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Recording wildlife


Why are records important?

It is vital we collate, register and monitor in detail Fife's wildlife resources, to adequately conserve species, habitats and such places for people to enjoy.  

We need good quality information on:

  • the distribution of species and habitats
  • the status of a species or habitat, i.e. is it common or rare
  • the condition of habitats (usually determined by the species present)

To help us:

  • ensure planning decisions are better informed
  • have a better understanding of changes in species populations and environment to protect individual species and habitats

Why should you record wildlife?

We want your records! We want to hear about what animals or plants you have seen, whether it be in your garden, local park or out and about. All records are important, no matter how common the species may be, and everyone can make a real contribution to increasing understanding of the status and distribution of species in Fife.  

Being involved with nature and getting outdoors is fun and provides some amazing sensory experiences, as well as having a positive impact on physical and mental health.  

Collecting data about a group of species or certain kinds of habitats is, for many people, a natural extension of their general interest in wildlife and is a relatively cheap hobby. To help identify species correctly, a relevant guide is essential, and joining a wildlife group brings contact with other interested people. Study courses are also run by various organisations to learn new skills.  

Many people enjoy feeling part of nature, part of their local community/environment and get satisfaction from protecting and improving their area - for themselves, for others, for birds/bees, etc. It gives many wildlife recorders a sense of contribution, knowing that their observations are being put to good use and providing information on wildlife populations and helping the environment.

How to record wildlife

Wildlife or biological recording simply means taking note of the plants and animals we come across in our everyday lives, from noting which birds visit the garden bird feeder to detailing the plants and trees in the local woodland. As well as being the first step for nature conservation, recording wildlife is hugely enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities – no specialist knowledge is needed!  

We just need to know 4 things:

  1. What you saw
  2. Where you saw it (ideally with a grid reference*)
  3. When you saw it
  4. Who saw it

*Click here to go to Grid Reference Finder for a quick and easy way to find out a grid reference.  

Any other information, such as whether the animal you saw was male or female, juvenile or adult, adds to the value of the record. Even records of dead animals are useful in understanding species distribution and dispersal.  

Your records will be added to our database of species records and may be shared with the NBN Atlas Scotland.  If you do not want your sightings to be shared with the NBN Atlas, please let us know.  When you submit your records to us, please attach a completed Data Use Agreement Form. This will help us with clarity on permissions.

Email your records to

Remember to send us your Data Use Agreement Form, along with any photos of your wildlife sightings.  

Check out our Submitting records page to find out more about how to submit your records.

Fife Recorders Group

The Fife Recorders Group is a collection of people with a high degree of expertise in particular taxonomic groups. It includes persons holding key roles in the area, such as Vice County Recorders, as well as other individuals with valuable knowledge, experience and identification skills. Members’ relationship with Fife Nature Records Centre may include helping with identification queries, record verification, and delivering training.

The group usually meet annually to catch up, discuss ideas and share experiences and help guide Fife Nature in supporting recorders and recording; this may also be done through correspondence at the preference of the member. If you would like to join the group, please email

NameTaxonomic group(s) representedCapacity on Fife Recorders GroupWeb link (if applicable)Email address
Dr Adrian T SumnerNon-Marine MolluscsConchological Society representative in Scotland 
Allan W BrownWildfowl (In particular swans and geese)1. WeBS count coordinator for Fife (inland)
2. Lothians & Fife Swan and Goose Study Group
3. Co-author of Fife Bird Atlas 
Brian LittleAculeates (Bees, Wasps and Ants)All hymenoptera  
Claire LaceyBats, Marine MammalsRecorder for Fife and Kinross Bat Group 
Clare RickerbyBryophytesVice-County Recorder 
Elspeth ChristieButterfliesCounty Recorder (Joint) (Fife and Clacks) 
Dr Gillian J FyfeButterfliesCounty Recorder (Joint) (Fife and Clacks) 
Graham SparshottBirdsCounty Recorder  
Nigel VoadenMothsCounty Recorder 
Norman ElkinsBirds1. Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) Local Organiser for the Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary; 2. Co-author of the Fife Bird 
Paul BlackburnBirdsBTO Regional Representative for Fife and Kinross  
Sandy EdwardsVascular PlantsCounty Recorder 
Simon J HayhowDiptera with a wide range of other entomological and biological interests plus Brown Hares, other mammals, Corn Buntings, etc1. Diptera (formerly National Recorder for Larger Brachycera)
2. Former employee of RSPB and English Nature
3. Long-standing interest (30+ years) and association with biological recording and local records centres in many parts of the UK
Tony WilsonFungiCounty Recorder 

Related Links and Publications