zabdiel's picture

What should I make observations of?

Should I add everything I observe or should I only add things I can't identify?

I first came across iSpot as a good way of getting things identified, but people are obviously adding things they can identify too. I feel I should add some observations of things I can identify to add to the amount of data on iSpot, but is this actually what iSpot is about?

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anonymous spotter's picture

What to add to observations

I reckon that this is largely up to the user. People who aren't (or think that they aren't) very knowledgeable about wildlife can enjoy posting fairly familiar species. The agreement (or otherwise) of others helps either their learning curve or their confidence.
Others who know a bit more can still post familiar species, perhaps displaying unusual behaviour or physical abnormalities. This can alert others for things to look out for.
Posting the ones you can't identify yourself is obviously a really good way of finding out what they are.
Unfortunately, many species can't be identified from photos - either this just isn't possible, or the photo does not capture a diagnostic feature. This fact is picked up on by the more learned, and has been commented upon in wildlife publications. But to some extent I think that it misses the point of what iSPot is about: sharing the interest in wildlife and the environment. People may become "hooked" on the creatures in question, and eventually become experts. Or the fact that it might be something really rare can alert county recorders and wildlife trusts that here is something to look into.
It's all about building an interest that leads, one way or another, to positive action for wildlife, I think.