What is the strangest thing missing from your life list

That species that you should have seen no problems, but just never find. The one that when you mention never seeing one to other local naturalists, they just go “Seriously???”

Here is mine

4 years of being back in Canada, I should have seen this many times over, yet still it eludes me.


For me, I’d imagine it would have to be any of the following:

Periodical cicada
Golden Eagle
Red-throated Loon
American badger

I still don’t have a Pinyon Jay, even though I live in New Mexico. Also, even though I live in a desert, I have yet to see a single scorpion or tarantula species ever.


Probably some of the common tree species in this area. There are many I have not really learned to discriminate yet.

It’s amazing how hard it is to spot a badger (at least in my experience in North America). I’ve spent a ton of time outside in grasslands and shrublands from Minnesota to Idaho, to Utah to California. I can’t remember if I saw one in real life for a split second or whether I’m just remembering a moment from a nature documentary!

sometimes I suffer from “common species blindness”, ie when things are so common that I assume that they’re already on my life list when in reality they aren’t. Teddy bear cholla was one of those things for me, one of the most common and recognizable cacti in Arizona and a species I saw literally almost every day but I didn’t realize that I never photographed it until after living here for over a year.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ridiculous holes in my life list, but if I knew what they were then I’d be out trying to remedy them :)

1 Like

I have some embarrassingly common ones here (Cooper’s hawk? yikes):

A nice way to find some of your gaps is to use the URL qualifier unobserved_by_user_id=, then plop in your username and refine to your place and taxa of interest. Also the “Missions” feature on the Android app.