Looking Back at Six Months on iNaturalist

It's been six months almost to the day that I joined the iNaturalist herd and I've got to say it's been one of the best things that happened in 2016 for me. I had intended to sit down this weekend and finally, really start working through identifying and posting some of the many mushroom observations I collected on our September camping trip, but it seems like an overwhelming task at the moment. So, instead I'm going to procrastinate a little longer while I sit and watch the snow fall and share some of the things I've learned via iNat over the last half year. (I think the journal function here is intended for other purpose, but I've never been one to follow rules exactly.)

I've learned that the organisms around my own home are worth observation. Before I discovered iNaturalist I had a vague desire to start cataloging them but hadn't tackled exactly how I would do that. Now, without much effort I've managed to identify fifty-six different species in my Urban Home Inventory project. Next year I intend to make more of an effort to raise that number. Before iNat I'd listed nearly fifty bird species alone but, unfortunately don't have photos of most of them.

I've learned that the number of users in my area is on the rise. When I started using iNat there were hardly any other observations in the nature preserve where I regularly go for walks. Just this summer many more observations were added. I enjoy looking at what people are finding around here and who is making observations. It's cool to see some big names in iNat have come through my little flyover town, including @dpom and I saw that @kueda had been exploring the cemetery near my house.

I've learned that, as with most things, the more I learn the more I find how little I know. I'm OK with that. One big thing as far as iNat is concerned is now difficult it is to identify some species just from photographs. (See above re: mushroom procrastination.) I've gone down some interesting and educational rabbit holes chasing after flies, mushrooms, flowers and snails. And moths! Who knew there were so many moths!

I've learned that there may not be such a thing as too many field guides. I've used my iNat activities to rationalize buying a few more books and my wish list on Amazon keeps growing. I'm also building a library of bookmarks in my browser for helpful identification resources. It's been great finding and using various keys online. I'm always open to suggestions for helpful online resources for any taxa I might encounter so if you know of any especially good ones, I would love to hear about them.

I've learned there are a lot of unexplored (by me) natural areas close to home. Much as I'd rather be traveling to a more tropical locale (see above re: snow) there are plenty of places within an easy drive from home I can visit. I'm putting together a list of locations to check out as soon as spring looks like it's arriving--which isn't any time soon so I guess I'll make another pot of tea and tackle those mushroom observations now.

Posted on December 11, 2016 02:57 PM by driftlessroots driftlessroots

Comments

Great entry, Mark. I agree with all of the above -- especially with the more that we learn, the more we realize is left to learn. This is inspiration for more exploration! :)

Keep up the great observations, Mark. :)

Posted by sambiology about 7 years ago

Thanks! @sambiology

Posted by driftlessroots about 7 years ago

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