Thwarted by Nature

So I spotted this plant in the swamp that was just a few thick straplike leaves but that had a stalk on which a bud was forming. I was thrilled and decided to wait to see what kind of flower would bloom before I tried to identify it. (Because I’m not so good with plants and thought it would be easier to identify if it was blooming.)

When I went back, deer (or something) had eaten off the buds. Every last one of them. AAARGH! Now I’ll have to wait until next year, assuming they come up again and actually have time to bloom before they are eaten!

I thought I would ceate a new thread where those of us who are frustrated because we’ve been thwarted in our attempt to observe something by nature itself!


Wanted to photograph fieldfares and already got pretty close…


Oh, NO! But at least you got a hawk instead, which was really rather cool! Beautiful bird, too.


Kind of fitting the topic - but at the same time also the opposite:

As I am maintaining a garden list, I was a bit disappointed that after two consecutive days of trying to shoot a new species (Diptera: Sargus bipunctatus), I still did not have a single photo - because the fly was sitting on the outside of the window, and my camera first failed to focus, and upon approaching it flew away.
However, it returned again for a third time, this time on the terrace glass door - but I only noticed it when opening the door, so it flew again away, and I had low hopes I will ever see it again (at least this year).

Turns out - it apparently did not fly back into the garden, but (unnoticed by me) into the living room. Only realized this when wishing ‘good night’ to my room mate spider before going to bed.

So, in the end a new species for my indoor list :slightly_smiling_face: (#110)


Three years ago I came across a strange little plant that I identified from a field guide as Virginia Marbleseed It was unlike any plant I’d seen in thousands of observations in Jackson County Mississippi. I visited the same plant a couple more times and continued to log it as Virginia Marbleseed until called into question on it as likely a different species of stoneseed ( Since then I’ve been back five more times and the patch is still there, but either it hasn’t been blooming or deer have browsed all the reproductive growth. I’m not giving up!


Great story!

The first (but not the last) time I saw one of the caterpillars in the garden “fail to butterfly”.

I was so shocked and horrified, hahaha.


That should be on a list of Nature Assists! Your spider was totally trying to help you by catching the fly for you and holding it still so you could finally get your shot!

Or maybe it was just hungry…

I love the story though!

The frustrating and I mean really frustrating thing was that I had been visiting that silly patch of plants for a over a week, slogging through two runs and thick swamp mud to track the progress of the buds and plants and getting really excited when they looked about ready to bloom and then wham! The stalks and buds were chewed off to about 2 inches above the ground!
Then, I thought, well maybe I can just photograph the leaves and figure it out and slogged back only to find most of the leaves chewed off, too! So I will have to wait until next year.
I like your spider roommate though. At least it’s helpful!

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Do you think wasps got all of the caterpillars? Maybe one escaped and there’s still hope…


I do a lot of blacklighting for insects. It’s a very common occurrence that I will see a new-to-me moth or something, but just before I can get it into focus, a huge June beetle or sphinx moth will dive bomb the sheet and scare it away.


Oh eventually a few made it! I guess before that though I didn’t realize how fraught their chances were even at the onset? And the wasp way to go is so YIIIIKES.

But some make it! The ones with protective spikes like Marpesia and Dione do the best I think. Or hairy coatings, like the Metalmarks and Arawacus. I see a number of those at all stages in my garden.

Many of my caterpillar observations, though, forever remain at Superfamily or just below because they never had the big, wingy reveal. #rip #flyhighbutterangels


I mean, cool hawk

Yeah, it’s pretty common for 90+% of caterpillars to be killed by something before they reach adulthood. At least with a predatory wasp, it’s over pretty quickly compared to a parasitoid wasp


Regular one, would prefer a nice close fieldfare shot.


I get the same anxious feeling when I see a moth land on the sheet after bouncing off and on for a few minutes, and it sits and vibrates for just a few seconds but just long enough to let you know that is something new. Then you try and bust out the phone for a picture and it flies away at approximately the speed of light because you push the button with the moth still sitting there and by the time the picture is registered all you have is a photo of the blank sheet or a blurr. Then you freak out because the moth decides to leave and you have to hope it comes back and sits still.


There is a relatively unknown location for rare plants on Long Island. It is a simple roadside, with less than 4 feet wide space that is walkable. Many times I have tried to find a few specific species, and every time the Lone Star ticks get to me! I don’t know if finding a globally critically endangered plant is worth it if I get hundreds of nymphs on me!


Confined to a small patio in 2020, I saw lots of ladybug larva in the crape myrtle. I watched intently for days and days wanting to see one pupate and the ladybug emerge.

Each pupa I was watching got cannibalized. Time after time.

Finally, when they were nearly gone,


OK, that is cool!

There are a lot of ladybugs here, larva and adult, but I have never seen cannibalization, nor the emerging ladybug moment. Thank you for that. (When I see them I tend to just take the photo and make the observation and move on rather than actively watch them because all I have seen them actually do is mate for what seems like a really long time.)

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yeah, i have just never seen one of those

Thwarted by Nature? Only every time I see a bird. As soon as I go for my camera, they fly away. Thankfully the Aves identifiers are amazing with blurry, distant photos. I’m amazed at all of the observers that get clear bird photos.