A Numerical Milestone

When I first started using iNaturalist I had already accumulated about 15,000 observation records via other systems, but over 16 years. On iNaturalist however inspirational people like @finatic, who was leading the way with over 50,000 records, motivating comparisons like in this blog post about how many finatics other people were (as a ratio/fraction). In Australia I think @vicfazio3 had most observations and I remember globetrotters @sea-kangaroo and @silversea_starsong having many observations and identifications too. However at the time I thought I'd never become one finatic.

Changing circumstances however meant I started travelling more and I began photographing stuff almost every day. Previously I would be very targeted - I'd spend half a day chasing dragonflies and photographing nothing else. I now started photographing everything I could vaguely identify or that was interesting. Although typically I only make one observation of a species on a trip/walk (as I still do) - maybe sometimes I will make a few extra observations on longer trips. This meant I started accumulating records and once I was mentally programmed to photographing things in passing it was easy to average 100 observations per day.

For a few months since travel restrictions were imposed I didn't think I'd make 100,000 records by now but I still have some older images not submitted anywhere. I don't want to duplicate records so this is complicated by be submitting some records to other systems that reached Australia's national aggregator ALA (that includes many sources including museum specimens). When I'm away from home I take photos all day and evening until I go to bed (there isn't anything else to do). What I've also been doing this spring is spotlighting in my garden like I do when I'm out in the bush - its amazing how much minuscule life is out there (I don't live in a very urban area).

Of course 100,000 is an insignificant number of itself, it just looks aesthetic with out base-10 numbering system but it doesn't really mean much more than 99,000. However the next such aesthetic milestone of one million records is not within reach of me in my lifetime even if I continue to submit 30,000 records per year so at least I will save myself another blog post. :)

Thanks to all the great people who have lead the way and continue to help me and others understand what is around. I will mention a few people off the top of my head now but I hope everyone else isn't offended if I left them out. Identifying machines like @johnascher, who corrects all my many bee misidentifications (and of course globally). @borisb for all his beetle input, even reading up old literature to work out poorly known species from the other side of the world. Similarly @tony_d for his work on Australian flies and @matthew_connors has done a lot of researching numerous invertebrate groups. Also thanks to @wongun for bug assistance and @susanna_h for wasps.

My biggest problem is I know enough to know how little I know. 😀 See you all around online.

Posted on 04 October, 2020 02:16 by reiner reiner


Congratulations! 100,000 sightings is an enormous number and you definitely deserve to have a bit of a celebration. I feel like I'd be lucky if I've helped to identify 1% of them :P

Posted by matthew_connors over 3 years ago

Yeah congrats Reiner! It is always a pleasure going through your recent observations as you travel about the place.

Posted by possumpete over 3 years ago

An awesome achievement; don't neglect to mention your 70,000 IDs for others too :D

Posted by thebeachcomber over 3 years ago

Wow! Incredible work Reiner. Useful sightings and a lot of novel ones too!

Posted by tony_d over 3 years ago

Wow! Huge achievement, congratulations! Thanks for identifying some of my submissions; knowing what they are, certainly makes it addictive! My mind boggles at how you catalogue your images.

Posted by dlync over 3 years ago

Your observations especially recently have been very inspirational to me, because I lived in the same part of Australia a while ago, back in a time where I wasn't super attentive, and like you, I only went out in search of specific targets, rather than enjoying all that was around me. Seeing what you have been finding in sites I almost entirely overlooked, or those I even did frequent but didn't stop to appreciate more than birds or flashy plants, has been very enjoyable!

This helped me realize how much further I've gone in only a few years -- back then 50k was a lot, and I'm past that without realizing it now. Hope to see more from you, and congrats on the milestone!

Posted by silversea_starsong over 3 years ago

I am very impressed, Reiner. You are a great inspiration.

Posted by johntann99 over 3 years ago

Congratulations, well done indeed! It is people such as yourself who do the little-recognised but incredibly important work of monitoring what is still out there. How else can we ever know if some obscure tiny beetle, discovered and (hopefully) described say a hundred years ago or even 20 years ago, is still extant in what little is left of the wild? In recent decades right-wing and some left-wing governments in Australia have been deliberately gutting and defunding the necessary pure research that was formerly undertaken by our museums and the CSIRO, the Australian National Insect Collection staff especially. Why? because pure science threatens the clearing of land, the building of a vast new dam, the logging of an old-growth forest, the obliteration of bush for a housing development - 'hey those pesky scientists might discover some new bug or frog stopping us from bulldozing out of existence that scrub (read: species-rich habitat), or flooding it, or logging it', and so forth. So please keep at it, especially the small, the obscure, the invertebrates, the plants the reptiles, that have no chance of defending themselves against the never-ending human onslaught devastating all that is precious on this the one and only planet any of them, and us, can ever live on. Allen Michael Sundholm OAM (entom2), Sydney, Australia.

Posted by entom2 about 2 years ago

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