Help and Guidance for Submitting Wildlife Records

This page describes how to use the Submit Record form to send in your wildlife sightings and/or images. You may also find it useful to look at our illustrated guide to this form - which takes you through it step by step.

How to Submit Your Wildlife Sightings

The Submit Records form is quick and easy to use. It is intended to record one or more species (with or without images) seen at a given site on a particular date. If you want to submit wildlife records from more than one site or date, complete a fresh form for each one.

You must register before you can submit a record or image. This is free and will only take a few moments.

There are just three things that are essential to record on the form: 1. when you saw it (date) 2. where you saw it (grid reference - see below) and 3. what you saw (species). These are called required fields and you can't save the record until all three are filled in. (The fourth essential is who saw it - but we know that from your log in). If you forget any of these, you will be prompted to fill in the missing information. All the other boxes are optional but give you the chance to tell us a bit more about your sighting.

Just follow the Six Steps on the form.

When and Where?

Date

You must enter the date for the record to be valid. Click into the date box and the date picker appears to make this very easy. If you want to type in the date you can (eg. 25/04/2011). Remember, you must use a new form if your wildlife sightings were on different dates.

Site Name

Please tell us what the site is called. This name will be used as part of the label for any images you upload. The site name helps to identify the location even when the grid reference might cover adjacent land. If it is your garden, don’t use your address, instead call it something like ‘Leicester garden’, using the place you live as part of the name. If the site doesn't have a name, just use the name of the place or area.

Grid Reference

The grid reference of your sighting is a required part of the record. If you know it then just type it in, otherwise let the map find it for you. Simply find your location on the map and click - the grid reference will be automatically entered into the box for you. Keep zooming (and reclicking) to get a more precise grid reference.

You can use the 'Search map to:' box to get near to your location - enter the nearest town or village and click on the SEARCH button and the map should zoom to this area. Use the arrow controls to zoom in further or to move to other parts of the map. Note that some smaller villages may not be recognised, in which case you will need to pick another nearby place or search manually with the map controls.

Try to provide at least a 6 number grid reference (locating a 100m square) where possible, but less detailed entries are accepted. Only records with 6 number grid references are included in our Wild Places species lists and on the species distribution maps. For gardens, an eight figure grid reference is best.

For example:

Click on the large scale map and you will get a two number grid reference such as SK50 - a 10km square covering most of Leicester and a large area to the west.

Zoom in further and click again to get a four number grid reference such as SK5107 - a 1km square covering Martinshaw Wood and part of Groby.

Zoom in again and click for a six number grid reference such as SK510072 - a 100m square within Martinshaw Wood itself.

A final zoom and click will give you the most detailed grid reference with eight numbers, such as SK51020723 - a 10m square pin-pointing where two rides cross in the wood.

Should you have the grid reference but want to check it is correct, type it into the Grid Reference box and click on the Search button above. Your grid referenced square will then appear on the map.

 What Did You See?

Species (required)

To start, type the first letter of your species in the species box and a list of possibilities will appear in the menu. Typing more letters will narrow down the list. A little patience may be needed so don't type too quickly - the list should first appear after 3-4 letters are entered. Keep typing to narrow down the list. When you see the species name you want, click on it (don't try and type in the full species name - you must select from the list). The list includes both the scientific name AND the common name (if it has one) so you can search for either. For example, the Red Admiral butterfly appears twice:

  • Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
  • Vanessa atalanta – Red Admiral

The species list only includes species that have been recorded previously on the NatureSpot web site. Additional species are being added all the time so the list will steadily expand. If you have found a species that isn’t on the list, type + and then select '+ new species' from the species menu and you will then be prompted to tell us what species you think it is. For a new species to be accepted you will either need to send photographic evidence or a recognised expert must have identified it for you.

If you don’t know the identity of the species but have a photo, type ? and select '?' from the menu. Attach the photo (see Add Images below) and we will try to identify it for you. You can also look at the images in the species library to try to find a match.

If you select a species from the drop down menu and make a mistake, just click on the X to the left of the species name and the selection will be deleted.

If you have an image to go with your record, the Add Images link appears when you have selected your species (see below for more guidance).

You can keep adding species by using the new row that appears on the form.

Abundance

This is an optional field where you can tell us how many of each species you saw (in numbers or words). The default setting is one so if you don’t change it we will assume you have seen just one specimen.

Confidence

Sometimes you may think you know what species you have seen but are not 100% certain. You can then enter Likely or Maybe from the drop down menu, depending how confident you are about the identification. If you have an image with your record, we may be able to help confirm the identity. If you are sure about the identification, then leave the entry as Certain - the default setting.

Identified By

It is helpful to know if an expert has helped to confirm the identity of your species. For common species this isn't important and you can leave it blank. In any case, if you leave it blank we will assume you identified it yourself.

Add Images

The Add Images link appears when you have selected a species. Here you can upload a photo, if you have one, of your species. Click on the 'Add Further Images' link to add more photos. Note – all images must be of the actual specimen that you are recording. You can add up to four different images, particularly if you think this might help to confirm its identity.

You can upload an image in its original format. Unless you have an image composed as you want it, it can help to crop it to make the species prominent in the frame. If possible, avoid long thin shapes which do not display as well on the site.

For each uploaded image, you have the opportunity to add a caption. This is optional but it can be very helpful to state whether it is male, female or a juvenile (if you know). This caption will be displayed with the image. You can also use the comments box to add a few words about where you found it. This comment forms part of the permanent record passed on to local and national recording schemes.

All uploaded images will be displayed on our Latest Images page (after moderation). Your image(s) can also be seen on the My Images page.

Submit

You must click Submit when you have completed the data entry.

You might also find our Frequently Asked Questions page useful.