MB

  All users of this forum, please ensure you familiarise yourselves with the sticky posts at the top of each forum; posts not conforming to these guidelines and requests will be deleted.

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Excel Recording Form discussion/Q&A


Status: Offline
Posts: 1557
Date:
RE: Excel Recording Form discussion/Q&A


That was an excellent question, Chris.

I've used the Excel sheet for years and never knew I could filter and create my own sites list until Steve just explained it!

__________________
Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


Status: Offline
Posts: 439
Date:

Chris Chandler wrote:

General question to anyone who uses the Excel recording form regularly -

How do you know which "site" you've seen a bird at?




Hi Chris,

That's a very good question which goes to the very heart of recording i.e how do you record the location of what you've seen. The answer certainly won't make you look foolish, as it is in fact quite a difficult question to answer in a few lines on this forum.

The first thing to say is that the sites on the Excel form are the most regularly visited in GM and that there are additional sites in the database which will be added to the form when it is updated in the near future. If you, or other birders, find a good local patch which you think merits it's own site then we are also willing to create new sites in the database. However, we do need to be careful not to create overlapping or duplicate sites as these would make the database unwieldy.

The easiest way to search the Excel form for a site in Chorlton or Wythenshawe is by applying a filter. Click on Sort and Filter then Filter. Then click on the site drop down arrow. Remove the tick from Select All and scroll down the list to Chorlton. Tick all the Chorlton Sites and these will then appear in a list. If you copy and paste these to a separate tab and call it My Sites, this will save you having to repeat the process every time you are looking for a site. Do the same for the Wythenshawe sites. You should then have a list of 10 sites. If you or anyone else needs any help with using filters, drop me a pm and I'll give you a ring.

The grid refs on the Excel form are the site central refs. Inevitably there will be records from elsewhere on the site at different grid refs but it is not essential to record the exact location for everything you see. Although for Schedule 1, Red and Amber list species a more precise location will make the record more valuable. So if you see a Willow Tit in the Chorlton area but not at any of the main sites enter it against the Chorlton site and put the exact location in Comments.

Rather than checking post codes against gridreferencefinder.com a good site to use is
Where's the path You can type a location or grid ref into the search box and both the OS map and aerial are displayed side by side. As you move the cursor around the map the grid ref of your location is displayed. You can then check this against the list of sites in the area to find the nearest one. The sites on the Excel form can also be sorted by grid ref to make it easier to find the nearest one to your location.

If you want to advise the tetrads (2km squares) you visit on a regular basis then I can also provide you with a list of sites for each square. Have a look at the GM tetrad map which can be found here GM Tetrad Map

Anyway please give the Excel form a try and if you decide you are going to submit your records on a regular basis, we can then suggest other options such as MapMate and RODIS.

We look forward to receiving your records and appreciate you taking the time to ask a very sensible question. There is a lot more that can be said on the subject, so if my answer has raised more questions please post them on here.

Steve




__________________
The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


Status: Offline
Posts: 439
Date:

Rob Smallwood wrote:

Ian,

As a culprit in the "failing to report sightings" debate I am going to try to remember to use the Excel sheet this year - I don't get out in the field often so don't expect a huge number of entries.

Do you prefer submission of the sheet once a year at the year end?

Rob





Hi Rob,

Sorry for the delay in replying. How often you submit the Excel file is very much dependent on the number of records you are going to input. You say that there are not likely to be "a huge number of entries". That doesn't matter, as even a few records from a site that no one else visits, (or submits records from!)can be of value. Some observers send in their records monthly, some quarterly and some on an annual basis. As we are working towards a system where the database holds records from the current year rather than always being 12 months out of date, I would recommend quarterly submission. This has a number of benefits perhaps the most important being that if GMBRG are asked to provide records in connection with a planning application then we will have the most up to date snapshot of the species found in their area and their breeding status.

The GM Ecology Unit surveys Sites of Biological Importance on a 5 year cycle and GMBRG provides records for these reviews which can result in sites being upgraded/downgraded or even deleted. Sometimes the boundary is extended if an adjacent piece of land supports Schedule 1, Red or Amber list species. So again it's vital we have the most up to date information on a site. If records are submitted after the review takes place it will be a 5 year wait for the next one.

I hope that answers your question but please post if you have any more.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Wednesday 9th of January 2013 06:34:21 PM

__________________
The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


Status: Offline
Posts: 89
Date:

General question to anyone who uses the Excel recording form regularly -

How do you know which "site" you've seen a bird at? I've been trying to include recent sightings from the Chorlton and Wythenshawe areas, but am not sure which of the "sites" listed on the appropriate tab they corresponds to.

I tried checking the postcodes of the areas against "gridreferencefinder.com". The grid references it returned do not correspond to any of the grid references included on the "sites" tab. I'm guessing the records are only really valuable if they're accurate, so I want to make sure I get this right, as it's my first time using this system. Any information about how other people keep accurate records would be appreciated.

I'm sure the answer will make me look foolish, but if you don't ask . . . .

-- Edited by Chris Chandler on Wednesday 9th of January 2013 12:32:17 PM

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 1091
Date:

Ian,

As a culprit in the "failing to report sightings" debate I am going to try to remember to use the Excel sheet this year - I don't get out in the field often so don't expect a huge number of entries.

Do you prefer submission of the sheet once a year at the year end?

Rob

__________________
Rob


Status: Offline
Posts: 1024
Date:

Hi Paul,

As someone who has used the Excel recording form for the last few years I can only totally agree with Ian that the form is much, much easier to use than may initially appear. I'm sure if a non geek like myself can use it then I'd hope that many of the members of the forum could also easily take to using this method of bird recording too!

I've personally found it to be an extremely worthwhile and flexible method of bird recording and also beneficial too when wishing to quickly look up or analyse any of my old records, without having to spend ages looking through old notebooks wondering where and when I might have seen a particular record. It won't replace notebooks but is a worthy compliment to them. The personal benefits of using this recording system is in addition to all the excellent points Ian has made regarding the importance that all of our records have in helping monitor and if necessary in defending our local birds and the sites that they use in GM.

Some pointers that might help get you started - when you first download the file you will notice across the top 14 vertical column fields (A - N) that require data. From left to right these read Common Name, Taxon, Site,.........etc. For each horizontal series of cells numbered from 2 onwards then these 14 fields/cells numbered A - N require data, some mandatory but with a few optional. To find out what to put in these fields - in the top right of these named cells you will see a little red triangle - if you hover the cursor over this triangle this will tell you what info should and could go in these cells. Additionally, at the bottom left of the Excel recording form you will see 4 tabs - from left to right noted as "recording form", "sites", "species" and "status". Clicking on any of the tabs for the 3 last mentioned will bring up whole fields of data from which you can select that which you need to use and which can be copied and pasted into the relevant cells on the main recording form page, saving you much time and effort. The ability to copy and paste, sometimes several fields at once, then once you are familiar with this function it makes inputting your records very quick and simple. Paul, I really can't stress highly enough how easy this type of recording form is to use and also how you personally will benefit from having a version of all your own records in one place and in a program that will allow you to sort data as to your own wishes. Possibly a bit more on that subject when more users have got used to inputting their records in this format?

This is the beauty of a forum like this that we can all learn together and share ideas on the best way to keep records and make sure all of our valuable sightings really do count and don't go down the pan. If anyone has any queries or concerns regarding on getting started or on the quickest and easiest way to do something, we don't want birders banging their head on the wall not knowing what to do, so let's get sharing and discussing them!

Cheers,

Bill.



__________________
GREATER MANCHESTER NEEDS YOUR BIRD SIGHTINGS!


Status: Offline
Posts: 11749
Date:

Both recording systems need only basic computer knowledge really Paul but initially can look overwhelming. The Excel file may be your best bet to start with though so please drop me an email and I'll be only to happy to discuss your requirements in more detail and talk you through the process of installment and use

__________________
Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


Status: Offline
Posts: 93
Date:

Hi Ian, just a a quick one mate. I downloaded excel the other day and to this technophobe its just a mini-window of computer speak/gibberish. Am i better off getting mapmate ? Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 1170
Date:

Thanks for that Steve. That really explains it well and to be honest that's how I've been filling in the records so far. I worked out that the importance of the codes increased as you went down the list and so I've been applying the highest code in each instance and adding notes in the comments column.

I just wanted to double check it on here to make sure I wasn't making a massive error with it all.

Many thanks once again for the advice.

__________________
Some of my photos. www.flickr.com/photos/nickish77


Status: Offline
Posts: 439
Date:

Hi Nick,

That's a good question to get this thread up and running. It probably helps to understand how your records will be used. Firstly, it's very useful to know how many Reed Buntings there are on a particular site, as if this information is collected over a number of years it allows changes in numbers to be monitored. As well as a count of individuals it is also important to know how many territories/pairs there are and whether they have bred successfully. This is the reason why breeding codes are used. Many GM birders will have got used to submitting records with breeding codes for the national and GM Atlases over the past 4 years. Although recording for these finished last year, we would encourage people to continue using the codes as they allow the breeding status of individual specie to be monitored at sites across the county.

So to take your Reed Bunting example, you would enter your count of 13 in Quantity and enter P in the Status column, with a note in Comments that there were 3 pairs and x no. of individuals. It's good to say how many were singing as this tells us how many territories there were.

The breeding codes can be viewed on the BTO website Breeding Codes and you can obtain a card with the codes from Ian McKerchar. The codes are in descending order of importance. So possible breeding categories such as S (Singing Male) are near the top and Confirmed breeding such as NY (Nest with Young Seen or heard) are near the bottom. So enter the highest code seen on the date of your visit in the Status column with an explanation in Comments as to how many birds were seen nest building (N), or carrying food (FF) etc This applies whether you are using the Excel form or MapMate. Again the reason for doing this is so that we can work out how many pairs were breeding on a site and ideally how many were successful.

However, it's important to plan your route so you don't double-count

I hope that helps but if anyone else has a question on this topic please post on here.

Steve


__________________
The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


Status: Offline
Posts: 1170
Date:

Ive been meaning to ask this question for a couple of weeks now.

Whilst recording birds on my patch if for instance I record 13 Reed Buntings but only three pairs, do I insert a P code? What about the single birds I've seen?

Same goes for if I see say 22 Meadow Pipits but only three visiting nests then do I record a N code? What about the other 19 birds?

Basically the question I'm trying to ask is do the letter codes (P, T, B, N, etc) take priority?

Also what if I record for instance 12 Reed Buntings and some are building, some are nesting, etc. Which code takes priority or do I just enter the details in the comments column.

Any help would be much appreciated.

__________________
Some of my photos. www.flickr.com/photos/nickish77


Status: Offline
Posts: 11749
Date:

Since I originally started this 'we need your sightings' section of the Manchester Birding forum, the excel recording form found on the Manchester Birding website was viewed or downloaded 72 times in a month: about 70 times more than usual .

I can only hope that more users of this forum contribute their sightings by using the form to submit them to me, as County Bird Recorder. I read some superb sightings on this forum every day but despair in the knowledge that some will never be submitted and so cannot be used in any positive form

So, if you intend to use the Excel recording form but have queries/problems or would like to discuss anything about the form with birders who already use it, please feel free to post them here.

We can only make our county a better place for birds and birding by contributing in this simply way

__________________
Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

RODIS

 

This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar; rest in peace mum.