Springtime pollinators

The spring Wild Pollinator Count is on again from 12-19 November 2017. All you need to do is watch a flower for 10 minutes on any warm, sunny day during that week and submit your observations via our website. You can find the simple instructions here. And don’t forget you can use our official social media hashtag #ozpollinators to share interesting pollinator sightings and information about Australia’s wild pollinators all year round.

The pattern of seasons this year has been unpredictable, to say the least. It was the hottest winter on record for Australia, so you may have seen some pollinators out and about during the winter months, even in cooler temperate regions. Bees are lot less tolerant of cold than flies, so it’s always interesting to note if you see any native bees flying on winter days.

On the northern tablelands of New South Wales, one of the cooler regions in Australia, I found three species of native bee enjoying the flowers on a grand old yellow box, just a day after the winter solstice.

Hoverflies have been abundant this year, enjoying the plentiful supply of flowers.

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Common hoverfly on Styphelia perileuca, Cathedral Rock NP NSW.

My first spring native bee sighting for our backyard was a tiny Homalictus urbanus, one of Australia’s smallest bees, on a patch of rock daisies. As I waited for a good photo opportunity, I noticed the bee would disappear into the ground under the daisy bush for a few minutes before appearing again to collect more pollen. It must be nesting there, so I’ll keep an eye on it!

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We’re in a rental house and the owner is clearly not a gardener, so unfortunately there aren’t many flowers in our yard. A Photinia hedge along the back fence is a magnet for flies of all kinds, while the clover in the lawn gets plenty of honey bee visitors. I’ve seen a few different butterflies passing through without stopping. Luckily the neighbours all have amazing gardens with plenty of floral diversity!

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We’re also keen to get some feedback on what you like about Wild Pollinator Count, and what you think can be improved. If you haven’t already filled in our survey, please consider doing so – it will remain open until the spring count.

Happy wild pollinator counting!

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