The UK’s Biological Records Centre helps you get started with biological recording using websites or apps to make a vital contribution to scientific research. Your wildlife observations will provide valuable information on the current state of nature in the UK. According to Mark Bradfield, Project Officer at The Letcombe Brook Project, wildlife observations can also be taken into consideration when planning applications are made to develop your area. So the more you record, the more you are helping to protect local habitats.
The first step is to identify the plant or animal you have seen.
If you need help you can ask on social media or use an identification app like Seek by iNaturalist and PlantNet
Once you have identified the species you have seen, you can submit details to the iRecord online platform which receives and verifies more than one million wildlife sightings in the UK each year.
You will be directly contributing to conservation and research, and records are made available to national recording schemes and to Local Environmental Records Centres.
Why not get your family involved?
If you have kids who like animals and playing on their phones, this is great activity which should inspire them to explore and appreciate local wildlife and countryside.
How to join iRecord
Anyone can join iRecord. If you are under 16 you just need to tick a box to let them know.
Create your account at www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/user/register and join specific groups if you are interested in them (see below).
Then you can upload your sightings to the brc.ac.uk website or you can download the iRecord app (from the App Store or Google play) to your phone and if you want you can upload photos from your phone directly to the app (you don’t have to upload photos to record a sighting).
Here is a video that explains how to do it.
Local Recording Groups to Join
Once you have registered at iRecord you can join groups that record sightings in your area, for example:
Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (covers Berkshire and Oxfordshire)
Wiltshire Bat Group – collecting bat records in Wiltshire & Swindon
Get involved in specific recordings
Record specific groups of plants or animals, including:
Nature’s Calendar (by the Woodland Trust)
UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme gathers data on the status of pollinating insects across the country. You do not need lots of skill in identifying insects – anyone can take part. If you can spare ten minutes to sit and watch insects visiting flowers when the weather is fine, you can carry out a FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count) between April and September. Please see this video guide on how to do this.
Help track the bad guys
There are several invasive species that need to be tracked and you can help:
Cellar Slug Hunt by the RHS following concerns that the invasive Green Cellar Slug has caused declines in the native Yellow Cellar Slug.
Spittle Bug Survey – record your sightings of ‘cuckoo-spit’ to help scientists better understand the geographical distribution of the different species of spittlebug, what plant species they feed on and how these insects may be capable of transmitting various plant diseases.