Travelling for observations

Im new to inaturalist and im curious, have you ever gone to a place just because you saw an intresting observation?
Like travelling to an exact location just to see what YOU could observe there?
I know that there are big groups for this sort of thing, but just YOU traveling for some observations and nothing else.


Welcome to iNaturalist!

I have accompanied family members to an archaeological site in which I had no real historical interest but I had been stunned by all the species I observed there a few years previously. On the previous occasion my phone had run out of battery so this time I took an extra battery.

It was not a new location but I did travel there specifically to see what I might see. (One observation: the pandemic was excellent for Ctenosaura similis, which post-pandemic were present in profusion and so many of a huge size.)


Ha! I do this regularly. Once I saw an interesting observation online and got there so fast the observer was still on site. We had fun talking plants and iNaturalist.

More often I get an old herbarium record and try to track it down to see if the plant is still there for iNaturalist. This works about 30% of the time and leads to nice adventures.


Pretty regularly! (Admittedly, I’d have gone to these places anyway, but taking photos for iNat adds the extra push). I’ve definitely taken myself off to certain local nature reserves to find a bird somebody posted the day before, with success


I do this all the time. My furthest travel so far was last fall:
Basically when the last orchids stopped blooming in Ohio I opened inaturalist, looked for the closest orchid anywhere that was still in bloom (happened to be in South Carolina) then just drove down there on a long weekend. Extra complication was that all inat locations of it were obscured so I wasn’t even sure I’d find anything, but it ended up being the most memorable trip ever :slightly_smiling_face:


I do this all the time :smiley:

I will plan day trips by looking at the iNat observation mapping for some species I want to find, and then going there at the right time. I’ve gotten a number of lifer birds by doing this.




I sometimes do this, but I usually won’t travel too far. For example, I live under an hour’s drive from the Florida Everglades, and will make occasional trips targeting snakes and such.

I will usually find a lot of other cool stuff too when I go on trips like this, and in some cases (like if I’m gonna road cruise) I’ll get there early, hit some other spots during daylight, and travel to a targeted spot at night.

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When I first started to look for dragonflies/damselflies a few years ago I checked iNaturalist because there were some species that I really wanted to see in-person. (The American rubyspot is one.) But, I also looked on the iNaturalist Explore Map and looked for places in the area where there was good habitat for dragonflies/damselflies with no observations recorded. The second way I used iNaturalist/ExploreMmap (for new locations) was very rewarding and a lot of fun because I really didn’t know what I was going to find.


Yes, but only in my country. Last year I went specifically to see two flowering plants.This year I am planning to visit two places for lichens. Though these last two are both for iNaturalist and for professional purposes.


I enjoy doing the same thing. I use Google Maps to find locations that seem to be decent habitat for whatever I’m looking for, and head out to see if I can be the first person on iNaturalist to record it. That’s how I found some Indigo Buntings and a Bobolink at an abandoned golf course.


I did visit locations just because of observations that had been done there, but only within my city. I think I would not do it on larger scale… in the end I do love to explore especially the still empty spots on the map and on the other hand have few “must see” observations I would travel for.


Travelling for observations has become my main reason for travelling, and if I had funds and time I would be unstoppable!


All these replies were fun to read!
I am planning to join one the highest ranked university in the country just to inaturalist, since its the biggest biodiveristy hotspot in my city.


Many of the plants I’ve traveled to for observations are rare and obscured on iNaturalist, so I haven’t specifically used iNat observations to decide where to go but relied on other information sources. However, I have a few targets I’d like to visit from our recent campus BioBlitz like this one. Not much travel involved, just a walk across campus - maybe I should make that my goal to reward myself after turning in my grades today.


Yes indeed - I have crossed oceans for birds. But that was then and this is now and I am very conscious of climate change and GHG emissions so almost all my observations these days are within 8km of home within walking or cycling distance. Look up Greenbirding. You will be amazed what’s to be found just down the road.


Welcome to iNaturalist’s forum! I mostly just photograph what is in my back yard, but I did go to the duck pond (only 15 minutes away) because a friend of mine said there was lots of avian life there, and she was right. (Wigeons, and shovelers, and cormorants! Oh, my!)

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What is “must see” to you?

Yes, once I get the funds for it I fully plan on travelling around for my life list, both locally and overseas. It’s fun to see what’s out there.

Inaturalist is one of the key tools I use in deciding my next travel location. Basically picking a country and looking at obs for certain families, and then narrowing down and seeing areas which look like they have high biodiversity, but low (human) population, and extremely low levels of development.

Locally I keep a pretty close eye on observations in my eco district. I currently have 707/1635 species. If something comes up that I don’t have, that isnt too hard to get to, I will possibly see if I can get it.

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