Preparing for... the winter. (Sigh)

I’d love to find a cast off microscope. I’ve been collecting the insect wings left behind by our resident mocking birds and would love to have a closer look than my loupe gives. Great idea!
Anyone know a source for cheap or free 'scopes?

1 Like

I feel the same! The last few seasons I started a few projects:

  1. Tagging all my photos of living things in Lightroom (photo app) with nested taxonomical keywords (online platforms come & gasp go, so I want my own tags, backed up in triplicate)
  2. Creating albums of best representative shot of each species (which I keep on my devices, offline, for reference outside cell networks—which is most of my area)
  3. Created a project for the moths in my state here on iNat & started identifying pages of really old observations with help of kind mentors.
  4. Taking photos at our bird feeders (good binocs, best investment ever!)
  5. Reading books about my favorite taxa
    Another iNat moth-er told me her goal was to photograph at least one moth every month of the year, which she has done for years (using blacklights, bait, etc). She’s in the northern US.
    Don’t despair,
    “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” —Percy Bysshe Shelley
1 Like

Look up any school microscope, cheap even when new.

Thanks!

Well, I suppose that’s better than Charlie Brown’s outlook:
See the source image

3 Likes

@Marina_Gorbunova’s has a similar topic for a bioblitz during this time of year. Maybe something that interests you will come up.

November bioblitz ideas

3 Likes

Yes, it can.

(Not where I live, though. This is part of why I live where I live.)

1 Like

In between come to IDentiFridays (we need all hands on deck please)

2 Likes

Winter in UK is a good time to find under-recorded insects. Things will be out there basking on a sunny winter day, even basking on snow, and some will be winter specialists that get missed by the warm weather entomologists. One of the British experts on beetles, Mark Telfer, did an analysis of his collecting success and he found he records fewer species per day in winter but he is more likely to find a species he hasn’t seen before.

4 Likes

Oh hey, that’s cool. So based on this tip, I did a search of beetles in the Arthropods on Snow project, and while it’s not a frequently observed taxon, there are certainly a lot more species than I expected: 82 so far! Within those 82, a surprising number of them (24) are Staphylinidae, same as my sole beetle observation in the project. Since the rove beetle family is poorly represented in observations on iNat, that makes a nice target to look for more of this winter.

1 Like

I stopped by the museum where that journal was held, and they were kind enough to let me copy it. It is very long, so I put it in my journal. https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/neylon/71347-a-winter-walk This guy seems like he would be a fun guy to hit the field with.

2 Likes

One of the coldest winters I ever spent was in north Florida during a freak cold spell in the 1980s. Poorly insulated house. The locals were pretty miserable but only lasted maybe a week. It was a weird introduction to the state for me as I’d just moved there.

3 Likes

Oh yeah it can surprise people who think it’s all sunshine, sweater, and skeeters. Our average low the past few years during winter has hovered around 58 to 60F but I remember when it would dip into the mid 30s and I’d have to scrape frost off my car before driving to school.

You can still tell the seasons are transitioning just by how the air feels but it’s just not the same; you do eventually start sweating again if you remain outside.

The event I experienced was the January 1985 freeze that really impacted the South. As I recall it killed off the major orange orchards in central FL. Maybe they’re all housing tracts by now?

1 Like

Few remaining orchards unfortunately. And few maintained developments. Same story across several counties. We were rather famous for our citrus orchards but even they were bought out eventually.

1 Like

I started birding specifically because herps dry up in winter where I lived at the time.

Weird duck season it is!

1 Like

Up here in Sweden, winter is mainly lichens and mosses for me. And birds, if I care to bring my proper camera. Most of the vascular plants that retain their leaves and can be readily identified are common as dirt, so not much fun to observe those.

2 Likes

Same here. When I focused just on herps, winters were grim. Birding and some mammaling filled in those ugly long months of frozen hell. (I’m not a cold weather fan.)

3 Likes

I agree I don’t like late fall and winter. If it’s frosty and snowy, it’s fun to have a walk, but I’m not good at observing game traces and have no camera suitable for birds. So I can take photos of lichens on trees. But with the climate changes, we have less frost and snow. The world looks pretty depressive, but I can find more lichens, fungi and mosses. Another option is recording bird voices. So somehow we’ll make it till spring.

I currently live in the gulf, I lived most of my life in England, I used to dread winter, but now I look forward to it as we get a lot of migratory birds coming through, roughly 500 species. Now it’s the opposite, I dread the summer as it gets to 50*C, and there is a significant decrease in nature obvs that I could spot, (that’s if I’m brave enough to venture out in that heat :laughing:).

6 Likes