224,47654
and for the one @sambiology spearheaded that is a DFW guide also a lot of mine don't seem to be on it yet: http://www.inaturalist.org/guides/4700 .

I still need help with ID and if you are interested in what it might be like, here is a list from my first day event (note that there are 2 links as I managed to stay up past midnight which split the day recordings). I managed to get about 50 sightings on my first night (of course not all moths).


I wish there was a better way to display these links but not something I know how to do at the moment or if even allowed in this interface.

I look forward for many more outings with my light and now have the ability to be portable although have not shelled out the $'s yet for a battery other then my car. So @heardmuseum and @karinsaucedo (Connemarra) let's set something up for Moth week July 22-30.

Happy Mothing to all and to all a Good Night!

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2017年06月23日 17:34 所貼文 | 4 評論 | 留下評論


Passing of Jim Varnum aka jim-botany

I met Jim Varnum (@jim-botany ) through iNaturalist.. Really. While I knew of his name and received his famous "Jim's This and That" newsletter each month, it was not until I started iNaturalist that I really got to know him. I would post plants and he would identify. He would graciously point out that I needed more views and angles to get primroses, vetch, and other plants down to the species. He also would point out various books to use to help identify. I actually met him in person at the Mansfield Mothing event in Spring of 2015 were we also met fellow inaturalist @sambiology . Jim and I talked much that day about how to teach people how to identify the native flora as people knowing were becoming far and few. Jim knew those special places and times such as where and when all the trout lilies bloomed and where the orchids were hiding and much more. While we were not in the same master nat chapter, he had no issues including me and sharing his knowledge. I'm glad his postings in inaturalist are available to document many of the plants he identified. He was a great person, a knowledgeable naturalist and someone I hope to emulate as the years go by. He freely gave walks to educate others and also offered to go on ID walks at anytime to share his knowledge in the area. There are many things I didn't know about Jim, but I know if he touched me in a special way, he surely had an impact on those that he was following on inaturalist. It may have been because of your friendship or knowledge or something special you had. I wanted to make sure you were aware that he passed away a few weeks ago just in case you did not know and can share with others.

The funeral home has opened a guest book where remembrances of Jim Varnum may be written:


This message is intended for those on inaturalist that he was following, but feel free to share with others. @bob777 @cgritz @donyoung @gcwarbler @gwbrown @itmndeborah @kimberlietx @lauramorganclark @postoak @rehb @squaylei2000 @suz @zooga1961

Update: I figured out how to pull the 70+ people following Jim, so I wanted to pass this information along. I know many of you knew this already, but I wanted to reach out to those that might not have known and thus sending to all.

@abigailmm @acamonda @alusk @amgross @andyk @anewman @apcorboy @atassin @bbelcher @brentano @cari @cjsolberg @coe @crazyhorse @donaldhapp @eglarkspur @e_keith @elizrose @ellen5 @fritzk1 @gloriveenieves @howard @jackiesherbals @jackwlatson @jasmineo1 @jay_33 @jaydubyah @jblinde @karenkroesen @karinsaucedo @kcsemrau @krstldwn @ktcorson @layla @lgbartley @libikavanah @limabenjamin @lkpres @magatr0n @marug @maryejohnson @mc_biology_club @mikegras @mustardlypig @naturalistnickells @ncowey @njohnson @nlrudr @ntc @ntmnobserver1998 @obidaddy @picklepastures @prairiepoint @rclark3141 @rebecca_atx @rolandfarm @sarahedeerman @sbetzen @shutterpug @slbarnes @sonnia @sonniahill @stalinsm @sy25805 @tadamcochran @tonja @trehman

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2016年05月05日 13:13 所貼文 | 10 評論 | 留下評論


Feels Like Spring today in the Wylie Prairie

I took a trip out to the Wylie Prairie today where the Blackland Prairie Master Naturalists are restoring it led by @davepowell . Even though it is the middle of winter, the mild weather and the warm sunny day makes it feel like spring. With the highs in the low 60's, I was anxious to see what I might find. I was not disappointed. There were several butterflies out including the dainty sulphur, orange sulphur and common buckeye. I saw the question mark and cabbage white at my house today, but I did not see them at the prairie.

I've been working on identifying LLBs or Little Brown Birds as @gailonbrehm calls them. The challenge is that they all hide in the bushes and don't stay still. My technique is to try and take as many pictures as I can and then come home and enlarge them to see what I found. I depend on the birders on inaturalist to keep me straight as some of these are not easy for me yet. But then, this is what Inaturalist is all about - people helping people. Today I have my first Savannah Sparrow, my first Song Sparrow and another bird that might be the tricky female red-winged blackbird, but I'm waiting for confirmation as I write this. Other birds I found today where the robins, mockingbird and when I was driving out of the packing lot, I saw the American Kestral perched on a treetop looking for dinner.

I even found an isopod, spider and grasshopper that I've yet to identify but I have time. One reason, I like to record the species is to have a record of it and see what changes. Hopefully the prairie will be around a long time, but with all the development going on in the area, you just never know. However, I plan to enjoy it while it is here.

Thanks to all the other Blackland Prairie Master Naturalist that help maintain it.. Shout out to @greghayden39, @rolandfarm .. I would mention all of them here, but I don't know if most of them are on this yet or I couldn't find them. If you are and follow me leave a comment so we can join together.

NOTE: I would like to provide a link to the Wylie Prairie to show all the pictures but this is something I haven't been able to figure out yet.

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2016年02月07日 23:47 所貼文 | 1 評論 | 留下評論


Scavenger Hunt Anyone?

iNaturalist is making a scavenger hunt for everyone this year. They will post a grouping to find and you will have a week to find it. These will be large enough groups to allow people to find them in most areas of the world. As they do this, they will post a blog to educate us on some of the various similarities in the group.

The first week Jan 3 - Jan 9 was Cormorants and their relatives. Of course I had posted 35 on Jan 1 but for some reason that didn't fall in the first week. Anyway on the last day, Jan 9th, I ventured out in the cold and was surprised to find them quite easily in Allen TX where I live.

The second week Jan 10- Jan 16 was Woodpecker and allies and we learn that they are have zygodacty feet which means 2 toes forward and 2 toes backward. That is an impressive word to make you look smart as well. I don't normally see these in my neighborhood so I made a trip to the Heard, a local nature sanctuary where I usually see them and was rewarded with 2 species.

I hope to be able to find most this year and keep up with @sambiology , @robberfly , @taogirl , @cosmicat , @aredoubles , and others I tend to see online, but some of these look challenging and since most days I'm inside working on my computer, I usually only have time on the weekends.

To see the critter calendar, check out this link: http://inaturalist.tumblr.com/post/136667296078/critter-calendar . It would be nice to be able to click on the picture and go to the project, but it doesn't seem to work that way. It seems to show up on your home page on the right side though so you can see the group for the week, but sometimes it is missing.

And I hope for those that stick with this we can get an inaturalist t-shirt or can at least figure out how to buy one. lol.

Happy Nature Huntting... @butterflies4fun

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2016年01月17日 02:03 所貼文 | 2 評論 | 留下評論


Got Monarchs?

There has been a lot in the news lately on the 90% decline of the monarchs, but what can you do to help? In the Fall as they migrate south, they need nectar to build fat reserves for the winter. October is the peak month in North Texas for us to feed the Monarchs. If you look around your yard, do you have flowers in bloom to provide them nourishment? If not, that is a good place to start. While Monarchs will nectar on a variety of plants, the most popular ones are native plants that are in bloom in the prairies such as liatris, goldenrod, sunflowers and fall blue aster. Other plants that are popular with the Monarchs are frostweed, cowpen daisy, gregg’s mist flower, lantana and turk’s cap. While milkweed is critical for their survival and reproduction, they depend on milkweed in the Spring in North Texas as they make their migration North while the fall flowers are most needed now for them to survive through the winter season

I started tagging Monarchs in 2014 and tagged 50 using small stickers from Monarchwatch.org. While, it took a while to get the courage to catch and tag them, I found I became efficient fairly quickly. While I know they travel to Mexico, I didn't expect any of mine to actually turn up there, but gladly I was wrong. I actually had two that were found and reported based on the unique tags that are assigned in February of 2015. Unfortunately, if they were found, they didn't survive the winter. I found out that a major reason they don't survive is lack of fat to survive on.. hence the post.

If you want to learn more about creating a habitat for Monarchs, check out Gardening for Monarchs from Monarch Joint Venture which is a collaboration of organizations including several from Texas. If you are looking for native plants this fall, check out the Discovery Garden fall plant sale on October 30-31 at Fair Park. You might even see me there.

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2015年10月10日 04:25 所貼文 | 0 評論 | 留下評論


First Butterfly of the Season

This year brought unusual swings in temperature. The first 2 weeks were our coldest days in a row and then the 3rd was usually warm with a week in the 60s and 70s. I'm not sure if that I why I saw these butterflies so early or just that I was outside enjoying the weather. I hope to keep a list of when I see various butterflies in the area to see if there is a trend for when they first arrive during the year.

My first butterfly was actually the Cabbage White followed closely by the Gulf Fritillary. I also saw a Goatweed Leafwing at the Heard, but did not get a picture of my own. (I have linked to a picture I took in March)

Editor Note: I wrote this in January, but didn't see I had to Publish it so now doing so in May.

Since I'm publishing this late, I'm adding additional sightings:
February added the Question Mark, the Common Checkered Skipper
March added the Orange Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Tiger Swallowtail, Red Admiral, American Lady
April Added the Giant Swallowtail, Eastern Black Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Pipevine Swallowtail, Eastern tailed blue, checkered white, fiery skipper, Monarch

Also note that my sighting of the Gulf Fritillary was not normal and I suspect it was an overwintered Chrysalis that came out to early. We have had freezes since then and it would not have been able to survive. As of May 30, I'm still waiting to see my second one.

由使用者 butterflies4fun butterflies4fun2015年05月31日 16:34 所貼文 | 21 個觀察記錄 | 0 評論 | 留下評論