Submitting Records Guide

How to record on NatureSpot - video guide

In addition to the guidance notes below, you might find it useful to watch our short video guide on YouTube.

Illustrated guidance notes

This page describes how to use the Submit Record form to send in your wildlife sightings and images.

On the form itself, hover over any of the blue questionmark icons to see further helpful tips.

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, though you may have to wait a day or so for admin approval.

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) 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.

Getting started

To get started, click on Submit Records on the main menu:

At the top there is an optional text box where you can add information that is relevant to all of the records on the form, eg 'moth light trap' or 'guided walk led by John Smith'.

Step 1 - Enter the date

You must enter the date for the record to be valid. Click into the date box and the date picker appears - just find the correct date and click on it. 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. Old records are welcome - just select the relevant date.


Step 2 - Enter a name for the site

site name

Enter the site name as Place name first, then details, e.g. "Melton Mowbray, Scalford Road". 
If the site doesn't have an established name, enter the nearest town or village before any description, e.g. "Ratby, field".
If it is your garden, just enter the village/area plus garden, eg. "Groby garden".

Step 3 - Enter a grid reference

Don't panic! The site makes this very easy - all you have to do is click the 'spot' on the map.

You can use the map controls to zoom in and drag it around, but a quick shortcut is to enter the a nearby village or area name into the Search box, then click the Search button.

search map

You must provide at least a 6 number grid reference (locating a 100m square). 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. The specific grid references for some sensitive species, such as Badgers, are automatically blurred. If you are concerned about revealing the location of a sensitive species then email us ( and we can mask the location for you.

Use the map controls to find the exact spot - then just click on it and the grid ref will be entered automatically.


Make sure your grid reference has at least 6 numbers. If it only has 4, zoom in further and click again.

Step 4 - Entering your species

To start, type the first few letters 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. 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 menu list). The list includes both the scientific name AND the common name (if it has one) so you can search for either. Synonyms are also listed.

If your species isn't listed it may not have been recorded on NatureSpot before (we only list known species). In this case type + and select '+ new species' from the menu and you will then be prompted to say what you think your species is in the comment box.

If you don't know what species it is but have one or more images, you can enter it as an unknown by typing ? into the box and selecting '? unknown species' from the menu. NatureSpot will then see if we can recognise the species for you.


The other boxes on the row are optional, but if 'Recording Advice' pops up on the form below your species row then use the comment box to provide the requested evidence.

  • 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.
  • SEX: If you know the sex of what you saw then it can be helpful to add it, otherwise just leave the default entry of 'unrecorded'.
  • ATTRIBUTE: This is currently only set up for some groups, such as birds and insects, and gives you the option to add more detail. For birds it is all about behaviour and for insects it is about the life stage (eg. adult/caterpillar/gall etc.). Again you can just leave the default entry of 'unrecorded'.
  • 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. Leave it blank if you identified it yourself.
  • COMMENTS: This is the place leave any additional information and to provide any details requested by the 'Recording Advice' pop up.

Step 5 - Add a photo (optional for most green rated species)

Note - the Add Images link only appears after the species name has been entered.

Click on Add Images if you have a photo to attach to your record. You can add up to four images. The system can accept any images up to 10MB in size and will resize these to a smaller version.

Add up to three more images, particularly if these show ID features relevant to your species.

For each uploaded image, you have the opportunity to add a caption. This caption will be displayed with the image but should only be used to point out anything of note in the image itself. Image caption entries are not saved as part of the record.

Step 6 - Add any other species and SAVE

Use new lines to add any other species you saw. Note - species seen on a different date or at a different sites should be entered on a fresh form.

You will now be taken to a thank you screen listing your records. After a few seconds, you will see a list of all the species you have just submitted with dates of when you last recorded each species (or if it is a new species for you) and also when it was last recorded by anyone on NatureSpot.

All uploaded images will be displayed on our Latest Images page (once the record is accepted).

After submitting your record(s) you can return to edit an entry at any time. See Editing your records.

You can choose how much feedback you want to receive after you have submitted a record. See the notifications page for options.