How to make a wildlife record

It is vital for conservation that we hear about your local wildlife. We need this information to inform future land management in Sussex. Without it, we simply wouldn't know what wildlife there is and what is so special about each place. Records are entered into the database held by the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre which is based here at the Sussex Wildlife Trust. They collect all the information together and use it to keep track of how wildlife is faring in our county.

There are four key ingredients to a usable wildlife record:

What: What have you seen and how many? Take a photo if possible to help with any queries over identification.

Who: Provide details of the person who took the record so that we can get in touch and verify information if necessary.

When: Be specific about the date of your sighting i.e. day, month, year, not just ‘beginning of May’.

Where: Give as much detail as possible, so that records can be accurately located. At least a 6 figure grid reference is best to give accuracy e.g. TQ218136. Grid finder websites such as UK Grid reference finder and Where's the path can help you with this. Use the search boxes to focus down to the area you need, for example using your postcode or town name. Then scroll around the aerial photo to find the spot that you saw the species and click. This should produce a grid reference for that location.

How do I know what I’ve seen?

If you aren’t sure what you’ve spotted, upload a photo and ask us to help you identify it using the WildCall enquiry form instead. There are also loads of brilliant websites that help you to improve your identification skills such as iSpot and the Natural History Museum.

What should I do with my records?

You can send us casual records using our recording form but if you would like to record all of your sightings and keep track of them, the iRecord website is really the best way.

iRecord is a website run by the Biological Records Centre that makes it easy to enter wildlife records, upload photos, and explore yours and other people's sightings. It's easy to use, secure and reliable but best of all, records entered into the system are instantly passed onto the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre so they can be put to good use. There's also a fantastic mapping facility which automatically gives you the grid reference for your sighting.

You can also download a pdf of this information below:

Posted in: Sustainable Gardening on 07 May 2015

Back to the in your garden homepage