Life Hacks for naturalists

Thought I would start a thread as a catchment for ideas and thoughts on any trick, shortcut, skill, modification, or novelty method that increases productivity and effectivity or remedies shortcomings in all things to do with being a naturalist outside of using the iNaturalist platform or the like. Red Green, MacGyver, Duct Tape, mnemonics, pest deterrent, and etc. approaches are welcome.

I have looked for other threads and the closest overlap seems to be with info offered up in the What is in your Field Kit ? thread. Possibly, if it is okay with the moderators, some of the hacks (such as a little sheet of Tyvek), could get quoted into this thread.

Hack:
First day use of a new pair of binoculars was out in the bush on a bird count involving distance and elevation. One of the objective lens covers was lost somewhere and retracing steps would have been futile. Fortunately I was able to order a new pair of covers from the manufacturer. In replacing them I “locked” them to the binocular housing with a zap strap/cable tie.

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from Whats in your field kit? Thanks for the heads up @crellow

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Shrimpers and fishermen here in Louisiana swear by Victoria’s Secret “Amber Romance” fragrance as a mosquito/gnat repellent.

Another great trick is to bathe with plain old yellow Dial soap before a day in the field. It’s a good tick and chigger repellent

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Rather use a non durable plastic bag as a rain cover or barrier, this synthetic is very durable and, depending on the size, can be used for a multitude of things - winter sled contents wrap (below), or as @briangooding mentioned cover, a dry place to sit down or place things.! Possibly easy
to come by as a discard at house construction sites.

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King Phil Came Over For Grape Soda

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species

Now you’ll never forget the order :)

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Neat to see a different way to remember the taxonomic hierarchy. The mnenomic I’d learned for it was:

Dear King Philip Came Over From Glorious Spain
(Adds Domain to the previous list)

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This is a question rather than a tip - does anyone know how to switch lenses quickly and keep them both clean? I often need to switch between a zoom and a macro, and the time often allows the life form to ‘escape’!

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Good question. I don’t know if it is possible. I remember getting things fouled up with dust at the Grand Canyon. I upgraded my camera body shortly after that so I just keep my predicted least used lens on the old camera body and take them both out with me. I found even in the best conditions I would have the wrong lens on the camera body and would loose an opportunity because of it. And, now that I have a smartphone with me, I always have a third option of wide angle for habitat.

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And I had always just done it similar to the way Big Bird did the alphabet - DKPCOFGS (deekaypeecoughguz). I prefer your mnemonics.

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Things like this are why I have a bridge camera now. One lens built in and it goes from macro to telephoto with good-enough results for my needs.It’s also smaller & weighs less so I’m more likely to carry it with me when I’m out.

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I’ve always gotten the best single zoom-macro lens I could, and made do within its limits. Not ideally suited for the extremes of wide-angle, telephoto, or macro photography, to be sure. But carrying and switching extra lenses has always been in the “nope” category for my field style…

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Repurposed an old pair of binoculars from back in the day when the only reason I had them was for the nosebleed section at concerts before the days of big screens. Removed both objective lenses to use as magnifying glasses - one goes in the field kit, the other goes in the glove compartment (glovebox) for reading those offroad camping maps.

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King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup

Dear King Philip Came Over From Glorious Spain

Works especially well for Gulf Coast gnats!

I learned it in the Sixties as “King Philip came over from Germany stoned.”

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Neat to see a different way to remember the taxonomic hierarchy. The mnenomic I’d learned for it was:
Dear King Philip Came Over From Glorious Spain
(Adds Domain to the previous list)

My high school biology teacher, with some embarrassment, told us that we could remember the taxonomic hierarchy with the mnemonic he learned at university:

“Kinky People Can Often Find Great Sex”

Maybe it was a bit on the raunchy side, but I gotta say… I don’t think any of us ever forgot where the various ranks fit into the hierarchy!

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Thanks everyone for the camera lens tips. I guess there is no way around it. I was wondering if dropping one lens into a plastic bag for a short time would keep it clean while the other was being used. Maybe I’ll give it a try and see how it works. The time consuming part though is the taking off and reattaching the lenses.

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While resting my hand on the trunk of an old pine tree I was reminded that olive oil works great to remove sticky sap from skin. (So does peanut butter - regular butter might too) Regular soap then removes the oil.

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Veggie oil or indeed any fat gets off a lot of sticky plant juices–pine sap, Euphorbia or Ficus latex, that strange smell hands get from tomato plants… it works well on skin and tools, and sort of works on clothing, but then you have an oil stain you have to remove. There are a few brands of “orange” hand wash for mechanics (Orange Goop, Fast Orange) which work wonders, and also contain mild abrasives to help you scrub. I haven’t noticed those staining my clothing. If you are cleaning clothing, best not to let the sap dry first. If it is dry, trying to scrape it off with a knife might be the best bet.

Juice stains from berries or the like is best rinsed from clothing with cold water immediately, soap not necessary. Now, if only I could figure out how to remove taro juice stains!

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One of my friends carries two cameras, one with a macro lens for insects and the other with a birding lens. Each is fitted with a clip-in attachment so he can carry them on a hip harness, one on each side.

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