Which records do you submit?

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Which records do you submit?

I have seen some discussion around similar subjects but not dealing with this precise issue - but apolgies if I'm going over old ground. I have read the general guidance and the relevant bits of the guidance for verifiers.

I broadly understand the current data flow and am quite content for all my records to go in simply two directions - iRecord and Birdtrack (and whatever UK Moths finally settle on if you excuse the pun).

I also understand the verification procedure and it doesn't bother me if my records for some species remain unverfied for years until a volunteer can get to them.

Having said that, my question is about volume of records. Currently I only add records if I'm not sure of the ID, if I think it's interesting, or I have time. Clearly it would be much better if I also entered everything where I am certain of the ID or I have some evidence for others to review. For example, in our lockdown garden safari last year we amassed several thousand records covering some 511 species, but I don't photograph every occurance of every animal. In a smple example we are seeing one or more Bee fly every day currently, but unless I can get a photograph which is an improvement on or different to my current stock I have no evidence to submit.

So what do others do, or more importantly what is the recommended procedure? Should I only submit the single record of a Holy Blue where I have decent image, or should I submit the 25 records without evidence which gives a better overall view of what is around localy and when? I realise that some recording schemes are happy to use 'plausible' records but on the other hand hand I don't want to embark on entering every record of every animal I see if that ends up with the vast majority being unused and worthless.

Any thoughts gratefully received. I may just start entering everything - at least then it's someone else's problem. :)

Mike Creighton

James Emerson
No set procedure, my opinion is...

Hi Mike.

I don't think there is a recommended procedure, certainly not as one uniform set of instructions that all recording schemes would agree on, so this is my personal view.

In terms of different species, then it makes sense to submit all records if time and effort permits. Beyond that I think you actually have two separate but linked questions here, one about submitting records without photo evidence and one about submitting multiple records of the same species from the same location.

For groups where a verifier or scheme has been involved, species will be graded 1-5. Typically 1 are easy to identify, 2 are a bit trickier, 3 onwards are difficult/rare/you need to see something specific. Also note that verifiers can see statistics about you, which I believe include things like the number of records in a group that you have had verified, possibly even the number of times you have correctly identified that particular species. If its a county recorder (or a group that not many people record) then they will also get to know your name and develop a feel for your level of ID ability. So to give some examples, whilst I try to photograph as much as possible, I record a lot of ladybirds so if I record a 7-spot ladybird, a common and distinctive grade 1 species then it will get accepted without question. I have also submitted records with photos of about 10-15 Cream-spot ladybirds, all verified, so even though it is perhaps a trickier ID I would expect to get the benefit of the doubt if I did the same there "considered correct" (note that plausible records don't actually make the national databases like correct/considered correct). So in short, common/expected grade 1/2 species are usually OK to submit without pictures, especially if you have submitted verified ones previously. There are a few exceptions, e.g. for Agromyzids all records need photos because the recording scheme organiser wants the dataset to be as near to 100% accurate as possible.

Deciding what repeat records to submit is more subjective. I would consider what value they add. So for example, if you have daisies in your garden, there is no need to submit that record 365 times a year! Once in leaf, once in flower would probably be enough. At the opposite end of the scale, something with a short flight period would probably be interesting for each day you see it. Also consider any additional information, so if a species is nectaring on primroses, but then a few weeks later switches to lungwort, that might be worth recording. Males and females also might have different emergence times, so if you see something well enough to tell them apart that would be worth extra submissions.

Ultimately I think your last point is correct - if in doubt, record it and let the verifier decide how important it is.


Best wishes, James

That's very helpful and

That's very helpful and coincides pretty much identically with what I was thinking as a general procedure to adopt. It's easier with birds and moths where I just upload everything to separate databases.

Thnaks for your thoughts.


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