Record Centre News

3 Million Records

Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita

Here at the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre we are pleased to announce the 3 millionth record entry into our database.

Over the past six months we have been lucky to have two part-time data entry officers ploughing their way though our data-entry backlog. They have entered 30,000 records, which have included entering data from amateur naturalists and professional ecologists, and has been for many different species groups from lichens to mammals and moths to fungi. As we gradually crept closer to the 3 million mark, a huge data import of 92,000 bird records from the Sussex Ornithological Society tipped the numbers over the edge just before Christmas.

Our millionth record, which was in April 2006, was of a Peregrine Falcon – quite appropriate, we thought, as we sped ahead into the future. The Marmalade Hoverfly marked our two millionth record in October 2008, a common but beautiful species.

The 3 millionth record is of a Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, a type of leaf warbler which is widespread in Sussex as a summer visitor and passage migrant with a small number over-wintering. The Chiffchaff’s name is onomatopoeic and refers to the repetitive chiffchaff song that we all love to hear during the spring and summer. The Chiffchaff moves restlessly though foliage in search of insects; sometimes you can see it briefly hovering to snap up an insect in flight. You could say that this is how the record centre works. We are constantly foraging for data, gleaning it from reports and working with recorders to gather their records up, and every now and then we are able to hover in cyberspace and ‘snap-up’ datasets from national schemes and societies.

Thank you to all of the biological recorders who send their records in to us, as always we greatly appreciate the time and effort that goes in to the collecting, digitising and sharing of your data. Keep up the good work!

Photo: © DAVE KILBEY 2008/Sussex Wildlife Trust