April 2020 turned out to be a very busy month on iRecord, no doubt due in part to the coronavirus lockdown enabling some to focus on recording their local wildlife, and to the sunny weather for much of the month. Over 100,000 records were added, up from about 75,000 in April 2019, with a higher than usual proportion of them coming from gardens and a smaller proportion from woodlands and grasslands.
There was also an impressive growth in the number of records verified* during April (see chart). No doubt this too is partly a response to some of our verifiers being confined to quarters rather than being able to get out in the field, but alongside that there has also been an increase in new verifiers registering on iRecord for some of the recording schemes. The Mammal Society has had a very successful campaign to recruit additional county verifiers, BRC has been working closely with Butterfly Conservation to support their verifiers and enable more people to make use of the tools that iRecord offers, and in Northern Ireland the CEDaR records centre has been working hard to increase verification and data flow in that country. And there have been some new recording schemes setting up as well (see the recording schemes item in this newsletter). We now have over 650 people registered as iRecord verifiers.
To help support all this activity BRC has been running some iRecord verification webinars, covering the verification tools in some detail and enabling us to gather further feedback from the verifiers who use them. These have been very useful for us at BRC, and have been well-received by the participants. A recorded version of the webinar will be available later in the year.
|"Thank you so much for the webinar, I learned so much and have already 're-configured' my iRecord to include the most useful columns which will significantly improve my verification process. Also for the many tips you gave throughout the session"|
|"Many thanks for running the webinar, it was really useful and helped with my confidence in using the system."|
One result of all this activity is that more data can be made available for research, conservation and other uses, much of which happens via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas. A growing list of datasets are now updated to the NBN Atlas on an automated schedule that happens every two months. Recent additions to the list include vascular plant and aculeate Hymenoptera data, as well as some unverified datasets for species groups that do not have a national recording scheme (so far this has included non-scheme families of Diptera and Coleoptera).
As always, we'd like to thank the verifiers and the recording schemes they represent for the immense amount of time and dedication that goes in to checking the records and providing feedback to recorders. How the lockdown situation will affect the overall patterns of wildlife recording and monitoring this year remains to be seen, but it will be exciting to consider the ways in which these records can contribute to the long-term analyses that BRC and the recording schemes collaborate on. In the meantime, we hope that as many people as possible have been able to find ways of connecting with nature during these unprecedented circumstances.
* For more information on iRecord verification see Verification: what, who and why
This article was published in the BRC Newsletter June 2020.