Why it is so important to record the wildlife around us

how to record wildlife

Observing and recording our wildlife provides vital information about the current state of nature and which areas are in crisis. 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. 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.

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 various data platforms and surveys:

1.Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre

Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (covers Berkshire and Oxfordshire)

This is the only organisation in Berkshire and Oxfordshire providing a comprehensive ecological information hub through which critical knowledge can be shared to support scientific research and responsible decision-making. TVERC is part of a national network of data collection.

2. iRecord App

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.


iRecord app wildlife

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 or species-specific iRecord groups to join

Once you have registered at iRecord you can join groups that record sightings in your area, for example:

Wiltshire Bat Group – collecting bat records in Wiltshire & Swindon


3. Specific Species Surveys

You can also contribute to recordings of specific species conservation groups including:

Bugs Life Bugs Matter Survey (count insects caught on your car) – until 31 August

Birdtrack (with British Trust for Ornithology)

Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count starts 15 July

European Ladybird app,

Moths – what’s flying tonight?

Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme

Badger Trust’s Reporting Centre

Nature’s Calendar (by the Woodland Trust)

UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme  (Flower-Insect Timed Count) between April and September. 

National Plant Species Monitoring Scheme

(Thanks to Carolyne Culver for helping compile this list)

4. Help track the bad guys

There are several invasive species that need to be tracked and you can help:

Non-native Species Alerts

Asian Hornet Watch app (for Android and Apple phones) or online.

Cellar Slug Hunt by the RHS following concerns that the invasive Green Cellar Slug has caused declines in the native Yellow Cellar Slug.


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