The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra)
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Latest News


TWIC Spring Conference has been postponed

Unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, we have made the decision to postpone the TWIC Spring Conference.

The plan currently is to postpone until a Saturday in November 2022 with the same venue and theme. The date will be confirmed shortly.

Apologies for any disappointment caused.

Posted by Claudia Caporusso 13 May 2022.


Bookings are now open for the TWIC Spring Conference on Sat 21 May!

We are excited to be holding our first in-person conference since the pandemic!

The TWIC Spring Conference will be held on Saturday 21 May, 10:00 - 16:00 at the Nicolson Square Edinburgh (with online Zoom attendance option). The conference theme is “Home and Away” and talks will be centred around wildlife movements and migrations, how we study and record them and implications for conservation.

Anyone interested in wildlife recording and conservation in SE/central Scotland are welcome to attend this 1-day event. Join us for an interesting programme of talks, a chance to catch up with friends and meet new people and find out about recording initiatives from around SE/central Scotland.

Delegates are encouraged to promote their own recording initiative during the open mike session or by providing a poster or display at the conference. If either of these are of interest, please provide details on the registration form.

Cost: £12.50 (in person) or £7.50 (online). For full details, including a programme, and to book please visit Eventbrite.

Posted by Natalie Harmsworth 3 May 2022.

Photo courtesy of Mike Beard

John Harrison with Bob Saville Award.

John Harrison receives 2021 Bob Saville Award

The Bob Saville Award was presented as part of the online TWIC Autumn Conference on Saturday 20 November. The award is a silver quaich which is presented annually in memory of the late Bob Saville, one of the founders and inspirers of TWIC and a well-known face in biological recording in Scotland over many years.

The 2021 recipient of the Bob Saville Award is John Harrison, who is Warden at Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve and has been a member of the East Lothian Council Ranger Team since 2007. TWIC Chair, Sarah Eno, made the presentation. John was awarded the prize in recognition of his many years of work in inspiring people, especially youngsters, about natural history and wildlife recording, as well as his efforts to coordinate and collate records for the reserve and wider Ranger Service. As of November 2021, TWIC held almost 12,500 records under John’s name and c. 15,000 for the East Lothian Council Ranger Service – the latter shared with the NBN Atlas Scotland via TWIC.

Dr Roger Powell (Senior Ranger, East Lothian Council Ranger Service) states that John’s “…vision for Aberlady Local Nature Reserve has also been about sharing his knowledge with others and inspiring people to develop their own skills to contribute to the conservation effort.” John was at the forefront of developing a volunteer hub at the reserve to support species monitoring and habitat management activities. The project has also enabled new people from diverse backgrounds to get involved in recording.

During the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, several initiatives were spearheaded by John including digitisation of c. 25,000 historic wildlife records for the reserve and developing a moth trapping project. The latter initiative helps individuals develop their moth identification skills, provides moth traps (with financial support from East Scotland Butterfly Conservation branch) to enable independent surveying, and contributes to the knowledge of wildlife at Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve and beyond.

John is always encouraging of people recording their wildlife sightings and takes every opportunity to share his expertise. Knowledge is shared in a down-to-earth manner and always with good humour and patience. Katty Baird, a local recorder describes how participation in ‘moth mornings’ (moth trapping) led by John at the Scottish Ornithologists Club (SOC) helped kick-start her own interest in moths. She says “When I first moved to Scotland… I wasn't into moths particularly and this event was part of my baptism!” She goes on to describe how his support helped her interest blossom and the rest, as they say, is history. Katty now co-leads Butterfly Conservation’s Hibernating Heralds project.

John’s knowledge and enthusiasm also helps inspire a new generation of recorders and nature conservationists. Pre-COVID, John led regular sessions to support outdoor learning both at the local primary school and at the reserve, including supporting students working towards their John Muir award. His activities have earned him a celebrity-like status with local school pupils. According to local volunteer, Lesley Kennedy’s children, he is “Just like David Attenborough, only younger”. Lesley goes on to say John is “exactly the ambassador our natural world needs.”

John’s dedicated and hard-working approach is evident throughout. TWIC congratulates John on receiving the award.

Grateful thanks to the following for supplying information: Lesley Kennedy, Katty Baird and Roger Powell

by Natalie Harmsworth, posted by Claudia Caporusso 16 December 2021.


The Woodland Screening Data Request – a new commercial service from TWIC

TWIC has recently launched the new commercial data request service “The Woodland Screening Data Request” with the aim of delivering ecological information that is most relevant to forestry agents and to work in line with the ambitious re-forestation targets set by the Scottish Government's Forestry Strategy 2019-2029.

This service was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Forestry, as well as participating forestry agents who provided helpful feedback.

Additionally, TWIC has produced a guidance document with the purpose of illustrating all the features of this new service, along with technical advice on how to interpret data requested from TWIC.

For prices and conditions, see our data request page here, and click on this link for the Woodland Screening Guidance.

Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 16 December 2021.

TWIC's Woodland Screening Guidance.

iNaturalist update – what it means for LERCs like TWIC

iNaturalist is one of the world’s most popular nature apps and social networks, built to share and discuss record identification with other users all over the globe.

Born from a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, the main aim of iNaturalist is to create research quality data for scientists to help them understand species distribution and trends.

In April 2021 NBN Trust, Marine Biological Association (MBA) and Biological Records Centre (BRC) launched iNaturalist UK, with the aim of benefitting local biodiversity (e.g. by automatically blurring coordinates to protect sensitive species) and to assist the efficient flow of UK biodiversity data, specifically by importing iNaturalist records into iRecord.


How to contribute to iNaturalistUK:

  • Create an account/install the iNaturalist app: Search for ‘iNaturalist’ on Google Play (Android) or the App Store (Apple). If you are a new user, you will be prompted to associate your iNaturalist account to iNaturalistUK. If you are already an iNaturalist user or miss the prompts, you can go to settings and select “iNaturalist Network” and then “iNaturalist United Kingdom” from the list.
  • Join the iNaturalistUK User Group: NBN Trust would like to know how iNaturalist is used by individual recorders and organisations. To get involved, please email inaturalist@nbn.org.uk describing briefly who you are in terms of recording.
  • Join the iNaturalist forum: You can share your thoughts and suggestions on iNaturalist at this link.

How to ensure that TWIC and other LERCs can use your records on iNaturalist

  • Licencing: TWIC can only benefit from your records if you apply a CCO or CC-BY licence to your records. To change your licencing settings on the app go to: Settings>Content and Display and choose CCO or CC-BY (please note that photographs can be given a licence type that is different from the species record). For more information on Creative Commons licences see: this link.
  • Use your real name when possible: when dealing with difficult taxon groups or uncertain IDs, knowing who the recorder is can help us determine if they have expertise on the subject or if we may require more information. It can also help us identify duplicate records if the user has submitted their data to multiple places. Use of usernames or pseudonyms means lost information.
  • Choose the best possible resolution: try to be as precise as possible when locating your sighting on the map, high resolution records such as 100m-square grid references or better have a stronger weight in environmental decision-making.

Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 16 December 2021.

iNaturalist Logo.

TWIC Autumn Conference 2021 Playlist.

TWIC's YouTube Channel - Autumn Conference 2021 Talks are now available

Eight new videos of the talks recorded at our Autumn Conference held on the 20th and 21st of November are now available on our Youtube Channel. You can play them all in succession or choose a single talk to watch at this link. If you have your own YouTube/Google account you can also leave a comment on the videos you have just watched.

TWIC routinely uploads videos of our talks, workshops and training, and by subscribing to our channel you will receive a notification every time we upload something new.

Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 16 December 2021.


Surveyors needed for new ‘Status of the Adder in Scotland’ Project

The Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG UK) are looking for volunteers to survey Adder (Vipera berus) at 16 different sites all over Scotland for the years 2022 and 2023. This project will help determine how the distribution and abundance of Adders has changed since the 1992-1993 SNH’s (now NatureScot) commissioned surveys.

The results of the 1992-1993 surveys determined that Adder abundance declined during the 10 previous years (1980s), but there wasn’t sufficient evidence to ascertain that their distribution had contracted in the whole of Scotland – except for farmed areas.

To take part in the new survey, volunteers will be required to visit the survey site a minimum of 6 times during Adder season (February-August) each year.

For more information on this opportunity see: this link.

Posted by Claudia Caporusso, 16 December 2021.

Adder Survey sites, map by Caledonian Conservation.

Vogrie house, Vogrie Country Park

Vacancies - TWIC Director

We are currently seeking an experienced individual to join our board of 6 voluntary Directors. As a member of the board of Directors, you will be responsible for ensuring TWIC meets its legal and charitable obligations and contribute to the success and future development of the organisation. Previous experience of finance, business development or marketing would be a distinct advantage.

Application deadline: Thursday 30 September 2021 at 23:59. For further information please visit our vacancies page.

Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 9 September 2021.


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.

Natalie Harmsworth speaking at the TWIC Conference, 27 April 2019, by David Palmar

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.

TWIC's Youtube page as of 17 May 2021.

Tetrads(2km Squares) with Lapwing Records Abundance in Midlothian

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: admin@wildlifeinformation.co.uk.

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 info@wildlifeinformation.co.uk.

Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 4 September 2020. Updated 10 September 2020.

Eileen enjoying the outdoors

Vogrie house, Vogrie Country Park

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.


Privacy Policy

We have updated our Privacy Policy. To view a copy of our updated policy click here (PDF, 4 pages, 53.6 KB).

Posted by Natalie Harmsworth, 26 June 2020.


Rook by Claudia Caporusso

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.



TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. This project is supported by NatureScot.