Seaford Natural History Society - Support
Recording the wildlife we see contributes to collection, storage and dissemination of biodiversity records which creates recorded knowledge of the wildlife in our area and an understanding of local biodiversity. This in turn informs decision-making at a number of levels and enables it to take account of the needs of our wildlife.
If you are wondering about whether you might like to start recording, the first step might be to note occasional sightings, perhaps take a photograph and then post the information on our facebook page. If this leads you to wanting to record more seriously then all you require to start is a pencil, paper and some patience and a willingness to learn.
To put it very simply, recording is writing down what you see and where you saw it. Adding a little more information and collecting the data in a standardised form and feeding them into the county recording system means that our records make a valuable contribution to county and national records.
For the data to be useful it is desirable that at least the following information is provided:-
- Species name
- Location name
- UK national grid reference (ideally 6 figure and taken from a GPS)
- Recorder's name
- Any other details such as whether it was a female, an egg, if it was flying or feeding, how many there were, was it flowering, was it a juvenile, etc.
Useful ways of registering your data include –
Using the iRecord website. Species records that are submitted are validated by experts before being passed on to the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre. The system also provides feedback if there are doubts about the identification. If you have a smartphone the iRecord app makes it even easier.
If the species is notable or interesting, and you are sure of the identification, it can be added to The Society's ongoing record of such sightings which are submitted direct to SxBRC annually. In this case data should be e-mailed to the Society's Recorder.
In Sussex records are maintained by the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre (SxBRC).
If you prefer not to use an online recording tool there are a number of alternatives you can choose from. Specific information about record keeping and a tool (using Excel) to help with recording records can be found on the SxBRC recording page.
SNHS are keen to increase wildlife recording activities, and have established a recording group of beginners and more experienced recorders, with particular interests. To find out more please e-mail the Society's Recorder
Apps and Guides
There are a number of apps to help you identify what you see and we have listed some of them. Warning!! These are excellent tools, particularly for the beginner, but they are only as good as their software, your photograph or the sound recording you take. You should always double-check their suggested identification.
iNaturalist - Free
It claims to be one of the world's most popular nature apps. iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 400,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What's more, by recording and sharing your observations, you'll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. Whilst iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, it appears to work well for British nature, but do ensure that you have the app set up to prioritise species seen in your locality. If it does seem to suggest a rare species for the UK, do check the distribution maps.
ObsIdentify - Free
This app concentrates on North Western Europe and once you have taken a photo of what is puzzling you, it will help you identify 22,303 wild animals and plants that occur in northwestern Europe. You can also keep your photos and observations organized with the app and website. You will be rewarded with tailor-made tips to find species, earn badges and be invited to participate in challenges. Your observations and those of others contribute to knowledge of nature. Thus, your observations and those of others are part of research into these species. Every observation counts!
Tree ID by Woodland Trust - Free
This free Tree ID app for Android and iPhone identifies the UK's native and non-native trees. It's an A-Z tree guide in your pocket. In just a few steps you can identify native and common non-native trees in the UK whatever the season using leaves, bark, twigs, buds, flowers or fruit.
BirdNET - Bird sound identification - Free
BirdNET uses audio recordings to help you identify birds. BirdNET is a joint project from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Chemnitz University of Technology which uses artificial intelligence to train computers to identify the most common bird species. It is an innovative tool for conservationists, biologists, and birders alike. The app works by allowing you to record audio which is then sent to the BirdNET servers that then identify species by sound! The app is currently in prototype but by using it now you'll help the project develop. They are continually working on adding more species and continue to expand the project. It's a fascinating project to follow although at this point it is only available on the Google Play Store.
Collins Bird Guide - £12.99 (Google) / £14.99 (Apple)
Unlike with the other apps you must pay for this one. The Collins Bird Guide is a fantastic resource with lots of information and illustrations. Much like the print guide it gives details of bird species that are quite often confused. The app removes the need to haul a large and heavy book with you and allows you to use a search filter (so no more flicking through pages and pages!). It also lets you record sightings, location, and date with the handy listing tool. And for those who like the detail, the app incorporates the BTO/Birdwatch Ireland/Scottish Ornithologists' Club mapping data, although this is at additional cost.
PlantSnap - Free (In-App Purchases)
With a specific focus on plant species, PlantSnap allows you to identify plants by image or name. The app claims it can identify 90% of all species of flowers, leaves, trees, mushrooms, succulents and cacti. It's also a social app which allows you to connect with other nature lovers and share your favourite finds! The app can be used for free but there is a daily limit unless you upgrade.
iGeology - Free
iGeology is a free smartphone app that lets you take over 500 geological maps of Britain wherever you go to discover the landscape beneath your feet. The app is available for iPhone/iPad. This app comes from the British Geological Survey and by using a series of maps, enables you to find out about the rocks at the surface or the bedrock beneath where you are. The app uses GPS so you can easily find your location and includes a 3D view of the geological landscape. You can even share your own geological observations with other users!
If you would like to borrow the Society's moth trap, please contact Clare Mayers (firstname.lastname@example.org)