How can you submit records?
More records are always welcome. You can submit records in several different ways.
1. BirdTrack (see below);
2. Spreadsheet (see below); or
3. using the Cofnod Online Recording System (ORS).
Please submit your records regularly, preferably no less frequently than every quarter. Any records received after the end of March of the following year will still be added to the database but may be too late to be considered for the annual Bird Reports.
Our preferred method is BirdTrack, on online database that can be used wherever you watch birds in Britain and Ireland. We recommend that all observers keep their records in BirdTrack . Recorders in any county can access those records and you have lots of useful (and improving) functions to view your own records. Please make your sites 1km sites and use the gazetteer to name them (to help us distinguish your North-East Wales sites from those outside the region). It would be helpful for compiling the bird report if you do not enter the same records in multiple databases.
Within BirdTrack it is not possible to see your list of sites with their associated 1km square grid reference. What I have now started to do to overcome this problem is to enter the geographical reference as requested by BirdTrack, eg SJ2644 for 'Sychdyn' but to enter as the place name 'SJ2644 Sychdyn'. This means that placenames are listed alphabetically by grid reference and assist finding the correct place, especially when you have the 1km grid reference but don't have the gazetteer to hand.
If you wish to discuss this further, please contact the Recorder. All the BirdTrack records are submitted to Cofnod each year.
What information do we need?
BirdTrack prompts you to provide the species name and count, with the option to add breeding activity or other notes. It also requires the location, but if you use the smartphone app, this will be completed automatically (if you have GPS switched on, and a phone signal). If you use BirdTrack, please use the 'complete list' function whenever possible. When making complete lists, please count the birds present if you are able to do so. The counts add much value to the records. NB a 'complete list' is when you have recorded all the species you have observed and identified within the start and end times of the period when you saw them. The time period can be anything from, eg, 10 minutes to several hours. Whenever you have been recording only selected species that you have identified then these are entered as 'casual' records, usually without start and end times.
A standard form is available from the Downloads page, which can be completed on your computer and emailed to the Recorder. These records are imported to a database so it does not matter about the order. We would welcome records from previous years if they have not yet been submitted.
What information do we need?
- Species name (please use the BTO two-letter code in the spreadsheet);
- Date of the observation;
- The 1 km square grid reference (when you enter this and move to another cell, the location name and Vice County number should pop up in the correct columns); See below for more on grid references.
- The age and/or sex of the bird;
- The number of birds seen (please do not enter pairs as one record – enter the number of males then on the next line, the number of females); and
- In the comments column, enter any other pertinent aspects of the observation.
All of the details observers submit are stored. As the records are handled electronically, it does not matter how frequently you record the observations.
Finding your grid reference
If you wish you can download this sheet from the Ordnance Survey.
This takes a few moments, but getting the correct location is crucial for your records to be valuable to us.
If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, click on the link below and you can zoom to any location, click and find the 1 km grid reference (to make this clearer, we recommend turning off all the primary layers except Borders and Labels):
Open Gazetteer of 1km OS Squares in Google Earth
Alternatively, this application from the Bedfordshire Natural History Society allows you to move a marker to a location and read the 1 km grid reference: Grab a Grid.
Many thanks for Roger Horton for these links.