Introduction to recording

Surveying on the River Chelmer

New to species recording? Our survey toolkit has all the information you need to get started!

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Introduction to biological recording

Recording what species are present in Essex is vitally important for the management and conservation of wildlife rich areas. Monitoring important habitat features and the presence of species in a habitat allows us to identify areas in need of management and ensure that the management techniques being used are benefiting wildlife.

A biological record consists of a minimum of the "4 W's":

WHO                        made the observation?

WHAT                      species did they see?

WHERE                   did they see it?

WHEN                    was the observation made?


Report a sighting

Do you know of any birds, mammals, veteran trees or interesting plants in your area? We are interested in hearing about the species in your local area, whether they are rare or not. You can send us records by:

  • Submit records using our online forms to submit a single sighting, a number of sightings at the same place. Registration is required to submit records, please use the link above to register.
  • Alternatively, a recording form and guidelines can be downloaded below. Please use the guidance notes as a reference when filling out the species recording form, and save a copy of this form to print or fill in to send us if you collect records on a regular basis. Please send your records to us by emailing
  • We can also accept records as Mapmate database (sync) files, or in other formats. If you would like to use Mapmate or wish to submit records in another format please contact us.

Essex Wildlife Trust encourages the sharing of species and habitat data to assist in promoting evidence-based conservation. We are currently working to share data with other organisations in Essex and to increase the availability of data across the county. Species and habitat data held by Essex Wildlife Trust will be shared with our partner organisations according to our Terms and Conditions of Use. By sending us records you are giving consent for your data to be used in this way.

If you would like to record sightings on one of our reserves please click here for more information. Please be aware that if you are recording on private land you will need the permission of the landowner to do so (even if you are recording from a public right of way).

If you have any queries about data sharing please contact us at records -


Please note that sharing with iRecord has now been switched on. All previously submitted records and any new records submitted to the essexwtrecords website will automatically be shared with iRecord.

All non-sensitive records shared with iRecord are available to view by all users. Please mark any records that you would not like to be shared at full resolution with iRecord as Sensitive and choose the appropriate resolution for blurring.

The following species records will automatically be blurred to a 1km grid square resolution: badger, otter, great crested newt, barn owl and bat species.

Please do not submit any records that you would not like to be shared with iRecord here, instead see the Other Recording Schemes page for an alternative scheme with which to share your records.

Please submit any records for Essex Wildlife Trust reserves to the main Essex Wildlife Trust website or by emailing


Please register as a user or login to view and submit records online. For guidance on how to use our online forms, please click hereFor information on our surveys click here to find out about joining the EWT survey team.