Bush Blitz Citizen Science Award

We are thrilled to let you know that the winner of the Threatened Species Commissioner's inaugural Bush Blitz Citizen Science Award is Nick Lambert (@nicklambert)! Nick's entry included a sound recording of the threatened Eastern Ground Parrot (one of only six observations of the species in iNaturalist). Nick is also the top contributor to the Backyard Species Discovery project and has more than 34,000 observations in iNaturalist. We're handing the rest of this post over to Nick but don't forget that entries for the Bush Blitz Scavenger Hunt must be in by this Sunday 20 September.

Since I was first able to walk, I have always loved the sense of adventure I get from being outdoors. Exploring, noticing and finding things. Though it is only fairly recently that I have begun to actually learn about what I am seeing around me when out in nature. I have always considered myself a sportsman and had little time for too many other interests. However, since retiring from competitive soccer a couple of years ago, nature has more than filled the gap and the only sports I find time for now are surfing and hiking.

I've worked as a primary school teacher for the past 11 years mainly in the Nambucca Valley and kids always know to 'show Mr. Lambert' whenever they find any bizarre or interesting creatures in the playground. Last year they even brought me a Feather-tailed Glider!

© Nick Lambert

For the last 15 years I have been an avid recreational fisherman, although these days I mostly enjoy catch and release freshwater fishing in more remote locations. It has always seemed important to me to identify the fish I caught, even if it wasn't a so-called 'keeper'. In fact, fishing brought me into contact with one of my first endangered species, the Clarence River Cod, which we sometimes come across during our Bass fishing expeditions. It is an incredible fish and is probably my favourite.

© Nick Lambert

The next step in my naturalist 'evolution' was when a hip injury ended my Father in Law's bowls career and he took up birdwatching. On a subsequent visit he convinced me to take him to some local places looking for birds. Let's just say it didn't take long before I was more hooked on birding than he was! My most exciting birding experiences so far include the recent endangered owls and ground parrot I submitted for this competition, but also memorable was seeing a raft of 150 Atlantic Puffins, on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland, take off from the water and fly by several times before landing around us on the cliffs of the island. It was amazing to watch!

© Nick Lambert

Bird watching gave me even more excuses to get out in nature and it wasn't long before I began noticing which plants were preferred by different species of birds and then what insects were found on these plants. The last few years and my introduction to the website 'iNaturalist' have begun a spiral for me where I now photograph basically anything living that I come across, as I am curious to see how it fits into the puzzle of our ecosystems. I have learnt so much as a result of my photos, personal research and the IDs provided on the iNat platform, that taking a walk in any of my local environments is now a totally different experience for me. I can spot common and uncommon species of plants and animals, hear and identify calls and notice seasonal and year to year changes. It is exciting, humbling and fascinating. It is my relaxation, my obsession and my spiritual connection.

I run a small facebook page called Nick's Nature Pics where I post some photos every week or two. Its main purpose is to encourage people to take notice of what's around them and share my surprise at what they can find, literally under their feet or in their backyards. This year I am also organising a local Coffs Harbour Bioblitz as part of the Great Southern BioBlitz initiative, aimed at getting locals involved in citizen science through iNaturalist. I've had so many other cool experiences and adventures and last year I co-authored my first paper as a result of photographing a rare pygmy grasshopper .

I am grateful that I live in a part of the world where I can access spectacular natural spaces and I'm thankful to the many people (particularly on iNaturalist) for their assistance, encouragement and friendship in deciphering the natural world around me. It is a great adventure and I hope to encourage and inspire others in small ways to get outside and experience it for themselves.

Posted by bushblitz bushblitz, September 14, 2020 04:29

Comments

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very well deserved :D

Posted by thebeachcomber about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Fantastic Nick! 🙌

Posted by michellewalks about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thanks all! Had some good luck with birds in the last month! :)

Posted by nicklambert 30 days ago (Flag)

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