What's your Observation Happy place?

I guess I’m just asking this for fun!
So, out of all the places you’ve observed wildlife, where has been the “best”?

Personally for me, it would be this big area in my backyard. It’s fenced off prairie, it used to be owned by this old man at the front of my neighborhood, but I’m pretty sure he died. (Not a million percent sure though)
Deer, bunnies, coyotes, and red-tailed hawks all roam around that area, and a few times deer have jumped over our fence!

I love wandering along the fence, occasionally jumping over for some “Quick” trespassing, and photographing all the wild and wacky wildlife there is!

One of the voices in my head, Clay, is also very fond of the prairie, most often the deer, and there was one time that a few deer jumped over the fence…I heard him screaming at the top of his lungs (…If thought forms have lungs…?). (“GRACE TAKE A PICTURE TAKE A PICTURE TAKE A PICTUREEE!”)

So yeah! I’d love to hear everyone else’s experience, happy place, or whatever!

Have a great day/night,
~Grace :sparkles: :smiley:

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Mid calf deep in a cold water stream with a dragonfly net in hand.

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Crawling, on kneepads and gloves, intently focused in the focused beam of a headlamp, in the dark of a lava tube in a 24,000 year old lava flow, concentrating, time passing unnoticed, lifting up a rock from the cave floor knowing that it has never been lifted prior, looking underneath and finding…well, generally, nothing. So, on to the next. And the next, intently scanning surfaces as you crawl around, looking up occaissionally to make sure you’re not about to bonk unto a rock. Coming back out of the cool, dark exquistely silent cave into forgotten bright sun, singing birds, dust, and wanting nothing more than to go into the next and resume the survey.

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It sounds like you have a really big cool place to search.

My favorite place is the big Cuyahoga Valley National Park because it has a variety of habitats to wander.

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Paradise for me is a southern Appalachian cove forest in spring. The mountains of western North Carolina and also Tennessee, Virginia, WV and Kentucky are some of my favorite places to explore.

I’m also very lucky to live in a beautiful part of southwestern Ontario so my own backyard is another favorite place.

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Mine is along the banks of the Red River, a place called Churchill Drive. There is a narrow but long wild area. I’ve seen lots of things there, but also (since I go daily), have seen things that happen over the long term. Paths I could once walk down have eroded away. The way the river rises and falls, and what it does. About 5 years ago a tree broke over during a wind storm. It seemed healthy, and the top part of the tree fell towards the river. It showed no signs of breaking off the stump. Then, two autumns ago, the river flooded (a very rare occuence), and then turned to ice. The top of that tree became encased in ice, and as the water levels lowered, the ice went lower as well. It ripped the large part of the tree off the stump, and in the spring, the ice broke up and took the tree away. All that is left now is about a 2m stump. I wish we had a place to tell these kinds of stories

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I guess we do. :relaxed:

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Oooooohhhh, I have so many places where I love to watch wildlife! Since I live in the Rocky Mountains, my backyard is one of my favorite places, but one place I really, really, love is Ketnar Lake. It’s just a small lake in Colorado, down behind a neighborhood, but I love birding there, especially in summer! Then again, I love birding everywhere…:joy:

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If you measure by the number of observations, mine is probably Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s not necessarily that I have a particular attachment to there over other places (though it is a wonderful place, especially on the weekdays when the crowds are gone.), but it is easily accessible, it’s got several different sorts of habitat within fairly close proximity (oak woodlands, some riparian areas, coastal plains, rocky and sandy beaches, tidepools, etc. etc.), it’s generally got pleasant weather year-round, and it’s conserved under the National Parks Service, which provides some protection from outside interests (except, of course, the dairy farmers that should have left when their lease was up), so I find myself going there quite often.

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I’ve grown quite fond of Idylwild Wildlife Management Area along the Maryland/Delaware border. It’s not particularly wild/pristine – it’s a recovering sand and gravel mining operation. But it’s sandy with rare species, and always revealed new lifeforms on every one of my visits. Local Delmarva naturalists, Hal White and Michael Moore, described the biodiversity refuge that Idylwild has become as “conservation by minimal intervention” which seems poetic to me.

Underwater, drifting slowly over the black, volcanic sand of Lembeh Strait. Searching out any slight movement or disturbance for tiny marine critters to photograph. Especially solo diving late at night when different creatures are active. Being underwater and weightless is a great feeling and night diving even more so when the world is reduced to the beam of your torchlight. I love exploring an area so rich in biodiversity and undescribed species that isn’t accessible to most other people. There are so many cool critters to find!

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Mine’s probably in my own backyard. I love walking around seeing what birds, plants, insects and other things I can find! I also enjoy examining all the different mosses I find in my yard, which is usually a lot of Pocket Mosses.

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One of the most mazing places to observe nature was or sure the amazonian rain forest and one could have easily abandoned me and my camera there for some weeks without me getting bored at all.

But when it comes to my favourite places I still fondly think about even if I can not observe there anymore, then it is my backyard (actually more like a small park) in the Andes of Ecuador and the vast forests and surrounding meadows in north-eastern Germany where I spent so much time during 10 years of my life, I feel I know every tree.

Although I spent a lot of time there in the months before, the backyard in Ecuador actually became more important for me when the whole Coronasituation hit. I was there every day with my camera and also every night - a unique situation for me in that country. It was an amazing places with a try meadow part with a small pond inhabited by Marsupial frogs and dragonflies, with a moist meadow part with lots of burrows of bird spiders inviting their impressive predators - pepsis wasps - to roam around and with a lot of old trees and flowering bushes visited by humming birds an butterflies. It all was topped of by the river bordering one side of the backyard. It was a truely magical place and I miss it dearly and I feel I always will.
Some of my favourite observations from that palce:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38681756
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38571215
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42130570
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38232208

I do also miss those times back in Germany on my bike, especially experiencing how nature comes back alive in spring. The forests and meadows where my escape from everyday life and I went there every day before or after work. I had some of the most intimate moments with wildlife there.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37586445
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37753690
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38274526

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One of my happiest places in the last twelve months was at the far end of the long Holmes Wharf in Oamaru on the southern coast of the South Island here in New Zealand, early afternoon, watching the spotted shags fly past one after the other. In terms of traffic it was like standing near the end of a busy airport runway. The shags were on final approach, as it were, to their colony on the historic Sumpter Wharf on the other side of the harbour. I really got an appreciation for their speed as I tracked them with my camera. I stayed there a good long while.

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I tend to move often and travel a decent amount, so no particular favorite place for observations.

That said, given the opportunity to back with observations specifically in mind, I’d love to spend more time in the Amazon, specifically along the foothills of the Andes, as well as in the Andean cloud forests. When I was there there was no iNat (no mobile access either, and no power in many places, but that’s a different set of issues).

The number of amazing living things I saw in the Andes and in the Amazon was both astounding and wonderful.

At the moment, I’m working in SE Asia and the wildlife situation is dire here, so many species are on the brink of extinction and so many others have been scared into extremely cryptic behavior that it makes the forests feel empty. Also, limestone karst is a difficult terrain to properly explore, especially in the heat and humidity.

Summer in central-northern Finland is another place and time I’d like to revisit. Lots of carnivorous plants, wildflowers, berries, etc.

For wildflower observations it’s difficult to beat California grasslands. I’m especially fond of the coastal ones. One of my favorite places is near Goat Rock just south of Jenner. Not only are there a ton of wildflowers, there are nesting peregrine falcons, and owls that sleep in the iris beds during the day.

Any coral reef is an amazing place for observations. I’ve only been diving in the Andaman Islands, but it was spectacular and SCUBA diving is a wonderfully serene and peaceful feeling. I’d love to spend more time doing that.

Ecuador is a great place. So are Peru and Bolivia.

I spent a few months tracking bears in the cloud forests in the north of Ecuador and exploring parts of the country afterward on the way south.

Looks like you were in Cuenca. Did you happen to be there during any of the lantern festivals? We stopped by for a couple of days and the first night happened to fall on one of the festival days. The whole night sky was lit up by candle powered lanterns sailing through the air.

Have lived in Cuenca for 1,5 years and loved it. What a great place to be and the cloud forests are at least as amazing as the low land forests.

I am not a big fan of those lanterns since I once (many many years back still in Germany) saw one of my favourite spots (a try fallow) burn down after one of those things landed in it. I am not sure if this is still a thing in Ecuador. At least on Galapagos people seem to have changed their minds and neither crackers for new years nor those lanterns are welcome anymore. Good on them.
In Germany the lanterns are forbidden since a decade or so.

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It was 2005 when I was there. From what I remember talking with folks in the city, fires around the city as a result of the lanterns were not uncommon, but they still let them loose.

One of my favorite little ecosystem niches in the Andes are the gallery forests in the páramo. Narrow little bands of forest that stay near streams and lakes, or in hollows at the bottom of hills in the grasslands. So many fuchsia, orchid, fern, and moss species tucked away in those. Absolutely incredible.

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Lanterns are one of big sources of both fires and trash.

I don’t really have a favourite place for observations because it’s not long since I started Inaturalist. Recently I’ve been to the Shola forests of Southern Western Ghats, Kerala, India. Lucky that I only got bitten by 1 leech(Usually they’ll cover your legs during monsoon). Honestly I like all of Western Ghats and it has many habitats like Sholas, Grasslands, Swamps etc. I also like to revisit them.

But above them all, my favourite is my home village of Kumarakom. It is a wetland region and I’ve many observations from there and it’s pretty sure to see a lot of species.

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