Beginner's Guide to Biological Recording


What is a Record?

A record is simply a species observed by a person, at a location, on a given date.

It must contain these four essential pieces of information in order to be of use to us:

  • What species was observed? Use a common name or the scientific name if you know it.
  • Where was it observed? Include a six figure grid reference if possible and a location name (i.e. the nearest location shown on an Ordnance Survey map) e.g. SO 123 456, Mill Farm.
  • When was it observed? Ideally this should be the exact date, however the month, year or a date range would also be acceptable.
  • Who recorded it? Provide the full name and contact details of the recorder.

Any other information about the site or species is useful, e.g. habitat details, the number, sex, age or behaviour of the individuals observed.


How Do I Work Out the Grid Reference?

SEWBReC prefers to receive records with at least a six figure grid reference. Sightings link to Ordnance Surveyrecorded at this resolution are much more useful (e.g. for assessment of planning applications and biodiversity conservation projects) than those recorded at a four figure grid reference (1km2).

For a tutorial on how to work out a six figure grid reference from a standard Ordnance Survey map click here or on the image.

The Grab a Grid Reference tool, developed by Bedfordshire Natural History Society, is extremely useful for finding grid references. You can search by postcode or placename, and move the map marker to the exact location for your record. Please provide the 6 figure grid reference, written in green, when submitting a record.

In South East Wales, the relevant 100km grid square two-letter codes are SN, SO, SS & ST.

See information on using a GPS.


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