Data Chit-Chat September 2022

article written by Ellen Lee, Data Manager

The summer and early autumn are usually a quiet time for data coming into TVERC. People are out in the field recording wildlife and so the number of data sets arriving in our inbox slows down from more than 50 a month for the first few months of the year to around 30. For me, once I’ve updated the protected and notable and invasive species data sets that we and our local authority partners use in late July, it’s time to look strategically at the data left to process and ensure that the most important is tackled in a timely fashion. It’s also time to start dealing with the large amounts of verified data we download each year from IRecord.

So, in the last three months, we’ve logged a further 91 data sets and processed and successfully imported 93. We’ve also added over 11,000 iRecord records to our database and now hold just over 4.2 million records. Our data volunteers have been a vital part of this effort, preparing and validating data ready for me to import. It’s definitely a team effort and my thanks go out to them.

Since my last chit-chat, our data team has expanded further as we’ve been joined by fellow data manager Miguel Batista and data assistant Elizabeth Tatham. Miguel is currently getting to know our habitat data with a view to improving its quantity and quality and putting procedures in place to allow us to use more varied sources of data. Elizabeth will be helping me out with species data in addition to carrying out data searches and getting involved in project work and other data issues. It’s wonderful to have a large data team with expertise in a variety of different areas. We are now 5 including our other two data assistants Adela Nistora and Karen Fowler.

Over the summer, TVERC was involved in a couple of bioblitzes in our area. In June we took part in the bioblitz organised by BENHS (British Entomological and Natural History Society) at Dinton Pastures Country Park in Berkshire. Experts combined with local people to record just under 450 species. Meanwhile, on a roastingly hot day in early August, volunteer co-ordinator Henrietta Pringle and I headed to Kilkenny Country Park in Carterton for a small community bioblitz organised by West Oxfordshire District Council. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of children and adults alike (it was very hot). We might not have recorded so many species, 54 actually, but they were for a site with very few existing records. Hopefully it will kickstart a whole new future of recording at what is an important urban grassland. For me though, it was a great opportunity to leave my my computer behind for the day and wave a net around and (hopefully) encourage the next generation of wildlife recorders. However, I can’t go without mentioning our best find of the afternoon’s bug hunt, a beautiful picture-winged fruit fly that goes by the name of Merzomyia westermanni (photo below by John Cobb). It breeds in ragwort flowers but is far from common. The TVERC database contains a mere 12 records.

Posted: September 29, 2022