Spring 2019 count results!

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Wild Pollinator Count for spring 2019. We’re thrilled to have received a record number of submissions from participants across Australia, despite challenging conditions in many places during the count week.

Below is a summary of the data from this round of the count. This information will be further analysed in conjunction with the previous ten count periods, as we seek to add to the knowledge of which insects are visiting which flowers from submissions received in each of our autumn and spring count periods.

In all, over 9,000 insects were reported in our target categories across the 736 submissions received (yes, new record)! Continue reading “Spring 2019 count results!”

More ways to share your insect observations with Wild Pollinator Count

The Wild Pollinator Count is on again this spring from 10 to 17 November across Australia.

We invite you to spend ten minutes watching a flowering plant and let us know the insects you see visiting, using our simple reporting categories. You can conduct one count or many during the week, on the same plant or different plants, in your garden or elsewhere. Simply enter your totals for each count via our online form. The spring count will be our 11th event collecting data about the insects observed across Australia during the two count periods each year. We hope you’ll join in!

Additional ways to contribute pollinator insect observations

If you’d like to take a step beyond our simple count methods, please also consider joining our Wild Pollinator Count project on iNaturalist.

We know the timing of our count periods doesn’t suit everyone, every insect nor every plant (but it does provide a point of comparison across the years and seasons!). Many participants in our counts take photos of the insects they see and are keen to have them identified. Participants often include additional details about their sightings and many have great identification knowledge. Through iNaturalist we’re offering additional ways to contribute your observations and knowledge, including outside our count periods.

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist a tool for submitting nature observations either via an app or website. You might think of it as a social network for nature spotters. You can submit records that others can see; seek confirmation or assistance with the identity of the species you saw; join projects and follow people, places or species!

There are many apps and platforms for sharing nature records. Some are for specific groups (like eBird and FrogID) while iNaturalist enables records of any wild organism, from animals to plants to fungi and more.

Why add my photo to the Wild Pollinator Count project on iNaturalist?

When adding your record to our project, you’ll be prompted to answer some additional questions about your observation, including the name of the plant you were observing and whether your observation was during a ten-minute survey in our count period. The project also makes it easier for our team to access photos (in one location rather than across emails and social media) and allows others on iNaturalist to contribute to the identifications. Records from iNaturalist that meet certain criteria are automatically shared to the Atlas of Living Australia – the national biodiversity database.

iNaturalist has lots of information and guides to help get you started. We’ve also added this page as a starting point for joining and using our Wild Pollinator Count iNaturalist project.

Should I still complete a ten-minute count during the Wild Pollinator Count week?

Yes, please! We’re using iNaturalist to extend the ways you can contribute observations of pollinator insects. We are still focused on comparing results for our nominated count weeks each spring and autumn and we’d love your help to do that.

The instructions for how to count, tips for identifying the insects you see into our count categories and submission form are all available on our website.

With two weeks until the official start of the spring Wild Pollinator Count, we hope you’ll join in – whether by completing a ten-minute count, by adding your sightings to our iNaturalist project, or perhaps both!

 

Comparison of ways to contribute to the Wild Pollinator Count

Table comparing Wild Pollinator Count 10 minute surveys and iNaturalist records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn 2019 results: our biggest count yet!

Big thanks to everyone who participated in our 10th Wild Pollinator Count in autumn. With 629 submissions from 266 localities, this was not only our biggest autumn count (previous record was 363) but it surpassed our all-time record as well (600 submissions from last spring).

See the locations from which submissions came on this interactive map. We’re delighted to note all states and territories are represented.

In total, 5,806 insects were recorded across our submission categories:

Number as %
Bees – European honey bees 3,283 56.5%
Bees – Blue-banded bees 274 4.7%
Bees – Other bees 865 14.9%
Beetles – Ladybird beetles 128 2.2%
Beetles – Other beetles 103 1.8%
Butterflies and moths 340 5.9%
Flies – Hover flies 199 3.4%
Flies – Other flies 468 8.1%
Wasps – European wasps 34 0.6%
Wasps – Other wasps 112 1.9%
Total 5,806

Insects reported

As well as recording more insects than previous rounds (thanks in part to the increase in observations submitted), this count included more honey bees as a percentage of sightings (57%) than previous autumn counts (for example, they were 46% of last autumn’s observations). Blue banded bee percentages were fairly similar this autumn (about 5%) to last (at 6%). However ‘other bees’ came in this year at about 15%, yet made up 27% a year ago. These are mostly, but not always, native bees. We again had some bumble bee records from Tasmania this round, and they fall in this same category. Continue reading “Autumn 2019 results: our biggest count yet!”

Autumn 2018 count begins

The autumn 2018 Wild Pollinator Count starts this weekend across Australia!

You can count pollinator insects on flowers at any time between the morning of Sunday April 8 and the evening of Sunday April 15. It only takes 10 minutes to complete a count. It could be at your home or in a park, reserve or elsewhere.

We know autumn can be a challenging time to find both flowers and insects, particularly in areas that are cool or dry. But that makes this season’s count all the more interesting – often the insects seen are quite different to those from our spring counts! Don’t forget that if you complete a count without seeing any insects we’d still like to know about it as an observation, so please do complete a submission.

As usual, the submission form will remain open for a week after the count period, in case you find it easier to count first and submit your data later. You’re welcome to complete just one count, or many!

Please follow the instructions on our How to Count page and submit your observations here. If you need help identifying the types of insects you are seeing, please have a look at our resources pages for our ID tips sheet and printable guide to pollinator insects. Rest assured it’s not necessary to be able to identify insects to species to join in; we make it way easier than that! And we’ve even noted some Wild Pollinator Count FAQ.

We invite you to share your pollinator count photos and experiences on social media. Our official hashtag is #OzPollinators, please feel free to use it, so we can see your content and share it, too!

Happy counting!

cuckoo

 

 

Seeking your feedback for the Wild Pollinator Count

We’re keen to improve the Wild Pollinator Count by better understanding participants’ experiences and preferences.

Please let us know your thoughts by completing our short online survey.

It should take less than five minutes to complete.

The survey will remain open until our spring count period (12th to 19th of November 2017).

Thanks!

Media Release: Spring 2016 Wild Pollinator Count

wpc-nov16-releaseThe fifth national Wild Pollinator Count runs from 13-20 November and the count organisers anticipate more than 400 observations will be submitted from around Australia.

The Wild Pollinator Count is a national citizen science project that provides an opportunity to step outside and enjoy spring in your backyard, while also contributing to science. The project encourages people to record local pollinators by watching a flower for 10 minutes during the count week and recording what insects land on the flower during that time. Continue reading “Media Release: Spring 2016 Wild Pollinator Count”

Final weekend for autumn 2016 count

The autumn Wild Pollinator Count continues until Sunday 17th April, so there’s still time to join in or have another go!

Thanks to those who have already completed a count (or a few!) and submitted your results. You still have time to count until Sunday evening, and you have until next weekend to submit your observations via our website.

Image of butterfly, moth, native bee and fly
More than just bees … some pollinator insect images submitted during the count by Laurie M, Erica Siegel, Vivien Naimo and Karen Retra.

Some contributors to this season’s count have noted that there are fewer flowers in bloom and less pollinator insects than are usually seen in spring and summer. This is to be expected in autumn, as many insects decrease in numbers and some disappear altogether as the weather cools. Why don’t pollinators like cooler weather? Click here to read our blog post on this.

We’re enjoying some wonderful photos that are also being shared as part of the count. You can view some of them here and we’ll continue to add to them as they come in. Remember that you don’t have to take photos to participate in the count, but we’d love to see them if you do.

Have a great weekend and happy counting!

Get set – the autumn Wild Pollinator Count starts this Sunday

Wild Pollinator Count flyer image, April 2016The next round of the Wild Pollinator Count is nearly here. Help us to build a picture of the pollinator insects that are active in your area at this time of year by doing your own count between Sunday April 10th and Sunday April 17th.

While you don’t need any fancy equipment or special skills to participate in the Wild Pollinator Count, you might like to plan ahead so you’re all set to go.

All it takes is to spend 10 minutes watching a flowering plant of your choice, take note of the potential insect pollinators you see and let us know by reporting your results on our website. We’ve got resources to help you, including how to count instructions, a printable tally sheet, pollinator insect identification tips, guide to common pollinator insects, frequently asked questions and more.

With the seasonal differences compared to November (our other count period), you can expect to find different flowers in bloom and perhaps different species or numbers of pollinator insects.

Where will you count?

The project is designed to allow participants to count as close to home as possible. So your garden or a flowering plant in the neighbourhood are great places to start. If you have a favourite bushland or park, you might like to count there. Across Australia the range of plants flowering in the count week will vary, so pick a spot where you can find flowers to watch. If a plant you watched in November is flowering, you might like to count again on it to see if the pollinator insects visiting are similar or different.

Remember, we’re keen to know which plant you observed for the count, and whether it’s a native or exotic. If you aren’t sure of the plant name, you might try to find out or you could share a photo with your count. If you would like to observe a number of plants, please try to do each plant as a separate count. This way, we see which plants and pollinators are associated, rather than a more general picture of the pollinators across a garden or landscape.

When will you count?

Image of counting with clipboard and coffee in a garden
Thea O’Loughlin tweeted the “cuppa and count” approach last November. Thanks @TerraThea

Many pollinator insects are only active when it’s warm (over 15° C), so we recommend trying to count on a sunny day. If the weather is cooler or overcast for your count, you might see mainly flies, European honey bees or European wasps. They tend to be more cold-tolerant than native bees, wasps or other flying insects. If the forecast isn’t great in your area on days you have time to spare, you might like to try to do a count in a lunch or tea break to take advantage of better conditions. If you’d like you can also note the weather in your observation notes (but you don’t have to).

Tell your friends and keep in touch

Don’t forget you can keep up with all the news from the count by subscribing to our email news, following our website or via the #OzPollinators hashtag on social media (we tweet but the hashtag works for public posts on facebook and instagram too!). During the count you can upload photos to our flickr group or post to our project on Bowerbird.org.au.

Join the fun by adding your comments or photos during the count, or even as you plan for the week … the more the merrier!

Wild Pollinator Count Photo Competition

We are excited to announce our new photo competition! Click through to find details here. There are lots of prize categories, including one for those frustrating ‘Near Misses’ we have all had.

UPDATE: The competition is open to anyone. However, some categories will only be open to people in the sponsorship area in the southern New South Wales S2S region (see event page for details). But we hope to make the national comp a permanent fixture for future counts!

If you don’t want to enter the competition, we would still love you to send us your photos so we can add them to our Photo Gallery.

Photo competition flyer

Macro photography workshop

Macro Photography Flyer
Click to view as a PDF

New Eyes on Nature: Introduction to Environmental & Macro Photography Workshop

Interested in photographing natural environments and their extraordinary creatures?
Keen to improve your macro photography skills to help with insect identification?

As part of this year’s Slopes to Summit Bioblitz and Wild Pollinator Count events we’re hosting a practical macro photography workshop with fungi expert and nature photographer Alison Pouliot.

Whether you have a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera, this introductory workshop can get you started with macro photography, and will also be of interest to those seeking to improve their existing macro photography skills. Continue reading “Macro photography workshop”