Recording Wildlife Sightings

Wildlife Advice

Recording Wildlife Sightings

Photo by Paul Harris/2020VISION

Keeping an eye on the wild side

It is only through recording wildlife that we can see when changes happen in our environment, whether this occurs in our towns or the countryside.

Kent has a proud history of excellent wildlife record-keeping and so we have an incredible network of record centres with which you can log your wildlife sightings.

What makes a good record?

To turn an observation of wildlife into a scientifically valid biological record we need to know four key pieces of information:

  • What – The name of the species. This can be its common name or its scientific name. Although care must be taken with common names as some things share their names with other species i.e. Sycamore is a tree and a moth! If you don’t know the name of the species just take a picture or jot down a description and send it to the KMBRC and they will try to get an identification for you by one of the county experts. Alternatively there are many excellent resources to be found on the internet.
  • Where – The location of the thing that you saw. The best way of expressing where something is/was is a place name coupled with an Ordnance Survey grid reference i.e. Tyland Barn TQ753593. Alternatively, a place name and postcode can be just as useful.
  • When – The date you saw the species. Recording the date is useful as your record combined with all of the other observations of that species give us a chance to see changes in seasonal activity. If you are telling us about something you saw a while ago and cannot remember the exact date don’t worry, just give us the month or season plus the year.
  • Who – Your name. Besides liking to know who is looking at the wildlife in Kent it is also an important item of information to be recorded with the species name so that our experts know where the record came from. Plus if you want to ask the KMBRC what species you have seen they can easily produce a list for you. Of course you can request to remain anonymous if you prefer.

These 4 pieces of information are the bare minimum needed to make a valid record, however, any other details of what you see are very interesting and important to us too. i.e. behaviours, numbers of individuals, etc.

For help and more information about biological recording in Kent please contact the Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre.