Wildlife at Home Challenge

Whilst we are all confined for large amounts of our time to our home and garden due to the coronavirus outbreak, we would like to invite all our local wildlife recorders across Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway to join us in the Wildlife at Home Challenge to record house and garden species, and we will be offering online support to help you identify and log the species where you live. Any wildlife counts, no matter how common or widespread, as long as it’s wild or naturalised (no planted garden species please). This includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, bees, butterflies, bugs, beetles, spiders, slugs, snails, mosses, lichens, fungi and flowers.

How to take part

The Wildlife at Home Challenge uses the iRecord online recording tools for sharing and storing all records submitted. You will need to register for iRecord or be an existing iRecord user to take part – see the instructions below. Or you can see the adjacent videos for a guide on how to do this.

  1. Register with iRecord – it’s free. If you are already registered, log in.
  2. Once registered and logged in, click the following link – Wildlife at Home Challenge – to visit the activity page on iRecord and select JOIN.
  3. Read the Rules below for taking part in the Wildlife at Home Challenge
  4. Find and record wildlife in your house or garden.
  5. Identify the wildlife you find – SWSEIC are always happy to assist with ID if we can or point you to suitable resources to get help with identification.
  6. Submit records of single species by clicking on one of the buttons below. You must be logged in to iRecord for these to work.
  7. Alternatively from the iRecord website select ‘Activities’ from the menu and choose one of the links for the Wildlife at Home Challenge activity.

Please email us if you require further help or support with taking part in the Challenge.

Enter records for the Wildlife at Home Challenge

If you have joined the activity and are logged into iRecord, click the following links to add your records

Submit records one at a time

Go to ‘single sighting’ recording form

Submit a list of records

Go to ‘enter a list’ recording form

See what's been recorded so far


  1. All wildlife must be seen within or from a single house and garden that is located within Ayrshire or Dumfries & Galloway.
  2. All records from each recorder should relate to a single site only. Feel free to submit other incidental wildlife records from your essential work, shopping and exercise trips via iRecord, but not within the ‘Wildlife at Home’ iRecord activity please.
  3. Species do not have to be present in the house or garden, as long as they are seen from it. For example, birds flying over are acceptable.
  4. So long as you are confident about identification, auditory records and records from tracks and signs are acceptable.
  5. Records of wildlife from inside your house or outbuilding are acceptable (and encouraged). For example, spiders in your bath.
  6. The recording period runs from 1 April 2020, until the end of the coronavirus restrictions on travel (whenever that might be).
  7. All records should be of wild or naturalised species. No planted garden species allowed.
  8. All records should be submitted via the iRecord ‘Wildlife at Home’ activity page and include your name (pseudonyms not allowed).
  9. We recommend that you do not use your full address for the location of your records as this will appear on iRecord for the public to view. We are happy to accept records allocated to street or village names or the names of broad areas.
  10. Submission of photographs is encouraged, but is not essential.
  11. Records will be verified through the iRecord verification system. Verifiers exist for some, but not all, species groups. For the purposes of this challenge, records that are not-verified by iRecord will be taken in good faith and considered as correct for all common species within their known range/habitat. Records of rare, unusual or difficult to ID species should be supported by photographs and/or descriptions to aid verification.
  12. The judges decisions are final.

You can record wildlife inside your house and in your garden, or any wildlife that you observe from your house or garden. Please follow current government guidelines at all times.

Important note: We recommend you DO NOT use your full postal address as the location when submitting records on iRecord, as this will be visible for other logged-in users to see. Instead, use street names, village names or names of wider areas. Similarly, you may choose to record using a broader four-figure grid reference rather than a detailed six-figure grid reference. Please email us if you require further advice on how to set this up.

As an extra incentive, we will be offering prizes! We have not quite worked out what they will be yet (don’t expect luxury yachts), or how we will get them to you, but during the course of the Wildlife at Home Challenge, we will award prizes for the busiest recorders, the total number of records and species recorded, records of unusual species, good wildlife photos and anything else which we think deserves a prize.

Prize winners will be listed on this website. If you are signed up to our newsletter, we will also notify prize-winners by email.

It is always best to seek help with identification before submitting your records whenever possible. But even if you are not 100% sure about your identification, you can still submit your records via iRecord; the recording form has the option to state your confidence level and an option to attach photographs. Many (but not all) species groups are followed by experts who may be able to verify your records, or correct your ID if you have made a mistake. Even the most experienced recorders make mistakes and it is nothing to worry about!

Please do not submit records of unidentified wildlife on iRecord. To help with identification, there are various online resources, including iSpot. If you are a Faecbook user, there are a number of Facebook groups related to specific taxonomic groups where you can post photos and request assistance with ID (e.g. Hoverflies, Bees, Wasps and Ants). You can also email us with your queries and photos and we will do our best to help.

Any records you submit via iRecord (either through our Wildlife at Home Challenge entry forms , through iRecord general forms or through the iRecord smartphone app ) are shared with local environmental records centres and national recording schemes and societies. There is no need to submit the record separately to the county recorder or to SWSEIC.

If you are an iRecord app user, you can add the Wildlife at Home Challenge activity to your smartphone/tablet app. Go to the iRecord website and log in – you must use the same login details as you use in the app on your phone/tablet.  Then click on the link in action 2 above and join the activity. When you go to the app on your smartphone, click on ‘activities’ icon and select the ‘Wildlife at Home Challenge’ activity as your active recording form (you may need to refresh the list if it does not show straight away). The activities icon will turn blue to show an activity is active. Enter records as normal – they will be added to the Wildlife at Home Challenge activity. Please remember to turn off the activity if you plan to add records from away from your home.

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