The Society welcomes observations and records from members and others. The most interesting records are published by the Society, but all records are valuable in building up a picture of the present status and distribution of species in our countryside, for compiling annual reports and for updating our records and those at the Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records and the national Biological Records Centre.

The precise details of rare species will be kept confidential in the interests of conservation and records should be clearly marked “Confidential” if they are to be so treated.

Records can be submitted in two ways:

1. Email

You can send your observations by email. Ideally the following information should be supplied:

  • Species name.
  • Where seen – name of location, preferably using names taken from the 1:50000 Ordnance Survey maps, plus a six figure grid reference (if in doubt include a sketch map of the site). It is helpful if the tetrad number is also given. For sightings from the Cotswold Water Park give the official County Council pit number wherever possible.
  • Number or abundance.
  • Habitat.
  • Where appropriate a description of the species or a note of how identification was made including details of any identifications aids used.
  • Date.
  • Any other relevant information
  • Observer’s name and address.

This document Wildlife Recording Information Sheet – Apr 2024 (docx) contains comprehensive details about how to record observations and the details of all the county recorders.

2. GNS Online Recording System

The online system at provides a straightforward way of getting your sightings from your desktop to the county recorders. By using the system you can make a valuable contribution to the GNS ongoing recording effort. After a simple registration procedure you can start recording straightaway. The recording system now covers the following categories:

  • Birds
  • Butterflies
  • Dragonflies and damselflies
  • Mammals
  • Orchids

About GNS recording

The Society’s official recording area is the whole of the vice-counties 33 (East Gloucestershire) and 34 (West Gloucestershire). However, for practical purposes certain recorders only cover the administrative county of Gloucestershire, comprising the districts of Cotswold, Stroud, Forest of Dean, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury, as the Bristol Naturalists’ Society covers the Unitary Authority of South Gloucestershire and the City of Bristol.

The Society’s team of recorders covers the following groups:

  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Fish
  • Invertebrates
  • Flowering plants, Ferns and Stoneworts
  • Mosses and Liverworts
  • Fungi
  • Lichens
  • Plant Galls

This documentWildlife Recording Information Sheet – Apr 2024 (docx) contains comprehensive details about how to record observations and the details of all the county recorders.

The Society is always on the look out for new recorders to fill vacant positions (e.g. Spiders). Anyone willing to undertake these tasks or to organise/help organise surveys in the county should get in touch.

British Trust for Ornithology surveys

The BTO organizes a number of national surveys, which monitor the status of Britain’s birds. These surveys are carried out by experienced volunteer observers, whose results are then analysed by BTO staff at BTO headquarters in Thetford. Many members of GNS and other county ornithological bodies contribute to these surveys in Gloucestershire.

Studies to be carried out in the coming months include:

  • Breeding Bird Survey. This is one of BTO’s long-term surveys, and involves visits to specified areas on two occasions in spring and early summer, and noting of all birds seen on a one-kilometre walk.

If anyone is willing to join the observer teams, please contact Gordon Kirk.

County Bird Recorder – can you help?

We are looking for a volunteer to help our county bird recorder, Richard Baatsen. Currently Richard (who is a volunteer) receives, collates and verifies over 100,000 bird records each year, so it’s not surprising he is looking for a bit of help! Many of the records arrive via email.

We are looking for someone who can manage the incoming emails within a shared email box and turn them into proper records (a line on a spreadsheet) to be fed into the database. You do not need to be an expert on birds. The person we are looking for should be organised and be able to help mould how emails are responded to and dealt with.

A little spreadsheet knowledge is required but help with this will be available. Grid references are used so that sightings can be mapped; these are easily looked up using a website so nothing to fear there. But you will have to find the location on the map. That is the tricky bit – and of course you may need to correspond with the person who sent in the record.

The role could expand into other areas if that is what you would like, and could include writing up work instructions and following up on rare and scarce sightings to get them fully documented and help writing a monthly round-up/summary.


You would need to commit to 3-4 hours a week, (or more if that’s what you would like)

Manage Email inbox on a shared email account (polite and encouraging responses)

Enter bird records on an Excel spreadsheet template (help given)

A little bird knowledge would be helpful

Be able to look up map grid references on a website (very simple).

If you think you might be interested, please contact Richard for a chat about the “job”… his email is

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