MOST people enjoy seeing wildlife, but how much do you notice of what you see?

It may be the seasonal changes of the flowers when you are out walking, feeding the garden birds, or insects pollinating your garden flowers. Few people keep a note of what they see, and fewer still submit records to be added to the information already held.

The Wharfedale Naturalists have been keeping records since 1945, a valuable archive for both interest and research.

It is both rewarding and interesting to keep wildlife records and it is important for conservation that we hear about local wildlife. Without it, we simply wouldn’t know what wildlife we have and what is special about each place.

If this is starting to whet your appetite, why not come along to the next Wharfedale Naturalists’ meeting at Christchurch on The Grove, Ilkley 7.30pm Tuesday 27th February? We will be celebrating recording Wharfedale’s wildlife, with four talks about our local birds, butterflies, bees and not forgetting the weather.

In the meantime, to get you started here are the are four ingredients in making a useful wildlife record:

What: What have you seen? It is best to use both the Latin name and common name if know, but don’t worry if you don’t. Take a photo, if possible, to help with any queries over identification.

Where: Give as much detail as possible. Grid references are preferred, at least a six-figure, which you can estimate from an Ordnance Survey map. Alternatively, free grid reference apps, such as ‘GB Grid’ are now available for smart phones. It is also useful to give a place name, as well as a grid reference, e.g. not just SE 099 525, but add ‘Beamsley Beacon’.

When: Be specific about the date of your sighting i.e. day, date, month, and year.

Who: It is important to provide the details of who took the record with their contact details, so that the recorder can get in touch to obtain further information if necessary.

Where to send your records: We would love to hear from you at the Wharfedale Naturalists. If you would like more information, you can email myself as president at

Next time you go out for a walk, don’t forget your notebook, pencil, binoculars, ID books and hand lens.