Inaturalist makes missing the bus a lot more fun

The other day, while walking to the bus stop, the bus whizzed right by me. It is another 30 minutes wait until the next one!

Now, normally, that would be a problem and a disappointment, but I had my camera, and I was walking by an empty lot. Rather than being upset about having to wait, I just flipped over a board and got some pictures of some centipedes!

I have noticed that since starting here, a lot of the boring/blank time in my life is now a lot more amusing. As long as I have my camera, I am never waiting…I am just getting a chance to observe. Even a little thing like a trip to the grocery store becomes “I wonder if any new mushrooms have sprung up along the way”. Just walking around my neighborhood, or going to a pretty “boring” city park, I might see a rare bird. Or even a normal bird!

It is true that most of my observations when I am just in the middle of normal life, (as opposed to going out on an expedition) are pretty prosaic, lots of dandelions and crows, but it still gives me that little extra thing to look forward to in my daily life.


That is so right! I started to enjoy seasonal tyre change! The garage where they do it is close to the river valley. So I spend an enjoyable hour there till they do the job.


Absolutely. Even in “before iNat” I could pass a little time enjoying nature. But now that I’ve learned to appreciate it, not only do I take advantage of random opportunities like missing the bus or waiting in line, I’ll sometimes deliberately be slow when doing an errand that takes me outdoors so I can better take in what’s around me.
I wish I’d had iNat back when I was in the military. So much standing around and waiting. I could have been bird-watching while on guard duty, if nothing else!


Don’t you think it would have been risky? I mean bird watching when on guard? :-)

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Depends where. In Hebron you’ve got to be vigilant. Middle of the desert? Not so much. I spent a whole week looking at sand. Most exciting thing was spotting a feral donkey that one time. There were some tanks in the distance doing target practice but that got boring pretty fast.
Anyone who tells you the military is full of glory is talking out their ass. It’s full of boredom. I joined to serve my country (Israel btw) saved a few lives, but mostly it’s staring into space for 8-16 hours a day, and kitchen duty. Glad I did it but even happier to be a civilian again.


By risky I meant senior officer spotting you bird watching :-) Though I have had almost nothing to do with army (except basic military training obligatory at schools during Soviet time), I can imagine that army service consists of much more boring procedures that exciting deeds. Sometimes even during war time. I know of Austrain colleague (late now), who, being stationed as a part of occupational army regiment at Bornholm during WWII, spent almost all of his time studying lichens of the island.


At least you did not become a casualty like Paul in All is Quiet on the Western Front. (Thank goodness for that!)

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This. When ever I used to come back from review sessions for exams, I sometimes notice butterflies/moths on the nearby trees or on the ground. I would take the time to get a good picture of what I am seeing (this reminds me that I need to upload some more pictures!).

… well… I know people who didnt. who were murdered. And I came out with PTSD and an injury. It’s… not really something I talk about in public much. Sorry to be so dark, but next time you’re talking to a vet who made it out alive, remember they probably knew someone who didn’t.
This conversation has veered off more than enough, and I’m not interested in a PM. Back to the topic of enjoying nature… It’s a good way to find inner peace.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking for lichens and weeds while waiting for buses. I made a project for those observations, if you’re interested:


One of my all-time favorite i-Natting spots on Randall’s Island is right next to the bus stop where I catch the M35 bus back into Manhattan. These buses are about 15 minutes apart, although the timing is quite unreliable, so often I am iNatting while waiting for the next bus. I try not to go too deep into the Wildflower Meadow because it is hard to see the bus coming. I have to watch out for it and then if it arrives, I have to run over waving my Metrocard to try to make sure I catch it. Fortunately, often there are a few other people waiting, and when that is the case, it takes time to load everyone onto the bus, and therefore I am usually OK to get on the bus.

I am glad when I arrive there just missing a bus, because then I know that I probably have at least another 15 minutes to search.

With iNaturalist there is no such thing as a boring time spent waiting around. Even if you are not outdoors, you can still find things – I have managed to find flies and sparrows even inside airport terminals.


Indeed. It encourages me to remember my phone.

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The other day I had to stop on the side of a windy road because my son was car sick and needed fresh air. Instead of being impatient to get moving again I looked at roadside weeds, and found a new species for me :)
iNaturalist is truly wonderful at getting you to slow down and appreciate where ever you are.


Before iNat, if I was in a waiting mode, I pulled out my phone and read a cheesy novel or played a game. Now, I’ll look around to see if there are any potential obs; if not, I’ll then likely pull up iNat or iNat forum and read that. It’s a better way to fill small chunks of time for me.


Loved your comment! Right now the rain is blasting in from the SE… again… been raining pretty much since April (Aleutians)… and I’d decided that I wasn’t gonna go out for my morning walk…


Upon reconsideration, will wait for daylight, suit up and go get rain on my face. ALWAYS something different to see & experience.

Thanks for the reminder.

Have a grand wait for the Bus today :)


Yes I agree! iNat has opened up whole new worlds around me…I’ve always been a nature lover and photographer but now I am always looking for something different…have found a few new to me liverworts and some amazing lichens I had never noticed! Waiting at the hospital for my brother the other day I wandered around the parking lot with my phone…great way to pass the time!


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