Bird Recording

Submitting bird records for Gloucestershire :

Richard Baatsen – County Recorder

Common Resident Species

These are best recorded on a monthly basis; you should either report a monthly max figure where the site is visited a number of times during the month or a dated monthly count where the site is only visited once during the month. Please record breeding activity, the number of singing males etc. This is recommended for local patches and gardens feeding stations. This sort of data provides good data on common species that observer tend to ignore and is vital when monitoring population trends


Places like the Severn Estuary / River where birds move on the tide and under certain weather conditions. Other birds many not be migrant but use the estuary as a refuelling stop. So record the tide time and whether the birds moved off north. There maybe little time to count a flock moving through at speed so the “Black Art” of estimating flock size will be come in very handy. This is done by counting a small part of the flock say 10 and then using that as a unit of measure to estimate the rest of the flock. These estimates should be identified by using say c100, circa 100, or 100+, you could also include a note, at least 100 or a min of 100. Reports of birds observed on a high tide roost or feeding on the estuary that are not migrating should include a note stating that.


These should first be phoned through immediately. One good reason for doing this is to have your sighting validated by another observer. If you have a camera please photography the bird and always take field notes.

These records may require a description at either a County level or a BBRC description at a national level. Description forms can be obtained from the recorder.

Survey Records

If you carrying out record work such as a BBS square or a WeBS count please send a copy to the recorder as these to do not automatically get passed. Thank you.

Simple Record

The information contained in a simple record can be broken down into 8 pieces of information;

Species (What)
Number of birds (How many)
Date (First date seed)
Date (Last date seen)
Location (Where)
Grid ref (Double check on the location, used for mapping)
Initials (Who)
Notes (Your chance to write anything else down)
Records should be sent in via E-mail but can also be received via the post too.

Submit via email to

You can either use an Excel spreadsheet using points 1-to-8 as column headers, or a text list within an E-mail see example below.

Wigeon,3500,01/01/07,31/01/07,WWT Slimbridge,ST 40 80,RGB

Tundra Bean Goose,1,02/04/07,,WWT Slimbridge.””,RGB,”Seen from the Holden Tower, then flew onto the river”

Redstart,2,13/04/07,,Ashleworth Ham,ST 32 30,RGB

Redstart,3,15/04/07,,Ashleworth Ham,ST 32 30,RGB,2M1F possible breeding attempt

Instead of separate columns within a spreadsheet the record is divided up by commas.

The main problem with this is when you want to use a comma in your notes. You can do this however you will need to tell the computer this by wrapping the note/comment in double quote marks. See example below:

Seen from the Holden Tower, then flew onto the river
“Seen from the Holden Tower, then flew onto the river” (correct)
Also if you want to leave a field blank, you still have to include the commas i.e. if you do not put the grid ref in. See example below:

· Ashleworth Ham, ,RGB

· Ashleworth Ham,SO 28 27 ,RGB

Site Names (location)

How are site names created.

The nearest village to the location say “Hawling”, then the location “Shade Barn Farm” remembering the rule about the commas if you are not using a spreadsheet. See example below:

· Hawling, Shade Barn Farm

· “Hawling, Shade Barn Farm” (correct)

It is important that you do not use names that do not appear on the OS maps 1:50000 or OS 1:25000. Pubs change their names and factories close down and street names are hard to find. There is a list of site names available on request.

Grid ref

Grid refs are extremely important and very useful. We are use a 1 km square scale so you need to know where you are. Large sites that cover a number of 1 km squares like Cleeve Hill have been broken down into several 1 km squares / sub-sites.

Cleeve Common

Cleeve Hill, Washpool

Cleeve Hill, Warden’s Wood

Cleeve Hill, West Down

Cleeve Hill (Golf Club)

Cleeve Hill Radio Masts

Cleeve Hill, Wontley Farm

Cleeve Cloud

Cleeve Hill, Postlip Warren

Your Garden Records

When quoting a record from your garden, please do not quote 53 Sunnyside Gardens,

Please quote the location as say Gloucester, Tuffley and then use the comments field to expand on any details like on garden feeder etc.

Great Tit,12,01/02/07,31/01/07, “Gloucester, Tuffley”,RGB, Monthly max
Brambling,1M,01/02/07, , “Gloucester, Tuffley”,RGB, On garden feeder at 53 Sunnyside Gardens

Long Staying birds or monthly counts and dates

The two dates in the record are first and last date. So a long stay Great Northern Diver which stayed from the 13/01/07 and remained until 03/03/07. Example:

Great Northern Diver,13,01/02/07, 03/03/07, CWP pit 57,RGB, Long staying individual
These dates can also be used for monthly max figs for common residents. Example:

Blackbird,6, 01/04/07,30/04/07,Whitminster,RGB, Present throughout the month.

Observer Initial

I am going to use initials but please quote your full name on your E-mail. If you have middle initials please use them, as this reduces the chance of two observers sharing the same initials. Some observers who do share initials may need to use an extended form of their initials (e.g. “SGi”) or risk having their records allocated to the wrong person!

Techie Stuff

If you are a bit of a techie and use either MapMate, Recorder and a bespoke MS Access

The full records submission interface spec is available on request.

Also there is some Computer software system available if you have a PC with “MS Access”

It’s easy to use and automatically produces any number of lists; county, BOU life list, UK400 life, year lists etc. Most importantly it logs your records submissions and creates record submissions at a push of a button. Please contact the recorder if you are interested.

Records By Post

Use the same 1-to-8 pieces of information

Phone me on 01452 740161 for the postal address.

Good Birding – Richard Baatsen County Recorder.