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Over the weekend iSpot received observation no. 250,000! The quarter-of-a-millionth place was a tie between observations added to iSpot here, and to our sister site in southern Africa:
- Courting malachite beetles (UK), by markandfran
- Crab spider and gladiolus (South Africa) by Douglas Euston-Brown
For more information see the OU press release.
There have been occasional observations relating to geology posted on iSpot, but strictly speaking that's outside iSpot's wildlife remit of course. Now there's a chance to get involved with a new project that will allow you to find out more about rocks and minerals, and ask any questions you may have.
Over the last few months several more organisations have joined us by having 'badged' representatives on iSpot - a warm welcome to all, and many thanks to the people who have offered to represent them:
This item originally appeared on the iSpot home page a couple of weeks ago.
By using iSpot to help check your identifications, you can also play a part in providing data to the range of organisations that help monitor and conserve wildlife. Data from observations on iSpot are now being supplied to the wide range of wildlife recording schemes that play a vital part in monitoring and researching species distributions.
To date, exports of data from iSpot have gone to:
Have you used iSpot as part of a bigger project, or to investigate a particular puzzle? Have you been on a journey with iSpot to discover wildlife that you didn't know about before?
Natural history societies, recording schemes and similar groups can apply for an OPAL grant of up to £3,000 to help your society. An OPAL grant can be used to train new people or expand your work.
The OPAL Grants Scheme helps natural history societies and recording schemes grow and flourish. To date OPAL has distributed grants totalling £175,000 to more than 70 different natural history groups.
Meet the Species aims to get people looking for 2,012 different species in the run-up to the Olympics. Many of these species have been ticked off during a range of Meet the Species events, and you can join in on iSpot too - when you add an observation just use the Descriptive tags box to add:
Meet the Species
For more about the project see the Bristol Natural History Consortium:
and all the Meet the Species-tagged iSpot observations are at:
The latest organisations to have 'badged' representatives on iSpot are shown below - a warm welcome to all, and many thanks to the people who have offered to represent them:
Today is the start of National Insect Week! Lots of events, activities and information are available at:
and many of the societies represented on iSpot are involved.
If you find an insect and want help identifying it you can of course add your obseravtion here on iSpot, and if you add "NIW2012" to the "Descriptive tags" box we'll be able to group them all together.
The latest addition to the iSpot identification keys is for Butterflies of gardens and parks.
If you're starting to learn your butterflies, this simple key will help you narrow down the possibilities, with links to many of the excellent observations that have been posted on iSpot over the last couple of years.
For the full list of keys now available see:
and for background information on the keys:
iSpot's 18,000th user registered on the site yesterday evening - welcome!
iSpot tries to be accessible to as wide a range of people as possible, and we're always keen to help newcomers develop their wildlife interests and identification skills, so please do continue to spread the word among your friends and colleagues.
The GB Non-Native Species Secretariat has asked us to pass on the message below - this species hasn't been observed on iSpot so far, and we hope it is one that you won't find in the UK, but given the potential damage that could be caused if it were to become established it is certainly one to look out for.
Earlier today iSpot observation no. 100,000 was posted on the site! A rather charming Common Groundhopper, observed by regular contributor ophrys:
Thanks as always to everyone who contributes observations, identifications and comments to iSpot. We look forward to no. 200,000!
With the arrival of March we should be seeing increasing signs of spring, and many forms of wildlife will be getting more active again. With over two years of observations now on iSpot it's interesting to look at what species people have seen each month - maybe this will help show what to look out for in the coming weeks, or maybe you can find species that are not yet on the list.
We had some technical issues yesterday (Wed 21 Feb), and at the moment some observations added to iSpot between about 12 noon GMT and 2pm GMT are not appearing on the site. They're not lost, and we're working to get them back as soon as we can.
Try our new habitats page:
We've added a page to iSpot that allows observations to be filtered by habitat tags. We hope that this will be of particular use for marine and coastal observations, as it provides a way of grouping these together that includes the wide range of taxonomic groups found in these habitats.
When you click on one of the habitat links you'll see the latest observations assigned to that habitat.
It's been a while since we last listed the organisations who have become 'badged' on iSpot, so a warm welcome to the following organisations, and many thanks to the people who have offered to represent them:
I expect most iSpot users are aware of this already, but just in case you aren't, the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is back, this coming weekend (28/29 January). For full details see:
If you see anything you don't recognise, put the photo and/or description up on iSpot, and if you're lucky enough to see a bird you haven't seen before, let us know by tagging it "New to me" - see our Discover New Life project:
UPDATE at 12 December 2011: the vast majority of the missing images have now been restored. However, if you find that an image is still missing from any of your observations please contact us and let us know which observation has been affected.
Original message at 3 November 2011:
We are having some technical problems following an update today. At the moment observations uploaded before the update show only one of the images associated with them. Please do not worry about this. The other images will be restored.
- making it clearer that photos of nesting birds and roosting bats should not be uploaded on iSpot
- making it clearer that the details of wildlife observations on iSpot may be passed on to recording schemes and environmental records centres
Although there haven't been any major changes to the appearance of the iSpot website recently, our technical developers (principally Richard Greenwood) have been busy behind the scenes.
- "I have been made aware of the rich resource of information on-line and projects/surveys needing support. My specialist area was plants in about an acre of, possibly, old meadow. The routine of regular identification resulted in a record of more species than my casual observation registered which was exciting and rewarding. Receiving feed-back on iSpot was helpful too."
The iSpot reputation system is doing a good job of helping iSpot users understand what degree of confidence can be placed on the identifications suggested, and in highlighting the Likely ID for each observation. And people seem to enjoy adding to their own reputation score through helping others identify the wildlife they have seen.
WANTED: Biodiversity Mentors for East Midlands,West Midlands and the North West
As one of our regionally-based Biodiversity Mentors you will play an important role helping us to encourage public participation with nature across England. This includes introducing the public to iSpot as well as other aspects of our work such as the OPAL national surveys, the iSpot Keys, the OU course S159 Neighbourhood Nature and other activities.
Do you know what bugs are living near you? How are our towns and cities affecting these tiny creatures?
Join in a nationwide bug hunt and discover the incredible variety of invertebrates that live all around us.
Keep an eye out for six species in particular and help scientists answer important questions about their distribution.
Download a free ID guide and get involved today.
For downloadable resources and to take part go to the OPAL Bugs Count website:
iSpot is just one part of the broader environmental science project OPAL (Open Air Laboratories), which aims to create and inspire a new generation of nature-lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment.
OPAL is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and has been shortlisted for a National Lottery Award.
- "I enjoyed this course a lot, learnt a lot of new things. I specifically enjoyed using iSpot to record photos of my finds and the interaction was good. The nice part is I can keep using ispot even after the course has finished. Overall a lovely course to do."
We've always intended that iSpot observations should be made available to those national and local recording schemes that wish to have it, and we are developing a system that will make it easy for this to happen. More on that later in the year, but we are delighted that one recording scheme has taken iSpot data on board already, thanks to the hard work of Tristan Bantock.
Explaining Range Changes: from County to Continent
This meeting on Saturday 7 May, at the Biological Records Centre in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, will bring together a number of national recording schemes to give presentations and share experiences of recording and analysing wildlife information. iSpot is one of a number of techonologically-based projects that will be giving demonstrations as part of the meeting.
There are still some places available, for full details and to book your place see the document at:
Two more organisations are now 'represented', bringing our total so far to 46 wildlife societies and recording schemes represented on iSpot. Welcome to:
Scottish Fungi have a wealth of useful resources on their website, and are encouraging people to send in their identification queries via iSpot:
iSpot has teamed up with Platform â€“ the Open University's community website â€“ to offer you the chance to win one of 25 Samsung digital cameras with accessory kit and a signed copy of Fragile Web: What Next For Nature, by OU ecologist Professor Jonathan Silvertown.
All you have to do is tell us in no more than 50 words what you're doing to encourage wildlife to thrive in your local area. Perhaps you're improving a local park or even your own back garden for wildlife? If so, tell us how. The 25 most original entries (judged by Professor Silvertown) will win prizes.
The OPAL climate survey has now been launched, the fifth in OPAL's series of science surveys. The survey involves a range of activities including blowing bubbles to follow wind patterns, and investigating clouds and contrails around the country. The survey is being run by the Met Office.
In the last few weeks we've had several new additions to the list of people representing wildlife societies and recording schemes on iSpot:
This week we had our 9,000th registered user join iSpot! With more joining every day the 10,000 mark is fast approaching.
Latest figures also show:
- over 37,000 observations added
- over 45,000 identifications have been made, working out at an average of 1.2 suggested identifications per observation (in other words most observations have a single identification, with no dispute over its correctness)
- just under 133,000 identification agreements, at an average of 3.6 agreements per observation