Reader Susan Heller called my attention to a new free program called iNaturalist, run by the Cal Academy, where you can register (takes one minute: just give a login name, email, and password), and then submit your nature photos. There’s no downside. As Susan wrote:
Your readers who send wildlife photos might enjoy joining iNaturalist. You post your photos on this site, and if you’re not sure of the identification, other members will help identify your postings. I recently posted a couple of dragonfly photos (and I know nothing about dragonflies except that they emerge from nymphs), and within 30 minutes both had been identified! I love the name “Black Saddlebags,” one of the dragonflies with bizarre black ‘bags’ on its wings. Various groups also check the site and add your observations to their data bases – especially the bird and biodiversity groups. Anyway, http://www.iNaturalist.org is the address.
I’m sure you’re curious about the Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata), so here it is:
There are some interesting comments on live oaks, their distribution, and resistance to hurricanes in the discussion (see #5) of my post on Long Beach, MS and its cuisine. One thing I’ve noticed is the striking zonation of the vegetation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Just a few miles inland, the live oak forest along the coast gives way to a forest strongly dominated by pine. Here’s a pine forest, less than two miles north of the water.
This pine forest continues considerably far inland, becoming mixed with broadleaved deciduous trees around Hattiesburg.
The live oaks dominate in a narrow strip along the coast.
You probably didn’t know that there’s a Cloud Appreciation Society that recognizes new types of clouds. A new one has recently been named, the first since 1951. It’s the asperatus cloud (or, formally, Undulatus asperatus—clouds seemed to be named like organisms!), a strange, undulating formation that’s been described as looking like the surface of a rolling sea. They’re apparently rare, and their formation mysterious. But they’re gorgeous. Has anybody seen these?