With the City Nature Challenge 2020 coming up in a weeks time, it is time to start preparing and practicising for the Challenge.
Although the challenge is not a competition, this is a superb opportunity to learn and record about the wildlife that shares are gardens and homes. Birds and chameleons are easy to record, but how do we go about recording all the goggos? How do we get them into our gardens?

Remember that you will need your iNaturalist smartphone app (see far bottom of the page) to record these.

And because goggos are usually very small, you can photograph them through a magnifying glass to enlarge them. And remember to zoom in, your goggo should fill the photo, not be a minute speck lost somewhere in the middle.

Some ideas for attracting goggos include:

• Put out ripe/rotting fruit for flies and beetles. You need smaller quantities than for birds, but why not attract both. The insects though prefer more ripe fruit.

• Smear a strip of syrup or honey on a trunk to attract ants, butterflies, flies and beetles. Not too much otherwise it will become a trap rather than a feeding station.

• Create an insect “hotel” – do it now so that with luck it might have some inhabitants for the City Nature Challenge.

• Take part in the Moth Challenge! - see:

• Sit and wait around flowers and photograph what visits. You will need to be very stealthy to be able to photograph them, so move very little and very slowly. Don’t forget to also record the flowers they visit on iNaturalist: they may be planted, but they are part of your garden ecology by attracting the birds, insects and chameleons. Your garden is only as good as the plants it contains!

• Check out your compost heap (if you have one). If not - why not create one

• If your garden has trees, take part in our Polyphagous Shothole Borer Beetle Atlas: remember to record your tree and make a note even if there is no sign of PSHBB - after all that is very good news!

Charmaine Oxtoby - our City of Cape Town Biodiversity Management Branch, Biophysical Specialist, has the following suggestions. Remember to take a container with you: a peanut butter jar with a lid, or an icre-cream tub to put goggos in to photograph them, will come in very handy. Dont forget your magnifying glass and your smartphone with the iNaturalist app ready to role.

• Look under stones, rocks, logs, pots, stepping stones, piles of bricks and anything else that would provide shelter for woodlice, earthworms, millipedes, centipedes, indigenous cockroaches, spiders and scorpions.

• During the CNC, break open decaying/rotting logs as there are many creatures who live just under the bark or deep inside.

• Recreate a forest floor – damp, shady areas with lots of leaf litter are best for decomposers and other ground-dwelling invertebrates. This is where you can place rotting logs or broken pots/pavers or rocks for things to hide under. You have a week to attract those that will fly in.

• Start a small pond to attract dragonflies and damselflies – dig a hollow and line it with thick plastic, or use a shallow basin. Place a rock or two just sticking out above the water. Have some tall plants or even dry branches in/around the pond for them to sit on. Don’t clean the bottom before the CNC and remember to check for larvae (‘worms’) swimming in the water.

• Have ‘puddles’ around the garden for insects to drink from. This could be drops of water on curled fallen leaves or a saucer on the ground, refilled regularly. Use rainwater.

• Start a small compost heap with kitchen scraps in the corner of the garden and keep it moist.

• Remember to look for evidence of invertebrates such as mud and paper nests of wasps, galls on leaves, cocoons/pupae of butterflies and moths, bag worms, empty carapaces or shells (good for cicadas), antlion sand pits.

• Don’t forget about the pests such as scale insects, mealy bugs, aphids, white fly, spider mites, cutworms, etc. They are all good for recording! And see if ants are visiting them as well!

• Stop using poisons and pesticides in your garden. Be willing to ‘share’ your veggie garden with wildlife and don’t get too upset if there’s a bit of munching in the next few weeks.

• Keep parts of the garden well-watered, especially if you can encourage flowering in plants that pollinators like such as gazanias, daisies and vygies - for insects. Use rainwater, grey water or borehole water if you can.

• Bait stations come in many forms. Try a combination of different heights, including tree trunks, rocks, on the bird feeder and on the ground (as bait cards). Overripe fruit (especially bananas) is great and will attract birds too. I think semi-shade is best.

• Pitfall traps such as a small yoghurt tub buried with the top at ground level. A little water will help stop them from escaping. But aim not to kill or drown your goggos because most invertebrates are beneficial or harmless to us and our gardens.

• Any sugary substance – thick sugar water, honey or syrup - is great for a bait station for pollinators and ants. Ants also like sweets such as (damp) jelly beans – if you are willing to share!

• Beer (if you have any left and are willing to share!) is great for attracting snails and slugs, as well as fruit flies. Place a small amount in a jar lid in the early evening in the vegetable garden. If you don’t have beer or rotting fruit, try a little bit of vinegar to attract fruit flies. If you dont have a vegetable garden, even a pot plant will do.

• Small dollops (teaspoonful or less) of stinky fish such as tuna or tinned cat food are good for ants, flies and beetles who like their protein. You will need to put your bait stations out of the way of any pets.

• Wetting chunks of bread can work for ants and birds – and they don’t mind if it’s stale or mouldy!

• Listen!!! Weather permitting remember to listen for crickets chirping at night, or other insects during the day..

• Look indoors too – jumping spiders, tiny spiders in corners and under furniture. They help with controlling mosquitoes and other goggos, so don't unnecessarily persecute them.

Even though we cannot go out into our green areas, we can still enjoy the wildlife in our gardens. The mini-animals are just as much fun as the bigger birds and herps. Have fun.

Stay safe and stay well.

Posted by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo, April 15, 2020 12:57


Dont forget to rescue and record species in your swimming pools, ponds and dog water bowls. We have a project especially for that:

Posted by tonyrebelo over 2 years ago (Flag)

Please - it is gogga.
Urban dictionary says a goggo is 'someone you hate'.

Posted by dianastuder over 2 years ago (Flag)

gogo is a Grandmother !

Posted by botswanabugs over 2 years ago (Flag)

Gogga is definitely korrekt in Afrikaans. But I dont know in English. But I assume that a publisher would have double-checked.

But if there is a field guide "Goggo Guide: the arthropods of southern Africa. " then perhaps granny is an hateful arthropod?

Posted by tonyrebelo over 2 years ago (Flag)

Oops. Poor publisher.
The word, with an a, is Khoi. In English we use that, with an a.

Posted by dianastuder over 2 years ago (Flag)

Point taken. But how many of our old English names have been changed by linguists since Independence. Even Swazi has become Swati. And Umtata has become mThatha. And I swear it used to be Gabarone? So our grannies have become bugs ...

Posted by tonyrebelo over 2 years ago (Flag)

Gogo with one g is a grandmother
The other uses gg for ground glass.

Posted by dianastuder over 2 years ago (Flag)

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