We’ve successfully proved that the Wild Pollinator Count is not a one hit wonder! Thank you to everyone who took part in the second count. The number of observations we collected was 59, almost double the number from the first count last spring. And our geographical range expanded dramatically too, with observations submitted from 25 locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
An equal number of exotic (29) and native (30) flowering plants were chosen by observers, with an interesting array of plants proving attractive to wild pollinators. A huge 891 wild pollinator visits were counted during the observation week! This is probably a little higher than the number of individual insects, as it’s possible that many individuals were counted more than once on some of the busier floral smorgasbords.
Honey bees were the most common visitors, followed by native bees (including the distinctive blue banded bees) and butterflies and moths. Most insects were counted more often on native flowers than exotic flowers, but, interestingly, native bees were seen more often on exotic flowers than natives.
Karen’s observation week: Again the count week provided a wonderful ‘excuse’ to pay more attention to both flowering plants and their visitors than we often do in everyday life. On social media, and in the group counts I went along to in Corowa NSW, many participants expressed surprise and joy at the unexpected sightings and interactions they noticed while counting pollinators.
For me, a surprise was the diversity of visitors to large red bottlebrush flowers. I expected to see European honey bees, ants and wasps but was thrilled to see several species of native bee, beetles, flies and bugs too. Several other submissions from other locations noted the diversity of pollinators on bottlebrush flowers too.
What was the weather like during the observation week in your area? In our area (Albury, NSW), the first few days of the count were glorious for pollinator counting, with fine sunny days and maximum temps in the mid-20s. Halfway through the week a typical autumn front came through, with cooler temps and lots of showers. And the week finished with a couple of days of solid rain – not ideal for pollinator activity!
This is the benefit of running the count twice a year. After a few counts, regular contributors should start to see patterns in pollinator activity related to the autumnal weather changes compared to the height of activity in late spring. These changes should be more pronounced in southern parts of Australia, compared to warmer northern regions.
Big thanks to all who participated in the count. Below are some of the pictures you shared with us. We look forward to seeing your observations in November. In the meantime, keep an eye on what’s happening on the flowers in your garden!