FRIENDS OF ANAHUAC REFUGE
New App Helps Sort Millions of Trail Camera Images
There’s an app for that.
It’s called Moniker, and it’s available free at the App Store for iPhone and iPad users.
At New Mexico’s Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge alone, 36 cameras amassed 2.7 million images in four years. Typically, sorting that mountain of imagery for scientific analysis means enlisting family, friends, volunteers and neighbors. Meanwhile, more cameras are positioned and the imagery backlog mushrooms.
The Moniker app allows anyone, anywhere to sort camera-trap imagery. The crowd-sourcing approach helps manage the imagery backlog, while the app helps generate public appreciation of America’s wildlife. In return, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtains sorted images useful for addressing management and conservation priorities.
The app operates by downloading 15 still (not video) images at a time to an iPhone or iPad. The app pulls up each image individually, and the user classifies the species by using a scrolling wheel. The user then identifies the number of individual animals. Because most images contain one or two individuals, the app has buttons for these. Otherwise, the number of individuals is keyed in. If, something, say blowing grass, triggers the camera without capturing a wildlife species, the code “ghost” is used.
Ultimately, this process sorts the images and stores them on a remote server, where they are ready for project use. To ensure data quality, each image is sorted multiple times and majority opinion prevails. The final sort is subsampled and checked for accuracy before analysis.
To try the app, go to the App Store on your iPhone (model 4, OS version 8.4.1 or newer) and iPad (model 2 or newer) and search for “Moniker.” Moniker may not immediately pop up in the suggestions, so hit the Search tab again and it will.
For more information on how the app can be used for scientific analyses, contact Gran Harris, chief of biological services for the Southwest Region, at Grant_Harris@fws.gov.
CAPTION-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remote trail cameras capture a steady stream of images of wildlife, such as this one of a coyote chasing pronghorn at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. A new crowd-sourcing app helps to sift through and label the images.
For more stories like this, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/
Photos courtesy of USFWS:
Top photo-Tiffany Lane speaks to group
Middle photo- Students examine their invertebrates
Bottom photo- Students in Roots and Shoots having fun
Over his Service career, Sanchez has worked in four regions. Most recently, he was chief of the Refuge System Division of Budget, Performance, and Workforce. In that post, he helped set and manage annual Refuge System performance measures and direct a comprehensive evaluation of the Refuge System’s overall effectiveness in delivering its mission.
Earlier in his career, he has served as deputy assistant regional director in the Southeast regional office in Atlanta; manager at Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Nevada; deputy refuge manager at Yukon Delta Refuge in Alaska; and refuge manager at Anahuac Refuge in Texas.
Shaun began his Service career as a student trainee at two Southwestern refuges. He holds a biology degree from New Mexico Highlands University. Sanchez is the son of Martin and Joyce Sanchez of Las Vegas, N.M.
During National Wildlife Refuge Week
October 13–17, 2015
Photo by Allen Biedrzycki at Anahuac NWR
Nature moves us. What better time to celebrate that connection with the natural world than National Wildlife Refuge Week?
National wildlife refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are part of Americans’ rich natural heritage. They have been so since 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Pelican Island, Fl.
Anahuac, McFaddin, and Texas Point NWRs are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the nation’s premier public network of lands and water dedicated to habitat and wildlife conservation. The nation’s 563 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts offer visitors wonderful opportunities to fish, hunt, hike or see and photograph iconic wildlife in its natural setting.
Refuges also help clean our air, filter our water, teach our children and support local economies. More than 47 million people visit a refuge each year.
Ninety percent of refuge visitors come away pleased according to a 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” said one respondent.
Here’s what Texas Chenier Plain NWRs Complex, located at 4017 FM 563 (map), Anahuac, Texas, has planned to help you celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week:
Learn how you can help protect and preserve your natural resources. Start here at the Texas Chenier Plain NWRs Complex. Consider volunteering or joining us a Friends member and volunteer
For more information about national wildlife refuges, visit: www.fws.gov/refuges or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwsrefuges.
Family Fishing Day
Photographic Bird List Now Available on FOAR Website
Check out our updated bird photo page. As a quick reference to identifying birds, photos of nearly every bird typically seen at the refuge is listed on one page. Less common species are included as well, but some still need a photo. If you have photos of specific types of birds, please send them our way and we will share them online.
Click here for photographic bird list
History of Tropical Weather on the Texas Coast and Anahuac NWRMap of Hurricane Ike's Storm Surge in Texas and Louisiana in September 2008
Summertime on the Gulf coast means tropical weather. The upper Texas coast has had it's fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes over the years. Read more about that history and how Anahuac NWR has recovered from Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Click here for story
National Wildlife Refuge System News
USFWS Releases List of Most Visited Refuges in 2014
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has released it's list of the 20 most visited refuges in 2014. Refuges in 18 different states are included.
Read the story here
Buy a Book About the Refuge...
to Support the Refuge!
Don't Forget to Renew Your Membership!
Snowy Egret at Anahuac NWR
Photo by Allen Biedrzycki
Thank you for supporting YOUR
By Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
20 Most Visited Refuges in Fiscal Year 2014
Photo by USFWS
Anahuac NWR's Family Fishing Day even returns on Saturday, June 6, 2015. It will be held on Frozen Point at the refuge from 9am to 1pm. The first Saturday of June each year is the only day in Texas where everybody can fish without a license. This family-friendly event is suitable for all experience levels and open to the public. There will be volunteers helping rods and and casting, fish education, crafts, games, refuge information.
The event is free and registration is not required.
Click here for printable map
FOAR/Audubon Bird Surveys Continue
David Sarkozi and Travis Lovelace at Birding Workshop, Spring 2015
Consider completing a bird survey on your next trip to the refuge. The data collected supports ongoing bird studies on the upper Texas coast for the USFWS and Audubon Texas. The directions are simple:1) Got to a spot on the refuge and identify it and the weather on the form.
2) Observe and record as many birds as you can from your spot for as little as 20 minutes at a time.
3) Drop the form at the VIS or the VC before you leave or scan and email it Travis Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Come back the next month and count birds again from the same spot. You will be surprised how many birds you can identify!
Any experience level is welcome to complete forms as any data is useful!
Click photo for Audubon TERN workshop video courtesy of Chambers Wild
Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge Established in North Carolina
Bog turtle at Mountain Bogs NWR in North Carolina, photo by USFWS
That National Wildlife Refuges System welcomes it's 563rd refuge. It could eventually preserve over 22,000 acres of wetlands in the Appalachian Mountains that are home to 5 endangered species, including the bog turtle.
Bog turtles – the smallest North American turtle – is one of five endangered species that find a home on the newly-established Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
This article was originally written in the 2013 summer edition of FOAR's newsletter Gator Tales.
Welcome a Special Visitor - Pingo Has Made It to the Refuge
By Tim Cooper, Project Leader, Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex
During this season, Anahuac, McFaddin, Texas Point and Moody refuges host birds that are traveling over great distances and find shelter in our area. Even though Anahuac NWR is now celebrating its 50th year as a National Wildlife Refuge, we still have much to learn about its value to wildlife resources on a global scale. I am excited about the increasing information that is coming in regarding the Whimbrel roost on Anahuac NWR. Right now, the roost is becoming more active as birds come in daily from wintering in South America. Refuge Biologist Patrick Walther has been working with others to increase understanding of this annual concentration of remarkable birds.
One of the things that makes a National Wildlife Refuge significant on a larger scale is well illustrated with this example. This Whimbrel roost, discovered by Refuge Biologist Matt Whitbeck and proven to be a globally important migration roost, is located deep in the heart of the refuge's East Unit. It is estimated that as many as 10% of North America's Whimbrel population uses Anahuac NWR as a safe haven and a critical "refueling" area for a much further migration push into the Arctic. These birds must arrive in the Arctic in adequate condition to quickly conduct an elaborate courtship display, nest, lay up to 4 eggs and rear young; and hopefully be back in shape to migrate south.
Whimbrels are one of the world's great migrants that nest in the Arctic tundra then migrate down to South America for winter - often over water most of the way. Heading south, our visiting bird, named Pingo, left land at the Saint Lawrence River mouth in Quebec and crossed the open Atlantic Ocean headed south to Brazil. She spent the winter almost 6,000 miles from her summer grounds. What kind of athlete does it take to fly that great route burning body fat and eventually muscle tissue for days on end? Likely never seeing land and never being able to stop and catch her breath, Pingo made her way south on an all-or-nothing non-stop flight. Her southbound trans-Atlantic flight was around 3,500 miles and it looks like she added a slight detour! She averaged around 46 mph on the start of this trip, which would make the trans-Atlantic flight more than 76 hours of non-stop flying. Her navigation ability with no ground based landmarks alone is an incredible feat.
The SeaTurtle.org website has tracked about 23 Whimbrels that were fitted with satellite transmitters in the fall. By spring, only four are still working and sending data. See a listing of these Whimbrels on their website. Click on the list under Pingo and see the brief story surrounding one of our international refuge visitors this season. Thankfully, she arrived on the refuge and is here as I write this. Let’s see how long she stays and maybe the bird named Mackenzie (on the same site) will pay us a visit as well.
As spring migration comes into its own, take a moment and marvel at what is happening around us. The story of Pingo should remind us that we all play a support role in a much bigger picture, providing and maintaining a network of critical habitats for wildlife. She is one single bird, one of many thousands of her species, and Whimbrels are just one species which are protected and sheltered by National Wildlife Refuges. But with technology putting her tracking and life history story information in front of you, it is amazing!
Thank You for all that you do on a daily basis to help keep these refuges such special places.
Whimbrel at Anahuac NWR photo by Joe Blackburn
The Friends of Anahuac Refuge was established in 1997 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anahuac, TX.
For questions, call the refuge office at 409-267-3337.
P.O. Box 1348
Anahuac, TX 77514
Refuge Office Address:
4017 FM 563, Anahuac, TX 77514