A million records and counting…
Earlier this week SWSEIC reached a major milestone by adding our one millionth record to our database. The record of a Redshank on Loch Ryan was part of the county bird records for 2017.
When the Centre was established in 2004, we started with an empty database, a list of local and national contacts and a lot of good will and support from those organisations that helped to get the Centre off the ground. 14 years later and we now have a significant database of information about the wildlife in Dumfries and Galloway and increasingly in Ayrshire too, a growing list of local wildlife recorders keen to share their enthusiasm and knowledge and, importantly, continued support for the work we do from all our partner organisations.
Throughout that period the records we hold have been used in all sorts of ways. They have supported interpretation work at local sites; helped undergraduates and postgraduates with their research; fed into local planning and development decisions; helped to target recording efforts of wildlife recorders for national surveys and atlases; and,
During that period the ease with which records can be made has changed significantly. No longer do recorders need to pore over maps looking up grid references (though no doubt many still do!) – it can be done quickly and easily using online mapping tools. The records themselves can be submitted through online forms and by smartphone apps – though we still receive many by more traditional pen and paper and spreadsheet too. However these online tools have vastly increased the volume of records submitted – see the chart below to see how the number of local bird records received each year has grown over time.
So far records of more than 11,500 different plants, animals and fungi have been gathered from around SW Scotland. Not surprisingly, birds make up the largest proportion of the Centre’s records, followed by moths, plants and butterflies. The Mallard is the most frequently recorded species, with Chaffinch and Blackbird making up the top three.
Finally, a very big thank you to all those who have contributed records – whether by sending them direct to us, to a county recorder or by participating in recording schemes that share their data with the Centre. We couldn’t do it without you!
We look forward to the next million records being added – no doubt they will come a lot faster than the first.