September 12, 2019

Back to ID'ing! :) Regional experience with the local organisms.

After the City Nature Challenge at the end of April, I was a little worn out from doing ID's. I did around 7k ID's during the CNC, and took a loooong break from regularly scrolling through observations.

Now, I'm back! :) I focus almost all of my time to my 'region.' This is the DFW metroplex, and a bit larger area, the "Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairies ecoregion."

I try my best to go through all of the observations made in this region... I search both the ones that are already 'research grade' and 'needs ID.'

I then search through each day with a calendar that I cross out.. So far, I've hit just a couple weeks, but it's good to be back. :) Just a few more months of observations to search through!

I wish I could devote more time to a larger 'region' or a taxon, but for the time being, I think it's best that I focus on my general 'region.' It's a good way to become more familiar with the organisms I'd likely find as I go outside locally.

Posted on September 12, 2019 23:52 by sambiology sambiology | 12 comments | Leave a comment

August 06, 2019

Texas Panhandle iNaturalist Gathering -- save dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020


Save the dates: 29 May - 1 June, 2020.

Matador Wildlife Management Area: 3036 FM 3256, Paducah, TX 79248 -- 28,183 acres
Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area: FM 2266, Canadian, TX 79014 -- 5,886 acres

We'll plan for 29 and 30 May at Matador WMA and then 31 May and 1 June at Gene Howe WMA.

******* original message follows ******************

Hey friends,

So, iNat gatherings are the best. I really like them. It's fun to get together with fellow iNatters in an area to make loads of observations and enjoy each others' company.

We've had bioblitzes in a few different parts of TX, but not yet the panhandle. Let's change that!

Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area (5,886 acres) is relatively unexplored on iNaturalist:

Only 2 insects (both dragonflies) have been documented there...

There's bound to be more than that! I've not visited the area, but it does seem pretty interesting:

Also, Lake Meredith is not too too far away from Gene Howe WMA:
Perhaps few days here and a few days at Gene Howe.

Now, dates... I'm not really familiar with the conditions in the Panhandle... I'd think we'd shoot for a mid May time. A few dates that we should avoid: city nature challenge on 24-27 April through 1-4 May. So many a couple weekends after that 1-4 May (as many of us may be a little worn out!)... What about 15-18 May or 22-25 May???

PLEASE comment -- I need some feedback from folks that might want to attend. :)

*tagging a few folks in the comment -- please tag others that may be interested!

Posted on August 06, 2019 21:49 by sambiology sambiology | 79 comments | Leave a comment

July 16, 2019

Coyotes -- working on a little video with TPWD...

So, I'm working on a short Texas Parks and Wildlife video about coyotes, and I've tried to get some good video footage of coyotes with no success...

Anyways, would anyone be willing to share some coyote images/footage with me that I could use for this video? I'll definitely credit any images! I'll be sending a few messages to folks that have observed coyotes in TX:

Thanks! :)

Posted on July 16, 2019 16:34 by sambiology sambiology | 12 comments | Leave a comment

June 30, 2019

Costa Rica. Wow.

I'm so incredibly lucky and fortunate.

From 23 to 28 June, I went with a group of educators to experience the global section of BRIT bootcamp ( I facilitate a class for BRIT bootcamp 1 for the past few years, so they invited me to come with them to Costa Rica! Holy moly, was it great. Here's a little synopsis of the trip!

23 June 2019: Super early morning -- had to get to the airport at 4 AM for a 5 AM flight to Miami, and then to San Jose, Costa Rica. Arrived in Costa Rica at about noonish. We went with Best Costa Rica Travel ( Jimmy Alvarado was a phenomenal guide from moment one -- full of information about all aspects of Costa Rica. Our first stop was at the Trogon Lodge ( Such a cool place up in the mountains. Photoed a few neat birds and a few crazy cool plants at this spot. Set up the black light tonight, but it was mighty chilly, so not too too many moths/bugs showed up. Nonetheless, everything that was there was NEW!

24 June 2019: Birding early in the morning to look for quetzals. Spotted quite a few -- like 9! Headed back to the Trogon Lodge for a lovely nature walk. We then went to a really nice lunch spot with a wonderful overlook and lots of colorful birds flying around. Then we went south to San Vito and Las Cruces Biological station ( Not much daylight left, but we ate supper with some researchers and students - it was really inspiring to hear about the various research projects going on here. Afterwords, I went walking around the campus and gardens -- saw loads of moths around the lights and many spiders.

25 June 2019: We met with Ro at the Wilson Botanical Garden ( and did a few data collection studies of the tree ferns. In the afternoon, we continued the studies and data collection. In the evening, we did some discussion of educational articles with the group. This night, I also tossed on the black lights and spotted some AMAZING moths. Also, on this evening, we experienced a BIG earthquake -- apparently a 6.2 on the Richter scale. We ran out of the room as did many others because it was shaking fairly violently. Crazy interesting experience -- my first earthquake! There were a few aftershocks in the next few days, but I didn't really feel them.

26 June 2019: Went on a longer walk around the Las Cruces forests in various stages of succession ( At a few stops, we also took some data of soil moisture, photosynthesis rate, and soil temps. It lasted most of the day, and I was definitely feeling the long hike! As though I didn't have enough, we went on a really great night hike lead by @jeisson -- it was one of the best night hikes I've ever been on. Loads of frogs, katydids, moths, spiders, and other cool stuff.

27 June 2019: Today, we were supposed to go to a high school, but the students were on a protest, so we didn't get this opportunity... Instead, we stayed at a sustainable farm most of the morning and afternoon. At this farm, we planted some trees -- I learned about how out of shape I am when I was digging holes for trees! In the afternoon, we worked with some compost and soil microbes. This 50ish acre farm is a really neat place with some commendable practices. We ate a pretty fancy dinner in San Vito. On the return to the biological station, I had to stay out to look for stuff. I went out solo to explore the forest at night -- spotted even more neat organisms.

28 June 2019: Left mighty early to take a charter plane to San Jose, flew out to Miami, and then back to Dallas/Fort Worth and home at around midnight. It was a long day in the airports, so I was looking through the various photos I took this whole week. Lots of cool organisms that I was fortunate to document. :)

I'll be uploading these hundreds and hundreds of observations in the next few weeks, hopefully... I'll be working on the ID's for...months and months, likely! I'll filter what has already been observed from Costa Rica to act a bit like a guide:
There have been 9000+ species observed by others, so this process may take a while! Please feel no obligations to add in any ID's or verifications, as I'll be working on these for a good while. I do want to upload them as quickly as I can and then work on the ID's though. :)

Costa Rica is a special place. It was my first time to visit the country, and I am already wanting to go back! The biodiversity is a bit overwhelming, and each minute it seemed like I was seeing something new. Many of my photos are blurry of no fault to the camera, but my excitement made it hard for me to steady my hands! :) Again, I can't wait to go back!

Posted on June 30, 2019 03:45 by sambiology sambiology | 11 comments | Leave a comment

June 12, 2019

Moth week in DFW!

Here are some of the public mothing events going on in DFW for National Moth Week!

All events are around 8:30 until... well, until we leave. :)

Saturday, 20 July: Acton Nature Center, Acton
Sunday, 21 July: Samuell Farm Park, Mesquite
Tuesday, 23 July: Twelve Hills Nature Center, Dallas
Friday, 26 July: Parr Park, Grapevine
Saturday, 27 July: Heard Museum, McKinney

If you know of others happening in/around DFW, let us know!

Posted on June 12, 2019 17:41 by sambiology sambiology | 17 comments | Leave a comment

June 08, 2019

ID's in Dallas/Fort Worth... Been slacking on these!

I focused a lot of time during the city nature challenge to add in ID's -- tossed on about 6k from Dallas/Fort Worth, and I've not picked up since then! Anyways, just a short note to mention that sooner before later, I'll get back onto adding ID's. :)

Also, just FYI -- here's how I tend to do ID's. I'm just a regional person -- unfortunately, I'm not too knowledgeable about the flora and fauna outside of north central TX (at least, not too knowledgeable yet!).

I search for all observations made per day and switch the filters to those needing ID's and the ones that already have ID's (to check the verifications).

For instance, here are all of the observations uploaded on 1 June 2019 (observations that are uploaded on this date aren't necessarily observed on this date):
33 pages of observations! I start with the last page, and then move my way backwards so that I try to look at each observation. Some will slip through the cracks, but at least I'll try to see most of what people spotted.

The DFW area is pretty loaded with biodiversity - and there's a massive citizen science community here! It's awesome to see what everyone else sees here! :) I'll be back to adding ID's sometime soonish. :)

Posted on June 08, 2019 23:09 by sambiology sambiology | 7 comments | Leave a comment

May 29, 2019

Bullfrogs in ponds around DFW -- know of some good locations?

Thor Larson and Joe Mruzek at UTA are doing a really cool study on bullfrog tadpoles and diatom diets especially in the urban area...

So, they are looking for some locations for bullfrog tadpoles within DFW! Do you know of any? Ideally, look for some of the tadpoles in the pond or at least some of the adult frogs in the margins of the pond. The bigger the population, the better the sampling! :)

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Posted on May 29, 2019 18:37 by sambiology sambiology | 19 comments | Leave a comment

May 20, 2019

Grapevine biodiversity survey - THIS Friday! Short notice -- anyone want to come?

So, super short notice on this, but this Friday (24 May 2019), we're going to do a somewhat more rigorous flora and fauna survey of an area on the east side of Grapevine Lake - around 140 acres. It's basically across from Rockledge Park... We want to get some foundational knowledge of what's out there before any developments or management decisions are made.'56.1%22N+97%C2%B003'37.9%22W/@32.982237,-97.0627247,923m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d32.9822366!4d-97.0605365

It's a weekday, and we're planning on doing the survey all day and into the evening. We'll break it into a few different parts: a morning survey (like 9 to noon), an afternoon (like 1 – 4), and then we will do some mothing out there too (like 8 – 11ish).

Please let me know soonish if you're interested. It's going to focus a little more on making observations rather than the social parts of a bioblitz, so just FYI on that too. :)

Posted on May 20, 2019 21:55 by sambiology sambiology | 40 comments | Leave a comment

May 13, 2019

Mothing in Portland -- how safe are parks at night? :) Or, where should I moth?

Hey Portland and Oregon/Washington iNatters (most of whom I've never met),

I'll be jumping up to Portland for the International Urban Wildlife Conference ( on 1 - 6 June, and I'll bring a little mothing set-up with a couple black lights. I'll be staying at the University Place Hotel (310 SW Lincoln Street, Portland, OR 97201), and Marquam Nature Park is like half a mile away (definitely walking distance).

Curious to anyone familiar -- is this park relatively safe -- like at night?

I'd been here once before in 2015 (, but I can't really recall the area as far as safety goes...

If there's another place that could be better for moths (and personal safety!), I'd love to hear some suggestions.

Thanks! :)

Posted on May 13, 2019 03:44 by sambiology sambiology | 9 comments | Leave a comment

May 07, 2019

DFW did GREAT this City Nature Challenge! Again the winner: nature!

7th globally in observations, 9th in species, and 10th in observers! This is incredible!

In Texas, DFW is 1st in both observations and observers and 2nd in species. Amazing.

We documented 2626 species in 36384 observations by 1012 observers. Also, huge props to the folks that dedicated time to ID’ing other folks’ observations. 62% of the observations were identified or verified by others. This is great, and super helpful. If you’re still up for it, there are about 12k observations that are still awaiting ID’s or verifications:

Across the board, we did better than last year and the year before!
2018: 35048 observations of 2441 species by 826 observers
2017: 24077 observations of 2309 species by 542 observers

Most importantly, these numbers are being used. Each observation gives information on where something is found in space and time, and when combined with all of other other observations, we have a pretty good idea of what’s out there! Overtime, this information is becoming more and more useful – we can compare this data to future data. Each time you make an observation, recognize this!

Also, this information is being used by public land managers and policy makers. They’re seeing the biodiversity in the area, but just as importantly, they’re seeing the constituency of naturalists that seek out areas of biodiversity. This is meaningful!

Great job to all! Don’t let the observations stop – it’s still spring and wildlife wants to be documented! ;) Many thanks to all the participants of this year’s City Nature Challenge. It was a great one!

Posted on May 07, 2019 19:45 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment