(Photos and story by Marc Nutter)
Whack! Whack! Whack! A galvanized steel pipe is smacked against the low branches of an oak tree. Little tube feet and even hooked tarsi are no match for the change in inertia on what was seconds ago a great place to find a bite to eat. Insects of all different orders enter freefall, wondering what the heck just happened to their previously protected perch. Inquisitive eyes meet them as they softly land on what looks like a white insect trampoline. Insects are photographed, identified, and released back to the wild without harm. The observation photo and identification is uploaded to iNaturalist and joins dozens of other observations focused on pollinators at NH Audubon in a concerted effort to observe and document as many species as we can in a focused day.
This is just one of the 151 observations that were made by a dedicated group of community scientists in NH Audubon’s first annual BioBlitz at our state headquarters in Concord on June 25, 2022. Organized by Diane De Luca (with support from me), the BioBlitz welcomed 15 people to the Center on one of the hottest days of the summer to focus our observations of plants and insects. With the help of our expert guests, we enjoyed seeing our pollinator habitat with new eyes. A huge thanks to Emma Erler, Horticulturist for Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, who led explorations focused on Pollinator Plants; Heidi Holman, Wildlife Habitat Biologist for NH Fish and Game, who led explorations focused on Butterflies; Mike Thomas, retired entomologist for USDA, who led explorations focused on Insect Pollinators; and the McLane Pollinator Garden volunteers, who led explorations focused on the Pollinator Garden that they help manage.
All told, as a group we made 151 observations and identified 98 species in just about 5 hours (!!) See the BioBlitz stats and help identify observations at the iNaturalist project page.
You’ll see that we’ve kept the BioBlitz open through the end of July, so if you’d like to add an observation in our pollinator habitat (gardens or meadow), just make a free account on iNaturalist, join the Project, and start observing! If you are brand-new to iNaturalist, we recorded a how-to webinar which is available on our YouTube channel.