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Are there any considerations to bear in mind when viewing species list and distribution maps?

Submitted by Peter Orchard on Thu, 15/08/2019 - 08:21

Things to remember when viewing a reserve species list or the species distribution maps:

  1. Unless otherwise stated all the records are my own although identification may have been made by either someone else present with me or via photographic evidence later. With this in mind there may be some 'fragility' involved given the limitations of my own knowledge or in me having suitable reference material to research observations further.
  2. To supplement my records I have included some publicly available records (from an official website for example) to provide a more comprehensive view of some reserves where there are species present that I may have missed on my visit(s). These records are identified with the original source in the species lists.
  3. The species lists are compiled by random browsing whilst walking a reserve and not by any form of systematic or scientific research process so obviously they will include only what I saw at the time I was present in the places I walked. My lists, therefore, are species you are likely to encounter and have a reasonable chance of identifying! 
  4. Following on from (3) my species lists are intended to be a guide to what one might see or to help you identify something you saw on a visit. I accept my limitations and that there may be errors for which I apologise but no one can be an expert in everything and I am not an expert in anything. My aim is to increase your enjoyment of a reserve.
  5. It is stating the obvious perhaps, but to avoid confusion, these species lists reflect what I saw on the day of my visit or visits. It does not follow, then, that the species will be present when you decide to visit! You need to consult a field guide, for example, to see if a particular flower is likely to be out or to see if a particular insect is visible in its adult form when you intend to go looking for it.
  6. I have not necessarily seen an actual specimen in some cases but have included the species where there is evidence that it is present. For example, I may have heard a particular bird but not seen it, or there may have been droppings or footprints. A plant may not have been in flower, there may have been leaves developing prior to flowering or there may be seed heads or fruit present.
  7. The 'status' levels are, again, not the result of a scientific process but a general assessment made by me as a result of my casual observations on the day of my visit. Population levels can vary year on year and the time of year. For example, gatekeeper butterflies may have been numerous on a visit in July but absent on a visit in September.
  8. I have tried to standardise my status assessments and make them consistent. A 'definition' of the status terms can be found on the next page. Also from this date I am going to try and segment some of the larger reserves into differing habitat types. Where I have done this the status level will reflect the position within that segment of the reserve rather than across the reserve as a whole.

In conclusion, can I say again, the species lists are aimed at helping you enjoy a visit to a reserve, they are not intended to be a contribution to science. Please use them in the way they are intended to be used. I provide the data in good faith and I do not expect to receive scathing messages about mistakes I may have made!