Recording & Monitoring Wildlife

Longhorn moth on survey clipbord © Amber Rosenthal

Recording and monitoring of wildlife is an important part of our work across Dorset, from our Nature Reserves and Dorset's Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI), to the Living Landscape & Living Seas projects and your local community patch!

There are a number of ways you can be involved, depending on your interests, how much time you have, and how experienced you are at identifying wildlife.

Want to develop identification skills or be involved in an organised survey?

Why not attend a survey event on one of our Nature Reserves or as part of one of our Landscape projects. Find our what's on in our Events leaflet, which you can pick up from any of our centres, or on the website here.

Check out our Wildlife Surveys page for any ongoing surveys where you could play a part, these range from recording the Species of The Month in your own garden to our organised survey project for qualified divers (Seasearch).

Look out for opportunities to be involved in upcoming surveys advertised in our monthly Volunteer Alert e-newsletter (register as a volunteer here to receive the email newsletter) ­- training in species identification and survey methodology is often provided for these.

Already have wildlife identification skills and happy to work on your own?

If you already spot wildlife when out and about, report your sightings ‘records’ to the Dorset Environmental Records Centre. A good way to do this is to use the  Living Record on-line recording system -­ once you are logged in you can select to record against one of our Nature Reserves, or use the map to find anywhere in Dorset. Information on how to use the system is available on the Living Record home page under ‘why join in’.

If you have identification skills (or are happy to develop them) and want to do general recording on our Nature Reserves there may be some sites we would like to get more records from ­- get in touch with the Reserves Recording & Monitoring Officer, Steve Masters: , with an idea of what sort of wildlife you record and where you might be happy to visit. 

If you are interested in a particular group of plants or animals (such as birds, beetles, grasses, marine life) and could carry out targeted surveys, have a look at both our Living Landscape projects and our Nature Reserves pages. If you think there are sites or projects you could help with then get in touch with Steve Masters at  - we will send you a form to fill in so that we can match you up with the right opportunity.

Brush up on your wildlife-spotting skills with a training course!

Don’t forget - the Kingcombe Centre also runs a number of training courses to give you the skills to identify various groups of plants and animals with confidence to help with your wildlife recording.

Comma on devils bit Bracketts Sept11 Amber Rosenthal

Comma butterfly on Devil's-bit Scabious
© Amber Rosenthal

Living Record reserves screen grab

 Using Living Record to enter records 

Townsend -Early Spider Monitoring basal flowering May 2013 AR

Early Spider-orchid monitoring
© Amber Rosenthal


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