Recording Norfolk’s Wildlife

One of the pleasures of observing wildlife is putting names to species we see. Once the second name is added a list has been created and while many people make lists for their own pleasure there is always satisfaction in telling someone else. And when lists come together the total picture is even more valuable than the individual records.

Amateurs have always been at the forefront of recording, but now more so than ever; they have the time, interest and knowledge – and there are a lot of us. The NNNS, through its publications and ‘networking’, informally coordinates much of the recording activity within the county.

What happens to the records?

For most groups of organisms there is someone in the county who acts as a County Recorder who:

  • Carries out their own recording
  • Receives records from others
  • Stores records for their ‘group’ on a database
  • Validates records
  • Passes records on to the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS) and to appropriate national schemes and databases.

The Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service is the repository for all Norfolk wildlife records. It already has over 1 million on its database and realistic expansion plans should soon enable it to input and output records much more effectively.

What to record

It doesn’t have to be rare! Changes in the distribution and abundance of common species (eg. House Sparrow) can only be recognised if data is collected. It is best to consult County Recorders about this if in doubt. Please do not submit records from beyond Norfolk – most other counties also have their own recording network.

  • The essence of recording is accurate species identification – “if in doubt; leave it out”.
  • There is no value in submitting a record for a group of species, e.g. ladybird, newt – it has to be, for example, Two-spot Ladybird or Great-crested Newt.
  • Other essential information:
    • Place (name of site if appropriate; nearest town/village)
    • Grid Reference (at least 4-figure if possible)
    • Date

How to record

In most cases records should be sent to the appropriate County Recorder. Records for groups for which there is no Recorder should be sent to the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service. Please discuss with the appropriate Recorder how these are best submitted and please read our Framework document.

For dragonflies specific recording forms can be downloaded from www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/ ; for some other groups recording forms are available on www.brc.ac.uk/record_cards.asp

Birds may be recorded at norfolkbirds.weebly.com

Records for all mammals can be submitted on the Excel recording spreadsheet, which can be downloaded and either printed out or filled in for emailing to the Mammal Recorder. Some other recorders will accept records in this form but please check first.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust has launched a number of recording schemes aimed at the public as part of its Natural Connections programme.

Contacting County Recorders

Most would prefer to be contacted via email where this is possible. If a postal reply is required enclose a s.a.e. but please remember that replying to enquiries can be time-consuming and that all Recorders are volunteers. Many are willing to answer Norfolk identification queries if they have time.