Getting started with wildlife monitoring

two people looking into an insect net to see what they have found

If you want to record the biodiversity in your local area, you might wonder where to start.

You might have a preference for certain species groups, a rough idea of what lives on your site, or a curiosity about what kinds of surveys and activities you can do with a group at different times of the year. The Nature Recording Hub is designed to show you the possibilities when it comes to recording wildlife so you can choose something that interests you.

This section of the Hub contains:

  • Collections of survey methods and identification guides that offer a selection of ready-made ideas for different habitats and groups.
  • survey calendar that shows a range of wildlife survey methodologies and national recording schemes. This can help you plan surveys throughout the year and give you inspiration for each season.
  • A full catalogue of survey methods, national recording schemes and identification guides sorted by species group or by subject.

You can browse the calendar to plan your surveys for the year. Alternatively, you can pick some categories that interest you, or that you already know are relevant for the site you want to monitor.

Submitting your observations

Most of the standardised surveys included in this section of the Hub will already have a website or app where you can upload your results. It’s really important that you feed the results of your surveys back to these schemes, as the data are used by researchers and decision makers to inform conservation measures.

If you make observations outside of these surveys, using the ID guides or your own methods, you can use apps like iRecord or iNaturalist to share your records. For more details on how to make records, read our Introduction to biological recording article.

Nature Recording Hub

Discover how to record the wildlife in your urban environment.

Collections of surveys, schemes and ID guides

If you want to start monitoring the wildlife in your area, we have gathered a variety of surveys from UK wildlife organisations that are suitable for beginners. We also have links to helpful identification guides.

Year round survey calendar

Use our calendar to find surveys that suit your schedule and skill level.

Catalogue of survey methods, national recording schemes and identification guides

This catalogue is sorted by species group or by subject. We have listed guides and suggested surveys that are suitable for beginners, as well as for those with more experience.