Bioblitz events strike Timaru

Four events are coming to Timaru in celebration of a ‘Bioblitz’ week.

Rhys Taylor (left) taking part in a previous Bioblitz

Rhys Taylor (left) taking part in a previous Bioblitz

The events include travelling on a dusk spider safari, conducting a survey of wetland plants, sampling stream water quality, and more.

Four events during 22 – 29 November

Where: Events will be carried out in the Otipua Wetland area, around Redruth.
When: During the week of 22 to 29 November.

Otipua-Saltwater Creek Catchment Group facilitator Rhys Taylor is managing the four events with backing from the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) Water Zone Committee and in collaboration with Timaru District Council, owner and manager of the sites.

Sharing photos from any of the following events is invited, and may be submitted to the i-Naturalist website or email a selection with explanatory captions to

Event details:

Become an i-Naturalist!
Date: Sunday 22 November
Meet: Otipua Wetland south bank, King Street entrance
Time: 10.30am – 12pm, then 1 – 3pm
  • Learn to use the i-Naturalist app on your phone to record and identify plants and animal species with this free training session.
  • Download the software to your phone before arriving – it’s a free app on either the App Store for Apple, or the Play Store for Android.
  • This session is led at the wetland by visiting ecologist/botanist Colin Meurk. We will be joined in the afternoon by Timaru District Councillor and biodiversity champion Barbara Gilchrist.
  • Text Rhys Taylor on 021 462 260 for more information.
Find out what lives in Timaru's streams
Date: Tuesday 24 November
Meet: Environment Canterbury Timaru office
Time: 10am onwards
  • Learn to use a portable colourimeter lab and clarity tube for rapid indicative results on water turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus as well as noting temperature and acidity (pH) in a stream, through observations and hands-on sampling.
  • Led by Chris Konings from Water Watch and Rhys Taylor from Otipua-Saltwater Creek Catchment Group in a hands-on field session of water sampling at various locations in the Otipua-Saltwater Creek catchment.
  • We’ll also collect some samples for detailed laboratory analysis by Hills Lab and other samples that can be analysed by Wellington specialists Wilderlab to show what species of animals live in these waterways, by detecting their trace DNA. Results will be published in a few weeks at Open Waters Aotearoa.
  • Wet weather reserve and continuation date is Wednesday 25 November from 10am. Lunch will be provided for pre-booked trainees. Bring gumboots. Optionally, bring rubber kitchen gloves and a hand towel, a camera or phone, a small notepad and pen.
  • Email to book a place: or text 021 462 260.
Dusk safaris - fun for all ages
Date: Saturday 28 November
Meet: King Street near Saltwater Creek bridge
Time: From 7.30pm
  • Join us for a dusk spider safari on the paths of Otipua Wetland, by torchlight. This is a great chance to spot some creepy crawlies which will be identified by Cor Vink from Canterbury Museum.
  • Pre-book your involvement and meet at King Street near Saltwater Creek bridge. Wrap up warm and bring a torch, strong footwear, and a camera. Text Rhys to book your spot - 021 462 260.
Surveying the Otipua Wetland
Date: Sunday 29 November
Meet: 10 mins walk into the wetland from King St. No public parking at the site.
Time: 10am – 12.30pm
  • Help survey Otipua Wetland with the use of the i-Naturalist app and explore the wetland from the river to the coast at the same time! We are recording all our observations on the day as part of this project. All are welcome to participate.
  • The previously-found plant and animal species list is available for reference along with natural history ID handbooks on the day.
  • Expert visitors include botanist Alice Shanks from QE II Trust, Environment Canterbury’s wetland expert Jason Butt, and Gary Foster, who is drafting a management plan for the wetland. No need to pre-book.
  • Bird watchers are welcome too. Please record your sightings, numbers and locations to the E-bird website.
  • Text enquiries to Rhys on 021 462 260 or email him in advance.