It is only endemic to a small part of Central Texas, and with flowers only millimeters in size it’s also very easy to overlook. There are 16 total observations on iNat… 7 of which are RG. I found this one practically by accident, but was very excited when I found out what it was!
Funny enough though, they were in a location I passed by quite often, so I was able to return to get a few more observations better images. Last time I checked the fruits were dried and dehiscent… I should post an observation of those sometime soon.
Edit: well, as of now there are 16 observations… I’m sure more will be found ;)
I guess it would be Spoon-billed Sandpiper. A handful spend the winters over here in Thailand and I saw two individuals at two sites the past winter. They are quite tricky to spot as they’ll be amongst hundreds of Red-necked Stints and other small waders and the only tell is basically a small difference in the bill, being the distinctive spoon-bill.
There are estimated to be as few as ~100 breeding pairs remaining in the wild.
I’ve seen a few uncommon creatures, but this spotted-legged meadow grasshopper is probably the rarest. Mine was the first to be identified on iNat and is currently the lead image on its species page. Interestingly, there was another observation uploaded almost exactly one year before mine and literal feet away, though it wasn’t IDed until after my own.
Others might include a treetop emerald seen at a local park and a Miami blue-eyed grass from a very fruitful trip to Florida earlier this year. I actually have my own life list spreadsheet and I include the total number of observations when added as a fun bit of extra data.
Hmm, good question actually. Apparently that’s a common name listed on ITIS and GBIF. Wikipedia, BugGuide, and GBIF (alternate) list it as “spot-legged meadow katydid”. I added it to the species name list.
I am from eastern Massachusetts, and every year I make it a point to see the North Atlantic right whales as they migrate through. NOAA says there are less than 350 individuals, and on a single outing I’ve seen ~2% of the total population.
Last year I found a rare orchid (Neottia bifoloa) which wasn’t yet known from the mainland in Massachusetts, and there are only a few sites known in New England/New York.
Everything on the trip was very fun to see (including common stuff), but the highlight for me was seeing a flowering Tiburon Mariposa lily, which only grows on a couple hills on the Tiburon Peninsula just above San Francisco in California, and in very particular habitat (serpentine soils). I had researched these before and really wanted to see one but knew they usually start blooming in late May, so the day before I flew out I went looking. I spent 5 hours walking every trail (due to the rare habitat you must stay on trails) and though I found a few budding none were in bloom. I left with the bittersweet thought of being lucky enough to have just seen the plant but not in bloom. Then, when I arrived at my hotel room that evening I saw on iNat someone else had seen one in bloom that day. I messaged the person hoping they might tell me where they saw the plant, and decided to wake up super early to make the hour and a half drive back to try to find it. When I arrived I only had an hour and a half to search and looked thoroughly in areas where I saw several individuals with no luck. I kept looking. I pressed my luck. I stayed longer than I should have. I kept frantically refreshing iNat hoping the person had gotten back to me. Finally, I more or less gave up, figuring I would keep my eyes open on the walk back down to my car but didn’t get my hopes up. Not five minutes later, I found the same flower that had been seen the day before, and maybe the only one currently blooming anywhere. It was in a spot where you could only see it while walking down this trail, and the day prior I had walked up it and looped back to the car using another. I stood in awe of such a unique and beautiful flower for several minutes until I finally pulled myself away and practically ran back to my car to make it to the airport. When I got to the airport I found that the user had messaged me back, I thanked them for their kindness and let them know of my success. It was a heck of an adventure to see a single flower, but so worth it!
My rarest may be my Balcanocerus crataegi. It was one of the first photos of the species uploaded to bugguide and the first here on iNat. I can find very little information on it online so it’s at least under-studied.
They’re really cool, and surface feed so you get really long looks at the upper parts of their mouths. March/early April is usually best. If you do end up making a trip shoot me a message and I’ll send you a list of spots!