8 Sep 2020

Taking part in the Big Brum BioBlitz with iNaturalist

Interested in discovering the nature around you?

Read on to find out:

  • What is the Big Brum BioBlitz Project?
  • How to use the iNaturalist App to take part in the Big Brum BioBlitz.
  • Using the iNaturalist App to identify wildlife.
  • Using the Seek by iNaturalist App.

What is the Big Brum BioBlitz?

A bioblitz is an effort to identify as many types of animals and plants in an area. This can be done anywhere, in a park, a garden and even on a pavement! Taking part is a great way for people of all ages to explore their surroundings and learn more about the wildlife around them. The Big Brum Bioblitz is a project led by Thinktank,Birmingham Science Museum, and it’s easy to get involved by following Thinktank on social media (See links at the bottom of the page) and by using the iNaturalist App.

How to use the iNaturalist App to take part in the Big Brum BioBlitz

First, download iNaturalist from the Apple Store or Google Play or visit the iNaturalist website:

Once the app is downloaded, search for the “Big Brum BioBlitz” in the “more” tab on your homepage and under “projects”. You can join the group and take a look at what others in Birmingham have discovered from here. If you are not in Birmingham, there are plenty of other groups you can join, try searching your location or press “nearby” to see what groups are in your local area.

Screenshot of the iNaturalist app: Search and join the Big Brum BioBlitz group

Now you are ready to find some wildlife! This includes anything from insects found under a plant pot, to birds in the trees or even a plant growing through a pavement. Press the camera icon to take a photo of what you have found or upload a file from your camera roll. Press next to continue once you are happy with your image.

Screenshot of the iNaturalist app: taking a photo and look up species

The real advantage of using iNaturalist is it’s ability to help identify the species in your photograph! If you are not sure what you have discovered, you can use the “what did you see” section. The app suggests what you have seen with surprising accuracy.

Enter in the details of your observation before selecting “share”.

All of your observations can be found under the “Me” tab found on the bottom right of the screen. Once an observation has been uploaded, other app users including experts can confirm your identification making it a “Research Grade” observation. Any observation of this grade can be used in scientific studies. They might be used to understand migration, investigate how climate change might be affecting wildlife and even to keep track of rare or endangered species.

Screenshot of the iNaturalist app: See all of your observations in the app

If you need more information on how to use iNaturalist check out the tutorials on the iNaturalist website.

Using the Seek by iNaturalist App

For those with younger children, the Seek app by iNaturalist is a more interactive tool, allowing you to take part in challenges and earn badges by identifying species.

Seek’s identification system works in a similar way to iNaturalist, just take a picture of your discovery and the app will identify it for you. On this app the menu is located in the bottom left hand corner, allowing you to access your achievements, challenges and past observations.

Screenshot of the Seek app by iNaturalist

You earn badges for the types of species you encounter and for monthly challenges. This month the challenge is all about pollinators and tasks include finding particular plants and insects!

It’s amazing how much you can find in such a short space of time. Here are some of my observations:

Two Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Two Southern Hawker Dragonfly.

Ivy-Leaved toadflax

Ivy-Leaved toadflax.

Cross Orbweaver

Cross Orbweaver.

We would love it if you can share your own discoveries with us on social media! 

And visit our social media accounts for bioblitz tips and activities to encourage wildlife into your garden.