Wildlife recording: what’s stopping you?

Moths

From butterfly surveys to wildflower identification, Cumbria Wildlife Trust is fortunate to have so many volunteers involved in species recording. Debs Muscat from Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre sets out to dispel the myth that you have to be an expert to share your finds.

Ask anyone taking a walk, “What have you seen today?” and they will reel off a list of wildlife that has caught their eye. Then ask them, “Will you be telling anyone what you’ve seen?” and they usually say no and give an excuse:

It won’t make a difference: Not surprisingly, wildlife sightings, or biological records, are used by Cumbria Wildlife Trust to monitor and shape the management of nature reserves. But did you know that records are helping the Environment Agency to restore river ecosystems after storm damage? Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre has over 2 million records which are used every week to influence planning and development decisions across Cumbria.

Someone else will have seen it: Unless you’re visiting a popular wildlife reserve it’s unlikely that anyone else will make a record – you might be the only one to see it.

I’m not an expert; I could be wrong: You don’t have to be an expert, but there’s no denying that you get better with practice and you’ll never know if you are unless you share your records.

It’s never been easier to be a recorder thanks to modern technology. Camera phones are great for taking photographs to use when checking field guides or websites such as iSpot. When you know what you’ve seen, simply share your record by visiting CBDC’s webpage or iRecord: upload your name, what you saw, when, and click on a map to show where.

Thanks to I.T. sharing your records is easy, takes no time at all and you can be assured that they will make a difference.

This summer Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre and Cumbria Wildlife Trust are running Introduction to Recording training days to help you get started if you're new to wildlife recording on:

Sunday 13th August
Tuesday 22nd August

These training days will run from 10:00am - 3:00pm and include time on Eycott Hill Nature Reserve to identify species and collect records in the field. 

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.