drive-by naturalists

On trips I like to amuse myself by iNatting things I see from the window, my favorite example of which is Australasian Harriers in New Zealand. That's one observation for every single harrier I saw between 26 Dec 2014 -- 12 Jan 2015 inclusive, with the exception of 3 Jan when I was driving. In combination with stopovers and all the other magpies and Queen Anne's lace & etc. that I also observed but was less religious about, they form a squiggly grey line pleasingly outlining my path around South Island:

I like it when I run across places where other members who have done the same thing, like @charlie and @davidlowry who have some great big tracks across most of the US.

Publicado el noviembre 15, 2015 07:52 TARDE por sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo


yeah, i love doing this. There are so many species you can identify this way.

My paths alternate on and off on long road trips because I only do it when my wife or someone else is driving :)

Publicado por charlie hace más de 8 años

Pretty rad. You can see some similar behavior on the animated map we just posted about at (interactive version at

Publicado por kueda hace más de 8 años

wow, so neat @kueda .. though the github one isn't working for me for whatever reason. Things sure took off in 2011! It's so fun to watch Vermont light up.

Publicado por charlie hace más de 8 años

Wow, really cool! Looks like things first started to really take off mid-2011. In global view, people's occasional Antarctic/sub-Antarctic islands expeditions are really noticeable.

Persistent US hotspots:

--basically all of coastal California from SF to SD
--all of Vermont
--Seattle, WA
--Cleveland, OH (how about that!)
--two big spots in eastern Texas that I assume are greglasley and sambiology

Publicado por sea-kangaroo hace más de 8 años

I think those Texan spots are Austin and DFW, and while Greg and Sam represent a lot of those, they're by no means alone. Check out the People tabs at and

Publicado por kueda hace más de 8 años

Yeah, the hot spot thing is neat because to me it says that we could have that kind of coverage everywhere people have Internet access, as long as we find a few of the right people and organizations in each area. I also notice that an area with a few really involved people persists longer than one isolated excited person... due to the community I think, or just because people recruit others.

I don't even remember how I found the site. Did you do a bunch of outreach in 2011? I think @kpmcfarland actually found it before me, but just didn't start posting as much stuff as fast.

Publicado por charlie hace más de 8 años

I apparently joined autumn of 2011. I had just been fiddling with and was specifically looking for something that would let me make a mammal life list and found somebody's blog somewhere with a roundup of wildlife-spotting-recording sites.

Publicado por sea-kangaroo hace más de 8 años

That was around the time I started working with @loarie. He did a bunch of outreach, mostly through partnering with conservation groups on things like the Global Amphibian Bioblitz, and some of the spillover was reaching people who wrote blog posts or would eventually become critical local organizers like Kent. I really credit Scott with building this community and obliterating my naive "build it and they will come" mentality. Relentless, shameless promotion is critical.

Publicado por kueda hace más de 8 años

it's working! And for those super obsessive types like me... we will recruit a few but those with the real talent for outreach and community organization will recruit more :) It's a good thing to see the site grow so much. I look at the stats page all the time now

Publicado por charlie hace más de 8 años

Yeah, I heard about it in a blog or something in 2011. I had been very involved in eBird and other data collection projects and when I found iNat it fit into an idea that was churning in my head to collect as much data about Vermont biodiversity as possible in one place, both historic stuff in collections and notebooks, and ongoing into future. We already had done a bunch of wildlife atlases like breeding birds, butterflies, etc. This platform was a logical place to get all those cit sci to keep going ad hoc and wild. So, it has worked for us amazingly. A lot of people love it here in Vermont. Shameless promotion is wicked important! I do it for iNat and the Vermont Atlas of LIfe all the time! You guys have created a great platform and community!

Publicado por kpmcfarland hace más de 8 años

I feel like hte idea of this was in my head for a long time too, but it got created before I thought the tech would even work yet. Someone let me help test something similar called What's Invasive in 2009 and I am right now importing my observations from that one by one into iNat so I have observations from back then too! But they are in California not Vermont.

Publicado por charlie hace más de 8 años

I'm kind of doing the opposite at the moment. Not going anywhere but posting observations for the last ten to ? years (haven't gotten to my slides yet;-) The reason being to give a better focus on a single location - what changes, what is the same, etc. Of course this used to be pre-industrial men and women's lot. Nowadays its a luxury to spend a lifetime in one place (well, could be). So far I have posted many of my post negative film digital images , with a few exceptions. There is nothing like digital imaging compared to the bad old days of film. Still it's good to have film back up - just like I have with recorded music. Thank goodness I still have a vintage record player to play my hundreds of LPs;-)

Publicado por billarbon hace casi 7 años

Hah! I just stumbled across this journal post. Very nice!

Note that Mark Crompton (@zlbc) has been doing the same thing on the West Coast of NZ for some time. See his West Coast road map in Australian harriers.

I do the same too, but so far I only upload my obs with photographs to iNat (about 2% of my obs). That's already too much to keep up with.

Publicado por jon_sullivan hace más de 5 años

I note Australian Harriers wherever I see them which is mostly around my home-town of Hokitika and more especially up at the Airport where I work. Nearly all my obs are non-photograph but I try to enter a photo from time to time just to prove I'm recording the species accurately. I visit friends up at Westport occasionally so watch this space for more obs Hokitika to Greymouth to Punakaiki to Wesport - especially around the Cape Foulwind area which is a favourite haunt of mine.

Publicado por zlbc hace más de 5 años

@ck2az has been doing this witha lot of easy to ID plant species in the desert. Now we have some really neat filled out maps for species such as saguaro.

some of those ones someone put inat the west end may be wrong though, gotta check those.

Publicado por charlie hace más de 5 años

Awesome work being done here
As far as saguaros are concerned my daughter
And my great great grandfather who was a news paper editor
And self taught naturalist set in motion trying to find the boundaries of the saguaros
To see if it has changed since 1886-96 time frame and amazing it has
They don’t sneak in to New Mexico anymore via the gila river canyon
Thanks to farming and are no longer found in the tip of Nevada or the Mountains
Of the desert areas of California like they were at one time
I hope what I have done has helped someone out here

Publicado por ck2az hace más de 5 años

Wow, I had no idea we used to have non-Arizona Saguaro!

Next time I'm in southern Nevada I'll keep an eye out & see if I can find the northernmost one. :)

Publicado por sea-kangaroo hace más de 5 años

I’m going off off his notes and old GLO and other surveys
That were done in the 1880-1916 time frame. I’ve been all over the southern
Tip of Nevada surveying lands and never seen any proof
There is a area north of bullhead city where in the canyons
You can find petrified saguaro wood in the silaca rich sands
Another area is the Big Sandy valley north of I-40 east of Kingman, Az
But none of this is around anymore..
the ones in the gila canyon of New Mexico were well documented
But seem to have disappeared with farming from the stafford, az area into NM

Publicado por ck2az hace más de 5 años

i'm pretty sure one mountain range in far eastern California still has some.

Publicado por charlie hace más de 5 años

There are quite a few
I never made it to imperial county for observations

but I know they are there
I know quite a few from my memory
I’ve done work in Riverside and San Bernardino county’s
Just the eastern edge but historically there were more
Until OHV destroyed most of there desert areas

Publicado por ck2az hace más de 5 años

I tagged you above but misspelled you name

Publicado por ck2az hace más de 5 años

Sort of the opposite, but still part of the same idea: observations taken at a single location involving many species - and growing - all within a small area using alternative means of transport to auto/vehicles and thus incurring a small carbon footprint. I offer mine as an example, most observations taken within a mile or mile and a half transect easily accessed on foot? Hence, the observations would fence in a general area marking a man-made boundary instead of a geographical one? Course, the two overlap as well. Here is mine, although not all fall into the community, but I'm betting 95 percent plus do, with very little petrol expended.

Perhaps a prize for the smallest carbon footprint? And largest;-)

Publicado por billarbon hace más de 5 años

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