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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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!