Data News

article written by Ellen Lee, Data Manager

Data has been flowing into TVERC at a fast and furious rate over the summer. So far this calendar year, we have logged 374 individual data sets, about 40 more than at the equivalent time last year.

We have had a concerted push to get access to more fish records. During 2020, we have so far added 1157 fish records to our database with a number more to be added in the next few weeks. Many of these records come from the EA National Fish Population Database which contains electrofishing records from the EA for our larger rivers. However, our Berkshire Biodiversity Officer, Caitlin, has been doing a great job talking to local angling groups and so we have recently acquired records of catches from a number of local fisherman and clubs operating on our rivers. This is a great new source of records for a taxon group that is poorly recorded, especially in the smaller watercourses and lakes. However, I have to confess that my favourite fish record of the year though came from Wroxton Mill up in the north of Oxfordshire where the owner sent us a video of brook lamprey in the Sor Brook (watch the video here). They breed in the stream gravel in small bundles of 15 to 20 fish. I once caught one when I was crayfish surveying and they are the most bizarre looking creature with a large sucker for a mouth they use to suck in mud which they then filter for small particles of food. Not the most exciting lifestyle, but obviously effective.

The other big data news from the last month or so is that TVERC has signed a data exchange agreement with Butterfly Conservation, so we should soon be receiving a substantial number of butterfly records for the two counties.

As data manager mainly responsible for species data, I am constantly amazed at the wildlife that makes Berkshire and Oxfordshire its permanent or temporary home, everything from white storks to fungus gnats! I count myself lucky to be able to help preserve that knowledge both to protect and inform. However, this couldn’t be done without you the wildlife enthusiasts and experts, so I’d like to say a big thank you from all of us at TVERC and we look forward to hearing and recording your future discoveries.

Posted: September 21, 2020