The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

A bracket fungus
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Bob Saville explaining the joys of starting work on a new taxonomic group

Recorders' Forum Saturday 21 March 2009

About 36 of us met at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Edinburgh to discuss various aspects of biodiversity data. After an introduction from Alastair Sommerville who outlined some of the work of LWIC, Graeme Wilson from the Midlothian Council spoke about the way that LWIC data are used as part of the planning process. Colin Legg discussed some of the biases associated with biological records, followed by David Angel and Bob Saville talking about data management and the priorities for recording.

Adrian Sumner explaining how to make a record with a correct grid reference

After lots of useful discussion over a sandwich lunch we split into two groups. Adrian Sumner guided us through the process of making a biological record and we all practised on the various plants and animals to be found just outside the Water of Leith Vistor Centre.

Hunting for springtails in leaf litter with Bob Saville

Bob Saville then introduced us to some of the challenges of taking on a new group of organisms for the first time. We tried our hand collecting springtails from the leaf litter of a small woodland on the edge of the Water of Leith walkway.

Finding mosses beneath the wooden slats of the bench outside the Water of Leith Visitor Centre

Interesting finds of the day included several species of moss growing in the unlikely habitat of beneath the wooden slats of the bench just outside the Water of Leith Visitor Centre. An early peacock butterfly flapping its wings hard but getting nowhere was found to be trapped by its wing tips to the hooked hairs of a seedling of cleavers (Galium aparine). The butterfly was released with some difficulty, but lost part of its wing tip in the process!

Xanthoria parietina growing on the wooden handrail of the Water of Leith walkway

The early spring sunshine picked out the bright colours of the lichens (Xanthoria parietina) and the lurid green shoots of the aggressive, alien invader, few-flowered garlic (Allium paradoxum). Few-flowered garlic, Allium paradoxum

If anyone has a name for this little solitary bee please send it to me at The spine at the end of the front tibia and notch at the base of the metatarsus look very distinctive. It was flying beneath the trees just to the north side of the Visitor Centre. Solitary bee Solitary bee

If you were there then please send me any comments, interesting records or photographs to

TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. TWIC acknowledges financial support from Scottish Natural Heritage.