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CEDaR is very keen to encourage individuals to become involved with recording. If you have a general interest and wish to find out more about recording in Northern Ireland, then contact CEDaR at Alternatively, you may be interested in recording a specific group, for example, butterflies. If this is the case, then we can refer your interest on to a specific group or society, for example, Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland.

What is a record?

A biological record is typically who recorded what species, where it was recorded and when. The why could be because of work on an environmental project, or just being out walking and noticing the species. For example, ‘when walking my dog in Glenariff Forest Park, County Antrim on Friday 14 December 2006, I (John Smith) noticed red squirrels’.

In addition to the above information, you could also record how many individuals you saw. You may also want to add some comments about what you recorded. For example, in the above, you could perhaps add that you noticed three squirrels and they were climbing a tree.

To see your record on a species distribution map, you must then send CEDaR a location for your record. For a record made on land, then this should be a grid reference. A grid reference is information that allows your sighting to be pinpointed on an ordnance survey map. Grid references are not complicated, but to work them out you need to be careful that you follow a few simple steps. Please see the section on grid references for detailed guidance ‘Grid Reference Guide’. For records that are made on the beach or at sea, you can use either a grid reference, or latitude/longitude from a chart of the area (preferred) ‘Latitude/Longitude Guide’.

The easiest way to obtain a grid reference or latitude/longitude for a site is to use a GPS unit. These units utilise satellites to determine your position very accurately, and can give an accuracy of a few metres. These units vary in their set up, and owners should refer to their manual for instructions in correct usage. It is essential that anyone using a GPS in the island of Ireland has it set for the Irish National Grid.

All records sent in to CEDaR are checked for accuracy, for example that the site and grid reference ‘match up’. In the case of an uncommon or unexpected sighting, CEDaR has a network of local experts who can be called upon to decide if the record is correct. Who knows, you may have recorded a very rare species, or your record may be of the first Irish sighting!

Submitting your records


Online submission of records

CEDaR has three recording forms available for submitting your records online.

  • General wildlife recording - submit single sightings of species or enter a list of records for a site.
  • Squirrel Survey - for Red & Grey Squirrels along with Pine Martens. 
  • Cuckoo Survey - help in recording what is for many the distinctive sound of Spring – the call of the cuckoo.

Any feedback about this facility is welcome and can be sent to

There are also a variety of formats through which records can be submitted to CEDaR.

  • Recording forms which may be of a general (wildlife) or specific (lichens or orchids) nature. You may wish to contact us about constructing project specific cards, and we can discuss your requirements.

Alternatively, you may wish to send an Excel spreadsheet with your records. Please be sure to include

  • what you recorded
  • the name of the site or location
  • the grid reference
  • the date
  • your name
  • you may also wish to add a comment on what you saw.

A recording sheet is available for download as a pre-formatted Excel spreadsheet - CEDaR Records Submission sheet.

If you wish to obtain records, please contact CEDaR to discuss, or complete an Information Request Form