top of page

The Fiercest Battle of the Great Southern Bioblitz (with tips for us 'normal' naturalists)

Two outstanding naturalists, but there can be only one... GSB Species List Champion!

Whatever your reason for participating in the GSB, it is worth noting the incredible skills of the two most abundant species observers of the 2021 event. These guys are definitely excited by the thrill of competition, and desire to observe and identify more species than anyone else. I'm competitive too and certainly aspire to these lofty counts, but alas, after trying pretty hard last time and coming out with 250 species, I don't think I will ever even break 500, let alone double that!

These guys are observing my entire 5 years of iNaturalist species observations in just 4 days! How!? What is it about them that means they can take so many observations of around a thousand different species, over the course of a four-day event? We had fun in this interview where I asked them about their own techniques, and for any tips to see if they can help the rest of us to improve our own bioblitzing prowess!


Summarised transcript

Pete: Let me introduce Thomas Mesaglio and Nick Lambert, known on iNaturalist as thebeachcomber and.. nicklambert.

So first things first, Nick, why don't you have a cool alias like me and Thomas?

Nick: Well actually, I used to have one, I can't remember what, but then I just changed it to my name so people wouldn't get confused.

Pete: Thomas, do you have any suggestions for Nick?

Thomas: 'Silence of the Lambert' - Not much to do with biodiversity but the movie does have the Deaths Head Hawk Moth (Acherontia atropos) in it...

Pete: I was thinking iNatNatureNick - I do love alliteration but yours is better...

Pete: Ok seriously now, both of your individual counts of species diversity put you ahead of 99% of not just the other GSB participants, but of almost all of the other whole project areas as well. So, congratulations to both of you.

I know that this was a hard-fought battle between you, I noticed at one stage just after the event your species counts were very close together around the mid 900's. With Thomas just ahead. I thought he had you this time!

Nick: Yeah he had the lead for a while but it was part of my strategy to lull him into a false sense of security! It went exactly as I planned it (laughs).

Pete: I'm sensing some bitterness, Thomas...

Thomas: It was a complete tragedy. I think at the end of the 4 days, I was on 900 and he was on 600, and we had a similar number of observations - so I thought there was no way he was going to catch me. But more and more observations kept coming an the species count kept climbing, and after a while I knew he was going to overtake me - it was a sad moment.

The final count - with Nick finishing with over 1,100 species, and Thomas in the mid 900's.

(Have I said already how incredible those numbers are?)


For me the GSB offers a great chance to experience the incredible biodiversity surrounding us and enjoy moments in nature with the multitude of creatures we naturalists develop a deep and meaningful admiration for.

I was interested to hear about