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Introduction to Recording

From mosses, lichen, fungi and plants to birds, mammals and invertebrates, ERCCIS is keen to hear about any wildlife you’ve seen, whether in your garden, on the coast or in the countryside.

Why record wildlife?

All wildlife records are important as they help us to understand and conserve the natural history of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Information about the wildlife that exists in an area can guide conservation management, influence planning decisions, help measure the condition of the environment and monitor changes over time. Recording is also a great way to explore our rich and diverse terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments and learn more about the wildlife you encounter along the way.

What is a wildlife record?

A wildlife record is an observation made by a person at a given location and on a particular date. The species can be common, unusual or rare and you don’t need to have seen the creature itself; perhaps you’ve identified mammal droppings or a bird song.

How do I record wildlife?

Anyone who is interested in wildlife and the environment can become a biological recorder, no matter what your age, skills or experience. You simply need to provide details of WHAT you saw, WHERE you saw it, WHEN you saw it and WHO you are. ERCCIS has lots of resources to help with identification and you can also contact the Wildlife Information Service with a description and good quality photograph if possible. In addition, specimens are useful to confirm identification which can be sent to ERCCIS or the relevant County Recorder for verification.

How do I submit my records?

  • Visit our new interactive online recording system at to enter records and discover what wildlife has been seen in your area.
  • Download the Electronic Recording Form to submit multiple records using a simple spreadsheet. Follow the guidelines and return via email.
  • Print a Wildlife Recording Form to take with you as you record, then submit your records electronically or alternatively post them to us. See Contact Us for address details.

What happens to the records?

Submitted records will be validated, verified (checked to ensure information is complete, in the correct format and that identification is confirmed) and added to the computer database at ERCCIS. This information is stored and disseminated as part of desk studies requested by partner organisations, conservation groups, ecological consultants, students and members of the public. Wildlife information from this database may be passed to third parties but personal details relating to recorders will not be passed on without prior permission being given by the individual. Sensitive or confidential records, such as locations of protected species, roost sites, setts or nest sites are generally not made available.

Our Biological Recording Tutorial, produced as part of the Marine Science Project, includes more detailed information about recording and data management.

If you need further information or guidance please contact the Data Officer through the enquiry form.