Worst Inaturalist Experiences Ever

If a picture of a mass of dense vegetation , or a group of trees, or stretch of grass, doen’t tell the viewer of the observation something about Nature (at least that it was not a desert, a construction, or an erosion channel), that is the viewer’s deficiency, not one of the observation.

Given that the location is precise enough to make comparisons over time, these are exactly the observations we need to learn and create awareness of the forces on, and responses of, biodiversity and habitat. Upload them! If you know what at least one of the species was, identify it and describe where it is in the photo. It doesn’t matter if noone can confirm it from the photo.
And for researchers who can’t use such observations, they can ignore it. Those wanting to know how the ecology of that location has changed over time, ie how it came to be as it is now, will find it valuable.

In 1997 I started what became, for 2-3 years anyway, “the most successful urban conservation project in NZ”, I was told by a Department of Conservation officer at the time. I avidly collected all local anecdotes and memories about the 2km streamside, forest and estuary.
One old man told me that in about 1960 the forest had been a bare site, burned off for agriculture and horticulture probably.

I asked him what were the first trees to grow. He told me lancewood (Pseudopanax arboreus). I was amazed, as they were virtually absent there in 1997 (and still are).

Passing this info on to our botanist ecologist, I learned that this species is a known pioneer species for forests of this type (“lowland”), in this part of New Zealand.

If he had been able to provide even the blurriest image, or even without an image, this would have been a fabulous addition to the iNat project I started in 2018 to document the progress…and regress…of that forest.

My view is, to learn and act, we need both detailed observations with species ID, and habitat knowledge. Otherwise the photos of plants or animals without context might as well be in a botanical garden or zoo.


Had to laugh at the mosquito story. I have a similar one, involving photographing carnivorous plants in a swamp. I somewhat expected the attack and did slather myself liberally with bug spray before I went out but the mosquitoes were clearly not impressed by that. I couldn’t get the close-ups I wanted because I couldn’t hold the camera still for long enough due to the onslaught.


OUCH! Maybe those carnivorous plants have selected for particularly hearty mosquitoes!