Highly observed creatures you always (or always have) not observed

What creatures that have regularly been observed in your county/state/country (depending on border size) have you had or still have bad luck at finding?

I live (and always have) in Sri Lanka, so the observations will be listed in that region.

For me, it was

  1. The Common Kingfisher. This was until a pond called Andamkulam had partially filled up, creating a perfect shoreline environment for these birds to move in. They had been my target since I started birdwatching last August, and now I see them whenever I go there :)

  2. The Painted Stork. They are extremely commonly observed in Sri Lankan iNat, but I have only seen it twice in the aforementioned pond. Now that the pond is flooded, they will probably return in the dry season.

  3. The Sri Lankan Junglefowl. They are so common in practically all of Sri Lanka yet I have never seen one. Once.

  4. The Indian Pitta, Common Iora, and Brahminy Starling. Saw them recently.

  5. The Changeable Hawk Eagle. I have never seen one, provided that I haven’t been mistaking them for Honey Buzzards


I spent all year searching for native bees and parasitic genera like Nomada, Stelis, Neolarra, Holcopasites and Brachynomada evaded me. Widespread if not highly observed, but I consider it bad luck.


From those I care about (out of 16 078 not seen by me in Russia)
Stock Dove - doesn’t like humans, I’m not lucky
Snow Bunting, Horned Lark, White-throated Dipper - I’m rarely in right place and right time
Azure Tit - lazy to travel to spot where they’re apperently found
Marsh Sandpiper - have no idea why, no luck

Wild garlic - apparently “grows everywhere” but not in places I visit
Umbellate Wintergreen - grows in habitats I can’t visit because of circumstances
Snowdrop Anemone - rare one, but found in many places on iNat, but not by me
Floating Fern - want to find for many years


Polyphemus Moth and Mediterranean House Gecko in Oklahoma.

Southern Alligator Lizard, Arboreal Salamander, and Button’s Banana Slug in the Bay Area

Gopher Snake everywhere ¯\ _ (ツ) _ /¯


Honestly, probably most water birds. Not the really common ones like ducks, but the slightly more difficult ones like loons, grebes, scoters, etc. I think I just haven’t seen them yet because I live on land.


In Aotearoa, I’ve had horrible luck with weka, kawau paka-little shag, and ngirungiru-tomtit, seeing each only a couple times maybe. Most common I’ve never seen at all would have to be kawau-black shag

In the USA, haven’t seen Anna’s hummingbird and not confident I’ve seen a mule deer


Our current nemesis bird is Bohemian Waxwing. They are not uncommon but seem to be hit or miss at winter fruit trees in northern parts of our cold-weather state. We try to observe them when we are in their range but not with any success…yet!


In southern California, I still haven’t managed to photograph a rattlesnake (Crotalus) or a velvet ant (family Mutillidae)


I was about to grumble that in my small country I have observed all the most commonly observed species, but no - goat moth (Cossus cossus) is still escaping me, though even at the place where I live, there is a good habitat for them and I saw the caterpillars several years ago before joining iNaturalist. No luck lately, though.


I very much relate when it comes to Polyphemus moths. I’ve seen most other central US silkmoths but those seem to hate me.


I’ve come up with a list of “nemesis species” that I’ve deliberately spent at least 12 field hours and/or four trips looking for.

The top ten or so would be Connecticut Warbler, Dollar Sunfish, Gray Fox, Lilypad Forktail (damselfly), Diana Fritillary (butterfly), Eastern Mud Turtle, Ornate Box Turtle, and Slender Glass Lizard. I’ve lived near or in the range of those species for over a year at a time and tried to find them. https://www.inaturalist.org/lists/3025158-Nemesis-Species

I also keep a list of former nemesis species. https://www.inaturalist.org/lists/3087223-Former-Nemesis-Species There’s a lot on that list, the biggest for me being Kirtland’s Snake and Yellow Ladies’ Slipper orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum), both of which I’d wanted to see since I was a wee little kid and which I finally got to see in 2020, some ten years having elapsed.


There are some rabbits, Eastern Cottontails, in Central Park, like for example in the Shakespeare Garden, but I have not seen any of them yet.


Some more:

Bengal Monitor. I have no confirmed records of them. At all. Despite them being so common.

Common Green Forest Lizard. Guess I’ll need a trip to the wet zone for that :)

Sri Lanka Kangaroo Lizard. Yet another wet zone lizard.

Common Water Monitor. I saw it only confirmedly once: before my first birthday (nice)

Asian Weaver Ant. This was before I ever visited a wet zone, and now I see them even in some dry zone forests and I even saw a single one at home :)

Pied Paddy Skimmer. This dragonfly has no confirmed observations for me.

Crested Serpent Eagle; Until yesterday, at least. I finally spotted one :)

The Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Green Imperial Pigeon, Gray-headed Swamphen, Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon, Gray-headed fish eagle and the Tringa sandpipers elude me to this day.

Until yesterday, I had never seen a Yellow-wattled lapwing.


Alopochen aegyptiaca is the most observed species in Germany that I haven’t observed yet. Never even heard about it before tbh. Yet it has more than 18000 observations in Germany.


I thought it was a common species everywhere in Europe where it was introduced? It’s a big species and hard to miss.

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Yeah, my ignorance shows, doesn’t it? :grinning:


I pride myself in my ability to locate aquatic turtles. However,when it comes to semi-aquatic and terrestrial turtles such as box turtles, it’s like looking for an needle in a haystack. I found them in the Florida panhandle with a little effort, but it took me years to find them in my home star of Texas. It wasn’t until I participated in a survey that made use of radio telemetry recently that I finally found some local box turtles.

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Storeria dekayi, Dekay’s brownsnake, is allegedly common even in cities and suburbs of my region, yet I’ve never found one. I’ve seen a bunch of the other common reptiles and amphibians of New England, like the common garter and Eastern milksnake, just not the brownsnake.

And every yahoo who thinks it’s a baby copperhead can stumble on one.

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Blue-winged teal. Of all North American ducks, it is the one whose color patterns most attract me, but somehow I just can’t find it anywhere but on the pages of the field guide.


I’ve never seen ghost pipes before, yet they seem to be a pretty common species around where I live

I also haven’t seen sandhill cranes or blue winged teals

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