My first observation at Chassahowitzka WMA was April 1, 2017. Three years later I have 1140 observations and 480 species.
When I first started iNaturalist I felt intimidated by all the ‘smarter’ people that could identify anything I posted. Only to know they are learning just like me. They are using this worldwide educational outlet not only to promote a way to learn about these millions of plant and animal species in these amazing ecosystems but so much more.
There are three main reasons why I use iNaturalist.
- To learn more about Florida’s species and the habitats they live in
- To know more about Florida’s wildflowers, where they are blooming and when
- To find new species to add to my observations
I often come across others driving around and I get asked the same question…”Did you see anything good?” My answer is always yes. Maybe it’s not the answer they were looking for when I might reply with…I saw this strange looking fly or a dragonfly eating a wasp.
I have seen a Florida Black bear a couple of times and had the honor of viewing 18 baby gators clustered together while the mother was close by. Not often do I see youngin’s, as nature is, their survival rate in the wild can be less than 50 percent, but when I do you can be assured there will be over a hundred photos of them.
When I am at Chassahowitzka WMA I observe, and as a nature photographer, no photo taken at any angle is the same. Once you start going through your photos either on-site or on the computer you will find something amazing or something that you didn’t see.
Amazing is that every species, whether they are an insect or wildflower they all have their own uniqueness. Then you go through stages.
- What the hell
- So why
- That is freaking cool
Take for instance you photograph (using your macro) a flower. You’re happy and carry on. Later you download your photos and look at the flower photos you shot. Now you see this bug that you didn’t see there before because you were focusing on the flower. (I have done that countless times and still do that today).
You zoom in and phase one begins …What is that? (What the hell?)
Why didn’t I see that? (OMG)
You start detailing its entire existence. Color, Shape….etc (So why?)
Then you start researching. Wow… (That’s freaking cool)
Finally, it’s all about respect… This is why you love being a nature photographer.
I do have my Chass photo bucket list containing a Bobcat, Fox, Diamondback Rattlesnake, Salamanders, Great Horned Owl and the list goes on!
I have yet to scratch the surface of Chassahowitzka WMA 20,000 acres. It is truly an amazing way to see nature and the keyword is observation. You will learn and get hooked.
Stay Safe and Respect All Living Things in Nature!