July 08, 2020

Intriguing invertebrates

Thank you to everyone who entered our Week 3 challenge - Discovering Invertebrates. We had some wonderful images to choose from but the $30 Snowgum voucher and Bush Blitz cap are on their way to Kristi (@zosterops99) in Tasmania. Here's one of her images - a Passionvine Hopper.

© Kristi Ellingsen

For the Week 5 challenge, we're encouraging people to plant a native. One of the aims of Bush Blitz is to encourage Australians to learn about the importance of biodiversity and explore ways to improve and protect it. While you won't be able to add your new plant to our project, it may attract some wild visitors that you can add some time in the future! Visit the Bush Blitz website for further details.

Posted on July 08, 2020 03:32 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 01, 2020

Cryptogams in the city

Congratulations to Daphne (@kalimata), our 'Discovering cryptogams' winner, and Kongwak Primary School (@kongwak-junior-p-3), who were Highly Commended! Daphne enjoyed looking at the area where she lives with fresh eyes and discovered many cryptogams she hadn't noticed before. During the week she uploaded photos of some of the lichens, mosses, fungi, ferns and algae that make the city their home.

© kalimata

If you want to enter the Week 3 challenge (Discovering invertebrates), email your entry to bushblitz@awe.gov.au by midnight AEST tonight (Wednesday 1 July).

For Week 4, the focus will be on animals with more than eight legs (and we're pretty flexible on what we'll accept as 'legs'). Visit the Bush Blitz website for further details.

Posted on July 01, 2020 03:59 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 24, 2020

Challenge time!

We've seen many wonderful images of cryptogams added to our project over the last week but don't forget to email bushblitz@awe.gov.au with your entry before midnight AEST tonight (Wednesday 24 June) to have a chance to win a $30 Snowgum gift voucher!

The Week 3 challenge has just been announced on the Bush Blitz website. This time we're asking you to focus on invertebrates so this is a great opportunity for everyone to have a go.

© Nick Lambert

Good luck!

Posted on June 24, 2020 05:39 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 19, 2020

Discovering cryptogams

Our judging panel found it very difficult to pick a winner for the Week 1 challenge. Take a look at a couple of the entries on our website and you'll understand why - you'll also get some great advice on how to take better photos of invertebrates and fungi. Congratulations to @felix75 who will soon be receiving a $30 voucher to Snowgum Travel and Adventurewear and a Bush Blitz cap!

For Week 2, we're encouraging people to discover cryptogams. For those not familiar with cryptogams, they are plants and plant-like organisms that don't produce flowers or seed and instead reproduce by spores. The group includes some familiar organisms, like ferns, mosses and fungi, as well as less familiar ones like liverworts, lichens and algae.

If you'd like to take part in this week's challenge, you'll find all the details on the Bush Blitz website but be quick as the Week 2 challenge closes at midnight on Wednesday 24 June.

We are expecting to see many cryptogams added to our project over the next few days. Luckily we have expert curators on our project like @cgueidan and @ccargill to help with identification. @ccargill researches the taxonomy and systematics of Australian hornworts and liverworts and is a curator at the Cryptogam Collection at the Australian National Herbarium.

© Cecile

Posted on June 19, 2020 03:44 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 10, 2020

Fungi photo tips

In areas that have had good Autumn rain, fungi have been popping up everywhere - project members have already uploaded 226 fungi observed during the month of May.

Identifying fungi from photos can be tricky but you can help our curators by ensuring that your observations are as good as you can possibly make them. Here are some tips that will give our curators the best chance of identifying your fungi:

*Move debris away for a clear shot and get as close as you can while keeping the fungus in focus.
*Make a note of what the fungus is growing on (wood, soil, dung etc.). For species growing under trees, note the tree species in the description or take a photograph of the trees if you're not sure what they are.
*Photograph the underside as well as side and top views. @claudiarose nicely demonstrated how you can photograph the underside using a reflection from a phone case - you could also use a small mirror. (Image Copyright Claudia Schipp)

If you would like to enter this week's challenge and help others improve the quality of their observations, you will find all the details on the Bush Blitz website.

Posted on June 10, 2020 23:53 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 05, 2020

Weekly challenges start soon!

We thought World Environment Day would be the perfect time to launch Backyard Species Discovery Weekly Challenges. Hopefully a little competition will encourage even more people to take a closer look at the biodiversity around them.

Challenges will be announced every Wednesday on our website and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels. The first challenge will be announced on Wednesday 10 June and there will be 10 challenges in total - taking us right up to National Science Week.

Each challenge will be open for one week and we will announce a winner the Friday after entries close. The weekly prize will be a gift voucher and an official Bush Blitz cap - with extra prizes available if the winner was a group.

Check the Bush Blitz website after 6pm next Wednesday to find out what the first challenge will be and to see the competition terms and conditions.

Good luck!

Posted on June 05, 2020 05:31 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 26, 2020

Tips for observing tiny invertebrates

Small insects and spiders can be very difficult to spot while they rest or feed on vegetation. One technique used by the experts is beating the vegetation to make them fall out. You can try this at home - our latest videos show you how to make your own aspirator or 'pooter' and how to collect ‘minibeasts’. Give it a try and then return anything you find to the spot where you found it.

How to make an aspirator or ‘pooter’
How to catch ‘mini-beasts’

These and other useful resources are available on our website. If you have a suggestion for a future video or fact sheet, or a tip you’d like to share, please let us know.

Posted on May 26, 2020 00:07 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2020

Who is our 100th member?

We were pretty excited to reach 100 members on our project this week. We asked our 100th member @thesciencerobin to tell us a bit about herself and why she joined the project:

My name is Isabella Robinson though I'm probably better known as the Science Robin on social media. I'm a science communicator and biology student at Macquarie University. I work at CSIRO in the Australian National Insect Collection and the Australian National Herbarium and heard about Bush Blitz through their partnership with CSIRO and the ALA. My favourite groups are asilids or assassin flies. They're large, charismatic flies with a lot of personality. Taxonomy is the cornerstone of so much of biology. Getting involved with Bush Blitz is a great way of contributing to our knowledge and understanding of Australian species, while learning more about the biodiversity in our own backyards.

Thanks for sharing @thesciencerobin! We’re looking forward to (virtually) meeting more of you. If you haven’t already, you can share information about yourself by updating your profile - if you’re not comfortable sharing a photo of yourself, you can use your favourite observation.

Posted on May 22, 2020 05:01 by bushblitz bushblitz | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 14, 2020

Introducing our project curators

Thank you to our project curators who are helping to ID your observations - particularly those new to iNaturalist who are having to spend a bit more time figuring out how it all works! These are the same experts who come on our expeditions, plus some of their colleagues. Click on their profiles to read more about their areas of expertise.

We will also be introducing our project curators on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and first in the spotlight is @simongrove, Senior Curator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. He took part in our expeditions to the Tarkine, Five Rivers Reserve and Flinders Island and he would love to see more Tasmanian observations!

Posted on May 14, 2020 05:09 by bushblitz bushblitz | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 08, 2020

Pro tips from Bush Blitz scientists

Thanks to everyone who has joined our project so far! We are really enjoying seeing your observations.

If you need a bit of help getting started, or just want to improve your skills, take a look at the growing list of resources available on our website. We have just started a series of videos where Bush Blitz Field Manager Dr Kate will learn useful techniques from our experts.

In the first video, Dr Jodi Rowley, a frog biologist from the Australian Museum and University of New South Wales, gives Dr Kate tips on how to find and identify the frogs in her local pond. FrogID is a great app for identifying frog calls and data collected goes into the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA). If you use FrogID, there is no need to add your frog calls to our project - in fact, this could create duplicate records in ALA. Your frog images are most welcome, of course, and Jodi will be on hand to ID them!

Posted on May 08, 2020 01:19 by bushblitz bushblitz | 0 comments | Leave a comment