GSB2021 Wrap-up & CNC2022 Plans

Back in October 2021 I detailed my BioBlitz history and set a few goals for the 2021 Great Southern BioBlitz. With the 2022 City Nature Challenge almost here, it’s certainly time for me to wrap-up my GSB2021 with a summary of activities, finally get around to filing the photos, and decide on my CNC2022 plans.



I’ve previously taken part in the City Nature Challenge 2020 with 1172 observations of 374 species, the Great Southern BioBlitz 2020 with 1440 observations of 465 species, and the City Nature Challenge 2021 with 1403 observations of 432 species.

Great Southern Bioblitz 2021

The was my second attempt at the 4-day BioBlitz during Spring. I had set myself the goals of recording 1,500 observations covering 500 species, including at least 50 new species for my iNaturalist Life List. To find 50 new species I’d need to travel further afield, away from my usual hunting grounds, seeking the flora and fauna of semi-arid and coastal habitats. Finding 500 species would require visiting many different locations and attempting to get photos of Invertebrates of sufficient quality for species or Genus level ID. Recording 1,500 observations is mostly a matter of motivation.



Over the 4 days I visited 13 locations ranging from Sandy Creek CP (East of Gawler) to the Riverglades Wetlands along the Murry River, Bonney Reserve along the Coorong, and Newland Head CP on the Fleurieu Peninsula southern coast. I recorded 1,278 observations covering 470 species (using the ‘leaf count’ method’), with 385 of those identified all the way to species. While I fell short of the goals for observations and species, I nevertheless recorded more species than I have in any past BioBlitz. This is likely due to the wide range of habitats visited. Additionally, I added 53 new species to my iNaturalist Life List. Not a bad haul for 4 days in the field.



Unsurprisingly Plants, which are so numerous and cannot flee, featured heavily (253 species) in the most observed list. The Flat-leaf Grass-tree (Xanthorrhoea semiplana) took out the top spot with 21 observations from all across Greater Adelaide including Sandy Creek CP, Onkaparinga River NP, Cox Scrub CP and Newland Head CP.

Coming in 4th place with 18 observations was the invasive weed Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides). Showing the extent of the weed problem this was found in Sandy Creek CP, Newland Head CP, Bonney Reserve (Coorong) and Mowantjie Willauwar CP (along the Murray River).

Interesting Plants finds include Prickly Wax-flower (Philotheca pungens) and Coast Speedwel (Veronica hillebrandii) at Newland Head CP, and a Tea-tree Mistletoe (Amyema melaleucae) at Bonney Reserve along the Coorong.



69 Bird species were recorded with the most observed being the common Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) with 9 records from 7 location. Several interesting species were found visiting a shallow pool on the fire track in Cox Scrub Conservation Park, including a Beautiful Firetail (Stagonopleura bella), several Elegant Parrots (Neophema elegans), and Yellow-rumped Thornbills (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa).



The most observed Invertebrate was the Apple Looper Moth (Phrissogonus laticostata), primarily because it was recorded visiting the UV light on each night. Fewer Insects were recorded than I would have preferred with 223 observations of 102 species. Interesting finds include the 2nd, 3rd and 4th observations on iNat of the Jewel Beetle Castiarina malleeana in Sandy Creek CP, a Three Spot Skipper (Motasingha trimaculata) at Bonney Reserve, a Brachyponera lutea Ant in Mowantjie Willauwar CP, and a Praxibulus sp. Grasshopper at the Bee Hub at Brownhill Creek.



Thanks to some country driving the Shingleback Lizard (Tiliqua rugosa) was recorded 5 times.

Observations on my property over the four days totalled 146 records of 81 species, with approximately 2/3 of these attracted to the UV light after dark, including 38 Moth species.

A few more of my favourite observations from the BioBlitz are shown below.



City Nature Challenge 2022

The CNC2022 starts in a couple of days. This BioBlitz only covers Greater Adelaide so the range is a little more restricted than the GSB Event, however there are still many different habitats from which to choose.

Given the 1,900 or so species I’ve already recorded on iNaturalist, it may be a stretch to aim for 50 more in 4 days during Autumn, especially since the weather is going to be cool and wet, keeping the Insects grounded. My CNC2021 record of 1403 observations of 432 species is probably safe.

So my focus this time will be ‘familiar places, new trails’. I’ll be sticking relatively close to home visiting some familiar places but heading down trails I’ve not been down before, or at least along which I’ve not made many observations. I’ll also visit some core locations that always net me a stack of common species. A majority of the locations will be woodlands, with a few wetlands. I’ll miss out on mallee species and wading Birds, but I’ll pick up one beach in an attempt to add a stack of Mollusc species.

Over the years of using iNaturalist I’ve discovered that the least enjoyable excursion is the one where I set out to find a specific uncommon species and inevitably come home empty handed. The most enjoyable are those random excursions, often through habitats I have considered not worth searching, in which I chance upon something completely unexpected. Given the number of species present even in degraded environments, it shouldn’t be surprising that I encounter something uncommon and unexpected on every outing.

Good luck to anyone participating in the City Nature Challenge this year. Whether you’re heading out on all 4 days or just spending some time discovering the species in your own backyard, all will contribute valuable biodiversity records to the Atlas of Living Australia.



SA iNaturalists – March 2022

This March saw 7,670 observations covering 1,914 species from a total of 488 observers. There were 106 species receiving their first iNat record in SA. This month there were 67 new observers contributing their first observations in SA. Upon this months observations, 544 identifiers contributed a total of 13,326 identifications.

The number of observers in SA has exceeded 485 each month for the last 7 months, peaking during the Great Southern Bioblitz 2021 with 591 observers during the month. During this March there were an average of 52 people recording observations on any given day, peaking at 79 observers on the 13th. The highest number of observations in one day was 503 records on the 19th.



Uploads for SA at the end of March stand at 307,505 observations of 8,822 species from 4,344 observers with, as of today, 4,957 identifiers providing 561,989 identifications.

The City Nature Challenge will be running this year from Friday 29th April through Monday 2nd May. Join the Greater Adelaide project. Observations can be made anywhere in the Greater Adelaide region. If you are looking for somewhere to visit, check out this shortlist of biodiverse locations in Greater Adelaide.

Featured Observations from March
A Southern Blue Devil (Paraplesiops meleagris) by @environ.
A Australasian Osprey (Pandion haliaetus ssp. cristatus) by @sandy_horne.
A Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) by @anthonypaul.
A Wolf Spider Hoggicosa bicolor by @rhytiphora.
A Desert Banded Snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) by @jbilby.
(These are taken from observation during the month with at least one ‘favourite’. If you see an interesting observation from SA, remember to favourite it, and it might appear here at the end of the month).

Featured Project
The Belair National Park Project has recently surpassed 10,000 observations and sits as the park with the highest number of observations, species and observers in SA. With 1,220 species recorded in the park from 272 observers, the park has something to discover no matter your interest.

Do you have a particular expertise and are keen to help out with identifications in SA? Select your favourite taxa below to head to the Identify page:
Aves / Amphibia / Reptilia / Mammalia / Ray-Finned Fishes / Mollusca / Arachnida / Insecta / Plantae / Fungi / Protozoa / Unknowns








(Data used for this post taken on the 11th of April. It excludes any observations and identifications from March that were uploaded after this date)


Backyard Biodiversity: 600+ Species

Background

As of October 2020 just over 400 species had been recorded on this suburban property. As of the end of April 2021 this has risen to 500 species. As of March 2022, this has now risen to 604 species from 3,409 observations!

New Additions

Below are just a few of the 100 new species. Given that many are small Insects that are difficult or even impossible to identify down to species from photos alone, some of these new additions simply represent the first of a Genus recorded on the property, and occasionally the first of a Family. The easiest method for locating new species is still by using a UV light and sheet, as such most of the new species are represented by those nocturnal species attracted to the UV light.

24 new Moth species, including:











19 new Beetle species, including:







7 new Fly species, including:





6 new True Bugs species, including:





4 new Spider species, including:



General Update

Given that 2/3 of all species recorded to date have been those species attracted to the UV light after sunset, future focus needs to be directed toward other avenues to find additional species. There’s still significant scope for finding additional species during the daytime, particularly at warmer times of the day, as indicated by finding more than a dozen Lasioglossum Bees visiting heavily flowering Fire Daisies (Ixodia achillaeoides) during the mid-afternoon.

Plant/Animal associations continue to be recorded and tagged on iNaturalist, although this approach requires more attention. To date 8 species have been recorded in association with the Rhagodia candolleana, and 10 species with the Eremophila glabra ssp. Carnosa. Animal/Object associations are also recorded with a single Bird bath currently utilised by 19 species.

The 13 year old Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) has been replaced with with a seedling grown from one of its own seeds. The remaining trunk drilled as Bee nesting sites, facing North-East, at varying heights with varying diameters. These will be monitored for utilisation. During drilling a tiny parasitic wasp (2mm, black with orange on abdomen) visited several holes. The aim being to identify further local Bee and parasitic Wasp species (hopefully a Gasteruption sp).



Seasonal Plans

Over the cool season:

  • The shade house area has been kept damp throughout Summer with daily misting with the intent of aiding establishment of Mosses and Liverworts. The area will be monitored for new species.
  • Establish sand/clay nesting site for Blue Banded Bees.
  • Install multiple drilled hardwood sites for timber nesting bees, with varying heights, hole sizes & patterns.
  • Experimental wet sand/clay soil tray to function as water for Insects and mud source for Potter and Mason Wasps.


Still “Needs ID”
The current number species observed may in fact be higher, with many invertebrates having been only identified to Family or Genus, with some stuck at Order. If you have any expertise in the following areas, your assistance with IDs in the following groups would be appreciated. Many of the observations have macro-level photos from multiple angles.

Needs ID:
Moths
Spiders
Plants
Ants
Flies
Beetles
Wasps
Bugs
Everything Else