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.

Bonney Reserve (Coorong)

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.

Sandy Creek Conservation Park

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.

Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park

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.