Nearly time for Spring 2019 Wild Pollinator Count

Our spring Wild Pollinator Count starts this Sunday November 10 and runs until the following Sunday 17 November.

Remember, your 10 minute count must be done during the count week, but the submission form will remain open the following week for you to get all your observations submitted. And you can do as many counts as you want during the count week!

We’re currently in the worst drought on record here in the New England region (and much of eastern Australia). The spring flowers in my garden are mostly dandelions. But there are still quite a few wild pollinators around if I look hard, including lots of beeflies, hylaeine bees, caper white butterflies, and some cute colletid bees I found roosting on our dying cherry tree. Fingers crossed for rain soon! Continue reading “Nearly time for Spring 2019 Wild Pollinator Count”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

————————————————

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

Spring 2018: Results are in!

Thank you to everyone who submitted observations to Wild Pollinator Count for Spring 2018.

We broke all our count records! Just over 600 observations of more than 6700 insects were submitted to Wild Pollinator Count from 182 unique locations. We covered all states and territories, except the Northern Territory. Continue reading “Spring 2018: Results are in!”

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

 

 

Do you have common ivy in your garden?

Have you seen a patch of mature common ivy (Hedera helix) flowering near you? Do you have a couple of minutes each week to film what insects are visiting the ivy flowers?

P1070063
A native potter wasp on ivy flowers.

A new international collaborative research project is looking at what insects visit ivy flowers in its native (UK) and introduced range. Ivy flowers in autumn, so it is an important pollen source for many pollinator insects as the winter months approach. In its introduced range where the plant has become invasive, information on its pollinators could help develop effective control methods.

The citizen science project is led by Fergus Chadwick (Trinity College, Dublin) and Professor Jeff Ollerton (University of Northampton). Dr Manu Saunders and Amy-Marie Gilpin (both University of New England) will be managing the Australian arm of the project.

The project needs citizen scientists to contribute weekly videos of insects visiting their local ivy patch!

Citizen Science Project Monitoring the Pollinators of Ivy

You can use any technology you like, even a smartphone. You just have to film at the same spot once a week during the flowering season and upload your video via the project’s Facebook page with some information about the location. Please make sure to read all the details in manual linked to below before getting started – it’s important that everyone’s contributions are filmed in the same way so we can compare data. We prefer videos to be uploaded on the Facebook page; however, if you are not a FB user and still want to contribute, you can email us your video and data to ivypollinatorsaustralia@gmail.com.

Ivy has already started flowering in some parts of Australia, so you may have missed the first few weeks! But please join in anyway – the project will continue again next year and you will have the opportunity to contribute to the full season then.

Note: Ivy is an introduced species and can be invasive in many parts of Australia. Therefore, we are not promoting planting of new ivy plants. This project is based on observations of established ivy plants.

If you are not sure whether you have found Hedera helix, visit this page for some photos and ID tips.

If you would like to get involved, please visit the project’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/PollinatorsofIvyMonitoringProjectAustralia/. You can find details on the project and how you can get involved in this document. Or you can email the project team at ivypollinatorsaustralia@gmail.com.

And don’t forget the National Wild Pollinator Count is on again soon, at its usual time. You can join in by counting pollinators on any flowering plants (not just ivy!) between 9-16 April.

 

Wild Pollinator Count Starts!

Wild Pollinator Count starts this weekend, on Sunday November 13. You can do a pollinator count in your backyard or local park any time until next Sunday November 20. All you need is a spare 10 minutes to watch a flower!

All the instructions you need to do the count are here. And you can find some answers to some of our frequently asked questions here. You can submit your observations via the online form here. Also check out our helpful resources and links on these pages.

The submission form will remain open until November 27, but only observations conducted during the count week (13-20 November) can be accepted.

Happy Counting!

p1090670

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”

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!