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CEDaR run, or are partners in, several surveys.

Insects & other invertebrates

CEDaR 100 Pitfall Traps Project
Pitfall-Trap-Image--5.pngWhat is a pitfall trap?
A pitfall trap is a tool for collecting ground active insects and other arthropods.

What is this project about?

Through this citizen science project Damian hopes to gain useful background information of the ground dwelling species from differing habitats throughout the Province. He is encouraging people to get involved by setting traps (which CEDaR will supply) and returning the material trapped for examination in the lab. He would very much appreciate samples from a number of different habitats, spread across the whole of Northern Ireland. He will construct a map showing the distribution of people that are interested in the study and the habitats they are sampling.

Read more about the 100 Pitfall Trap Project including how to get involved.

Ladybird Survey

CEDaR is taking part in the all-Ireland Ladybird Survey, which is being carried out in partnership with the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) and Read more about the Ladybird Survey...

Soil and Earthworm Survey

Earthworms are extremely important and play a vital role in recycling plant nutrients and aerating the soil. By taking part in this survey, you'll help improve our knowledge of earthworms and the soils they live in – something we know surprisingly little about. To find out more visit the OPAL website.

Northern Ireland Grasshopper Survey

Submit your grasshopper records and you'll be contributing to the Northern Ireland survey effort for this group of species! We only have a few species, so that should make ID-ing them simple! Visit your site once in September and once again in October to see if they’re still hopping about. Submit your records to CEDaR Online Recording.

Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland

The main aim of Butterfly Conservation is the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats. The Northern Ireland Branch is one of 30 local branches of Butterfly Conservation in the UK. The Branch is active in recording the butterflies and moths in Northern Ireland, and increasingly in disseminating the information. BCNI is partnered in a large number of schemes for all recording abilities including the Big Butterfly Count, the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey, Butterflies for the New Millennium, National Moth Recording Scheme, timed species counts, Butterfly Transects, Garden Moth Scheme. You can read more about all of these on our Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland surveys page.

There has also been a recent micro moth project which is extremely well explained by Samuel Millar in this video:


Count Flowers for Bees - a citizen science project

This is a citizen science project run by Dr Eileen Power, a researcher in Trinity College Dublin. Her aim is to create a flower map of Ireland to help conserve pollinators. Pollinators like bees, hoverflies and butterflies, need pollen and nectar from flowers for their food. Like us, they need a variety of foods to stay healthy. Unfortunately when you look across many an Irish landscape all you see is one colour. Where are the flowers? Where is the variety?

Eileen is trying to find out which habitats and areas of Ireland provide good food for pollinators. Is it urban parks and gardens, rural areas, grasslands, woodlands, hedgerows, bogs or other habitats? She is encouraging everyone with a camera or a smartphone to take ten photographs of the flowers or greenery in 1 square metre patches of ground/hedgerow while out walking and add them to the Count Flowers for Bees Flickr group. More details on the type of photos needed are here: You can also follow the project on the Count Flowers for Bees Facebook page.


Cuckoo survey

Every year CEDaR call for people to keep an eye, and ear, out for cuckoos as they return to Britain and Ireland in the Spring. Records can be submitted on CEDaR Online Recording.

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) 

The annual Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is undertaken to provide information on population/distribution changes of our common and widespread bird species (it also allows recording of butterfly and mammal populations as optional extras increasing the value of the survey). It is coordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

As the volunteer base for coverage in Northern Ireland (this is a UK-wide survey with an equivalent annual survey covering Republic of Ireland) is relatively low, historically NIEA have funded professional ornithologists to ‘top up’ coverage of survey squares. Given current budget constraints this is not an option for the 2015 field season (and possibly beyond). So this is a call for anyone wishing to get involved in this essential survey programme.

The survey methodology is relatively straightforward for people with reasonable bird identification skills and requires 2 or 3 visits to selected survey squares each taking around 2 – 3 hours. The survey requires walking a predetermined route in your square (2km approx total) recording the birds you see and hear to a fixed format.

Further information on BBS can be found at

The map below shows survey squares which require coverage – colour code is as follows: 

  • Dark blue squares – existing volunteer coverage
  • Pale blue squares – squares previously covered by professional ornithologists
  • Red squares – survey squares with no current coverage

So pale blue and red squares need a friend – you get to choose what's best for you!!!

If there is a sufficient response we may be able to organise BBS training to ensure you have the knowledge/skills to help with this important (and rewarding) survey. 

Contact Shane Wolsey (Northern Ireland BTO officer) to sign up for specific square(s) -


2015 squares for BBS in Northern Ireland



National Plant Monitoring Scheme

Northern Ireland is taking part in this nationwide stock take of the UK's wild plants and their habitats. Volunteers are needed for this extremely important survey so if you are interested in taking part, please visit the National Plant Monitoring Scheme website to register and pick a square near you.

We have web pages with lots of guidance and downloadable forms that are specifically tailored to Northern Ireland so please take a look.

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland
BSBI Atlas 2020

The BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) is working hard towards the ambitious Atlas 2020 project. There are seven BSBI vice-county recorders in Northern Ireland, and they are all looking for help and support in order to record wild plants across the country. Visit the Irish page for more information, or contact the Irish Officer, Maria Long

BSBI ‘Irish Species Project’ (ISP)

BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) have listed eight species which are uncommon and/or declining across the island of Ireland. These for the backbone of the ‘Irish Species Project’, which is running in 2014 and 2015. Visit the Irish BSBI webpage for more information on how you can help us collect records for these eight species of interest. The eight species are: Moonwort, Cyperus Sedge, Autumn Gentian, Toothwort, Grass-of-Parnassus, Cowslip, Common Wintergreen and Cranberry.

Mammals, amphibians and reptiles

Big Spawn Count

Every year the Freshwater Habitats Trust run the Big Spawn Count. In Northern Ireland you can submit your records to CEDaR Online Recording.

Atlas of Irish Mammals

The National Biodiversity Data Centre are running an Irish mammal survey. One of the primary aims of the initiative is to encourage recording of the commoner Irish mammals, so that a comprehensive picture of their distribution is achieved by 2015. In Northern Ireland you can submit your records to CEDaR Online Recording.

Squirrels and Pine Martens

In partnership with the Northern Ireland Squirrel Forum CEDaR are keen to receive records for red and grey squirrels and pine martens. Submit your squirrel and pine marten records to CEDaR Online Recording.