The Great Southern Bio-Blitz

NS Branch Saturday, 26 Sept 2020

As it was our first attempt at a bio-blitz, the event must be considered a success with 56 people, including quite a few children, signing in. I know a few who attended forgot to sign, so the total was probably nearer 60.

The Great Southern Bio-Blitz is a competition between cities or local government areas (LGA) throughout the southern hemisphere to see who can record the greatest number of species. However, everyone is a winner because it provides a snapshot of an area’s biodiversity.

This year 155 cities/LGAs signed up to compete over a four day period, 25-28 September. As we were not sufficiently organised to run the blitz over the nominated period, our 12 hour mini-blitz was treated as an “event” rather than an entry in the competition.

Also, as we were not ready to survey a whole LGA, we limited our area to approximately 6 square kilometres in the City of Stirling bounded by the coast, Beach Road, Mitchell Freeway and Reid Hwy/North Beach Road (refer to attached map). This made the Henderson Environment Centre at Star Swamp, the ideal headquarters for the event and allowed us to record species in three different habitats- coastal, bushland and a wetland.

While many of the competing groups allowed their observers to act independently we elected for mainly group participation and took the opportunity to organise four guided walks in Star Swamp, our bushland site, led by experts in a particular field.

                                                            

Time Leader(s)EmphasisParticipants
8am-11amDavid PikeInsects28
11am-2pmMark BrundrettOrchids24
2pm-5pmLeanda MasonSpiders5
5pm-8pmMike BamfordNightwalk/
Frogs
17/14

Unfortunately it began to rain just as Leanda Mason arrived to lead the spider walk. Consequently many participants who had already been on one or both of the earlier walks decided to remain in-doors or left. The good news is, the rain disappeared while the walk was on and many participants returned for the night walk.

While activities were going on at Star Swamp, seven members of Stirling Natural Environment Coastcare (SNEC) volunteered to survey the coastal flora and fauna while other volunteers recorded the birds at the Little Carine and Big Carine Swamps wetlands site.

AreaFloraBirdsReptilesMammalsAmphibiansMacro invert.FungiTOTAL
Coastal49122102066
Bushland7327314833194
WetlandNR220022228
Species Count

Competitors were asked to take photos of everything they saw and then to load the photos into the iNature app under their local project. The app then kept track of each project to see which city or LGA came up with the most observations.

As our bio-blitz used check-sheets to record the species, not all species were photographed. As a compromise Steve Lofthouse, kindly offered to download photos from people’s phones and cameras and then uploaded the best into our own iNature project. You will find 183 observations there.

If you view the Great Southern Bioblitz Umbrella website you will see the total observations from the competing cities/LGAs was 91,179 with Cape Town leading the way with 16,079. Greater Adelaide with 4,584 observations was the Australian city/LGA with the most observations. We ranked 62nd out of 155. Thank you to everyone who helped make the day such a success.

Don Poynton