Houston Naturama has been a huge source of amusement for me, however, I sense that the rest of you are not swept up in the excitement. That’s on me, let me explain.
I am a nature nerd. No surprise there, you don’t end up writing a nature blog for fame and fortune. My greatest joy comes not simply from nature but from experiencing nature with others. So, I sent you on a series of weed hunts.
Weed hunts make me happy. I like knowing each of their names and taking macro photos of their blooms because they are so lovely. That’s oxalis at the top of the post.
I share photos of birds because seeing them up close, in sharp focus, frozen in time helps me know them better.
I began Houston Naturama so that we could, together, explore the world and share with each other the wonders it holds.
My mistake was starting at the end rather than the beginning. You’re not ready for a full-on weed hunt. We need to start at the beginning, not just rush to the fun stuff. So I am rebooting the Houston Naturama.
To recognize the achievements of the three beta testers who jumped right into the deep end, there will now be a pro-level for those who complete a 3 out of 5 challenge. Everyone will have a chance to get there. But first, the new beginning.
Step 1: Get an account on iNaturalist.
Step 2: Submit three observations. Pick whatever you want – insects, fish, plants, birds. If it’s wandering around or in the ground, submit it.
Step 3: Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your iNaturalist screen name so I can look at what you submitted and be amazed.
Once you’ve done that, your name will be added to the honor roll of Houston Naturamatists and you shall attain all the rights and honors that attend that distinction (listed on the Houston Naturama honor roll and recognition on Buffalo Bayou Park facebook feed).
Week 2 will have a new challenge, but whenever you start, feel free to start at week 1.
Who knows what you’re going to discover. This is a photo taken near The Dunlavy by Ashley Atkins with an inexpensive macro lens. It’s a unicorn caterpillar moth caterpillar. That’s the coolest name. Most caterpillars are known by the name of the butterfly they turn into. In this way, your milkweed is being nibbled by monarch butterfly caterpillars.
This caterpillar is so amazing looking and the moth itself rather plain, that they named the moth after the caterpillar. It is a unicorn caterpillar moth. Using familiar naming conventions, that makes this the unicorn caterpillar moth caterpillar!
By the way, if you stumble on another of these, take precautions. That hump (unicorn horn?) on its back can shoot formic acid for several inches. That’s the same irritating stuff ants deliver in their bites.
There has been only one of these beauties reported to iNaturalist inside the loop in Houston. I posted it from my account because Ashley and her boyfriend William asked me for a bit of help. They are still both going on the honor roll! Amazing caterpillar.