Would you rather (plan your naturalist dream trip)

There was an article in the local paper today about an eco-lodge in Ecuador yesterday announcing the discovery of 2 previously undescribed insect species (in Spanish but have a link). I was wowed and in reading more, learned that the same eco-lodge last year announced 10 previously undescribed plant species.

This got me wondering, if you were planning your naturalist dream trip, would you be most motivated by:

  1. Seeing a specific species you have always wanted to see, regardless of how rare it is
  2. Seeing the highest number of different species
  3. Seeing rare species
  4. Seeing new-to-you species specifically, regardless of how rare they are
  5. Finding a previously undescribed species
  6. Something else

As always, I lack any scientific training whatsoever so please forgive any awkward diction or inaccuracy in my phrasing.

This is a hypothetical, for fun. Whee!


2+4 – the biggest amount of not seen before species, that motivates not only dream trips, but any going out for me.
But what would be your choice?


Mine is 6 and then 4, in that order.

When I travel I want to feel like I traveled, so #6 is that “the world changes”, by which I mean I want the terrain to be different, the weather to be different, if it is my dream trip I would like to end up in the other hemisphere, at a different altitude, where the dirt is a different color, etc. Snow!

Then #4. I don’t care how rare anything is. I will just be excited in my new vacation environment to see them all. Once @Marina_Gorbunova you posted a photo of yourself feeding a squirrel. You had on fingerless gloves I think? I am sure it is everyday, no big deal to you, but I reached out and touched my screen.


That’s a very nice viewpoint! If you want snow, make sure your trip is a long one to see something when snow is gone.)

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I had a book when I was little that showed how some animals change color for snow. I know I likely never will but I would love to see some of those animals with their snow looks.

(I know everyone complains about winter but for those of us who live where there is no snow, it sounds like a very exotic travel destination, hahaha.)


For me from the options mentioned for sure 4 and 2.

I do love those trips where I can look where ever and can observe something I have not seen before (as you mentioned Ecuador… the trip to the ecuadorian rain forest was for sure such an instant… one of my favourite trips so far).

However, I also do cherish the times with my camera where I had to look really closely and started to see more an more. Living in Cairo for sure offered such an experience. Looked boring in the start, but got more and more interesting to me with time… But the latter experience works better for me when I am able to go to a place over and over again… not really on a trip.


I would love to find a new species but #4 would make me happy. I always loved seeing ‘new to me’ things especially if I didn’t know they existed. “Oh, what are you?” makes me happy.


It certainly is a very good recreational time, especially if you’re into banya/sauna or fishing, but species-wise late spring would bring you x100 more, so I wish you the best in getting both winter and summer hares. ;)

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  1. Something else

Currently, I’m more interested in “what’s in my geographical backyard” than
any particular species.

My plan is…to take several trips in the Texas Panhandle this Spring.
My goal is…to submit observations from each county(26).

Hypothetical for fun…I like it. :slightly_smiling_face:


So I’ve been observing only within my own extremely wee garden space the entirety of the last few years. Is that sort of what you mean? Mine sounds lame but honestly it was really cool to see what happened in an extremely limited space. So far I am at:

19 species of bees (Anthophila)
59 species of butterflies (Papilionoidea)
46 species of flies (Diptera)
45 species of beetles (Coleoptera)
71 species of Plantae
and some other stuff for 415 species total

I like your county idea a lot! Are you going to do a map project?


I have not considered a map project. Hummm… :thinking:

However, I will post my observations to this project…https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/plants-and-animals-of-the-texas-panhandle.

Btw…your garden space list is impressive. :slightly_smiling_face:


#4, seeing the new-to-me species. I’ve been flight-free for the environment now for over five years, so my dream trip would also have to be reachable by car or train. https://stay-grounded.org/get-information/
Fortunately, going to Lake Mattamuskeet near Swan Quarter NC would make a lovely dream trip for me! https://www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas/lake-mattamuskeet-swan-quarter


1 followed by 4

At this point in my life, as I realize that time is in limited supply, number 1 comes to the forefront. My “bucket list” includes a few particular taxa that have fascinated me from my youth, but which I have never come across in my travels – even though those travels were full of number 4.

If you had asked me this question 10 - 15 - 20 years ago, I would likely have said number 5. I still wouldn’t mind that, but it no longer drives me.


Marina Marina Marina Marina! LOOKIT!

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That lake looks amazing! There are 22 species of ducks there!

OK, I am not telling you what to do, but I reallyreallyreally think you should take a group of people and play duck bingo. (Stick a Canada Goose in the middle space.)


4 and 5, especially #5, I always loved the prospect of finding a never ever seen creature, giving us all hope of undiscovered creatures surviving through the ordeal that’s happening. 1-5 are all excellent choices @ItsMeLucy, I was torn about which ones to choose!

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I’m a complete amateur, so for me it’s a mix between 4 and 6.

For a modest dream, I want to explore all the places meaningful to me to try and see them in a new light. For instance, there’s an about 4km stretch of countryside in Catalonia between the city and the beach that we used to walk often with my grandparents and my mother. It’d be a lonely trip now, but knowing it’s full of life, especially species I’ve never seen or even thought of, would be really good, I think.


It sounds like Ecuador may be a wellspring of as of yet undescribed species but I also know people find new things in everyday places. I think there was a woman who during the pandemic found a new spider in her back garden. And just in the last year or two there was a family who found an oddly furry crab on a beach that ended up as a new species. With or without travel, I hope you find your new-to-known-knowledge species one day, too! (But if you want to be proactive, it sounds like maybe go to Ecuador? hahaha!)

I think the Catalunya trip sounds lovely, and worth keeping a journal if you do take it, even if only for your eyes.

(I love the idea of revisiting meaningful places.)

4 and 2. I would rather see a couple of new species rather than many species I already know. With that said, basically any trip where I see a new species counts as a win for me.

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