Just a quick reminder that the Official Wild Pollinator Count is still on hiatus! We’re busy with family commitments and we are taking some time to collate and analyse the seven years of data we collected during our official counts. All updates on the project, including when it’s time to count again, will be posted here on our website in due course.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the spring 2021 Wild Pollinator Count. It was the biggest response we’ve had to date, with over 3,500 count submissions. The weather was challenging in many parts of Australia during the count week in mid-November. We are grateful to everyone who undertook a count (or several) and to those who wanted to, but weather conditions thwarted their plans.
In all, those 3,500 submissions included 43,600 insects counted in our target categories! We received more than 3,300 photos via email and our online form, more than 170 records were added to our iNaturalist project and many more of you shared images via social media. Thank you!
It was fantastic to receive submissions from right around Australia again in this round. The map below indicates each of the postcodes from which one or more submissions were received. The 883 unique postcodes include all states and territories.
Here’s the summary of observations from the spring count, in the target categories:
BEES – European honey bees
BEES – Blue-banded bees
BEES – Other bees
BEETLES – Ladybird beetles
BEETLES – Other beetles
BUTTERFLIES and MOTHS
FLIES – Hover flies
FLIES – Other flies
WASPS – European wasps
WASPS – Other wasps
Table: Summary of 2021 Wild Pollinator Count spring count submissions
An additional 3,173 observations were noted as ‘other’ and ‘unsure’ visitors seen during counts.
It has taken some time to work through the submissions. We’ve replied to most requests for assistance with identification and apologise to those we didn’t. Please be assured that if you submitted photos, we have used them to confirm or adjust your submission.
You can admire some of the terrific participant photos in this gallery, which include many of the commonly seen insects this round. You can also view the photos added to our iNaturalist project.
We are grateful to those who provided additional details or photos as part of their submissions (which are optional, but always appreciated). Our count categories are intentionally broad, so that using our identifications tips, you can be confident classifying what you see. We appreciate that many participants have knowledge beyond those categories and shared more specific breakdowns of species seen or other notes.
We acknowledge and thank CERES Environment Park in Melbourne for their promotion of this round of the count. Submissions via their cross-promotion made up more than two-thirds of all submissions received this count!
Thanks to everyone who promoted the count through their networks, on social media or by running a count event. We love that schools and students, gardening and land stewardship groups, scouts and workplaces join the count. It’s heartening to know there are so many people willing to get to know and contribute observations of these important insects.
As previously announced, we do not have any counts scheduled in 2022. We will be analysing and publishing the data from the counts to date, and reviewing the project, with the aim of making it even better.
We appreciate your feedback and suggestions for the count. We’re thrilled to have had your support and interest in the count, and your help in raising awareness towards the conservation of wild pollinator insects.
We look forward to letting you know what comes next, so please stay tuned.
Thank you for joining in the spring Wild Pollinator Count! As usual, the submission form will stay open until November 28, to give you time to get your counts in – but remember we can only accept counts that were conducted during the count week 14-21 November.
This is our last coordinated count for a while, as we take some time to analyse the data we have all collected so far, and to focus on other commitments. We’ve really appreciated your support over the last few years as we’ve grown from a small local count in Albury NSW in spring 2014, to Australia’s only nationwide citizen science project collecting plant-pollinator interaction data! We’re so happy that so many people got excited about wild pollinators through out counts, and we’re excited to take some time to analyse the data so far and see what it can tell us about wild pollinators in Australia. Stay tuned for the results.
We will not be faciliating coordinated counts or accepting data submissions, but we hope that you remain just as excited about wild pollinators as we are! Happy pollinator spotting whereever you go!
It will help you test your own identification skills (you will be provided with the answers at the end), and get you into practice for the upcoming spring count! Don’t forget to also check out our resources, including Identification Tips and Our Guide to Pollinator Insects.
It will also help us as a verification tool to assess the Wild Pollinator Count observation data you have all contributed to over the years. We are in the process of analysing the existing database of observations with the aim to publish the results in a peer reviewed journal and make the anonymised data publicly available for scientific research purposes. The survey will be important to help us provide some statistical verification for the data we analyse.
Some related news
After the November count, we will be taking a short break for a few reasons. As we’ve mentioned before, the Wild Pollinator Count is a volunteer-run unfunded project and we need a short break to focus on other work and family commitments for the immediate future.
We also need some time to analyse the data we have collected so far and contribute this valuable knowledge to the scientific community. The Wild Pollinator Count is Australia’s first and only national citizen science program focused on documenting plant-pollinator interactions, and we’re so grateful to have shared the experience of collecting this valuable data with so many of you.
But we will be back! We have lots of plans for the future, watch this space! In the meantime, please do keep watching out for wild pollinators, wherever you are.
Spring Wild Pollinator Count starts now, Sunday 10 November.
You can do as many 10-minute counts as you want, anywhere in Australia, until Sunday 17 November 2019. Submit your observations via our submission form. We will keep the form open for the following week to allow everyone time to get their submissions in.
Enjoy some time out with nature this week and be surprised at what you find!
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
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.
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
If you’re an enthusiast who loves identifying bees, a professional working with bees, or have newly discovered the wonderful world of native bees, you’re invited to answer the survey about how you rate your bee identification skills and what information you currently use to identify bees. Toby will use results to develop more accessible bee identification materials.
We are contributing to research on biodiversity citizen science projects, run by colleagues in Germany. If you have ever participated in one of Wild Pollinator Counts, please consider answering this short survey about your experiences. We will share results here when they become available.
Dear Wild Pollinator Counters,
We would like to invite you to participate in an online survey by Kiel University (Germany) on the personal experiences of citizen science participants – that means YOUR experiences.
Your answers will help researchers to better understand what participants get out of their involvement in citizen science projects. This will help researchers to develop projects in such a way that they are better tailored to the needs of their participants.
The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.
Projects that involve volunteers in scientific research go by many different names. In this survey, the term ‘citizen science’ is used.
It’s almost time to count pollinators again! The autumn 2019 Wild Pollinator Count is on from 14-21 April 2019. The rules haven’t changed – take a 10 minute break any time during the count week to watch some flowers and record what you see. You can submit an observation from anywhere in Australia.
After the hottest summer on record, it’s still pretty hot and dry in many places. This might be good weather for cold-sensitive pollinators, but it also means there may not be much flowering in your part of the country. Remember, we don’t care if the flower you watch is a native species or a weed, as long as you can tell us what it is (common name is fine). If you’re not sure of the plant but still want to submit the observation, you can describe it in the notes, or email a photo so we can try and validate it when we summarise the data.
We can only take observations that happened during the count week (14-21 April). But if you don’t get to a computer that often, we will leave the submission form open after the 21st to give everyone time to submit observations. Results will be posted here on the blog in early May.
This April is also our 10th count! We started off in November 2014, with only 33 observations submitted. And we’ve been overwhelmed with how quickly people have jumped onboard for wild pollinator conservation – our most recent count in November 2018 had over 600 observations. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years, whether once or many times!
If you’re new to Wild Pollinator Count, we are an independent non-profit citizen science project run voluntarily. Our main objectives are to raise awareness about native pollinators and insect conservation. Your observations are contributing to long-term data on plant-pollinator interactions around Australia and we really appreciate you taking time to contribute! We hope you enjoy spending time with nature and learning more about the little animals that we overlook every day!
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. Continue reading “Springtime pollinators”→