Random Nature Encounters and Stories

Not sure if there is already a topic/thread for something like this, so I thought I’d make one.
Any cool, or straight up random nature stories and encounters that you, or someone you know may have had can be posted here if you feel like it!

My most recent one-
When you take photos of some really cool creature or plant, then later find out they didn’t turn out, so you immediately do everything in your power to convince your parents to drive you 27 miles away so that you can try to find it, then when you do, you realize you’ve forgotten your camera…

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This story kinda fits “you’re seriously into iNat when…”, but why not having a separate topic?.)

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Oh boy that’s so frustrating.

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Oh… back when I would’ve been asking my parents I would’ve had the camera…but no film. And wouldn’t notice until back home, having wasted two trips. And, no, third times a charm wouldn’t be considered!

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There have been MANY, but the 2 most memorable:

  1. (pre joining iNat): stuck in traffic on the I35/McNeil overpass in Round Rock, TX around sunset. A raptor of some kind (red-tailed hawk?) sitting on a girder post watching as lots of bats are exiting the underside of the overpass. The raptor swoops down, snags a bat, and returns to the post to eat it.
  2. Earlier this month: chilling in a parking lot eating fast food sometime around midnight. A cottentail crosses the lot in front of my parked car, moving very cautiously & looking back a lot. Suddenly, some bird (I think an owl, but I didn’t get a good look) swoops down from the sky to the left as the rabbit starts running to the right. It hits the rabbit, who stumbles and keeps running, and then keeps going after the rabbit out of my sight.
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https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69139935
This happened more than a year ago now, but it was one of my most interesting encounters. I went outside to go for a walk, picked up one of my boots, and started to put it on. They were almost too small, so I had to do some wiggling to get my foot in. I often don’t wear socks in my shoes, which I think was a good thing in this case. My foot was most of the way in when it touched something furry. I froze, trying to figure out what it was. It didn’t move either. Then I yanked my foot back out and looked inside, and there was a little rodent in there! I pinched the top of the boot shut before it could escape, then called to my mom that I needed my camera right now and I probably shouldn’t come in the house because I was holding a boot with a rat in it. She brought my camera out and I took some adorable pictures before it ran back into the toe. Then I dumped it out and it ran away.

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And now do you have the habit of heel knocking and turning boots over before sticking your foot in?

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Actually, no, but I do get nervous sometimes if I’ve left them outside for a while. I’m less worried they’ll have rats in them than slugs.

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Last winter, I’m out on the patio late at night for some air (sometimes I can’t sleep), when I notice one of our bird seed bags wiggling and moving a little bit. I think, “Cool, mouse!” The bag moves more and jerks harder. I think, “Oh, really cool! Raccoon or possum!” Now, I’m excited to get a picture for iNat. I move quietly closer and closer to the bag. Whatever is in the bag is really moving it around now, presumably slurping down sunflower seeds. I pause a moment to adjust the cellphone camera. Suddenly the animal backs out of the bag and looks up. It’s the fattest skunk I’ve ever seen–I mean rotund. In my mind I see King Arthur from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and catch myself thinking, “Skunk! Run away!” I trip backwards. The skunk looks at me with little interest (bored, in fact) and waddles off the patio. I got some blurry pics (enough for an ID), and no one got sprayed.

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I do spider check!

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Back when I was say, 9 or 10, me and my sister were playing the backyard on the swing set. Our Mother watched us as we swung. Suddenly, my Mother shouted out to us to get into the house. We were confused and scared, why the yelling? We quickly ran into the house. We looked back to see that a giant raccoon emerging from the shed. It was massive! It could totally take down boy me!

The raccoon walked up to the swing set, and was confronted by my Mom with a broom. She swiped at it. Me and my sister watched behind the bug screen, probably not the best idea. After a short while, the raccoon returned to the shed, and forever after that, we feared the shed.

Flash forward to the summer of 2020, and we finally decide that we wanted our shed back. We hadn’t used if for years! On June 8, my Father came with a pool net, prepared to face the raccoon. The whole family waited with anticipation, what would we find? After some time, I heard a shout, I quickly turned my attention to the shed, it was the raccoon, but not how we expected. In the pool net lied the skeletal remains of the raccoon.

My father brought the skull and some other bones to our outdoor table. The years of fear finally at an end. The following week would see the further discovery of other body parts. A nest was also found, stained by bodily fluids and decomposition.

The bones remain in the backyard, and the shed is ours once again.

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Did you make an observation with that pic?
You can obscure the location, since it was your family’s home.

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Yeah, I’ll make an observation out of it. Is there a way to obscure on a specific observation?

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What?!! That is huge, they almost look like dinosaur bones!!

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When uploading, just select Geoprivacy: Obscured on the location popup.

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Thank you! I’ll tag anyone who’s interested when I upload the photos.

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I’m interested!

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Since we are on bones; a cave in Spain we did bio work in is named Torca la Vaca.
In case you don’t speak a romance language, “Cow Pit”
…it wasn’t even entered for a long time despite blowing air (a sign of big cave, volume moves more air when you get cave air meeting surface air with that temp differential) because of the farmer’s dead cow in the bottom blocking the entrance passage.
…it still smells some; but it’s mostly degraded now so we can slide past it. Little mushy around the bone is all.

Also been warned about big angry beavers in a cave; they decided to make a dam in the pond from the spring and often were inside the cave. Water was waist deep so hard to see through. I took a long hefty stick with me into the cave until far enough in from the entrance…just in case…

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At first I wasn’t sure what this thread was about but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. Here is my tale.

About 10 years ago I was walking along Menai Bridge High Street, a coastal town in Wales, when I heard a desperate alarm call from an oysercatcher. I went to a gap in the houses where I could see the shore, and there was an oystercatcher flattened in the mud with a buzzard on its back plucking it. By now the oystercatcher was silent. Two crows soon turned up. I suspect they were hoping for some scraps rather than intending a rescue. As they walked towards the buzzard, it took off, carrying the oystercatcher in its claws. It had only flown a few metres when it dropped the oystercatcher, which went splat into the mud again. It then picked itself up and flew off.

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At the risk of making Menai Bridge sound like a cross between a David Attenborough documentary and a Laurel and Hardy film, here is another one. I was watching two herring gulls in a chase over the town. The front one was carrying a starfish and inevitably it dropped it. I saw where it landed so I went and knocked on the door and explained to the man that there was a starfish in his garden, probably alive. He didn’t look totally convinced but he came with me to look, and we soon found it. It was folded in half but looked OK, so I took it down to the shore, walked down a slipway and threw the starfish back into the sea. At which point, a nearby herring gull swooped down …

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