Centre Manager Appointed
The TWIC Directors are happy to report that Natalie Harmsworth has been appointed as TWIC Centre Manager, as of May 3rd 2021.
As many readers will know, Natalie has been in effect managing TWIC since 2019. During the intervening time, TWIC successfully recruited Eileen Rutherford as Business Administrator to take on key financial and administrative tasks, including office and customer management.
The formalisation of the Centre Manager role means that TWIC’s restructuring process has now been completed.
We all look forward to Natalie being able to take up more of the ecological work she loves and does so well.
Posted by Sarah Eno (TWIC Chair), 18 May 2021.
Species Records Update
The TWIC database currently holds almost 3.25 million species records! Last financial year we entered 277,403 records, including 16,610 records of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and 159,081 records for species listed in the Habitats & Species Directives. As always, bird, moth and vascular plant records represent the majority of records inputted – but the total also includes 1,773 butterflies, 1,560 terrestrial mammals, 1,092 molluscs and 782 beetles.
Current and good quality data are key to informing conservation action and to allow decisions to be taken based on the best available biodiversity data. The provision of biodiversity data by Local Environmental Record Centres like TWIC has been especially important during COVID-19 when ecological surveys have been more limited.
Thanks to everyone contributing data and to our remote data processing volunteers for assisting with data processing tasks.
For more information on volunteering with TWIC please visit this page: Volunteering with TWIC.
Posted by Jackie Stewart & Natalie Harmsworth, 18 May 2021.
TWIC's YouTube Channel - New videos are available
Like many organisations we have adapted our programme of events to utilise virtual delivery methods during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been recording most of our virtual talks and uploading them to our Youtube Channel where they are publicly available to view at your leisure.
We have had some excellent guest speakers over the last few months, including at both our Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 conferences. Speakers have covered a wide range of topics, including; Carrifran Wildwood, The Scottish Seabird Centre, Gardening for Butterflies and Project Seagrass – Gardening under the Sea to name a few.
We will continue to upload new content as it becomes available. So subscribe today to our YouTube channel and you will never miss when we post new material.
Winter Tree ID Workshop
The Water of Leith and the work of the Conservation Trust
Giant Hogweed Eradication on the River Tyne, East Lothian
Spring Conference 2021 Playlist - 4 Talks
Posted by Eileen Rutherford 18 May 2021.
Species Distribution Maps (SDM) can now be requested from TWIC
A new map product is now available from TWIC: Species Distribution Maps (SDMs) - Species Presence and Species Abundance.
An SDM – Species Presence map will highlight where in your search area a species has been recorded, while an SDM – Species Abundance map will summarise how many records of that species are present in
the search area.
Knowing where species are present (or absent) is critical for nature conservation. This is the reason why Local Environmental Record Centres (LERC) like TWIC exist.
Mapping species records is incredibly useful. For example, recorders might use a species distribution map as a starting point to see if they can fill knowledge gaps; an ecologist could use this information to
infer where a species might be present based on the presence of a foodplant/ host species, or to target survey work.
However - as always - maps need interpretation. The absence of a species record does not necessarily mean that the species is absent from the area. The absence may be due to
nobody having visited the site to look for the species or due to sighting(s) not having been passed on to the relevant LERC or recording scheme.
Likewise the maps showing species records abundance need careful interpretation. In one of the maps we produced we noted a hotspot of hedgehogs (100+ records) in a single 2km square.
When drilling down into the data it turned out that this was due to a diligent recorder who reported every single day the hedgehog visited their garden.
Notwithstanding these caveats, the maps provide a useful visualisation of species records held by TWIC and can complement the other data formats TWIC supplies,
such as Excel spreadsheets and GIS shapefiles.
TWIC’s species database holds records at different resolutions (from very coarse 10km scale records right down to records at 1m square resolution). Many of the recording schemes record at 1km or 2km square resolution for Atlas work.
For this reason we recommend that users request a Species Distribution Map displaying records at 2km square resolution as this will ensure the most comprehensive coverage of records is provided.
SDMs are available at no cost for non-commercial users, while for commercial users the usual commercial data request rates apply. You can request this new map type by filling the relevant
data request form as found on this page.
If you are interested in this new map product, I am happy to answer your questions or discuss your requests, just drop me an email at:
Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 13 October 2020.
TWIC welcomes Eileen Rutherford to the team
We are delighted to welcome Eileen Rutherford as part-time Business Administrator at TWIC.
Eileen recently moved back to the Scottish Borders after living in Trinidad for several years where she supported the team delivering the annual Bioblitz as well as home schooling her daughter and volunteering as a tutor for adult literacy.
A graduate in Zoology (BSc Hons) from University of Glasgow and with an MSc in IT from Glasgow and PGDipEd from University of the West Indies, she has extensive administrative experience in private and third sector organisations and is looking
forward to supporting the team at TWIC.
Eileen will have responsibility for the management of the TWIC office, financial administration and customer liaison, including managing the Service Level Agreements with Local Authorities.
Eileen is a keen sewer, spending time at her sewing machine whenever time allows. She also loves to cook and bake, and finds time spent in the kitchen a productive form of relaxation!
Eileen’s working pattern will be Tuesday – Thursday, Tuesday – Wednesday alternating. You can contact Eileen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 4 September 2020. Updated 10 September 2020.
We are recruiting!
We are currently seeking a well organised and supportive Business Administrator who will be responsible for the financial and administrative aspects of the charity in association with the three other members of staff
plus a voluntary board of directors. This is a Permanent & Part-time role (17.5 hrs/week) based at Vogrie Country Park, nr Gorebridge, Midlothian. The salary is £11,000 per annum (£22,000 pro-rata), with flexible working.
Deadline for applications 23 July 2020. For full details please visit our vacancies page.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 9 July 2020.
(PDF, 4 pages, 53.6 KB).
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 26 June 2020.
Thanks a million - 3,000,000 actually!!
While Covid-19 casts its shadow over all our lives, it seems more important than ever to have something to celebrate - so here at
TWIC, we are delighted to say that, thanks to all the recorders and organisations who continue to share their data with us, our database
now holds more than 3,000,000 records. These records help to build a more comprehensive picture of the biodiversity within SE and central
Scotland and provide an essential resource for planning screening, environmental assessment, research and conservation.
A Rook, Corvus frugileus, among a Scottish Ornithologists’ Club’s dataset was the 3 millionth record – rapidly followed by many other
species to take our new total to 3,004,417!
Whatever your circumstances in these challenging times, we hope that you still have some access to the solace that nature provides -
and, if you are not yet an active wildlife recorder, perhaps now is your chance to start! Records for all species are important –
even the common ones – so everyone can contribute, and it is a great way to learn about the wildlife sharing your local patch – whether
that be your garden or local environment. To find out more about how to record, visit our Recording and Contributing Data pages.
Just remember to stick to current restrictions and social distancing rules when you are out.
By Jackie Stewart. Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 14 May 2020.
Edinburgh Natural History Society receives the Bob Saville Award
The recent TWIC Autumn Conference held at Oatridge College on Saturday 30 November saw the presentation of the Bob Saville Award. Bob Saville, who died in 2010, was one of the founders and inspirers of TWIC.
He was one of the best-known faces in biological recording in Scotland over many years. A silver quaich is presented each year in his memory to others carrying forward his vision.
Presenting the award, TWIC Chair, Sarah Eno said:
“The Bob Saville Award recognises individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to recording and encouraging others to get involved. This year we recognise the Edinburgh Natural History Society and its
members over the last 150 years. Its work supports people who are active submitters of records and gives novices the confidence to start on that journey. It provides a range of opportunities through an annual programme of around
50 field trips and other events. It has a remarkable heritage and its old journals, which can be accessed online, give a unique insight into the people, wildlife and the places in the Edinburgh area.”
Reflecting on Edinburgh Natural History Society being presented with the Bob Saville Award, President Sarah Adamson said:
"I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of the Edinburgh Natural History Society. In our 150th year it is an honour to be recognised for the work of the many Edinburgh Nats who have been passionate about natural history
and what we now call biodiversity. We continue to encourage and support people to get involved in monitoring and recording their local patch or by joining us on field trips and joint recording events with TWIC. Thank you to Bob Saville,
who was known by many Nats and it was his focus on observing and recording that has been continued and valued."
Information about the Edinburgh Natural History Society, including links to the historical archive, can be found on its website.
Photo courtesy of David Palmar (photoscot.co.uk).
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 19 December 2019.
Book now for TWIC Autumn Conference and AGM 2019
Nature enthusiasts, recorders and students are all invited to book a seat for our TWIC Autumn Conference, to be held on Saturday 30/11/2019 at the SRUC Oatridge Campus in Broxburn (West Lothian).
Did you know that cities can be great for wildlife? This year our conference theme will be Urban Wildlife.
Our conference will explore how humans, animals and plants can coexist with each other in a built environment and discuss related challenges.
To help us covering costs, we will be introducing a charge of £10 (only £5 for students) plus booking fees. This charge includes a buffet lunch and teas.
You can book your place and see our speakers' programme via Eventbrite.
The deadline of booking is the midnight of Sunday 24 November 2019.
Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 04 November 2019.
New GIS and Data Officer – Claudia Caporusso
TWIC has appointed Claudia Caporusso to be the new GIS & Data Officer.
Claudia comes to TWIC from the University of Stirling where she is currently completing her MSc in Environmental Management and Conservation.
Claudia brings experience in GIS and an adept computational ability to continue the development of TWIC’s services to Local Authorities and consultants. She has previously volunteered with RSPB and
worked as an assistant editor for photoscot.co.uk.
Her interests include hiking, bird watching, wildlife photography and keeping up-to-date with current affairs in conservation, remote sensing and ecology. She is also a trainee bird ringer.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 19 July 2019. Updated 11 September 2019.
Photograph of Fieldfare by Teresa Reynolds [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)].
2.75 million records!
On Wednesday 8 May 2019, upload of a batch of bird data from the East Lothian Council Ranger Service pushed the total number of species records on TWIC’s Recorder 6 database to 2,750,337. The 2,750,000th record was for a flock of
Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris, so no individual bird can take all the credit! Similarly, we are grateful to all the recorders and organisations who continue to share their data with TWIC and help us provide high quality, objective and
independent wildlife information. Every record is of value and the total value greater than the sum of its parts.
By Jackie Stewart. Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 15 May 2019.
Staff changes at TWIC
Graeme Wilson left TWIC on 19 April 2019 after 7 and a half years as Centre Manager to pursue other interests. We are glad to say that Natalie Harmsworth has accepted Acting TWIC Manager for the time being. Because of the support of the staff and Directors over recent months TWIC is able to continue to service its undertakings without interruption.
TWIC Spring Conference 2019 - Fully Booked!
Bookings are now being taken for the TWIC Spring Conference: Biodiversity Matters, which will take place on Saturday 27 April at the McSence Conference Centre in Mayfield (Midlothian). This time our programme is
centred around key themes in the new Midlothian Local Biodiversity Action Plan, such as pollinators, people and nature, wildlife corridors, homes for wildlife and protected sites. However, the talks will not necessarily be
geographically specific to Midlothian.
The conference is free to attend and includes buffet lunch, but BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL. To view a draft programme and to book please visit
Deadline for booking is midnight, Sunday 21 April 2019.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 15 February 2019 and updated 22 April 2019.
Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum
The Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum (SBIF) Review has now been published and makes 24 recommendations that will hopefully improve the biological recording infrastructure in Scotland.
To learn more about the recommendations and the next steps in the process please visit the SBIF page.
Graeme Wilson, TWIC Centre Manager
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 18 December 2018.
An update on the future of Recorder 6
Recorder 6, the venerable database program that underpins the work of almost every Local Records Centre in the UK, is about to regain much of its lost support. Formerly Recorder 6 was supported by JNCC funding, but this ended
in March 2018. An extra year's funding was secured from an anonymous source, but the future of the program was looking very uncertain. Now though, a Recorder 6 Steering Group is to be formed from various Recorder 6 users. The group
aims to not only keep Recorder 6 going as a viable platform, but to look to the future and look at developing a new platform using the data structures we’ve all come to rely on.
Additionally, the group is planning to introduce licence fees for Recorder 6. Under the new plan, from April 2019 onwards, each Recorder 6 user will pay an annual fee based on what type of user they are (£250 for an organisation or £25 for an individual).
This will allow for not just maintenance and bug fixes to the program, but also potentially new features. The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Trust will also be working with the group in a management capacity. Other plans include training new developers for Recorder 6 and to
work on new ways for users to obtain support for Recorder. More information can be found on the NBN Forum.
Steve Hannah, TWIC GIS and Data Officer
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 18 December 2018. Edited 20 December 2018.
TWIC Autumn Conference - review
45 people attended the TWIC conference on Saturday 10th November 2018 at Melrose Corn Exchange in the Scottish Borders. An interesting and varied series of talks on the theme 'Hot topics in biological recording' were delivered, as follows:
- Which city landscapes are best for pollinators, and how can we improve them? - Graham Stone (The University of Edinburgh)
- South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project Update - Philip Munro (The Southern Uplands Partnership)
- Tom.bio Plugin for QGIS – What can it do for you? - Natalie Harmsworth (The Wildlife Information Centre)
- Tree pathogens - Steven Hendry (Forest Research)
- The SBIF review: Re-imagining our biological recording infrastructure - Christine Johnston (National Biodiversity Network)
- Scottish Borders Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2028 - Liz Hall (Scottish Borders Council)
The speakers' presentations can now be downloaded as PDFs via our Previous conference page.
In addition to the main talks, four quick-fire talks were included in the programme, giving attendees the opportunity to promote their respective projects or organisations.
The speakers were: Roger Manning (Berwickshire Naturalists Club), Vladimir Krivtsov (Biodiversity of SUDS retention ponds), Graeme Wilson (Lothians and Borders Mammal Group) and Katty Baird (Hibernating Heralds).
The TWIC conference is all about sharing knowledge and celebrating the work of the many, mainly voluntary recorders across the region. In order to formally recognise the work of individuals, TWIC annually awards the
Bob Saville award at our autumn conference to someone who has made an extra ordinary contribution to biological recording and conservation in our area. This year, the award was given to Barry Prater (pictured), in acknowledgement of
all the recording effort and support Barry has given to the lepidopterist community over many years. Barry is Berwickshire vice-county moth recorder, Scottish Borders area organiser for Butterfly Conservation and former chair of
the East Scotland Branch of Butterfly Conservation. He has submitted over 15,000 of his own records to TWIC and is an active member of the Scottish Borders Local Biodiversity Sites steering group, the group that oversees the selection,
survey and approval of regionally important sites for nature conservation.
TWIC would like to thank all the speakers for their excellent talks, Michael Scott (Live Borders) for chairing the morning session, the stall holders and open mike speakers for their contributions and everyone who attended. The spring 2019
conference is planned for Saturday 27 April in Midlothian. PLEASE SAVE THE DATE!
Photos from the autumn conference can be viewed on our Facebook album
(no login required).
Editor comment: Current users of the Tom.bio QGIS Plugin may be interested to know there is a consultation on its future development and features at the moment. Please follow this link to complete a 10 minute questionnaire if you would like to provide feedback to Field Studies Council on the tool.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 5 December 2018. Edited 20 December 2018.
TWIC Autumn Conference - Book now!
Bookings are now being taken for the TWIC Autumn Conference & AGM, which will take place on Saturday 10 November 2018 in Melrose, Scottish Borders. Further details, including a programme of talks can be found on our
Conferences page. We have aimed for a varied programme talks around the theme “Hot topics in biological recording”. The event will also include the presentation of the Bob Saville award
for biological recording and participants will have the opportunity to promote their own survey or recording initiative during the open mike session (please register for a slot on the booking page).
The event is FREE to attend and includes buffet lunch, but BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL for catering purposes. Bookings are being taken via Eventbrite. Please book by midday, Monday 5 November.
Bookings now closed.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 25 October 2018. Updated 13 November 2018.
Scottish Borders Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2018 - 2028
Scottish Borders Council is consulting on their new Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) 2018 - 2028. Visit: www.scotborders.gov.uk/lbap
to download the draft plan. Hard copies of the plan are available in each of Scottish Borders Council’s libraries and contact centres.
Comments on the plan should be submitted at http://scotborders.citizenspace.com by 30 November 2018 at the latest.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 4 October 2018.
Photograph of gynandromorph Orange tip butterfly by Nick Morgan.
Spot the difference!
Local recorder, Nick Morgan spotted this Orange Tip butterfly on 27th April along the River Tyne near Haddington, East Lothian whilst out doing his butterfly transect. He noticed the butterfly had a wonky flight, but on closer examination
he realised the wings didn’t match! There is the “orange tip” of the male on the left wing, and the plain white of the female on the right wing. What’s going on? It’s a gynandromorph – a mixture of both male and female. More details no doubt
to be had on Google, but according to experts it is “a find of a lifetime”. Well done Nick.
Article adapted from June 2018 issue of Best boot forward - Newsletter for East Lothian Countryside Volunteers.
Postscript: Nick tells us that the butterfly was seen twice more following this sighting, but not by him. It was seen the following day about 300 metres downstream from the initial sighting and also the following week about 500 metres along a
tributary of the Tyne!
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 21 June 2018.
Spring Conference - A Soaring Success!
52 delegates gathered at Sauchie Hall in Alloa for TWIC’s spring conference on Saturday 28 April. This was our second event in the TWIC expansion zone of central Scotland and we were delighted to see that recorders from across SE and
central Scotland continue to support the event. We will continue to move the conference around the region in order to allow as many people as possible to attend and to encourage us to explore topics pertinent to different areas.
Before lunch three main talks were delivered:
- Sarah Eno (Borders Forest Trust) - pictured - Reviving the Wild Heart of Southern Scotland
- Dr Chris McInerny (University of Glasgow/ GNHS/ BRISC) - Reptile study and conservation at Loch Lomond
- Chris Wernham (BTO) - Recording upland wildlife – Trials, tribulations and future potential
The open mike session was given a welcome return at this event and the following took up the opportunity:
- Gabriele Grunert – Central Scotland Mammal Group
- Vladimir Krivtsov (Heriot Watt) – Biodiversity of SuDS ponds
- Jay MacKinnon/ Robert Engstrom (Water of Leith Conservation Trust and Edinburgh Napier University) – Giant Hogweed control
After a fine lunch provided by our caterers, Cateritaly, Graeme Wilson (TWIC Manager) gave an update on progress with the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum. Then we returned to the principal talks of the afternoon:
- Rick Taylor (Southern Uplands Partnership) - South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project
- Rebecca Yahr (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, RBGE) - Miniature mountain worlds: Lichens for recorders above the treeline
- Professor Davy McCracken (Scotland’s Rural College, SRUC) - The Internet of Things & its potential to improve environmental data collection in the uplands
Overall, we enjoyed an excellent day exploring different aspects of upland recording and conservation. Thanks to the speakers for their engaging and high quality talks, the open mike speakers for their individual contributions and to
everyone who attended or brought a display. The event would be nothing without you the recorders and supporters!
If you want to know what you missed, or would like to recall something from the day, the speakers’ presentations are now available to download from our website as PDFs on the
Previous Conferences page. You can also view photos from the event in our Facebook album (Facebook account not required).
The TWIC team are now thinking ahead to the autumn 2018 event – details of which will be forthcoming. To keep up to date with news of future TWIC conferences, please opt-in to our mailing list for “TWIC Events and Conferences” by
emailing email@example.com. Due to the General Data Protection Regulations that came into force on 25 May, we need your explicit consent to include you on our
mailing lists – so please make sure you do not miss out!
Photograph: Sarah Eno (Borders Forest Trust Trustee) standing by her stall at the spring conference. Photo by Samra Asrat.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 25 May 2018.
Oystercatcher photo by Andreas Trepte www.photo-natur.net [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons.
2.5 million records!
On Thursday 26 April 2018, our Recorder 6 database passed the milestone of holding more than 2.5 million species records – so a huge thank you goes to all the recorders and organisations who share their data with TWIC. Their continued efforts
are fundamental to TWIC’s role in providing high quality, objective and independent wildlife information.
The 2,500,000th record, submitted by Graham Checkley, was for an Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, and was uploaded by our long-term volunteer Lesley Kennedy whose cheerful dedication is an immense help to TWIC. To find out
more about how you could help TWIC, visit our Recording or Volunteering pages.
By Jackie Stewart. Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 24 May 2018.
Bookings now open for TWIC Spring Conference!
Date: Saturday 28 April 2018, 10:00 - 16:30
Location: Sauchie Hall, Mar Place, Sauchie, FK10 3EA.
Theme: Onwards and Upwards: Biological recording & conservation in the uplands
Details: TWIC's Spring Conference is an opportunity for naturalists across the region to get together at the start of the recording season to exchange news and ideas, and to listen to a series of talks on the theme
of upland recording and conservation. There will be an opportunity for individuals or local groups to promote their recording initiative or project during the open mike session, by having a stall, or presenting a poster.
The conference is FREE to attend, and will include a buffet lunch, but booking is essential.
Booking details: To view the programme and to book, please visit
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, March 22nd 2018.
An Introduction to Spider ID Workshop
A joint event with the British Arachnological Society (BAS)
Date: Monday 9 April 2018, 10:00 - 15:30
Location: Vogrie Country Park, near Gorebridge, Midlothian (EH23 4NU)
Details: Join local recorder Katty Baird for an introduction to these fascinating creatures and a chance to observe them in the field. No previous experience necessary. This workshop will be partly field based.
Please bring suitable outdoor clothing and lunch. Teas/ coffees will be provided.
Cost: Places are FREE but limited, so booking is essential. To book, please visit
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, March 14th 2018.
TWIC Bat Walk Competition
This is your chance to win a bat walk for yourself and up to 24 family and friends at a location on mainland Scotland at a place and date to be agreed between May to September 2018.
The walk will be led by TWIC Manager Graeme and will include a talk on bats before being led on a walk to see bats, as well as hear them with the use of bat detectors. The combined talk
and walk will last at least an hour and a half.
To be in with a chance of winning this prize all you need to do is donate £10 to The Wildlife Information Centre using details below and send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org confirming you have made a donation and with your contact details. If you make a donation of £20 then your name will be entered twice into the draw, £30 donation three entries, etc.
Minimum donation is £10. Contact details you supply will only be used to contact you regarding this competition.
The competition is open until 31st March 2018 with the winner being drawn in the first week of April. The winner's name will appear on TWIC's website and in our social media.
Donations can be made by bank transfer using:
Bank - The Co-operative Bank
Account Name - The Wildlife Information Centre
Sort code - 08-92-99
Account number - 65490891
Or by sending a cheque made out to The Wildlife Information Centre to:
TWIC Bat Walk Competition
The Wildlife Information Centre
Vogrie Country Park
Other competition Terms & Conditions
1. Competition not open to TWIC Staff and Board members or members of their direct family.
2. Location of bat walk must be on land with public access or where permission for walk has been granted.
3. Date of bat walk will be by mutual agreement between TWIC Manager and winner. If weather is unsuitable for bats on agreed date then walk will be rearranged for a later date.
Bookings Now Open for TWIC Autumn Conference & AGM!
In Pursuit of Wildlife
Date: Sat 25 November 2017, 10:00 - 16:30
Location: Stow Town Hall, Earlston Road, Stow, Scottish Borders (TD1 2QS)
Details: The TWIC Autumn Conference will provide an opportunity for all those interested in wildlife recording and conservation across the region to join together at the end of the season. Talks will showcase
a number of recording initiatives and citizen science studies in southern and central Scotland that are furthering our knowledge of wildlife and sometimes using novel approaches in pursuit of their target organism!
The event will also host TWIC's AGM and the presentation of the Bob Saville Award. Download the programme
here [PDF, 93.4 KB; updated 01/11/17] and the flyer
here [PDF, 3.41 MB].
Cost: FREE, including buffet lunch, but booking is essential as numbers will be limited. To book, please visit
Note that there will be a raffle and other items to purchase, so please bring cash if you are interested in these.
Getting there: Stow is situated on the Borders railway line. The train station is a short walk from the venue. A link to the timetable is below. Note not all trains stop in Stow:
Scotrail train times. Stow is also served by the X95 bus.
For a route map and timetable click here. There is free on-street parking adjacent to the venue.
Posted: October 27th 2017.
Photograph: Hazel Marr.
The Scottish Spider Search
The search for spiders continues. This month the spotlight is on the Four-spotted Orbweb spider. An impressive species which according to TWIC records has only been seen in a sprinkling
of locations across SE Scotland, including coastal sites such as Aberlady and John Muir Country Park but also inland at places like Red Moss of Balerno... Where else might it be lurking?
The Four-spotted Orbweb spider is most obvious at this time of year when the large adults are about. They can be found in areas with vegetation tall and strong enough to support their web, which can
be up to 40 cm in diameter. The web is rarely higher than 1.5 m from the ground so undisturbed rank grassland, areas with gorse or heather, marram dunes are good places to look. The key feature to distinguish
this spider from other superficially similar species are the four white spots on the back of the abdomen. The colouring of the spider can be quite variable, ranging from greens to yellow to orange. Their colour
can change and is possibly related to humidity (in damper places they tend to be paler and greener whist in drier areas they are more orange). Egg-laden females are big; in fact this species is has the accolade
of Britain’s heaviest spider, with records of 2 g not unusual. If you see one send your record into the Scottish Spider
More fascinating information about this spider can be found on the British Arachnological Society's website.
Katty Baird. Edited by Natalie Harmsworth.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, September 14th 2017.
A White Letter day
Scottish Borders Butterfly recorder, Iain Cowe recently spotted a White Letter Hairstreak butterfly (Satyrium w-album) in Scotland for the first time in recent history. The butterfly was discovered on 9th August
2017 near Paxton House in Berwickshire close the border with England. The butterfly was found nectaring at Ragwort on a south facing field margin on the north side of the Tweed.
There are only two previous records of White Letter Hairstreak in Scotland, one in 1859 (Lennon) Dumfries, and another in 1884 at Sandbank, Dunoon (William Watson) (George Thomson, The Butterflies of Scotland). Since then
virtually nothing is known about the butterfly and its status in Scotland.
Butterfly recorders have thought for some time that this species may appear in the south of Scotland, as it has increased its range northwards in recent years, probably in response to climate change.
The butterfly flight period is likely to be July through to mid-August, although there is much yet to learn about its habits this far north. The food plant is Elm and the butterfly spends a lot of its time in the canopy but
will descend to nectar at Bramble flowers and evidently Ragwort. South facing wooded banks containing Elm with an understory of Bramble would be a good place to start looking.
In North Northumberland the butterfly is pretty much unknown, apart from, that is, occasional sightings in the far south of the region but now it looks extremely likely that it resides throughout the region as far as the Border
and beyond. It’s incredibly difficult to locate along with its cousin the Purple Hairstreak that favours Oak instead of Elm.
For more information on the species, visit Butterfly Conservation’s website.
Iain Cowe (Butterfly Conservation)
Posted by Steve Hannah, August 17th 2017.
White Letter Hairstreak. Photograph: Iain Cowe.
Photograph: Michael Scott.
Wildlife Recording Workshop - Saturday 5 August 2017
Make your wildlife observations count! A practical 1 day workshop from The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) including an outdoor ID session. No experience necessary.
Bring suitable outdoor clothing and packed lunch.
Location: Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre, near Ancrum - Scottish Borders (TD8 6UQ)
FREE, but booking essential. Ages 16+. To book please go to the Live Borders website.
Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, July 25th 2017.
2.3 million records!
Thanks to the many recorders and organisations sharing their records with TWIC, our database now holds more than 2.3 million records – proof that “Mony a mickle maks a muckle”. The 2,300,000th
record was for Hypogymnia physodes, a foliose lichen, entered as part of the British Lichen Society’s Lichen Database: Scotland 1700-2016. For more information on the work of the British Lichen Society (BLS),
visit their website, www.britishlichensociety.org.uk.
Posted: July 25th 2017.
Photo: Kristian Peters -- Fabelfroh 15:03, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
The audience assembled in the Brunton Hall, Musselburgh for the talks. Photograph: David Palmar.
TWIC Spring 2017 Conference Report
The TWIC Spring Conference was held on Saturday 29th April 2017 at the Brunton Hall in Musselburgh and was attended by 70 people.
The topic was 'Farming and Biodiversity in Scotland - An Essential Partnership' and talks on this theme were delivered by Dr Tim Daniell (University of Sheffield/ The James Hutton Institute), Luke Gaskell
(Kittyfield Farm and Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland recorder), Fiona Torrance (The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust), Teyl de Bordes (Whitmuir Farm, near Selkirk) and Dr John Kerr
(Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture). Two further update talks were given by Pete Minting (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust) and Katty Baird (Butterfly Conservation National Moth Recording Scheme).
We were grateful to all the speakers for their engaging and thought-provoking presentations - but special thanks go to Katty Baird in particular for stepping in at very short notice. TWIC’s Autumn Conference is scheduled
for Saturday 25 November 2017 with a venue in the Scottish Borders to be confirmed - please put the date in your diary!
Read the full report here [PDF opens in new window, 7 pages, 2.23 MB].
Posted: June 12th 2017.
Mammal Workshop – 25 June 2017 in partnership with Lothian & Borders Mammal Group
Date: Sun 25 June, 9:30 – 15:30
Location: Whitmuir Estate, near Selkirk (Scottish Borders)
Details: For all who want to learn small mammal ID and mammal surveying skills. Day will involve checking Longworth traps for live captures and hedgehog tunnels for foot prints as well as a
classroom session on owl pellet dissection focusing on small mammal skull and lower jaw ID and a bit of time looking at technology to record mammal presence via both video and sound recording.
Requirements: Bring a packed lunch and wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear for outdoor session.
Cost: The workshop is FREE but booking is essential as numbers will be limited. To book, please visit
Posted: June 8th 2017.
Using a bat detector workshop for beginners - FULLY BOOKED
Date: Sat 22 July 2017, 19:30 – 23:00
Location: Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre, near Ancrum, Scottish Borders (TD8 6UQ)
Details: David Dodds will be leading an evening workshop on identifying bats in the field using a heterodyne bat detector. There will be an indoor classroom session covering the theory followed by a bat walk
in the environs of Harestanes to get hands-on assistance using detectors in the field. Tea/ coffee will be provided on arrival. Please wear stout footwear and warm clothes. Bat detectors will be available to borrow,
but if you have your own please bring it along.
This is a joint event with the Lothians and Borders Mammal Group (LABMAG) and Live
Cost: The workshop is FREE but booking is essential as numbers will be limited. To book, please visit
Eventbrite. Note that the workshop is now FULLY BOOKED. However,
if you would like to be added to the waiting please register on our Eventbrite page.
Posted: June 6th 2017.
Morning Chorus Workshop - Sat 3 June
RSPB’s Mike Fraser will be leading a morning chorus workshop for TWIC on Saturday 3 June from 5 am to 8 am at
Hadfast Valley SWT reserve in Midlothian.
The workshop will provide an introduction to identifying birds by sight and sound. No previous experience necessary. The workshop is FREE but booking is essential as places are limited. To book a place please send a
completed booking form to email@example.com.
Participants should bring suitable outdoor clothing, binoculars, a drink and a snack.
Posted: May 16th 2017.
Bookings Now Open for TWIC Spring Conference!
Farming and Biodiversity in Scotland – An Essential Partnership
Date: Sat 29 April 2017, 10:00 - 16:30
Location: Brunton Hall, Musselburgh, East Lothian (EH21 6AA)
Details: Talks will highlight the diversity of wildlife found on farmland - from soil organisms through to wildflowers, birds and mammals - and how this interest can be managed.
There will also be two talks from previous speakers to update us on their projects. Download the programme
here [PDF, 80.9 KB] and the flyer
here [PDF, 2.97 MB].
Cost: FREE, including buffet lunch, but booking is essential as numbers will be limited. To book, please visit
Getting there: For information on how to find the venue, including public transport options please visit The Brunton website.
With thanks to Caledonian Conservation Ltd. for sponsoring lunch.
Posted: March 14th 2017.
TWIC AGM and talk
The TWIC AGM that is to take place on Wednesday 1 March in The George Washington Browne Room Edinburgh Central Library at 6.30pm is followed by a talk by Enya O'Reilly of Edinburgh Napier University on
"The many uses of biological records: analysis of long-term trends in East Lothian's birds using Wetland Bird Survey data". Non-members welcome and can also take opportunity to become members if they wish,
cost £5. Please arrive in plenty of time as we will be starting at 6.30pm prompt.
Posted: February 28th 2017.
We are currently advertising two volunteering roles at TWIC:
Public Survey Assistant (Scottish Spider Search)
A volunteer is required to support TWIC’s new wildlife survey, the Scottish Spider Search – a project supported by the British Arachnological
Society, Buglife and Caledonian Conservation Ltd. and part funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The volunteer will be responsible for organising the distribution of survey postcards, processing data and publicising the survey online.
We are looking for a volunteer to commit a minimum of 1 day per week, ideally for 6 months (we can be flexible with length of time). Applicants must have an organised approach to work, be a competent user of
Microsoft office packages especially Excel and have the ability to work well as part of a small team. An ecology-related degree or equivalent experience would be an advantage, but training will be provided.
CVs should be sent to Natalie Harmsworth, Records Ecologist, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01875 825968 for a chat.
Applications should be received no later than March 31st.
You can download the job description and person specification here.
A volunteer is required to support TWIC’s Phase 1 Habitat digitisation project. The volunteer will be responsible for the digitisation of habitat data and the extraction of species data from
Scottish Wildlife Trust's Local Wildlife Site survey files in Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk areas.
We are looking for a volunteer to commit a minimum of 1 day per week. Applicants must have experience of using GIS software (preferably ArcGIS) and the ability to work well as part of a small team.
An ecology-related degree or equivalent experience would be an advantage, but training will be provided.
CVs should be sent to Steve Hannah, GIS and Data Officer, email@example.com or phone 01875 825968 for a chat.
You can download the job description and person specification here.
Posted: February 28th 2017.
2016 recipients of the Bob Saville Award: Brian & Sandy Coppins. Photo: Natalie Harmsworth.
TWIC Autumn 2016 Conference Report
The Autumn Conference was held on Saturday 26th November 2016 at Bo’ness Town Hall and was attended by 61 people. The programme of talks focussed on the marine theme – from examples of citizen
science and recording initiatives to more applied aspects of ecology – with a brief detour to launch the Scottish Spider Search before lunch!
The calibre of speakers was very high and they provided both interesting and entertaining talks. 2016 marked 25 years since the inception of TWIC's predecessor organisation “Wildlife Insite” in 1991 and
TWIC Manager, Graeme Wilson, provided a potted history of TWIC during his talk. Another highlight of the day was the presentation of the Bob Saville award, which this year was awarded to Brian and Sandy
Coppins (pictured) for their huge contribution to the recording of lichens in Scotland and their generosity in giving their time in supporting and educating new lichenologists.
A full conference report can be downloaded from here.
Posted: January 25th 2017. Updated February 28th 2017.
BRISC & GNHS Bursaries 2017
BRISC (Biological Recording in Scotland) and GNHS (Glasgow Natural History Society) are together offering 6 bursaries towards attending a training course in natural history field studies.
The bursaries will be for up to £200 or 75% of the cost of the course, whichever is lowest.
- Bursaries are open to anyone living in Scotland.
- Courses must be chosen from the taxonomic courses listed under the Field Studies Council (FSC) Professional Development Programmes (see
www.field-studies-council.org) or similar professional
development courses run by academic institutions. Please note that NVC courses are not eligible for the bursary.
- Courses should be completed before 31 October 2017.
- BRISC and GNHS are keen to ensure that any biological records gathered are mobilised to the Atlas of Living Scotland or NBN Gateway, through local record centres, local data hubs or online
recording schemes depending on what is available. We are also keen to encourage the sharing of skills with colleagues and others. We are particularly interested in applications for courses where
the species/group has a lack of taxonomic expertise, and/or geographic areas where records are limited.
- The successful candidates are required to write a short article (300-400 words) on their course experience for BRISC Recorder News and/or the GNHS Newsletter. £30 of each bursary will be held
back until receipt of the relevant article.
- Successful candidates will be given a year’s free membership with BRISC and/or GNHS, and will be invited to give a short presentation at the annual BRISC Conference.
All applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2017
Download the application form here (Word document, 2 pages, 67 KB).
Posted: January 17th 2017.
Students studying bryophytes. Photo courtesy of Mike Beard.