Random Nature Encounters and Stories

I am terrible about id-ing birds, but years before I joined iNat I was repeatedly divebombed by a bird (I think it was a Carolina Wren too; one that was also angry) when I was watering a hanging plant on a balcony. I was determined not to let this psycho bird drive me off from watering my plant, so I made sure to get lots of water in this plant while I could. Turns out…oops, the bird had laid some eggs in there, in a little hollow made of leaf litter by the base of the plant, which I couldn’t see from below the planter. :frowning_face:

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Did you get fledglings?

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No, they never hatched. I didn’t see the bird again afterward, so I don’t know if I caused them to abandon the nest. :frowning_face:

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Nothing overly thrilling, but a month or so ago, while renewing the contents of one of our suit feeders, a nuthatch allowed me to gently stroke it as it waited for me to give it food.


Random, to me interesting, nature scene with common species in the Copenhagen suburbs, biking past a small park to some errand one frosty, clear February day years ago:

A bat passes by overhead (later tentatively Id’ed as parti-coloured bat, but there are 4 other species in the area and I’m no expert), out of season as well as at the wrong time of day, must have somehow been disturbed at its hibernaculum, I guess. A characteristically opportunistic hooded crow spots the easy prey and strikes at it, missing. This is soon joined by a second crow, that also narrowly misses. Third strike, and the first crow hits the target, which falls to the ground. The crow then lands to pick up its prey and carries it to the top of a nearby tree from where the still alive bat can be heard emitting loud distress calls (didn’t know they had such a vocal range), until the crow eventually eats it.

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…& another, somewhat random, entertaining moment:

Driving the 1488 out of the Woodlands Texas, you pass this sign with bronze cast whitetail deer in front of it.

Apparently, these are quite life like as one morning, passing by as I was visiting my sister, I had the amusing fortune of seeing a buck mounting the doe in his best effort to pass on his genes.

Quite a compliment to the artist :-)


Late to the party, I’m doing my best to revive the thread…

I’ll rarely call critters out loud in advance, but some times, when I suddenly find myself in exceptionally good looking habitat, I can’t help myself, and in those cases instant confirmation I know what I’m talking about is so supremely gratifying.

Case in point, last year’s family summer vacation on Milos, Google Maps led us down some random dirt road through the fields, a rock wall lining one side of it. I blurt out something like “This place looks sooo snaky. That wall would be an excellent spot to herp at night”. 20 meters on we come upon a DOR nocturnal Cat Snake, Telescopus fallax on the wall side of the road.

That was, of course, satisfying, though also a bit sad, because the snake was dead. Better experience was years ago in Israel on another family vacation. Hiking at Gamla, after crossing the rather barren plateau, we come to a rather lush little gorge, dense reeds lining the stream. Walking with my wife fifty meters behind the kids I exclaim to her “This place looks sooo good for chameleons”. Two minutes later, my daughter calls out from up ahead, “Dad, what’s this?”


…which brings me to another theme, the joys of having you children find stuff for you…

Another year, another family vacation, Portugal this time. We’ve just arrived at our accomm for the night, check out the room, and then I head out to relieve myself of a little solid matter. Sitting there, suddenly I here my son calling from outside, “Snake, dad, there’s a big snake”. It’s about 100 F / 38 c outside and I’m sure he’s pulling my leg, no snake will be out in those conditions. I yell back at him, telling him so, but he insists, and now my wife and daughter are backing him up. Still not believing them, but a sliver of doubt perhaps entering my mind, I ask what it looks like. “It’s green”, they say. “There are no green snakes around here”, I exclaim, except… wait… there actually are! Now suddenly beginning to believe them, and knowing I’ve exposed them to enough snakes, educated them well enough, that they are not going to call any of the venomous species in the area green, not wanting it to get await before I see it, I instinctively yell at them to grab it, hurriedly finish my business and run out to them. The haven’t grabbed it, but lying there in the grass, right next to the wall of the cabin is a huge and beautiful Iberian grass snake, Natrix astreptophora :-)

Colours are severely mangled in this pic, but you get the idea.

Yet another year, yet another family vacation, Sweden this time. We took the ferry for the afternoon to a small island in the Västervik archipelago off the Baltic coast. A beautiful, sunny, July day, the rest of my family spent the time at the beach, part lazing about, part having fun in the water. I joined them in the water, of course, bujt I am too restless to just lie there, so the rest of the time I went off exploring, marine life as well as the woods behind the beach. It was a beautiful place, with lots of nice flora and fauna but I didn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. After a while I felt satisfied for a bit with my quick survey and I retuned to the beach, joining my family for 5 minutes with an ice cream or similar when suddenly a large, beautiful, white butterfly with large black and red spots fluttered by - an apollo, Parnassius apollo! Apollos are extirpated from Denmark and have a near mythical status to any even remotely enthomologically interested. In the rest of Scandinavia they are quite rare and extremely localized and I had no idea that this small archipelago we found ourselves in was actually one of their remaining strongholds. I was ecstatic, shouted out my joy, and then my wife calmly noted, that yes, they were nice, and one of them had come by and landed on my daughter’s arm while I had been out exploring the woods.

…which brings us to another theme, one that has been touched upon in previous posts in this thread, the intimate interactions with wildilife allowed by just sitting there, observing, waiting…

This also brings us back to the Portugal trip, albeit across the border, on another small island in another small archipelago, this one off the coast of Galicia. This archipelago is a nature reserve, there are no permanent residents and rather strict restrictions in relation to staying overnight, moving about on the island and approaching the wildlife. This means that same wildlife has grown unusually trusting of humans. Ocellated lizards, Timon lepidus, are normally quite shy and hard to approach but here they would move about right next to the path displaying no regard for those large bipeds nearby. I sat / lay down in the grass to take a few photographs and then a sizable male began to display, not just indifference, but curiosity towards my presence. I now kept perfectly still, not wanting to spook, curious myself to see just how close it would come. Gradually it moved closer, eventually cam all the way up my hand, giving it a gentle, exploratory bite. Then it moved down along my side to my legs, where it started to crawl up my swim pants. Eventually it moved so far my leg, inside my pants, that I felt I had to move a little to coax it back out, slightly anxious where it might take its next inquisitive nibble.

Next case in point, not a vacation this time, but at home with my local adder, Vipera berus, population. At breeding time males of this species react to the presence of fertile females just as the rest of is, throwing caution to the wind and displaying a exceedingly single minded behaviour. Watching these spectacles of fighting males and mating couples is highly entertaining and gives unique possibility for up and close encounters that, with care, can be achieved seemingly without disturbing the vipers. I have had males crawl straight across my foot following the scent of a female, others headed straight for my behind as I was just sitting there as well as had the privilege of lying in the grass for 45 minutes with my head 50 centimeters from a mating couple the whole time :-)

…and the venomous snakes bring me back to Israel, and family. Hiking in the desert at night searching for vipers, my wife soon tired and she took the kids with her back to their tent between the dunes. I continued, of course, tracking a couple of wonderful little Sahara sand vipers, Cerastes vipera, before returning to our makeshift camp with their tent, me sleeping mat outside, and our small fire in an old oil barrel. A bit disappointed to have missed the horned vipers, Cerastes cerastes, I had wanted to show my family, I sat a bit by myself in front of the fire, drinking a sip of water, or a beer, I don’t remember. Sitting there, I suddenly noticed something benesth the bush next to me, and I had to wake up my wife and kids. There it was, no more than two meters from my sleeping mat, the fire, and their tent, the snake I / we had been searching for the whole night :-)

…which brings me to the gasperettii on that trip, or the lunch time ursinii, or the Maltese chameleons, or…

I could go on and on, but I guess I have other stuff to do as well, so that will have to be it for now ;-)


And all of this is not in iNat obs?

all of this and so much more.

btw… https://www.inaturalist.org/people/kristianmunkholm

No particular reason why I have a different user name on the forum. Don’t know if I even registered in an impractical way. Found it quite odd that the forum required a separate login.

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You can edit your forum profile to add a link to your iNat account.


That is why I have been asking careful questions of you. (I see an active identifier!! - but January 2022?)

I find it very odd that - anyone can Google the conversations in the forum - this is all public.
And then anyone can open a profile on the forum - there is no barrier to entry. Without an iNat profile.
Anyone is free to come and tell us How to iNat!
Is very weird. But a deliberate choice by staff.

It’s been that long? Didn’t even realize. I do id approvals and corrections on a similar, local Danish site as well which works slightly differently, id’s being approved by appointed experts for specific groups of organisms only, rather than community consensus. I don’t get as much done there as perhaps I should either, but I do tend to prioritize those higher than iNat

Of course I would never tell anyone how to iNat (not suggesting you’re saying otherwise), merely answering how I’ve been doing it.

Have you had issues with “outsiders” behaving “out of place” on the forum in the past? Lurking around a bit I haven’t noticed it. Should it occur I would think they shouldn’t be too hard to just ignore.

Overall, I don’t see any obvious major problem with the forum being a completely separate entity but I don’t see any obvious rationale behind it either. A bit curious what the reasoning might be?

I guess technically it would be perfectly feasible to have the best of both worlds - a forum open for everyone with a closed section for iNatters only. That of course would give rise to the question whether “a” and “b” memberships are really a good thing.

Regardless, it makes perfect sense to me, that the forum is readable to everyone and I don’t really see how it makes much of a difference whether you’re posting without an iNat profile or with just an inactive, empty profile created merely for the purpose of using the forum.



Thanks for the tip ;-)


I also had a memorable encounter with a snake. I was house-sitting in Portugal (Alentejo) in August. That day it had rained a bit in the morning and was rather cool. In the afternoon the sun came out and just a bit from the house on a big rock was a baby-snake basking. The one that was on top of my wishlist: Vipera latastei! It was about the size of a pencil and I knelt down to take a photo. It started to move - and came towards me - and sat on my foot! I held my breath and didn’t move, of course. But I managed a photo! I was so happy and posted it on facebook, where a shitstorm developed: how could I? Bla, bla. So I deleted the post. Due to a crash of my external hard-drive with all the old photos, I only have the observation:
but it is in my year-book:-) (I believe in paper!)


How many bullet holes are in it?

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Not enough to notice any from the road just driving by. Never stopped for a closer look, though…

Cute snake.

…& latastei aren’t the easiest of European vipers to find, especially towards the south, so congrats.

Many people will react to pictures of venomous snakes near bare skin, so yes, life gets easier if one keeps shots like that away from the general fb mob.

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Here’s one of nearly the same size from just across the border, btw

This was in early spring. I had hoped to find latastei in the area but I knew at that time of year it would require good weather and we had just a day and a bit, with a rather cold and rainy forecast, so I wasn’t too optimistic. The day we arrived, we were at our accommodation about 30 minutes before sunset on what had been a rather nice day. I had higher hopes for latastei elsewhere in the area but given the time, after checking in I opted for a little walk around the village. If nothing else, I should at least see a few lizards. I did, of course, and, thinking that would be it, sun just about to dip behind the horizon I flipped a small plank of wood at the base of the hill next to the stream along the edge of the village and there was my little beauty :-)

The next day, as well as the following morning, when we had to leave again, it was cold, windy, overcast and raining, and not a single reptile was seen.

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You should really upload your photos as observations! Since you seem to remember the date and location it would make a valuable addition.


While my brother and my dad were geocaching all over four corners, Turner, and South Salem, I was busy searching for carabids and other critters on the ground and water. This seems to be the best way to find a large variety of plants and animals, so I’ll go out with them more; the very first log I flipped at one of the parks we went to, I found a large Chlaenius tricolor, Ocypus olens, and a Nebria brevicollis (slightly less exciting.) Along Mill Creek I found a ton of new personal records for the Valley, mostly Platynus brunneomarginatus. At the same park, I flipped another log, and nearly flew out of my shoes after seven fluffy, and quite plump mice shoot out from a hole, over my shoes, into the ferns, then I find a little Pterostichus pumilus willamettensis! Colourful snakes startled me behind a home depot distribution centre next to a wetland/marsh, where I also found some nifty Bembidion.

Can’t wait to go back to these spots in the future! Ditches in the middle of nowhere are the GREATEST places to find stuff! Like golf balls.