What is your oldest observation

Metallica. Nunatak. Polar bears. Penguins.

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Both poles then? \m/


My oldest iNat observation is this elk (=wapiti) from Banff National Park, taken January 1996:


I have older photos, but nothing I can date precisely. I do have bird checklists going back to the early 1980s…I did my first Christmas Bird Count in 1985.


I have a few from the late 1980s.
Western Whipspider - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4241637
Black-bellied Pangolin - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4362424
Common Emperor Scorpion - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4233631
African Civet - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4363057

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My oldest research grade one is this Common Eider I drew in my teenage notebook on 4 September 1976: https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations/1818918 - I think the agreement was generous.

I have uploaded media-less observations back to 26 August 1976, which is when I first started keeping a notebook.

My earliest directly uploaded observations were in 2008, but (being in Australia) I had to wait until the next day to avoid the site telling me I couldn’t add records in the future - that was quickly fixed.


My two oldest are a Caribou and a Grizzly Bear from Alaska in 1984.


Being very “long in the tooth”, I can point to a scanned slide of a butterfly in Taiwan which has an estimated date of May 1969:
I had probably just bought my first SLR, a Minolta, and a 135mm telephoto lens. I took the camera with me on a day trip to the north coast of the island.
Unfortunately, I have a large number (100+) images of Taiwanese plants and animals from my stay there (USAF, 1969-70) but they have no dates or specific locations on them, so I have not bothered to scan and upload them.
Scanning my old slides–just as my late pal Greg Lasley did–is a real trip down memory lane. I’ve now uploaded over 300 observations in the 1969-1975 era, before school and life got in the way.


My oldest observation is of this cacti in Davis, California, in snow, in 2002. The planted Opuntia is not notable, but the snow is - first time it had snowed there in 20 years and not sure it has since then either.
i could probably find older ones next time i am at my parents house if i look through childhood photos. I used to avoid ever looking at them, for um, reasons.


42 years – and research grade!! Well, that gives me hope that my Taiwan observations (now 17 in all, including the aforementioned snail) may also achieve that status.

Also research grade! You guys are on a roll!

And again research grade!


I started keeping field notes on nature observations in 1977 when I was a teenage nature nerd. No camera back then but I would occasionally draw what I saw. This Triops was probably the earliest, in 1979. I didn’t know what the heck it was at the time I caught it



My oldest digital photos are from January 2000. I was borrowing my sister’s camera while visiting her. I didn’t get my own digital camera until 2003. I have film photos from the 90’s but no way to tell when they were taken. I also found some photos from 2001 that I took by putting a butterfly or caterpillar on top of the flatbed scanner. :laughing:


This one: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/8961533
A reviewer commented “is this photo really from 1968?” :)



This is a casual though, it’s a ball Python back when we had a zoo back here

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Geesh, sounds like you young-uns never had to trudge to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. Back in the Pleistocene, you couldn’t just point a camera at something, push a button, and have the picture come out on one of them there new-fangled computerators.

We did have cameras, but you had to go to a store, buy a “roll” of this stuff called “film”, and load that into the camera. Then you had to get in front of something worth looking at and take a picture. That’s no different today, except people too often skip the first part because there is so little cost to taking a picture. After taking the picture, you couldn’t see it until you brought the film to a place to “develop” it. Usually a couple of days later, you’d finally see if that picture you took was actually worth something.

Even then, you only had a single original “negative” or “slide”. Copies could be made, but the process was analog, and copies were never quite as good as the single original.

Each picture cost some actual money, and there was always a lag before you got to see if it worked out. You therefore were a lot more careful with setup and choosing your subject.

The oldest observation I have uploaded so far is of a White-line sphynx moth on the north rim of the Grand Canyon from 1985 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10554619). That was taken with Kodachrome slide film, ISO 64. It was cloudy bright that day, so not enough light to use a fast shutter. I held a flash close to the end of the lens to overwhelm the ambient light and give me a very short exposure. The wings are still blurred, but at least visible.

I’ll now go upload a really nice picture of some mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) in Glacier National park from 1974. OK, here it is: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/101187266. That was taken with Ektachrome 64 slide film and a basic camera with no electronics. Back then you had to look at the lighting and judge the exposure for yourself. The camera could take different lenses, but all I had on that hike was a 105 mm, so had to spend some time letting the goats get used to me to get close enough to take this picture. They moved away only a few seconds after this picture was taken. It was still a memorable experience, even though I had just graduated from high school then, and am now on Medicare.


My oldest was from September 1975: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/12863033

I think you meant this one https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/9456434?

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