Biological records might sound like a very official term, but they are simply records of any species seen, along with other information such as the date and location of the sighting. People have been keeping records of wildlife and nature for centuries. Biological records can help show changes in distribution, population numbers and new species arriving in the country. The further back the recordings go, the more confident scientists can be in the trends they find. Conservation organisations like the Trust rely on this data to effectively protect wildlife on our nature reserves and the wider landscape.
You don’t have to be an expert to start recording wildlife or commit to recording every time you leave the house, but anything you can submit will provide interesting information.
Most of these records are kept in your local biological record centre, with the information accessible by interested groups such as ecologists and planners.
With the rise of portable, fast technology, the biological recording has got a lot easier. You can submit records using your phone or tablet and many apps can help with identification if you are just starting out (although it is usually best to double-check these results if possible). Recording is a great way to improve your identification skills for a particular group of species or wildlife generally. As you get more confident, you could take part in a national recording scheme too.
Once you start to notice the species common to your area, you will get a much better idea of what is common and rarer species will stick out. Once you have this background knowledge, you never know what you might find! A supporter recently wrote to the Trust to tell us they had seen a lizard orchid while out walking in the south of the county. These pretty orchids are very rare in our county - the last record was in 1993 and there have been none recorded since 1931 where this one was found!
One of the best ways to start your recording journey is using iRecord. The records submitted on their website or app go directly to local record centres, and it is an easy platform to use – so what are you waiting for!