iNaturalist Adventures?

One of the things I love most about iNat is the way it encourages adventure - to get outside, explore, and come face to face with nature. This is true of all observations - they all have an element of exploration embedded in them.

But, there are some observations which are a real adventure to get. That one species that you wanted to see, but you had to travel, hike, swim or climb to discover it. And, as it happened, the adventure of finding the organism was as fun as the observation itself! For me, it was this observation - I had to hire a kayak and paddle over an hour to one island in the middle of Loch Lomond, and then hunt through forest and bush for another couple of hours to find it. But what an adventure!

I’m sure loads of you have stories like this, and I’d love to hear them. What are some of your best iNaturalist adventures, and what organism(s) were you hunting out?

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https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30591515

Honestly surprised it was a new record, these things are everywhere in that park!

(note: the microscopy pics were taken by the specialist, I only did the non-zoomedin shots)

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Awesome! So did you find it in the park, and then send it off for proper testing? That does sound like something of an expedition! How long did the testing take?

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I literally peeled the single weediest taxon off a random tree I saw, dumped it in an envelope, and after a month or so BAM first known occurrence in county.

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A lot of my most exciting adventures involved finding things I wasn’t even looking for. One time, I was out doing soil samples for one of my classes, and on my way back to meet up with my prof, I saw something move by my feet. I thought it was a frog, so I grabbed it quickly and picked it up. It was some sort of long something-or-other that was wiggling, and it curled into my finger almost as if it was trying to bite me. But then, I realized it didn’t have a mouth. I brought it to my prof after realizing that it was a detached tail, and I swear he almost jumped out of his skin when he realized it was from a four-toed salamander! He’d been trying to find one for ages, and I found one entirely by accident. It’s the only observation of it in the area (aside from a duplicate one of my classmates posted).

Another great find was a perfectly intact mink skull that I found in the ravine behind my parent’s house. I was messing around down there, looking for bugs and mammal signs, and boom! A mink in the middle of the city, albeit a dead one. It’s amazing what you can find in urban green spaces.

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Here’s a project about the stories along the way:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/journey-of-a-thousand-miles

The goal of the project is to write a journal entry each day you go out collecting to tell the stories of what you found. It’s great fun reading each other’s stories!

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Wallabies in Scotland?! Awesome! Wait till my sister hears about this (she’s an Aussie living in Scotland), she’ll be on that island like a flash. Hopefully give her some feelings of home. Nice post and nice observation / adventure!

I took a family vacation to Maui last December, and tried to fit nature-based activities in wherever I could. I was very excited to see Haleakalā Silversword, a plant endemic to the top of the Haleakalā Volcano. When we got there, I ran around, taking blurry photos of tons of silversword (and not nearly as many as I got to see!). It wasn’t until uploading photos to iNat later on that I found out I had stumbled upon what is probably up there as one of the rarest plants in the world; this individual, an intergenus hybrid of Haleakalā Silversword and Mountain Dubautia, both of which are endemic to the top of the Haleakalā Volcano. Maybe it’s not as cool as I think it is, but I won’t let that change how excited I am about it.

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Last January I went down to NJ to find Curly Grass Ferns. I was expecting to have to search hard for this tiny fern but nope! I found a large clump of them almost immediately about 50ft down a trail from a popular picnic area!

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