Personal victories on iNaturalist

Yesterday I achieved a personal victory on iNaturalist: after years of infrequent encounters and many disappointments I finally got a halfway decent picture of a sleepy orange butterfly. Of all the species I’ve seen down in Georgia, this one has always proven frustrating: they never seem to sit still for a picture and their comparatively nondescript pattern makes them difficult to pick out and keep an eye on. Thankfully this one allowed me to creep my phone real close, and I managed to capture a frame of it flying by taking a video and approaching even closer.

What victories or milestones have you attained recently?


First wild, RG observations of Penstemon hidalgensis were finally identified, which is nice.

Also, I’ve learned recently that galls are easy to sneak up on and plentiful in my area, so that’s kind of a victory, because it gives me something new to learn and observe (and four new yard species on the same plant).


I became the second observer to find Sassacus cyaneus (a very small sparkly jumping spider) in Texas on iNaturalist. Pretty cool!
Also, for a long time there was only one observer on iNaturalist who found the species Pelegrina tillandsiae which is a jumping spider that only lives in Spanish moss. While digging through observations of Platycryptus, I found one that obviously wasn’t platycryptus, but than I realized it looked just like Pelegrina tillandsiae! I asked another user (the one who was the only observer of the species) their thoughts and they agreed. The observer even confirmed it was found in close proximity to Spanish moss! And then, a few days later another user found an observation with Pelegrina tillandsiae too! I hope we can continue finding more hidden in the piles of misidentified/unidentified observations.


I found a colony of the rarely seen marchantiophyte Riccia campbelliana!


While I was going back and trying to figure out some old observations of mine, I realized I had stumbled upon two obscure species of leafhoppers last summer. One was the first RG observation of the species on iNat and the other was the first obs of its species in my state and one of 25 on iNat. I’m quite happy with this Nymphalis I-album as well, which is also pretty rare in the area.


I am still happy that I managed to find “my daily beast” in 2021. And so far I am continuing the streak - not with a different animal per day though.


I apparently observed the first praying mantis on St. Lucia in 150 years (or possibly ever) and a mantis specialist is writing a little paper about it. Not that I understood any of this while it was happening!


And I thought my 3 species on one plant was good!


Not to sidetrack the thread … Ericameria nauseosa (23) and Quercus turbinella (110) in my area are both very popular hosts. I have both in my yard, but the oaks are too young.

Mine have to do with invasive plants:

After a year of finding seedlings of Kalopanax septemlobus scattered around my hometown, I located the absolutely enormous mother tree, which is now the state champion of its species. I literally used iNaturalist to triangulate the locations of the seedlings to find the mother plant.

Another one: I had read a paper reporting an invasive colony of the uncommonly grown yew-like conifer Cephalotaxus harringtonia at the New York Botanical Garden. They found 65 plants, all of which were male. This didn’t sound right to me, as you’d expect at least some female plants, so I made a day of it and checked all of the plants I could find for female cones, and found 4 female plants. The paper’s author is another iNat user, so I was able to directly give him the information! I also located the cultivated parent plants which started the whole colony.


Congratulations Matt!!!


There are probably oaks in my yard with 4 or more species, but I haven’t yet seen them all on the same tree at once. I find them on fallen branches but I don’t know which oak tree they came from. But with saplings I can see the whole tree. It was one of those where I saw three species at once.


Nothing rare, but I managed to get some shots of a Ruby Crowned Kinglet ( Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) from Riverview, Winnipeg, MB, Canada on May 08, 2021 at 10:44 AM by Ian Toal · iNaturalist Canada) that was only 2-3 m away from me. These little guys rarely sit still! So I consider these images a personal victory!


My personal victory is whenever I find and photograph new species and whenever I id it get improving and people thank me. or whenever people ask me question about nature on inat, and I explain them everything.


Let’s see, in the past week:

I got the first iNat observation of Diderma asteroides:
In fact, all 6 observations of it are specimens I found, although I didn’t know what they were until I showed them to alison_pollack who identified them. Such a treat to find it, it’s an incredibly beautiful species.

I also saw my first Lewis’s Woodpecker, which is fairly uncommon where I am, and I’ve wanted to see one for ages:


I love when I post some random plants I see (and I rarely have any clue what I’m seeing) and it turns out to be something rare… last spring I posted a flower and the inat AI told me I found a normal Heuchera americana (2000 observations) but then someone identified it as the much more uncommon Heuchera longiflora (just 30 observations). Then later I posted a Spiranthes vernalis that looked to be in poor health - but some identifiers decided it’s actually some weird hybrid making it the first inat observation of Spiranthes x intermedia.


Inspired somewhat by reading Doug Tallamy, I’ve started keeping a tally of species I’ve observed visiting Pittosporum tenuifolium, of which I have several large ornamental specimens in my backyard. I’m interested in whatever happens to be visiting, whether it’s a herbivore or a predator of a herbivore or something that just happened to find a nice place to rest, including wind-distributed seeds of other species. I’ve by no means logged everything; I know I’m missing some mites and leafhoppers and I’ve got to upload a blackbird I saw yesterday among other things. But it’s been a fun exercise, and I’ve just reached 50 species.


I was already pleased with this butterfly observation because it sat still long enough for me to get two nice photographs. The real excitement was another user identifying it and commenting that it’s a range extension and could be the first live photo of this species!

Personal victories this morning - I finally nudged over 1800 species and I’m learning more about identifying Caribbean reef fish.


Nothing too eventful, but this fungi happened to be only 13th observation on iNat despite of its very wide range, growing on a planted Salix near my first school.
And almost 9km travel on foot I somehow survived 3 days ago, wanting to find a Little Grebe observed there, I found it and watched thousands of waxwings and fieldfares, flocks of bullfinches and rare shrike, overall a great day.
Half of project ready for villages in a region I like and plant to work on, it’s an underrepresented region while having almost 2 millions of residents and millions of visitors, so maybe it will help.


I’ve been the first to record Diadophis punctatus and Scaphiopus holbrookii from the eastern shore of VA. This Strigamia branneri which is the first recorded individual from Delmarva and the 12th RG observation on iNat. Another cool find was this Branchiostoma virginiae third observation on iNat.