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

I found some bright orange sea slugs and posted visually similar pics and regret that lol I made sure to state I did not take the photo but wanted so bad to let it be known they were there. I since removed the post but yea missed opportunity and learned a lesson!!


Not noting precise locations where photos were taken in my pre-iNat / non-cell phone days.
Not taking pics of undersides of leaves, mushrooms, moths (e.g. Desmia), crayfish.
Not making the effort to get spore prints on mushrooms, to learn how to do chemical analysis on lichens.

not somehow finding it earlier - in 2008 right when it appeared, and a bit before I left California
Not taking good photos, and not tracking location, before I had iNat.

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(Just moved some posts from similar topics to this one.)

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a very long lizard on my patio, unlike any I’d seen before. It was very slender, had a very elongated spine with the legs much further apart proportionally than a fence lizard or alligator lizard. It was, oh, about 8 inches total length, and sort of an even pale tan color. I turned to get my phone, and watched it slither down a crack in the paving before I could get even a bad shot. I’ve tried to look through obs of lizards in Santa Clara County, but did not spot it yet (among all the western fence lizards and alligator lizards). I do not think it was a whip-tail.

kinda off topic but thats awesome!

Well, iNaturalist defines “recent” evidence of an organism as within the last 100 years, so if you have pictures of any of those, it’s not too late to upload them.

Yes indeed. I sometimes use the “Explore” tab to revisit places I went in person long ago. When I am “Exploring” Monteverde, Costa Rica, and someone uploaded an observation of Peperomia hernandiifolia, it definitely takes me back.

I spent so much time out in nature before there was an iNaturalist, I don’t feel the disappointment many here describe. The cattle egret colony at Gri-gri Lagoon, Rio San Juan. The black-crowned night heron stalking a nest, grabbing an egret chick by the head. The chick struggling free, falling, but saving itself by grabbing a mangrove branch on the way down. Hanging head down by one foot for a while before eventually pulling itself up to perch on the branch. Meanwhile, the yellow-crowned night heron and the turkey vulture appearing, opportunists, waiting. The egret chick, now upright on the branch, the three predators gone as their chance was missed. I felt like I was in a wildlife documentary! And it never crossed my mind to fumble around for the camera, because that would have taken me out of the moment and made me likely to miss something. Seeing all of the events unfold mattered more to me than getting a photo.

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Mysterious! If not an alligator lizard nor a whiptail, I think it must not be a native lizard. There are only a handful of native lizards in Santa Clara County.

Mysterious! If not an alligator lizard nor a whiptail, I think it must not be a native lizard. There are only a handful of native lizards in Santa Clara County .

Oh, maybe an escapee from someone’s terrarium! I try to keep an eye out for it, but so far it has not turned up again. Thanks for the pictorial list; it did not look much like any of those species - it was too slender and even colored. Unless, perhaps, it was just an ectomorphic melanin-deficient alligator lizard. I did not get a good enough look at its head.

Baby alligator lizards are mostly tan, but they wouldn’t be anywhere near 8 inches in total length.

For me, the most frustrating time was while hiking Quandary Peak in Colorado. As I was photographing American pikas on the talus slope, a flock of brown-capped rosy-finches landed on the boulder field about ten feet away. As the rosy-finches landed, they startled a pika that dashed toward me and in turn startled a dwarf shrew that scrambled up on top of a boulder five feet in front of me. I had my camera on and pointed toward it, but I couldn’t focus on the shrew before it darted back down between the boulders. This would have been the first research-grade observation of the species on iNat (my casual observation is still the only observation of any kind). This was quite frustrating, but I was happy just to see this species and to get good photos of the other two!