Not sure if this matches the catergory, but my best run in was a few weeks ago. i was ducked in the woods on the side of a road, trying to get a photo of a downy woodpecker, when I looked up and saw a small coyote on the road, staring at me. * got up and it ran away, but i managed to get these picturers. Doesn’t sound the best, but hey, still cool to see.
June 2022, walking along the edge of wetland, I encountered a short tailed weasel carrying a chipmunk. It knew I was there, I think it had never encountered a human. It ran around the area within four feet of me, in an attempt to find a way around. It would set the chipmunk down, check back and forth, pick the prey up, run a bit more. I never moved a step, only turning to take (bad) video.
I rank it among the best.
I posted this earlier this year in the “favorite new lifer this week” thread but always happy to re-remember. One day I was scanning some ancient botany reports back from when they still had those and in one the state botanist mentioned how some commoners had discovered a (European) ghost orchid (Epipogium aphyllum) near the “Bear Cave”.
Typing that in Google Maps there actually is a landmark called “Bear Cave” only a 30 minute bus ride from me. Not knowing that was the same landmark and not really expecting much, after work I hopped on the bus to the remote village at the bottom of the bear cave hill, hiked up the forested hill for 90 minutes to the cave and started searching the forest around it. After an hour or so I gave up and started to make my way back down to catch the last bus - when a ray of sunlight hit the forest ground about 10m up from me and a tiny white flower was glowing in the light! And I had found an actual ghost orchid! Most magical moment ever.
This past spring I was walking one of my favorite trails, I’d been photographing some birds and butterflies and it was just a beautiful day to be out. I was lagging behind my fiancé as I often do and I heard what I recognized as a snake moving really quickly through the leaves. I stopped and sure enough out onto the trail comes an eastern garter. Not a surprising sight-- except this garter was chasing a wood frog. I stood very still and the snake was so intent on the frog I don’t think it even realized I was there despite being inches away from me. The frog managed to hide for a couple of minutes but a really small movement sent the snake flying towards it and it did end up eating the wood frog.
I got a video but iNat doesn’t allow video to be uploaded unfortunately. Here’s a couple photos: Snake and wood frog