Time traveling iNaturalist

Personally I wouldn’t want to travel back to the distance past. I am, shall we say past the autumn of my life and been interested in natural history since the age of about 10yrs old. I am not an expert, but have life experience of the natural world around me over those years.

I would like to travel back to the wonderful experiences we had living on the Essex coast just after WW2. There had been a halt to much of the fishing and farming was not the intense industry it is now.

The sight of skate basking in the sun, wing tips just breaking the surface, garfish feeding around the piles of the pier, and porpoises now all sadly extremely rare. The flocks of scoter and eider ducks in winter feeding feeding on vast beds of mussels, and the flotilla of other duck at sea, now things of the past. Then there were the flocks of dunlin and sanderling dodging the waves breaking on the shore. The numbers of butterflies and other insects, every hedge had inumerable nests. Cuckoo’s seemed to be everywhere (this year I’ve heard just one).

Of course I would like to take with me my digital camera to bring back a record of how things were, to show my grandchildren just how much we have lost, in just two generations, to intensive farming, over fishing and turning every inch of space into a concrete jungle.

I think it was a lady called Rachael Carson who wrote a book entitled ‘The Silent Spring’, I don’t think she was far wrong, and would say we are fast approaching that scenario.

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If I had to choose just one place at one time, I would go to the Ice Age Caribbean for the pygmy ground sloths, giant owls, and monkeys.

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Another cool thing to observe would be the first cell that could do oxygenic photosynthesis.

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I would like to see my area, eastern Texas, before Europeans arrived. From my research, no one knows exactly what it looked like before then because when white settlers arrived, they quickly turned the pine forest into a sea of stumps before scientists could document everything. We have somewhat of an idea from settlers’ diaries: the pine forests were so open that you could drive a horse carriage through them. It doesn’t look like that now because of fire suppression. Unmanaged local forests are an impassable mess of loblolly pine and briars.

I really want to see a Carolina parakeet, an ivory-billed woodpecker, and a Caribbean monk seal.

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