City Nature Challenge 2024

My highlights from the 2024 City Nature Challenge:

Friday, 4/26
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
I got permission to blacklight here and arrived on Thursday night 10PM to set up my lights and "let them cook." I set up several lights in area A and also a couple other parts of the park. I walked several areas at night to snap pics of spiders and other critters and an occasional plant and then tried to get some birds but didn't wait too long before moving on to Crandon Park.
All of my observations from Baggs:
Blacklighting observations:

Crandon Park
Priorities included getting coastal plants, snorkeling and shelling on the beach

Saturday, 4/27
Big Cypress National Preserve
Woke up late and didn't get my blacklight running until 3AM.

I went with two sheets in the first campground area, which has a working power outlet on the third hookup area. I used several extension cables to power two Entoquip Entolights. I set up another couple lights at the bathroom further down the road.

Sunday, 4/28
Everglades National Park

Monday, 4/29
Neighborhood and The Landing at MIA, then Miami Beach shelling and an unplanned stop along the Macarthur Causeway, checking the rocks... very cool and fruitful stop!

由使用者 joemdo joemdo2024年04月30日 12:17 所貼文 | 4 評論 | 留下評論


Dagny Johnson BioBlitz, April 6th, 2024

Hoping to add more to this journal eventually... for now just including a bit of info about my observations from a bioblitz organized by Dr. Fletcher and park biologist Trudy Ferraro.

Blacklights set up
1- On bathroom building, one LED blacklight
2- Sheet facing NW, on NW side of roundabout garden area, all three lights on NW side of sheet
3- Sheet facing NW/SE on NE side of roundabout garden area. I took this one down to add more lights to another sheet
4- Small sheet facing east and west in first area that opens up on the main trail after it goes east and then north
5- Brought the sheet from #3 above to have more lights but it was too late in the night and didn't see anything really show up

Blacklighting observations:

Also spread some sugar bait made of overrippened bananas and molasses but really only saw one moth (a zale moth) and some ants.

More details:
Weather- https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/fl/miami/KMIA/date/2024-4-6
Temps around 62 at the lowest, winds mostly below 3 knots, very little moonlight.

Arrived at Dagny Johnson around 1:30AM and was rushing to get some blacklights running...
I set up a single light at the bathroom down the trail from the archway just to get something going and have something to check on after putting up a couple sheets.

I had the first sheet up at 1:49, the second at 2:09 and also spread some sugar bait around to see if any moths would come to that. I then headed back to the bathroom light to see how it was doing. There were already several large moths so I figured it was going to be a good night! I ended up setting up a third sheet (fourth light set up) where the trail opens up to the north and got two moths almost instantly that I was familiar with but hadn't ever seen myself. I decided to pull down one of the sheets from the hammock in order to have a bigger sheet and more lights in the open area but then ended up taking a while to get to it... I was too busy taking pictures of moths!

由使用者 joemdo joemdo2024年04月06日 23:08 所貼文 | 1 評論 | 留下評論


Road trip from Miami, FL to Baltimore, MD

Drove to up to Baltimore across two days with my wife and her brother. I'm planning on typing up some notes about our stops here but I do tend to start journal posts and then never get around to actually writing them out. We'll see!

Here are my observations so far from this trip:

由使用者 joemdo joemdo2023年05月29日 14:04 所貼文 | 2 評論 | 留下評論


Nov.21-Nov.23, 2022 East Cape Sable Camping

I left on Monday, Nov. 21st from Flamingo Marina on a sit-on-top kayak around 9:15AM and made it to East Cape around 3PM. I camped there for two nights, blacklighting on both nights for several hours. I left East Cape on Wednesday, Nov. 23rd at 10AM and stopped at Clubhouse beach to check out the Coastal Prairie trail
for about an hour before continuing on to Flamingo, where I arrived around 4PM.

My main goal was to bioblitz the area and also leave a trail of iNaturalist observations for the paddle to and from Cape Sable. I have over 40GB of mostly photos and some audio to look through so it will probably be a while before I post everything!

All of my observations from this trip: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2022-11-21&d2=2022-11-23&order=asc&place_id=any&user_id=joemdo

My mollusk observations from this trip: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2022-11-21&d2=2022-11-23&order=asc&place_id=any&taxon_id=47115&user_id=joemdo

My blacklighting observations from this trip: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2022-11-21&d2=2022-11-23&order=asc&place_id=any&project_id=blacklighting-florida&user_id=joemdo

This was my first solo backcountry paddling camping trip so I didn't want to do anything too crazy. I had the whole week off for Thanksgiving and about two weeks before the break I started checking the weather to see if I could do some backcountry paddling. East Cape isn't a short trip, at about 11 miles each way, but it's easy to navigate since you just follow the coast. I knew from experience that wind and tides can make or break the trip so I kept an eye on the conditions until a few days before the trip and saw that it would be windy on Monday but that would help me on my way to East Cape. By Wednesday, the winds would die down and the tide would also be in my favor for a morning departure.

The last time I did this trip was in 2018 with a friend of mine named Cheeko. We also camped two nights and spent our second day exploring Lake Ingraham and MicMac Lagoon, just east of East Cape. Here is a link to my iNaturalist observations from that trip: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2018-01-01&d2=2018-01-03&place_id=any&user_id=joemdo&verifiable=any

My first backcountry trip ever was a 5 day, 4 night trip in 2013 with three friends from FIU, camping at South Joe River Chickee, Joe River Chickee, NW Cape and East Cape. I only posted a few observations from that trip since it was way before my iNat obsession: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2013-12-13&d2=2013-12-31&order_by=observed_on&place_id=any&user_id=joemdo&verifiable=any

My other backcountry paddling experiences include an overnight trip to Shark Point Chickee with Noah F and Nico S in Feb 2019 (observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2019-02-17&d2=2019-02-18&nelat=25.21061052385891&nelng=-80.62153358648058&order=asc&order_by=observed_on&place_id=any&swlat=24.948787620220667&swlng=-80.98957557866808&user_id=joemdo,noaboa,nicosalino)

& in Jan 2021 a long paddle from West Lake to the Lungs. Here are some videos from that trip:
My iNaturalist observations from that trip: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?on=2021-01-03&order=asc&order_by=observed_on&place_id=any&user_id=joemdo

I chose to camp at East Cape because I have especially been interested in shells lately and knew it would be a good beach for shelling. I also wanted to check out the Coastal Prairie Trail near Clubhouse Beach on the way back from East Cape. I also did some research on Cape Sable and found some interesting publications and videos (https://youtu.be/TLD4sbrY-8A). I realized how it is particularly at risk to sea level rise and will be one of the first areas to be swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico.

-Sit-on-top Tandem Kayak (Vibe Skipjack 120T (green white and light blue)
-Two kayak paddles
-Nikon D7200 DSLR, 300mm f/4 lens w/1.4x teleconveter, 105mm f/2.8 macro lens with 2x teleconverter, Flash
-Ricoh WG-30W point and shoot camera
-2 Samsung Galaxy S7 Active phones (I really like the cameras on these phones so I have two)
-Amazon Fire Tablet (for bat recording)
-Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro bat detector
-2 Holux GPS loggers
-8 USB battery packs
-3 DJ blacklights

Food & water
-2 loaves of Dave's Killer Bread
-5 hard-boiled eggs
-5 cans of sardines
-5 nature valley bar packs
-5 bananas
-1 jar sunflower seed butter
-2.5 gallon water jug (from Publix)
-2 40oz aluminum water bottles

Day 1
I left home a little after 6:20AM and got to Flamingo around 8:00AM. I unloaded and re-organized all of my gear on the kayak and was finally on the water around 9:00AM. It had been raining all morning and several manatees were drinking water dripping down from the marina. There was also a good amount of wind as the forecast said, blowing around 10+ knots but out of the east, which was helpful for me. There was light to heavy rain throughout my paddle to East Cape and some of my gear got wetter than I hoped but nothing was damaged.

I took an hour-long break after around 3 hours/6 miles of paddling and photographed my first shells of the trip, including two target species, the rose-petal tellin and angelwing. I tried venturing into the coastal prairie habitat just north of where I landed but there were no trails and I was worried about running into a cold pygmy rattlesnake, which are known to be common in this habitat.

I carried on to East Cape, which was another 5 miles and took me a little under 2 hours. The wind had picked up and I stayed a quarter-mile offshore to take full advantage, paddling hard to catch some of the small waves. While paddling in I also snapped some photos of a flock of birds hanging around the sandbar near the small inlet east of East Cape.

After landing, I set up my tent and organized all of my gear inside. It was still cloudy and soggy so I couldn't dry anything yet. I then hiked out to the inlet a bit before sunset, checking for birds in the dunes and nearby trees but overall trying to get out to the inlet before the sun went down. The tide was dropping and a nice mudflat was exposed. It was well populated by different sandpipers and I saw my first crocodiles of the trip. I set up my blacklighting sheet about a one minute walk from my tent when I got back. It wasn't super productive, maybe due to some lingering wind, but I still had a decent showing of insects and kept the lights on until around 10:30PM. I would've probably tried to sheets if it hadn't been such a wet day/evening.

After turning out the blacklights and shaking the bugs off the sheet, I looked up at the sky again and the stars will still hidden by clouds so I finally went to sleep.

Day 2
I had big plans for Day 2, although I had a feeling I was too ambitious in wanting to hike all the way to Middle Cape. I woke up around sunrise and was surprised to see two lesser nighthawks flying back and forth along the dunes. They are known to winter in some spots in South Florida but I didn't know they'd be down here! Because the tide was coming up, I decided to do some shelling and this proved to take up a lot of time. There was a lot to see and I even employed a technique I learned from an iNat user named Susan, which involved using kneepads and elbow pads to crawl along the sand for a closer look at the shells.

Day 3

I will be adding more to this journal post, including the conditions/weather and how the trip went overall. I will hopefully also post some videos to youtube over the next week or so but I'm prioritizing adding my observations first! Here's a link to my channel in case you want to see subscribe to see some videos about this trip & other nature videos about South Florida: https://youtube.com/@joemdo_southflorida

由使用者 joemdo joemdo2022年11月24日 22:41 所貼文 | 2 評論 | 留下評論


Things I'm working on

I am making this journal post to list a few observation fields and projects I am working on. I have spent a lot more time at home than I'd like because of Covid-19 so I've been trying to keep busy by adding observation fields and working on a few things, switching between them to not let it get too monotonous. Most things I'm doing involve looking through hundreds to thousands of observations so they can be pretty taxing after a while.

The first two things I mention have to do with observation fields I am adding to observations that are already on iNaturalist, mostly focusing on Miami-Dade County. You can only see and edit observation fields from the website and not the app, so that's important to consider if you want to see some of the data or help add observation fields. I think iNaturalist is pretty taxed with bandwidth so they haven't made it very easy to work with observation fields but there are still ways to see and use the data.

I uploaded a video to explain one of the main observation fields I'm working with for species/flower interactions, which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/cmj7rWD5tw4

1) "Interaction-> Visited flower of" (Observation Field)
Video explaining this here: https://youtu.be/cmj7rWD5tw4
This observation field is meant to show what flower the insect (or bird or bat or whatever else) is visiting. It can be tricky figuring out what the plant is but the result is seeing some species associations. I had originally been using the "nectar plant" observation field but spoke to a friend, Suzanne Kennedy who helped me realize it probably isn't the best option since it implies that the flower is serving as a nectar source for the insect/bird/bat/etc. visiting the flower when there may be something else going on. Many insects collect pollen rather than trying to get nectar, for example. She also reminded me that some plants have even evolved to trick insects into thinking they can get nectar but don't actually reward them for a visit. I looked through existing observation fields and figured one that simply mentions that the flower is being visited would be much more appropriate. Here are some common lawn weeds' with this observation field filled out. I mention some things to consider when viewing the data below the examples.

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle frogfruit):

Bidens alba (spanish needles):
I have been adding the ID for this observation field as Bidens alba instead of Bidens pilosa because iNaturalist is apparently about to split Bidens pilosa and all of the Bidens down in South Florida is supposed to be Bidens alba instead of Bidens pilosa. It is going to be a pain in the butt to change all of the Bidens pilosa ID's to Bidens alba so I am just trying to do this so they don't need to be changed later.

Spermacoce verticillata (shrubby false buttonweed):

Richardia grandiflora (largeflower mexican clover):

Hamelia patens (firebush)-- not a weed but a commonly cultivated native:

Where I am as of Spetember 14th, 2020:
I went through all of the native bee and skipper observations in Miami-Dade County and added the "interaction->visited flower of" observation field to all of the ones showing interactions with flowers up to July 7th, 2020, I have also gone through all of the fly observations up to July 21st, 2020.

I started on the butterflies (not including skippers) and so far have gone through all of them uploaded before April 9th, 2020 in Miami-Dade. This is the link for me to pick up where I left off:

Also working on honey bees... Those uploaded before Feb 3rd 2019 have been added... to continue:

Separately working on Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies). I filtered out the bees since I had already been working on them. So far I'm up to February 14th, 2019. Link here:

This would leave beetles and moths and then other insects, which I will work on eventually: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?created_d1=2018-10-20&locale=en-US&order=asc&place_id=2345&preferred_place_id=127553&subview=grid&taxon_id=184884&without_taxon_id=47224,47201,47822

2) "Eating" & "Eaten By" (Observation Fields)
The "eating" observation field is meant to show organisms eating other organisms and have the predator as the subject of the observation. The field is meant for what's being eaten. I'm thinking this can include things like insects nectaring but I am trying to focus on adding the observation fields to photos of organisms that are eating "prey" although I am also adding ones where fruit is being eaten. Examples:

Crab spiders:
Unlike the links I posted above, this link focuses on the search of a species and then has the "eating" observation field blank (see how it says "Eating=" and is blank at the end of the link?). This means it will show any observations that have the "eating" observation field, without requiring the eaten organism to be something in particular. This is different from the "nectaring plant" observation field examples I provided above where the organism search was blank and it was focusing on which organisms had that field filled out.

You can also search for observations in a similar way to the "Interaction->Flowers visited by" links above. For example, these observations show brown anoles being eaten.
^this number represents brown anoles
Whereas these observations show brown anoles eating something (like the crab spider link above):

The "eaten by" observation field shows observations that focused on prey and so the field says what is eating them.
Some examples:
Organisms eaten by alligators in Florida:

Organisms eaten by great egrets in Florida:

To do your own search for these observations, you can leave the "eating=" above blank and then search for an organism within an area or you can leave the search blank and add the organisms number after the "eating=" above. You need to look up the organisms' taxon number on iNaturalist and you can do that by typing in the species name in the search and then clicking about in the dropdown. You then copy paste the number and add it to the link. This is what I mean about this not being very user friendly but it is still very cool to see the data out there! Hopefully iNaturalist will eventually add a search filter for this... The limited amount of observations that show up with these fields will only get better as more observations have these observation fields added so please consider helping out with your own observations or adding them when you see observations that should have the fields added. It's also very beneficial to "fave" observations that are interesting or show predation because they will show up first when you look through observations in order of "faves." I have run into so many cool observations that didn't have any faves and it's a shame when they slip through the cracks as just another data point when they show something cool happening.

3) Bat Spectrograms (Project)
Most bats found in North America rely on echolocation to eat and to fly around. I still don't know much about bats but bought an "Echo Meter Touch 2" microphone from Wildlife Acoustics, which allows people to find and record bats using a smart phone or tablet. The mic hooks up to your device and then you can go out at night and find bats with the app associated to the microphone. It's a lot of fun and is a cool way to contribute citizen science data. I made a project on iNaturalist that collects these observations so I am always searching through the bat observations for spectrograms to add to the project. Here is the project:

Updated with observations made before January 8th 2021...link to pick up where I left off:

I also made a youtube video for beginners to learn how to best post their recordings to iNaturalist:

4) Reefs of South Florida (Project)
This project focuses on organisms seen in reef habitats in South Florida & the Florida Keys... I try to go through observations in the "Some Reefs" place I created to see if anybody has added new observations in that area that aren't in the project.
This is the link I use to find observations in the "Some South Florida Reefs" place I created that haven't been added to the project:

It's up-to-date so far

5) Caterpillars of Florida (Project)
This project includes all observations of Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) that are marked as "Larva" in the "Life stage" annotation section. These are a little easier to search through and it is also easier to add the annotation than the observation field. Because there are so many lepidopteran observations it can be difficult to not let this one pile up. I haven't touched them in a while but a lot of other users add the life stage annotations so this project grows pretty consistently.

6) Hole-in-the-Donut Restoration (Project)
This project includes all observations taken within places I have created on iNaturalist for the different Hole-in-the-Donut restoration areas. It's pretty tedious drawing the polygons and matching the HID res. areas so I've gotten lazy and haven't finished adding them. I think I still have at least five more to go. I worked many weekends from November-June in the HID and added many observations while I was working hence the large observation counts I have out there :-)


There are probably a few other things I am working on but this journal post will help me bit a bit more organized and hopefully a few people will read it and learn a little bit more about how many things can be done on iNaturalist! Feel free to message me or comment below if you have any questions!


由使用者 joemdo joemdo2020年07月03日 19:48 所貼文 | 0 評論 | 留下評論