19 de agosto de 2020

Rock Pool Fire, Malibu Creek State Park

I was just ready to upload my observations for the Socially Distant Bioblitz on August 16th (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/56674788), when I got an alert on my phone that a fire had broken out in my neighborhood -- the Rock Pool Fire in Malibu Creek State Park. It consumed an area of only 92.8 acres thanks to swift action by the fire department. 21 months earlier, the area had been devastated by the Woolsey Fire, which consumed 96,949 acres and took 14 days to contain... Our wildlife can handle fires every 30 to 50 years. But back to back wildfires are catastrophic.

On the next day, Mulholland Hwy was still blocked, but I looked around from a safe distance... See the text and "b-roll" context pictures to the four observations below.

More here: https://www.theacorn.com/articles/brush-fire-scare-at-malibu-creek-state-park/

Ingresado el 19 de agosto de 2020 por andreacala andreacala | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de agosto de 2020

California Wild Women

Hey iNat friends,

@bbunny, @kimssight, @naturephotosuze, @scubabruin and I banded together to form California Wild Women, a team competing in the International Biodiversity Championship of 2020, https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-wild-women. If you can, please keep an eye on our observations during the competition, 08/03 to 08/06, 2020, and help with IDs and gender annotations. Top identifiers will be honored!!

More on the championship: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/international-biodiversity-championship-2020.

Many thanks for your help!!

Ingresado el 02 de agosto de 2020 por andreacala andreacala | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de noviembre de 2019

Winter 2019/2020

Detailed recap and outlook on weather patterns, fires, and the impact of climate change on Southern California:

Ingresado el 19 de noviembre de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de noviembre de 2019

2000 Observations

On 2019-11-05, I posted my 2000th observations, of a Shaggy Mane mushroom I found at Lagarde d’Apt in the French Provence, Alpes Cote d’Azur, on October 30th.
I put in a geek hour and ran the stats on the second batch of a thousand, just as when I had posted my first 1,000 observations (https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/andreacala/25683-1000-observations-some-stats).

The big differences:

  1. Time spent on iNat:
    0001-1000: 447 days / 64 weeks / nearly 15 months.
    1001-2000: 134 days / 19 weeks / 4 months and a week.

  2. Focus on insects and their relationships with plants:
    0001-1000: Insects - 109 obs of 71 species; Plants - 98 obs of 90 species.
    1001-2000: Insects - 391 obs of 169 species; Plants - 227 obs of 174 species.

  3. Butterflies! 2019 was a great year for that.
    0001-1000: 36 observations of 19 butterfly species.
    1001-2000: 184 observations of 36 butterfly species.

In my first year on iNat, I focused on wildlife I can observe around my house and also spent a lot of time in the King Gillette Ranch area. In the second year I was nearly exclusively exploring the burn scar of the Woolsey Fire, which was the first fire I had experienced first hand, including evacuation etc. I contributed nearly 800 observations to https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/woolsey-fire-wildlife-and-plants, a 365 days project to document losses and recovery from the fire. But this had a slow start for me: For about three months after the fire, I was holed up at home, and had to deal with the trauma, stress, sadness, and fear I had experienced. But as soon as I was able to face the devastation around me, I started to explore how nature dealt with it.

Comparing the first and second 1000 obs, percentages of Research Grade observations of the various kinds of wildlife are pretty similar. Birds, Mammals, Reptiles fared really well, Spiders, Funghi, Plants and Insects could use more identifiers and/or are much less suitable for identification via photographs.

1001-2000 Species All obs RG obs % 0001-1000
RG percentage
Birds 110 248 246 99% 157 species / 644 obs 100%
Amphibians 4 9 9 100% 3 / 8 100%
Reptiles 5 11 11 100% 6 / 20 95%
Mammals 14 35 33 94% 15 / 68 97%
Fishes 8
11 10 90% 7 / 7 57%
Mollusks 8 8 8 100% 7 / 7 85%
Arachnids 13 22 13 59% 5 / 10 60%
Insects 169 391 328 84% 71 / 109
Plants 174 227 164 72% 90 / 98 71%
Funghi 19 28 17 61% 2 / 2 50%
protozoans 0 0
unknown 0 0
Overall 434 1000 846 85% 380 species / 1000 obs 933 obs / 93%

Some more data points:
331 identifiers, and counting.

105 observations of 71 invasive species
24 observations of 13 threatened species

775 observations of 407 species in L.A. County
84 observations of 73 species in Ventura County
106 observations of 77 species in Germany
35 observations of 33 species in France

Europe: 141 obs / 107 species / need ID: 15 obs - 11%
USA: 859 obs / 431 species / need ID: 137 obs - 16%

(The Western European iNat community is very responsive and helpful, which makes iNatting while traveling there a blast. Thank you, Danke and Merci to all.)

Most observed:
16 Northern White-Skipper
13 Orange Sulphur and Acmon Blue
12 Common Buckeye and Lorquin’s Admiral
10 Gray Hairstreak and Cabbage White
9 Monarch and Checkered White
8 RT Hawk

212 Butterflies and Moths observations of 55 species
184 Butterflies observations of 36 species - 3 need ID
15 Bumble Bees observations of 9 species

1 banded bird (a W Gull who I reported to USGS who were able to trace it).

19 popular observations, most popular with two stars of a Western Fence Lizard on a burned tree trunk.
Update: Meanwhile, the observation of a Common Merganser catching a Chub, in Munich, Germany, received five votes and has become the most popular obs of the batch, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34861833.

Ingresado el 14 de noviembre de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 1 observación | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de septiembre de 2019

Woolsey Fire

NPS page on the fire

Story Map of the fire

“Fire Fact Forum: The Science of Fire”

LAT story about about the hardship of California Red-legged Frogs (https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/67016-Rana-draytonii) before and after the fire.
[The fire] showed little mercy for the California red-legged frogs, savaging the reintroduction sites.
Mark Mendelsohn, a vegetation and wildlife biologist with the Park Service, had worked for Delaney on the reintroduction project before becoming the park’s botanist. He was the first to see the sites after the fire. “It was awful,” he said. “Just thinking about the frogs it looked awful. It was just ... a moonscape.”
The rains that followed the fire also wreaked destruction. Streams were filled with burned debris and ash, poisoning the water. Pools that had once been deep and clear filled with mud. At three of the four sites, Delaney said, “the habitat just got completely blown out.”
Then, days before Christmas last year, the U.S. government partially shut down and Park Service employees like Delaney were not allowed to work for 35 days.
Eventually, the team surveyed the Simi Hills source of all the frogs. They found 90 frogs. But when they returned for another visit weeks later, the frogs were noticeably skinnier. In February, with more rainfall coming, Delaney asked the Santa Barbara Zoo to shelter masses of frog eggs from the Simi Hills source. Those eggs ended up hatching tadpoles, which ended up being placed at two of the Santa Monica Mountains locations.
The frogs at the Simi Hills site have since recovered and are healthier and “breeding like crazy,” Delaney said. And at the fourth reintroduction site — the one not completely blown out — the frogs survived and have resumed breeding. “Those are my champion frogs,” Delaney said.


Also on the California Red-legged Frog: https://www.fws.gov/cno/newsroom/highlights/2018/all_is_not_lost/


Fire and Rain Spell Trouble for Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains Area
The Woolsey Fire was bad enough, but the heavy rains that followed caused additional problems. Most notably: A huge crop of invasive weeds is turning into kindling.


KCLU interview with Dr. Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with the National Park Service, and branch chief of wildlife at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
RILEY: Yeah, so one thing about the Woolsey Fire that was really impressive was just the sheer size of it - three times larger than the biggest fire to affect the Santa Monicas ever before. And it burned over 40% of the natural area within the Santa Monica Mountains. So it really - it really had a huge effect, and we're continuing to see those effects even six months later. For example, we've been following mountain lions in the park for 17 years or so, and we're continuing to see they - as soon as the fire occurred, we saw them stay largely out of that area. They would pass through it still once in a while, but, even six months later, they are mostly not using it.



02/14/2019 - UCLA
After the Woolsey fire burned more than 150 square miles in November in the Santa Monica Mountains, two of the most important questions became how long it would take plants and animals to recover, and which ones will thrive or die out after the mountains’ worst fire ever recorded.
Now, a UCLA-led research project has begun a months-long study in more than 50 burn areas to closely monitor the recovery of native plants, invasive grasses, insects, slugs, snails and more. Those flora and fauna are important in their own right and also key food resources. With nearly 90 percent of the National Park Service’s land in the Santa Monica Mountains burned, a slow recovery of those smaller species could spell trouble for small mammals and reptiles that escaped the flames, said lead researcher Brad Shaffer, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a member of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.


County Releases Damage Info—21,500 Trees on Public Land Lost to Fire






People Who Aren't Biologists Are Fighting With Biologists About Feeding Wildlife In The Woolsey Fire Zone

How Will The Santa Monica Mountains Recover From The Woolsey Fire? We Asked A Scientist

Ingresado el 26 de septiembre de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de julio de 2019

Image 6116

Saturday, June 29, at Leo Carillo State Beach
Image 6116, as far as I know, could very well be the very last photograph I ever took with my beloved Canon EOS 60D, of a Blueband Hermit Crab (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28074989) and a piece of Kelp with eggs. First I thought these eggs could be the beginning of whatever the fatal problem was, but for whatever it's worth, they are also in image 6115.

My next picture was meant to be another one of a Striped Shore Crab who had lost the tip of its left claw (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28074812), but the camera didn't focus. I checked the lens to see if it was on manual focus, then saw on the monitor a blinking "Err 80." I switched off the camera, switched it back on, nothing. I put in a full battery, nothing. I tried a few more times, then drove home, feeling very anxious. I tried trouble-shooting by removing lens, battery, SDHC card, then holding down the shutter release for 30 seconds, and inserting battery, card and lens step but step, but got nothing. I drove to a camera shop in the neighborhood, they put in their own battery, nothing. It never came to life.

I had bought the camera on November 28, 2010, at Samy's Camera in Los Angeles, and had paid $1,399.95. There was not a single issue over the eight and a half years I had this camera. I took tens of thousands of pictures with it, some of them very dear to my heart.

I called Samy's last night and spoke with a repairs person. He shared my love for this sturdy camera and said he is using it to this day to compare settings at other cameras, and understood my reluctance to give up on it. But he also said the camera is obsolete, and repair will cost upwards from $275. He said, "I want you to write this down: EOS Rebel T6, which is the successor of the 60D. Same settings, same protocols, but lighter, faster, much more advanced. You will kick yourself for not switching to the T6 earlier." Samy's is not even selling that model, so he wasn't looking for my money, he wanted to help me out. I spent a bit of time researching, but when I found a steep discount at B&H that was to expire in 6 hours, I ordered the T6, for $399. It comes in a kit with two lenses, but I will be able to continue using my fantastic 300mm zoom lens that's actually more expensive than the new camera plus kit. The T6 should be in my hands Tuesday morning.

In all this tech trouble anxiousness, I tried to download the pictures I took that day, but the card had no pictures whatsoever on it. I was desperate! Camera bust, and all the images gone? I called my computer guy who had rescued data for me, and he said he will try his best, on Monday. I was close to tears... Waiting until Monday seemed torturous, so I tried to keep my cool and analyze this. Maybe the reader is kaput? I inserted my second card... and that showed over 1,000 pictures. Sometimes I expect Murphy's Law and create it.

I had spent the day in the burn scar of the Woolsey Fire, at the bottom of Mulholland Hwy at PCH, where the fire jumped PCH and burned all the way down to the ocean. It's still very gloomy, mood-wise, even though there's lots of new life, and reassuring evidence that our native plants can deal with fire. It's beautiful if it weren't so eerie and depressing. There were many many Funereal Duskywings flitting about, reinforcing the spookiness. And then a fatal camera crash... not too good a day.

Tuesday, July 2nd: The new camera arrived and I'm charging the battery... Meanwhile, I posted some of my observations of the day, among them my first of a Common Yellowthroat (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28009424), and this year's first of a Wrentit (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28067177) and WB Nuthatch (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28009336). The last day with the EOS 60D wasn't so bad after all.

Ingresado el 02 de julio de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 14 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de junio de 2019

1000 Observations - some stats

I just posted my observation #1000, of American Goldfinches at the L.A. River (my first obs of the species), and looked at the stats so far via the filter. (Stats updated on 02/04/2020.)

1000 Observations - 378 species (update: 379 species).
Observations which need an ID: 90 (9%) (update: 62 = 6.2%).

157 Bird species - 157 RG
89 Plants - 60 RG (update: 65 species with RG)
70 Insects - 54 RG (60)
15 Mammals - 15 RG
7 Fishes - 3 RG (4)
7 Mollusks - 4 RG (5)
6 Reptiles - 5 RG (number 6 was a snake skin)
5 Spiders - 3 RG
3 Amphibians - 3 RG
2 Fungi - 1 RG
0 Protozoans
0 Unknowns

17 Species didn't show up via the filter (above adds up to 361 species)

Most observed species

  1. RT Hawk (23)
  2. Phainopepla (16)
  3. GB Heron (15)
  4. Osprey (14)
  5. Hooded Oriole, Acorn WP, LeGo, CA Scrub-Jay (11)

Most observed Mammals:
CA Mule Deer (10), Bottlenose Dolphin (8) and Coyote (8).

50 "popular" observations, 5% (update: 55)
48 invasive/introduced species (update: 50)
15 threatened species (update: 17)
8 observations /7 species of banded/tagged birds (also reported to USGS etc.)

950 observation of 341 Species in L.A. County - 88 in need of an ID (update: 53 need ID)
50 observations of 44 species in Germany - 2 in need of an ID

Time on iNat: 447 days / 64 weeks / nearly 15 months

I ID-ed 961 observations for others so far, most of them in my year two on iNat as I'm getting a bit more experienced.

My observations were ID-ed by 398 identifiers (update: 416). Top of the list, with 96 IDs, texaskingbird. Biohexx1: 60; finatic: 47, kimssight: 36; johnascher: 34; alexis-orion: 33 (who is in Germany and all of 13 years old, and VERY knowledgeable); psweet: 30; idacosta: 24; kgarrett: 21 (always very helpful); and graysquirrel with 21. Thank you all!!

Observation with the most comments (14): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27476417 (of a piece of fur - as yet unresolved).
Most popular (3 ***): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14270674 (of a Greater Roadrunner eating a Whiptail lizzie). (Update: one more star, total 4.)

Ingresado el 24 de junio de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de junio de 2019

Useful iNat links

Maverick IDs
https://www.inaturalist.org/identifications?user_id=[replace here with own ID]&category=maverick

Ingresado el 19 de junio de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de mayo de 2019

Observation fields


Often used by me:

Associated species with names lookup
Group Size
Feeding on
Nectar Plant

Interaction (Predation):
Eaten by:

Someone added several times
Is your observation of an animal eating a plant, fungus, or another animal?

To fit into their project https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/who-eats-who

Ingresado el 20 de mayo de 2019 por andreacala andreacala | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario