October 31, 2021

GSB Identification

Thank you all who have helped out with IDs on my Great Southern BioBlitz observations. I've visited a few locations new to me and encountered quite a few species I'm not yet familiar with. In a rush to upload, I've simply IDed many as 'Flowering Plant' or 'Insect'. Upon review, I should be able to confirm many of the Plant IDs. (I'll never auto-agree). Out of 1289 observations there are 609 still at Needs ID. Any further help would be greatly appreciated. The below links should take you direct to the ID page for the relevant taxa and automatically filter out any observations you may have already reviewed. Some observations have probably reached their ID limit, but most can still be improved.
All (609 at Needs ID) / Birds (6 at Needs ID) / Frogs (1 at Needs ID) / Reptiles (1 at Needs ID) / Mammals (2 at Needs ID) / Fishes (1 at Needs ID) / Molluscs (2 at Needs ID) / Arachnids (6 at Needs ID) / Insects (166 at Needs ID) / Beetles (15 at Needs ID) / Flies (26 at Needs ID) / Hemiptera (12 at Needs ID) / Hymenoptera (17 at Needs ID) / Lepidoptera (81 at Needs ID) / Orthoptera (6 at Needs ID) / Plants (399 at Needs ID) of which there are 51 still at Subphylum / Orchids (10 at Needs ID) / Moss (8 at Needs ID) / Poales (25 at Needs ID) / Eucalyptus (19 at Needs ID) / Fungi (13 at Needs ID)
To help me reach my goal of 50 new species on my life-list during the GSB, I'd be really interested in getting narrower IDs for the below observations, all of which represent firsts for me:






@alan_dandie, @ellurasanctuary, @george_seagull, @deborod, @bwjone432155, @stephen169, @davidsando, @vicfazio3, @asimakis_patitsas, @pennywort_man, @gposs, @d_kurek, @insiderelic, @thebeachcomber, @mettcollsuss, @ben_travaglini, @presidentfobhm, @thammer, @meta4, @abedggood, @dnicolle, @karenweaving62, @predomalpha, @em_lamond, @stegobups, @cesdamess, @grigorenko, @kellieu, @kevinbonham, @andrew_allen, @mendacott, @dee115, @rwl, @petragloyn, @borisb, @reiner, @seamus-doherty, @pewin, @christopherburwell, @jason_graham, @johnascher, @eremophila, @oneanttofew, @trh_blue, @suzieandjim, @markayers, @jenny8593, @max_tibby, @redsnow, @teaa981, @snakeboy222, @mike_hooper, @patrickwhite57, @clinton, @f_martoni, @zdanko, @davemmdave, @dianneclarke, @alanhorstmann, @froggy143, @szucsich, @bobwardell, @florin_feneru, @ospr3y, @michalsloviak, @jtotero, @lucasorizonte, @marcoduretto, @scottyw, @gyrrlfalcon, @lmata, @tony_wills, @pihlaviita, @ryanandrews, @else, @barbaraparris, @nannie, @skipperdogman, @patrick_campbell, @myelaphus, @robotpie, @wamoz, @alexburton, @lotteryd, @kevin474, @chewitt1, @kallies, @fernslu, @graham_winterflood, @ladyrobyn, @ethmostigmus, @htct, @ratite, @knicolson, @angelinbotanico, @manfdot, @glycymeris, @brothernorbert, @yudval, @darcywhittaker, @dlync, @baronsamedi, @jozefobona, @mydadguyfieri, @pomjaeger, @natashataylor, @sgrolph, @connor_margetts, @insect_boy, @la_historia, @duka_skalamera, @rgvhf, @alice_casiraghi, @andrea_montechiarini

Posted on October 31, 2021 08:44 AM by cobaltducks cobaltducks | 5 comments | Leave a comment

October 12, 2021

4-Day BioBlitz History

With the Great Southern BioBlitz 2021 approaching, I thought I'd review my City Nature Challenge and Great Southern BioBlitz history, and see if I can break some personal records during the GSB2021.
I've previously taken part in the City Nature Challenge 2020 with 1172 observations of 372 species, the Great Southern BioBlitz 2020 with 1440 observations of 461 species, and the City Nature Challenge 2021 with 1403 observations of 426 species.
City Nature Challenge 2020
My first attempt at a 4-day BioBlitz was the CNC2020. Taking place in our Autumn, this wasn't an ideal time of year to discover as many species as possible. The weather can put a damper on most activity and the short daylight hours can be limiting. Many seasonal plant species aren't present, Insects are hidden away in egg or larval stages, and identifying plants without flowers can present difficulties. Nevertheless, over the four days I visited 17 locations recording 1172 observations covering 373 species (using the 'leaf count' method), with 325 of those identified all the way to species.
Given the season and ease of observation, Plants featured heavily with the top 24 most recorded species being Plants. Most recorded was the Myrtle Wattle (Acacia myrtifolia) with 24 records across 8 different locations. The most recorded Bird was the Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus), with 7 records across 7 different locations. The first Insect, the Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) appeared in 25th place with 6 records.
Observations from my property over the 4 days totalled 155 records covering 78 species. Many of these were Lepidoptera attracted to a UV light, however the species total also included 6 Flies, 6 Beetles, 5 Arachnids, 5 Plants (naturally occurring), 3 Molluscs and 3 Ants.
CNC2020 Highlights:

Great Southern BioBlitz 2020
This is a BioBlitz much more suitable for tracking down those Spring flowers and Insects. The first Great Southern BioBlitz offered warm days with longer daylight hours. But the weather doesn't always play nice as I found myself in the middle of Ferries-McDonald CP fending off a hailstorm.
Over the four days I visited 17 locations recording 1440 observations covering 461 species (using the 'leaf count' method), with 403 of those identified all the way to species. That's +268 observations and +89 species beyond the CNC2020 totals.
The higher species count came from both records of seasonal plants and the inclusion of two beach locations in the mix which brought in additional marine species. While Plants feature heavily in the most observed list, 4 of the top 5 observed species were seasonal Orchids, with the Waxlip Orchid (Glossodia major) taking out the top spot having 23 observations across 3 different locations. The most observed Bird was the Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) coming in 9th place with 11 records across 4 different locations. The first Insect was again a Butterfly, with the Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi) coming in 52nd place with 5 records across 2 different locations.
Observations from my property over the 4 days totalled only 61 records covering 33 species. The lower numbers than in the CNC2020 were due to poor weather limiting the use of the UV light and time to search in the yard.
GSB2020 Highlights:

City Nature Challenge 2021
My second run at the City Nature Challenge followed much the same pattern as the first, with Plants featuring heavily, followed by Birds, and few Invertebrates.
Over the four days I visited 14 locations recording 1403 observations covering 426 species (using the 'leaf count' method), with 364 of those identified all the way to species. This was less than during the Spring GSB2020, as expected, but compared to the previous Autumn CNC2020 it was +231 observations and +54 species.
I had expected that across both years the species seen would have been fairly similar. The locations visited were different, but generally within the same region. However comparing both species lists (using the iNat compare tool) showed that of the 426 species seen in the CNC2021, 225 of them were NOT seen in the CNC2020. And of the 372 species seen in the CNC2020, 177 were NOT seen in the CNC2021. This strongly suggests that the key to recording as many species as possible during the BioBlitz is to visit as many, and varied, locations as possible. As opposed to longer visits to fewer locations.
The most observed species was the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), with 31 records across 5 different locations. Some species featured heavily this year due to choice of location, such as the Mount Lofty Ground-Berry (Acrotriche fasciculiflora) which placed 6th with 16 observations across only 2 locations in the Adelaide Hills.
Observations from my property over the 4 days totalled only 191 records covering 79 species. Lepidoptera featured heavily (143 observations) thanks to some warm weather. Interestingly, even though these observations were recorded at the same location and the same time of year, there was limited crossover. In the CNC2021 there were 50 species not recorded in CNC2020, and in the CNC2020 there were 52 species not recorded in the CNC2021. This suggests with a little effort the number of species recorded on my property over the 4 days could be doubled.
CNC2021 Highlights:

Great Southern BioBlitz 2021
This all brings us to the Great Southern BioBlitz 2021. This year I'll be looking at visiting new locations and recording new species. Having learnt a few lessons from the previous BioBlitz events, I'll be aiming to:
  • Add 50 new species to my life list.
  • Record at least 1,500 observations.
  • Record at least 500 species.

It'll take a bit of effort to achieve all three. I'll be visiting some semi-arid locations to track down some new species, however such areas tend to have lower species diversity, so I may be hard pressed to reach 500 species for the 4 days. It'll also very much depend on the weather.
Good luck to anyone participating in this years Great Southern BioBlitz. Whether you're heading out on all 4 days or just spending some time discovering the species in your own backyard, all will contribute important biodiversity records to the Atlas of Living Australia.

Posted on October 12, 2021 10:01 AM by cobaltducks cobaltducks | 1 comment | Leave a comment

December 19, 2020

Repost: Guide to creating your own "Backyard Biodiversity" Traditional project

The below is a repost from a now defunct project.

Follow the steps below to create your own Traditional project and start building a collection of observations from your own backyard.

This guide assumes you already have an iNaturalist account and some experience using the platform. If you are new to iNaturalist check out the Help page. It is generally not recommended that new users create projects until they have gained familiarity with the platform.

In order to create at Traditional project, users must have uploaded at least 50 observations. The reason for this is explained in THIS blog post.

Reason for Creating a Traditional Project to Collect Backyard Observations
The new format "Collection" projects are ideal for collecting all observations from a particular place or of a particular taxa. A "Place" is created with a boundary and all observations within it of the designated taxa are automatically included in the project. However, when an observation location is obscured, either due to the taxa being on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species or due to user preference, then the location marker is scattered to somewhere within an approximately 20km x 20km square. As this is likely to fall outside the project place boundary, it is not included in the Collection project.

So suppose you want to create a project showing all the observations from your own backyard, but don't want the exact locations made public. You choose to obscure the location of the observations. Now if you create a Collection project using your property as the Place, most of the observation locations will not fall within the project place boundary. The project may include no observations.

This is where a Traditional project can be of value. Observations are added to Traditional projects manually and don't need to be associated with a particular Place. If you have your own Traditional project, you can add all your backyard observations without publicly displaying the exact locations.

Example Traditional Project
So what does such a Traditional project collecting backyard observations look like? The project "Backyard Biodiversity (cobaltducks)" is one I have created to collect all the observations from my backyard. It has been set up using the steps in this guide. Note that the map shows all observations as obscured.

Setting Up Your Own Traditional "Backyard Biodiversity" Project
The process is a relatively simple one but does include a number of steps. Please follow the steps below closely. Any issues, please ask in the comments section or send me a message.

Step 1: Creating Your Traditional Project

  • Follow the link to the Projects page. Scroll to the last paragraph on the page discussing Traditional projects and click the link in the text. This will open the page to start a new Traditional project.
  • Give your project a Title
  • Leave the "Project Type" as "Normal"
  • To add a "Project Icon" click "Choose File". I suggest using your user profile icon here.
  • To add a "Project Cover" click "Choose File". This image will be a banner at the top of the project page. Choose any image you find suitable.
  • In the "Preferred Membership Model" select "invite-only"
  • In the "Preferred Submission Model" select "project curators"
  • In the "Description" box you can explain your project function and background. You can include your property size and local environment type.
  • The "Terms" section can remain blank at this stage.
  • The "Location" section can remain blank as you alone will be adding new observations and can ensure only those seen in your backyard are included.
  • In the "Observation Rules" section select "Add a New Rule" and choose "be verifiable" from the drop down list. This will ensure that only verifiable observations can be included, and casual observations of cultivated and captive organisms are excluded.
  • The "Project List", "Observation Fields" and "Tracking Codes" sections can remain blank for now. Now click "Create" to create your new Traditional project.

Step 2: Adding Observations to Your Project

Your project has now been created but does not yet have any observations included. These need to be added manually.
  • Open up the page to one of your backyard observations that you wish to include in the project.
  • Scroll down and on the right hand side of the page you'll see the option "Add to a Project". Click in the box and begin typing in the name of your project. It should appear in a drop-down list as you type. Find it, and select the project.

This observations is now included in your Traditional project and it should show this on the list of associated projects on the observation page.

Step 3: Obscuring the Observation Location (Optional)

If you wish to ensure that your property location remain private, then each observation added to the project will need to have its geoprivacy set to "Obscured". You may have already set the observation location to obscured when you first uploaded the observation. If you haven't, then follow the steps below.

  • Go to the page for the observation you want to update.
  • Select the blue "Edit" button in the top right hand corner of the page.
  • Under the satellite map shown on the edit page select the drop down list next to "change geoprivacy" and change it to obscured.
  • Now scroll down the page and "Save observation"

The system may take a few minutes to update, but the observation location will be obscured. However please note that if you are logged into iNaturalist, you will see the exact location on both the observation page and on the project page. To test this, log out and find your observation and project pages and note that the exact locations are obscured.

Step 4: Adding New & Past Observations

Adding new observations to the backyard biodiversity project is as simple as ensuring the observation location is obscured and then adding the project on the observation page. If you have a large number of observations already uploaded, and wish to add them to the project, they can be done one by one, or by the "Batch Edit" option on the "Edit Observations" page.

Posted on December 19, 2020 06:22 AM by cobaltducks cobaltducks | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 07, 2020