WSBRC is 40 years old Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

WSBRC Reaches A Million Records

Tufted Duck WWT/ Darin Smith

The small but dedicated team of WSBRC staff and volunteers have been working hard over the last year to gather, prepare and capture species records covering the length and breadth of the county, bringing our data holdings to over one million records. These records cover 50 species groups and a time period spanning the late 1800s up to 2012. The one millionth record was a bird - but we can't be sure of the species as it was added in a batch along with 10,181 other bird records from the Cotswold Water Park!

This achievement is the result of much effort during this, and preceding years, to encourage recorders to submit their records directly to the WSBRC, but rather more importantly to submit them in a standardised electronic format which allows quicker and easier processing for entry onto our database. This has considerably increased the number of records being received by us electronically and reduced time spent processing paper records. For these records we are extremely grateful to our veritable army of volunteer recorders who are out there in all weathers surveying and spotting the species which are using our countryside and towns.

WSBRC Data Services Officer Hilary Thomas had this to say: “I’ve been working at the WSBRC for over 15 years now and over those years have seen great changes in the way records have been submitted – from the old days of stacks of record cards to phone calls, letters, emails and recently by entering records online via our website or sending us records on our standard electronic form.

The introduction of the electronic spreadsheets has made the task of data entry much quicker and easier for me and hopefully also for all you recorders out there. Our understanding of the distribution of wildlife throughout the county has been vastly improved by the addition of all these records but there is still plenty of work to do – especially in the less recorded species groups.”

The majority of our species holdings are for flowering plants which comprise almost 60% of the total million records. Of the remaining 40% or so the break down is as shown below, with butterflies, moths and birds unsurprisingly making up a large proportion of the rest. So as you can see, as well as most invertebrates, we also need to know about your fish sightings!

Million Records breakdown


We presently hold records from over 5,700 individual recorders. Of these over 2,000 people have submitted more than ten records; from this number a mere 17 industrious individuals have between them submitted over 10,000 records each. However many or few records you generate, please keep up the good work and send them in. Your individual contribution will make a difference as all valid records are included in the county dataset. This information allows us to keep track of changes in species and habitats in the county and highlights hotspots for species which might otherwise be rare or declining in Swindon, Wiltshire or the UK.

Find out how to send us your records, and other ways to get involved.

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