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.

1 Like

(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.

1 Like

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!


I guess not epic but would have been really cool photos. A couple days ago was out in our yard looking at birds with just my binoculars. I didn’t have my camera because it’s dang heavy and the lighting was bad for shooting birds up in the trees anyway. And I didn’t have my phone because I was wearing PJs with no pockets. I saw a flash of black and white and by the size figured it was either a Downy Woodpecker or a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I walked closer but couldn’t find the bird. I gave up and started watching a Ruby-crowned Kinglet while standing in the same spot. I saw another small bird in the same tree. I couldn’t get a good look but I was pretty sure it was an Orange-crowned Warbler. The bird gradually came from behind the branches and I could see I was right. And then it flew to the group of small trees directly in front of me. At eye level and only about 6 feet away, it was drinking sap from fresh sapsucker damage to the bark of the trees. The flash of black and white I saw must have been a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker flying away from these trees. Orange-crowned Warblers are usually hard to photograph because they are so active when hunting for bugs, but this one stayed in one spot drinking sap for a bit before moving to the next tree in the grouping. The lighting was great; I could have even gotten a decent photo with my phone had I worn some pants with pockets and brought it with me. :frowning_face:


First and only time I ever saw a spotted owl - it was about 20 ft away from me, on a low branch, in perfect evening sunlight. Of course it was the only time I’ve left my camera home while hiking in the past 5 years.

Then on the way back to the car there was a tiny fledgling songbird of some kind clinging to a branch about a foot from the trail, which would have made an amazing photo as well.

1 Like

A few months ago a mink was getting into my chicken pen and chasing them. Someone always ran out and chased it away before it actually caught one, but still crazy. Now we have smaller wire at the bottom of the fence so it can’t get in. But anyway, we had the rooster in a smaller cage temporarily, and it came trying to get in there; it couldn’t get through the fence, but he was freaking out. I ran out to chase it away, yelling at it, but it hesitated a little before heading into the woods. It was only about two feet away from me. Every time I saw it I wished I could get a picture, but I was too busy saving the chickens.:slightly_smiling_face::rooster:


I remember one of my travels in specific to the place known as Jagueyes de Mayascón (jagueyes meaning “pools” or “lagoons”) that emerge from the heart of a mountain in northern Peru. In the car I was staring out of the window, when I saw a beautiful, big bush with large blue flowers (2 or 3 I think?). It was the middle of nowhere and the camera couldn’t capture the flowers’ details. I have yet to see a flower so pretty, it was of a very intense electric blue, like a thinned Pthalocyanine Blue. It resembled Evolvulus yet the flowers were larger and it was erect, not decumbent.

In another travel, I saw what I think is Commicarpus tuberosus growing on the forest floor, but the camera didn’t work. It didn’t focus and I’m left with the mystery.

The last one was a little more interesting. 8 years ago, I joined a group of friends to a travel deep in the Peruvian wilderness, close to what is now Pitipo. We found a very large, dense forest, with trees of faique (Vachellia macracantha), what I assume was guayacan (Handroanthus chrysanthus), hualtaco (Loxopytergium huasango), Charan (Caesalpinia sp.) and maybe even Guazuma spp. The floor was blanketed with herbaceous plants of all kinds, cactuses and climbers. That place has vanished, as I’ve returned there for the last 4 years in search of it, with no luck.

I know it’s too late, but if you photograph plants with without background using autophocusing camera you will get many blurred images, you need to put anything behind them, like hand, your leg, piece of paper, and it will be easy to focus on. Maybe all of your plant pics would be half-way pics of yourself, but all the needed details will be seen too! Plus it won’t move with wind.


This happened to me more recently. An albino raccoon. White with orange stripes as opposed to gray with black stripes. There was even a normally-colored specimen standing right next to it for comparison. But albinism must also correlate with skittishness because it scampered off while the other one continued eating. FML