Before we can help to conserve wildlife we must first know where it is and also whether it is doing well or declining - hence the importance of accurately recording our sightings.
Grass of Parnassus
A good record will include:
What? Name of the animal or plant
When? Date of sighting
Where? Accurate location, e.g. 6 fig OS grid ref
How many? Number of organisms present
Local records will soon be collected and stored by The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) for our area. Such records are made available to end-users such as planners and nature conservation organisations. To learn more about TWIC visit their webpage at http://www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk/.
Biological Recording in Scotland (BRISC) is a charity with the aim of promoting the collection of wildlife data and a look at its website www.brisc.org.uk gives a good summary of what is involved in recording wildlife.
In addition, there are many specialist organisations which are actively engaged in surveying and recording particular groups of organisms and generally they welcome input from amateur recorders. They often offer help with identification if you email them a photograph.
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is a UK charity with a Scottish base on the Stirling University campus. Its aim is to gather and provide unbiased information on birds and their habitats. It has a scientific staff and makes extensive use of volunteers. Well-known BTO surveys include Garden Birdwatch, Bird Atlas, Nest Record Scheme and Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) and many local SWT members enjoy taking part in these. Full details on: www.bto.org
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) also encourages records from the public. Some of their surveys which anyone can take part in can be found on:www.rspb.org.uk
The Scottish Ornithological Club (SOC) coordinates all bird records through its network of Bird Recorders and publishes an annual Bird Report at
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) is the main organisation gathering and collating plant records.
Plantlife is a campaigning organisation ("the RSPB for plants") dedicated to conserving Britain's wild plants.
Details of how your plant records could help, e.g. the common plant survey, invasive aliens, are on their website:
SWT Stirling & Clackmannanshire has a spin-off group called Plant Local Area NeTwork (PLANT) which records plants and habitats of conservation concern locally e.g. orchids, species-rich meadows. If you are a keen botanist or would like to join a group to improve your ID skills please contact us via our Contacts page.
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
Butterfly Conservation is interested in all butterfly and moth records and, in addition, runs surveys for particular species which rely on input from the public.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (based at Stirling University) is keen to have records of unusual bees from your garden and and also runs surveys in which you can become involved.
Details on: www.bumblebeeconservation.org
BUGS - spiders, insects, worms, snails, etc.
Beetles, ladybirds and moths are some of the creatures which Buglife is interested in recording.
Green Tiger Beetle
Large Red Damselfly