Observations "hiding" in other observations; Share your examples!

A couple times lately I’ve come home from a day of bird-watching and been a bit dejected that I didn’t see anything new. Then I’ll start going through my photos and notice species in the shots I didn’t see out in the field! I think now I’m just going to get in the habit of taking tons of group shots and pics of everything that moves because you never know?

My most recent example; A Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) I spotted in the background of this Mute Swan I was taking pictures of. My first time “observing” one.

Does anyone else have cool observations they found “hiding” in their pictures?


It was still posing for you!
Not background per se, even worse. This Scaup was with Tufted Ducks. I looked for it, even met a group of birders who asked about it swimming with tufties and I said no, not a sign of its presence with them, so I decided they came before we did and it just flew away, turned out I got photos of it even earlier than they did. Also first and still only one for me.


Only noticed bubbling fly when editing pic. What a place to do that…


American Bittern in the background!


Not so much “in the background”, but often I’ll find insects that I didn’t notice in the field in pictures of flowers.

medium medium (1)


Originally, this photo was for the bee on the right. I didn’t see the spider until I was cropping the photo at home! (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/61916207 if anyone knows more than “crab spider”) Edit: solved!


I went out hoping to see semipalmated plovers, only to notice this one in the bottom right corner after uploading my photos!

Another was this Steller sea lion amongst the Californians during a winter feeding frenzy which lasted for about 3 days.


There is a significant amount of plant blindness on iNaturalist. I see tons of good plant photos but the subject of the observation is a barely visible bird or insect somewhere on the plant. Humans are like cats, anything moving gets our attention, the rest is just background.


Great examples so far. Keep 'em coming!

@paulexcoff I edited the title to cover a more broader topic then specifically backgrounds. Great photo!

@jdjohnson Interested in seeing plant and other kingdom examples too!


Nice topic!

I’m always finding mesofauna on photos after I get home, without realising it was there in the first place. One of my favourites was this pseudoscorpion hitchhiker on the blackbottle I was photographing…


Here’s an example from one of my observations. See the tiny lime-green leaves below the yellow flowers? The yellow flowers belong to a rare plant that I was surveying (Erythranthe carsonensis) but the little leaves actually belong to a different rare plant (Loeflingia squarrosa var artemisiarum), which is actually in full bloom but has tiny green flowers that are hard to see without a hand lens. I didn’t realize they were there until my supervisor pointed them out. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/181510-Loeflingia-squarrosa-artemisiarum



Very nice thread, I enjoyed reading about all these ‘late discoveries’! And yes, they happen all the time, both with plants and animals (or other creatures).

I was once taking pictures of this pigeon, sitting high on a tree, with my tele-lens:

and then took just one general picture with my smartphone, more for a context. Only later at home I spotted this scene - I completely missed it when I was at the location!


Last summer I observed a half-dozen white admirals (Limenitis arthemis ssp. arthemis) congregating on the ground. Amongst the white admirals was a small moth that turned out to be a life first for me.

Just 25 minutes later, I observed an even larger group of white admirals (itself a surprise) but one of them had different markings (which at the time I thought might be sex differences). Turns out that individual was an intergrade between Limenitis arthemis ssp. arthemis and Limenitis arthemis ssp. astyanax, another life first for me.

So it pays to make a second pass over my photos :-)


I was photoing tufted ducks and feeling a bit disappointed because I hadn’t seen anything very interesting on my walk. Then I uploaded the pics and someone pointed out that there was a little grebe lurking in the photo too, a first ob for me. :-)


I posted this observation of a California Root Borer Beetle, and I later noticed what I thought was a tick, but another user identified as a pseudoscorpion stowaway under it’s electrum. Two cool observations in one!


Didn’t even notice the hiding one at first, until reading the comment


I was taking a picture of this caterpillar and noticed later the leaf mine on the leaf behind the caterpillar.


These are GREAT! I love discovering your secret finds. Very, very interesting!

Perhaps, I will go back and look at some of my obs to see if there maybe something I missed.


It would be so easy to perceive that as a shadow on that leaf!