Parts of a record

Making a biological record is easier than you might think. All you have to remember is Who? What? Where? and When?

Who? e.g. Mr Jack Smith

It is useful to provide your name! especially if you will be recording on a regular basis. Please use your full name and if you would also like to provide contact details, the information would only be used to contact you if we needed clarification of your record. You may have seen something very rare for North Merseyside and we might need to double check that we have the correct information.

What? e.g. Male House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Name the plant or animal that you have seen. If you can find the scientific name from identification guidebooks or on the internet than please include that too. This avoids any uncertainty as common names can differ from area to area.

If you are not sure what you have seen, a photograph would be very useful to help with the identification. Websites such as iSpot can also be used to help you identify your species. In fact if you can take a photograph whenever you see something rare or interesting, it will help ensure that your record can be confirmed (verified). You may also want to take note of how many you have seen and whether they are adults or young, male or female.

Where? e.g. SJ 417 901 - National Wildflower Centre, Court Hey Park, Huyton

We need information on the location, so that we know where the animal or plant has been seen. A good, accurate, grid reference is particularly important if it is a rare or unusual sighting. The most useful information is to provide both a grid reference and site description/name. Try to give as much detail as possible. Include the street name, park name, building name etc. and the area, e.g. Broadgreen. If you are not sure how to get a grid reference, the Ordnance Survey has produced this excellent guide.

When? e.g. Thursday 10th July 2008, or 10/07/2008

Records from the same area, year on year help to monitor a species over time and could tell us how a plant or animal might be spreading or declining in its range, or increasing or declining in number. Always try to use the date format DD/MM/YYYY.