Anyone else miss a chance to document a truly epic observation?

I have lived in my location for 20 years and there are many owls around here; I hear them almost every day/night. But in that 20 years, I have yet to get a photo of one.

Not so epic. My recent one was just seeing a Blandings turtle long enough to identify it but not long enough to get the camera out for a photo before it dove off the log it was on. I hung about that little pond for a hour waiting for it to come back up. It stuck it’s head out of the water but I couldn’t get a photo with my 5x zoom.
No matter how many times I went back there, I could never see it again. Now the water level has dropped so it is probably long gone. The turtle is only a memory. I am convinced they see in colour and have very good eyesight.

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Today I was walking through a meadow and a low flying barn Swallow flew towards me and then wizzed past me a few feet away at eye level. I squeed “My goodness a barn Swallow!” so loudly that bystanders stared awkwardly and I embarrassed my long suffering wife… Again.

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Haha! Thats really funny. I have done that quite a few times with my family.

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Close to seven years ago I was birding with my dad close to the Gallatin Mountain front in Bozeman, Montana. It was when I was first getting in birding so all I had for gear was binoculars and the enjoyment of seeing the creatures. I still remember it pretty vividly but it was early April and at 5500 ft, there was still plenty of snow on the ground. But in this one little pasture, the little creek melted all the snow into a very nice green meadow about thirty feet by thirty feet. In the middle of the pasture was two Whooping Cranes! Even today, there’s one thing I regret and that’s the fact I didn’t have a camera (couldn’t even get a cell pic, we were still in the dark ages of using flip phones :laughing:) because not only did nobody believe me, the local ebird reviewer kept trying to tell me it was two leucistic/albino Sandhill Cranes. But what’s more likely, two Whoopers detoured 300 miles to the west, or two albino Sandhills (albinism happens approx. 1 out of every 70,000 individuals) simultaneously together with no other cranes.

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Too may to think about too much without tears. I think the most memorable was a day in 1984(ish) when I was driving in the Chobe enclave of Botswana with the chair of the local cooperative, a man with an enormous wealth of bush craft. We came across of group of crowned plovers making a tremendous racket and leaping about with much flapping and thrusting of bills. I stopped the truck and we watched for a bit. Neither of us could figure out what was going on. My first thought was that it was some sort of territorial issue between nested pairs but the grass was long enough that we couldn’t see much detail. My colleague was as puzzled as me.

I had a camera on the seat beside me but for whatever reason it got left behind when we climbed out and crept over to spy on the birds. We got pretty close before we were noticed. We could see that whatever they were doing it involved something on the ground and one bird appeared to be staying put and pecking at something while the others dodged in and out but we didn’t get to see much before the birds saw us and fled. The young Cape cobra that they had been beating on popped up, looked around and saw only us. It was seriously annoyed. Young individuals of that species are quite beautiful. This one was a golden colour with an indigo hood. It came at us. We ran to the truck and it gave up the chase somewhere in the grass. No photos but some very, very vivid memories.

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I hate when this happens and this happens to me a lot. This is one of the reasons why I had to buy a camera. Whenever I go out on camping and fishing trips, I always bring my camera with me. If youre looking to get into the photography hobby, you should have a peek at this website.

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I definitely know the feeling, as someone who gets excited about bugs and also enjoys the company of my spouse or friends outdoors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve settled for a terrible photo or no photo at all because I don’t want to hold up the group yet again for something they find utterly uninteresting. Or because my wife is slowly walking away lest she be associated with the weird guy chasing a bug along the ground in public. (Thankfully she humors me most of the time!)

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Welcome to the forum!

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It was a couple of years back and I heard there was a Snow Owl in Dallas. I live in Arlington Texas but I was not feeling very well during that week and was not able to get out there and document it. I have been wanting to get one of those but I have not been able to nail that one. I felt bad about it but maybe there will be another chance sometime.

I also had an issue out at the Fort Worth Nature Center. I was told of some Swans that had been out there. In the report there were Trumpeter Swans and a few Tundra Swans that had come down.I went and was only able to find one of the swans but I was having a hard time photographing it because of the wind blowing and my eyes tearing up. I was able to get some shots but not able to get a shot that could give me a positive observation.

Okay so then my last one. I was told by a friend that there was a rare Loon out at White Rock Lake. I went out there and looked around for it. I spent the whole day there and was not able to find the creature. I forget which species it was but it would have been a good one on my life list.

Some of my biggest tales of woe are mostly bird related as you can tell. Most of the time I am right on point with getting some cool stuff that are not birds. However when it comes to birds sometimes things happen and I am not able to get some of the rare ones that have been reported. I am going to have to try harder.

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A few days ago there was an awesome green plant hopper on the side of the gazebo at the park, I tried to catch it for an observation, but it hopped out as I tried to take it out of my net.

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I missed one of those, too — man, it was fast!

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My favorite type is you’re just about to take the shot, and auto-focus decides that you obviously wanted to take a picture of the branch in front of the target, of course.

My camera and phone both think they know better than I do what my subject is. It worked in my favor only once: I took several photos of a family of mongoose. When looked at the photos after I downloaded them, I discovered one of my “mongoose” photos was instead well-focused on a pair of crowned plovers mating in the grass behind the mongoose. None of us had even noticed them.

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Lovely.
Yes… sometimes cameras don’t matter…
I call storing those memories, “putting them in my heart chamber”. :)

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Something similar happened to me! I was taking a photo of a willet in flight. Look what I found when I looked at the photo later…

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There was one that happened in Belize for me (which was my own fault!)… I was scuba diving and had brought my GoPro with me, but as it was the first time I had dived with it I assumed it would cope with the depth. Alas, below about 7 or 8m it stopped turning on. It was fine, like, it turned on when we got to the surface, but I think the on button itself couldn’t cope with the pressure!

Obviously, that dive was the only time I’ve seen an eagle ray, coasting along the edge of a drop off. :/

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Several years ago I was doing my favorite pastime. Photographing butterflies on water willows in the Little Lee Creek gravel rock bed near Nicut Oklahoma. Trying to focus on a fluttering nectaring Pipevine Swallowtail when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, movement in the water about 50 feet away. Initially I thought a beaver swimming with its head above water surface. But then it started to slowly emerger on the opposite bank. Wow! a large bluish black snake. It continued to crawl out of the water and up the bank. Finally after about six feet of body the final two feet appeared which was pinkish white.
It then started crawling under an underbank tree roots. I stood there camera in hand and looking in awe as the eight foot Eastern Indigo snake dissappeared underbank. Dumb founded missed opportunity.
I had never seen one before or afterward.

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Welcome to the Forum, @arbutterflynut!

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I know the feeling well, mostly from trying to photograph insects and spiders which disappear as soon as I get the camera out. Once, on a bioblitz, I spotted a peacock spider but it quickly hid, and I’m sure there were a few people in the group who didn’t believe I’d seen it because I hadn’t got a photo.
Some days when I don’t have my camera, I’m almost afraid to look around me in case I see something really good and can’t photograph it.

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speaking of which…I saw a chinese cobra again(!) a few months ago when I was taking a walk. I didnt notice it so it looked like it literally came out from nowhere, all hooded up and slithering into the bushes. Third time unlucky making an observation for this species! One day…

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