Thank you for counting!

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!

Hoverfly by Kay Muddiman

How good is your wild pollinator ID?

Spring has sprung and the November Wild Pollinator Count is almost upon us! You can join in any time between 14-21 November.

If you have done a Wild Pollinator Count in the past, we would love it if you could complete this simple anonymous survey testing your identification skills relative to our standard count categories.

Click here to do the survey.

Why do the survey?

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.

Lesser Wanderer butterflies, Danaus petilia, by Philippa Gillett

Spring 2019: time to count

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!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Native Bee identification survey

Are you interested in Australian native bees? How do you rate your bee identification skills?

Dr Toby Smith is a native bee expert who runs Bee Aware Brisbane and is a long-time friend of Wild Pollinator Count. He is keen to understand more about native bee identification skills and has made this survey that is open to anyone.

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.

You can find the survey here. It will remain open until November 18 2019.

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Survey: Citizen Science Research

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.

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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.

This is the link to the survey:
http://www.umfragen.uni-kiel.de/index.php/712751?lang=en

Enjoy completing the questionnaire!

***You must be 18 years or older to participate in this survey.***

Hylaeus bee by Emma Croker
Picture: Emma Croker

Autumn Wild Pollinator Count: our 10th count anniversary!

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!

Check out How to Count and the Resources page for more information and identification tips, as well as the Frequently Asked Questions. And don’t forget our official social media hashtag is #OzPollinators!

If you’re curious about how Wild Pollinator Count started, you can read more here.

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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. Continue reading “Springtime pollinators”

The next Wild Pollinator Count is on soon. What’s it all about?

Spring has well and truly arrived! Have you seen any of the new season’s wild pollinators in your local patch yet?

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We’re only two months away from the next National Pollinator Count – it runs from 13-20 November 2016. If you’ve missed the first few and are wondering what this event is all about, here’s a brief recap:

What’s it all about? The national Wild Pollinator Count started in November 2014. We started the count to raise awareness about Australia’s thousands of wild insect pollinators…not just our gorgeous native bees, but all the flies, butterflies, wasps, moths, and beetles that are so often overlooked. (There are plenty of birds, mammals and reptiles that also pollinate, but we just focus on insects). Many of these insects aren’t just full-time pollinators – they are also important to ecosystems in other ways, for example by providing natural pest control services. The count runs biannually, in the second full week of April (autumn) & November (spring), every year. We hope that participants will join in regularly, as this will give them the opportunity to keep track of seasonal patterns of wild pollinators and flowers in their local area.

Is this a citizen science project? There are many different definitions of a citizen science project. We think any project that encourages non-scientists to engage with scientific methods on a regular basis is a citizen science project. Our count protocol is based on standard scientific methods that pollination ecologists around the world use to collect data on pollinator insects. Having a standard counting method, which can be conducted at multiple locations within a set period of time, enhances the quality of our data. Continue reading “The next Wild Pollinator Count is on soon. What’s it all about?”

Searching for wild pollinators in winter

My partner and I do an Albury to south east Queensland road trip every year to visit my family. This year we holidayed during winter, which made the trip even more enjoyable. We left home just before a particularly cold Antarctic blast blew through town. But I wasn’t just looking forward to escaping the weather and catching up with friends. It had been a while since I’d seen any wild pollinators around Albury, so I was keen to spot some on our travels north. Continue reading “Searching for wild pollinators in winter”