At the beginning of April we downloaded the iNaturalist app on my phone and have been slowly but steadily uploading our nature observations. (The website is much easier to browse through: iNaturalist.ca)
So far, we’ve uploaded 57 plants and animals. Our “finds” include salamanders and spiders, lichen and fungi, trees and shrubs, beetles and bees… all sorts. Every observation is verified eventually by another user (or corrected if your original ID was incorrect) and then considered a “research grade” observation. Evie and I are the keen ones in the family. It all started with the caddis fly larvae…
The two elongated piles of pine needles in this underwater photo are in fact the homemade cases of the caddisfly larva. They build themselves these homes and walk about their watery home looking for food. Once we found the first one (Evie spotted it in the Maggie Maggie river in Wentzell Woods), we kept seeing them everywhere. Here’s an empty case Milo found. Because each one is unique, it’s fun to look for them and judge their home-building skills.
We used iNaturalist to identify this strange creature. As soon as we uploaded the photograph, the app knew what it was. This was a revelation to me! Instant gratification. And super helpful when out for a walk and you want to know what a specific tree or caterpillar or fungi is. And I love looking at the maps on the app that show where other users have uploaded the same thing.
The most unusual animal we’ve uploaded so far is this guy. A beautiful metallic bronze beetle about the size of a ladybird. We found it on the back deck. It’s definitely a Calligrapha beetle and I think it’s the Dogwood leaf beetle. But we’re the only ones to upload it to iNaturalist so far in Nova Scotia!
That’s us in the dot! The fact that there have been a few sightings in New Brunswick made it seem like it was the right ID. At least, it lives in eastern North America and this far north. (There are a fair number of sightings in New England.) Very exciting.
The guy at the top of the iNaturalist leaderboard has logged more than 2000 observations so far in May 2020 which dwarfs our 57, but we try and post a couple of new observations every day and we’re happy with that!