Forth Nature Counts
The Inner Forth is a fantastic area for wildlife. Between 2014 and 2018, over 1,000 people have taken part in the Forth Nature Counts project by attending free wildlife identification workshops, signing up as volunteer Nature Recorders and walking one of our six Survey Walks, or by generating new widlife records and adding them to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form in iRecord. All of this activity has helped to build understanding of the diversity, abundance and spread of plants and animals that are found in this landscape. The project comes to a close at the end of March 2018, but you can still take part!
- Help to make your wildlife sightings count: Sign up to use the Forth Nature Counts iRecord form and submit your records from anywhere in the UK.
- Help to record locally scarce or under recorded species by downloading the month by month target species to record poster from the 'documents' section of this page. Once you spot a species, add it to the Forth Nature Counts iRecord form.
- Try wildlife recording using a transect: download one of the six Survey Walks from the documents section of this page, visit the site and add your wildlife records to the Forth Nature Counts iRecord form.
From Source to Resource conference, 10th February 2018, Alloa.
On Saturday 10th February 2018, 'From Source to Resource: Making Biological Records Count' took place at Alloa Academy. This free conference mixed short talks with break-out sessions and a stalls area where the seventy attendees shared identification tips and skills and heard updates from figures in the world of biological recording and citizen science.
Download slides from the five conference talks here. Download slides from the Introduction to Scottish Solitary bees and hoverflies break-out session here. Download slides from the Using iRecord to simplify record recording and verification of wildlife records break-out session here.
- Dr Mark Eaton (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science), Assessing the state of nature: past, present and future
- Dr Scott Shanks (Buglife Scotland), Biological Recording: The key to conservation
- Natalie Harmsworth (The Wildlife Information Centre), Record Verification: A key step in the data flow pathway
- Ross McIlwrath (TCV / Butterfly Conservation Scotland), Micro Moths: An Under-Recording Problem
- Ellen Wilson (RSPB / Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum), SBIF Review Update
- AM/1, Mammal Tracks & Signs, John Haddow (Auritus Wildlife Consultancy) slides not available.
- AM/2, Seaweeds in the Edinburgh shoreline, Aroa Sampedro-Fernandez (TCV/RBGE) slides not available.
- AM/3, An overview of the diversity of Scottish solitary bees & hoverflies, Suzanne Burgess (Buglife Scotland) slides available.
- AM/4, Guided birding to RSPB Black Devon Wetlands, Allison Leonard & Ami Kirkbright (RSPB Scotland). outdoor session.
- PM/1, Using iRecord to simplify recording & verification of wildlife records, Scott Shanks (Buglife Scotland) slides available.
- PM/2, Introduction to Bryophytes, Julie Smith & Gordon Rothero (British Bryological Society) slides not available.
- PM/3, What lurks beneath at Black Devon, Kirsty Grant & Ally Lemon (Buglife Scotland) outdoor session that used the OPAL water survey.
- PM/4, How to record: for beginners, Graeme Wilson & Natalie Harmsworth (TWIC) outdoor session.
Wildlife Survey and Identification Skills Workshops
January to March 2018 workshops are listed on the IFLI events calendar and bookings can be made by contacting [email protected] or calling 01324 831 568. The posters below give a flavour of our past workshops. There is no charge to attend Forth Nature Counts workshops thanks to the way that the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. As IFLI projects come to a close in March 2018, we are not planning for any ID workshops after this date. Thank you to all those who have led workshops since 2014 and everyone who has attended.
Making a Wildlife Record - Forth Nature Counts on iRecord
SInce 2014, the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative has been on iRecord. If you make any nature records in the Inner Forth area, or across the UK (and you are not already submitting them to the NBN via other means) then give the Inner Forth iRecord form a go and share it with anyone else who might be interested! Enter your records at: http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-inner-forth-records
If you are new to iRecord or wildlife recording, please download our handy 'how to' guide from the documents section below.
If you plan to regularly record, then we suggest you create a free account on iRecord. This means you can explore the records you generate and look at what other people have recorded in your local area.
For recording out-and-about you can download the iRecord app, but remember to log in from a computer first and select 'enter Inner Forth records' as one of your activities, and link it to your app!
Three suggestions to get started with wildlife recording:
1. Decide on a location to record in – perhaps this is your cycle to work or school, where you walk your dog, the extent of your garden or the area you can see from your window at work. Each day/time you decide to record, make a list of what you have seen, when this was (the date) and the location where you made the records (eg grid reference, or name of place). Each of these are key details for a good wildlife record and you will be asked to add these when submitting your records to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord.
2. Each month we promoted a short list of 3-4 species for you to target your recording activity on. The monthly lists can be downloaded from the documents section of this page and are still relevant as these species remain under-recorded or locally scarce - your new records will help to build the datasets about these species. Keep an eye out for one or more of the locally scarce or under recorded species each month and add your records to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord.
3. Explore somewhere new by walking one of the six Forth Nature Counts Survey Walks that can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. Between 2014 and 2018 these were walked by dedicated volunteer Nature Recorders, but by making the Survey Walk guides available, we hope that more people will try this type of regular and repeatable recording. Add your records to the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord.
What is a Survey Walk? This is a repeatable transect (route) of 2-3km in length that has been designed to cover a range of habitats and can be walked by experienced naturalists and those looking to build their knowledge or give citizen science a go! The Survey Walks have been created on the the following sites: Fallin Bing in Stirlingshire; Kinneil Local Nature Reserve in Falkirk; Kinneil Estate in Falkirk; Valleyfield Woodland Park in Fife; Black Devon Wetlands in Clackmannanshire, Devilla Forest in Fife. Transects are routinely used to gather records in a repeatable way. Interested in doing more? You could sign up for regular volunteering with a conservation charity such as Bumblebee Conservation Trust, BTO Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Buglife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, British Dragonfly Society, Scottish Badgers, Bat Conservation Trust, Froglife, Botanical Society of the British Isles, Marine Conservation Society, British Phycologial Society, Scottish Fungi, Scottish Wildlife Trust. Or contact your local biological records centre such as Fife Nature Records Centre (covfers Fife) or The Wildlife Information Centre (covers Lothians and Borders, Falkirk, Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park).
Tips to keep you safe when recording: Before you head out to survey, check the forecast (and perhaps delay your trip in inclement weather), make sure that you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return (or take a friend/family member with you), wear suitable clothing for the weather forecasted, wear sturdy shoes, and perhaps take a drink and snack. None of the Forth Nature Counts Survey Walks involve entering or crossing watercourses. We advise you not to enter water or mudflats and to keep an eye on the tide if you are exploring the shoreline anywhere in the UK.
Forth Nature is being counted! Summary of activity between May 2014 & September 2016:
Forth Nature Counts in 2015, a review...
In September 2014 we launched the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord, ready for wildlife records to be inputted over the winter months. Over the next 12 months volunteers added a fantastic 4,615 wildlife records covering 518 species. 79.7% of records were inputted using our form, rather than the standard iRecord interface.
In 2015 we ran sixteen free wildlife ID workshops for 144 attendees. Workshops covered wading birds, fungi, wildflowers, invertebrates and trees. The evaluation forms collected gave us some areas to improve on (toilets and the occasional cramped room), but also showed that the sessions were enjoyable, the workshop leads hugely knowledgable and personable and that attendees were keen for more.
We also launched Survey Walks on five IFLI sites with the aim of offering volunteers the opportunity to improve their ID skills and get to know an IFLI project site in all seasons. Our volunteers have been fantastic and have generated many of the records inputted to our iRecord page. We hope they will stay involved with us next year and know that many are picking up new skills.
A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part so far, to our volunteers, workshop leads, attendees, and everyone who has shared a wildlife sighting with us.
If you have a question about this project, please contact Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer on 01324 831 568 or [email protected]