Yesterday I hit the landmark figure of 10000 records submitted onto iRecord (11232 records to be precise, it was a long day of data input!), which was a great feeling. It is clear in my mind why I spend hours (& hours and hours) painstakingly going out and seeing things, spend hours identifying them and submitting records, but it may not be clear to everyone and a few people have asked me now why I do it when I could do more interesting / traditional hobbies. There are unfortunately not many 23 year olds spending their free time scribbling down species names in notebooks. Firstly, to me biological recording is more of a vocation than a hobby. My mind is constantly scanning for wildlife and I am getting to the point where I can’t walk past a species and not want to know exactly what it is. This may seem rather sad to most people, and it probably is, but it is also of vital importance. In Britain we are blessed with an amazing diversity of species which we want to conserve, along with the habitats that they are in. But how can we protect something if we don’t know where it is? But biological recording is about more than just dots on maps, it is also about recording habits and life history of the species. It is impossible to conserve a species unless we know where they are found, the requirements they have and how they interact with other species.
Biological recording is also great fun! I have an amazing time looking for wildlife, especially as I get competitive and want to record as many species as possible, which pushes me into taxonomic groups which I would usually avoid. It is also great to see your dot on the map when you record a species somewhere where it hasn’t been seen before. I also keep a pan species list of all the species that I have recorded (currently around 2000 species in Britain).
I have to admit to being a bit of a nerd, and a proud one at that, but I enjoy the challenge of identifying tricky to identify species. I also enjoy analysing my own data and looking at maps of where I have recorded certain species. That is why I love iRecord as I can do all that from anywhere, for free, while making sure that my records get to those that can use them. Records locked away in notebooks are no use, so digitise your data and get out there and record the wildlife you see around you 🙂