Tag Archives: iNaturalist

No Ducks Past the Yellow Tape!

sign saying the park is closed, caution tape, and ducks out away from the pond

Three ducks on the grass.While some cities around here have only closed playgrounds and sports facilities at their parks, Manhattan Beach has closed their parks outright. Polliwog Park has a large pond year-round that attracts ducks, geese, coots, herons and more, plus the local gulls and pigeons that wander by. But the park has been literally wrapped in caution tape for a month, and the ducks that normally stay in and around the pond have come out to the edges by the sidewalks — where people can still walk by and feed them.

On a related note: iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge for 2020 is underway. You can join the project to photograph the wild animals, plants, fungi and other lifeforms you see around your home or neighborhood (depending on how far you can roam in your area) this weekend. I’ve already posted the ducks, as well as a finch, some phoebes, a blackbird, a wasp, and a bunch of random plants found in the yard. Well, weeds, anyway, but the whole point is to post (and later identify) the wildlife in the area.

(And yes, you can obscure the location info. When I’m at or near home, I mark a wide circle around a major intersection and choose the “obscured” option, which further hides it from anyone but project admins and curators.)

Hawk or Dove?

Usually, iNaturalist’s AI is pretty good at narrowing down a plant or animal to a genus, but sometimes it can get confused. Like this pigeon sitting on a silk floss tree branch. It was “pretty sure” it was a hawk.

Um, nope!

I can sort of see that with the first image, but the second one makes it blindingly obvious!

Here’s the kicker, though: Pigeons and doves are the same as far as biological classification. Some names might lean toward one or the other, like the mourning dove, but others, like the rock pigeon or rock dove seen here, can be called either.

Which means the AI was literally confusing hawks and doves!