DIY data collection!

We can’t be out collecting data on our reserves every day, but with the help of the thousands of people that visit Trust reserves each year, we can build up a much better picture of what species are on which reserves and when, and how this is changing over time.

You can help by noting down any sightings of unusual, protected or local interest species, or by listing all the species you see when visiting a reserve. Even records of common species can be useful.


Responsible recording

Whilst surveying sites and recording sightings is important to further our knowledge, it must be done in a way that is sensitive to the environment and minimises impact. Whenever possible, identifications should be made in situ using a good field guide. If not possible at the time, field notes and good quality photographs often enable subsequent identification.

In some circumstances, catching or collection is essential, such as for accurate identification of certain species. Please remember that if you need to collect specimens to accompany your records, this should be limited to the minimum number necessary for the intended purpose, and must comply with legal requirements relating to the particular sites and species. If you are collecting on private land, always seek permission from the landowner or occupier beforehand.

A number of codes of conduct have been developed related to biological recording and the collection of specimens of particular groupings of wildlife. Many of the principles they include can be applied to recording in general. Scottish Wildlife Trust have extracted some key points and compiled links to the codes themselves into a document which can be downloaded from here. Please contact us to let us know of other codes of conduct it would be useful to include.





Recording data on Handa Island
Seabird monitoring on Handa Island © Steve Gardner

Report a squirrel sighting

The Trust is one of the lead partners in the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project.

Only 120,000 native red squirrels remain in Scotland, the biggest threat being the invasive American grey squirrel. You can help to protect the remaining populations by reporting your squirrel sightings (red and grey) through the project’s website.

Useful sites

Here are a few useful sites that provide fantastic identification, recording and analysis tools to help you with collecting data.





The NBN Atlas Scotland provides a platform for the collection, aggregation, analysis and use of biodiversity data in Scotland.


iSpot Logo




The iSpot Nature community helps you to identify your sightings and learn more about wildlife ID.

iRecord Logo





iRecord makes it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making.


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