In praise of … County Recorders

A timely Editorial in the British Birds e-Newsletter
With little more than a month to go before my ‘retirement’ as County Recorder, the following Editorial appeared in the BB e-Newsletter, reproduced here by kind permission of BB Editor, Roger Riddington. The post remains vacant …


rrRecently, I was talking to Ben, the BB web designer. He had done some work on our website, including the page of current county recorders. He expressed some surprise when I told him I’d be making changes to the content of that page on a regular, probably monthly, basis. I think he’d assumed that county recorders, once appointed, were likely to remain in post for a very long time, possibly forever. There are a few long-term stalwarts, of course, but nationally, there is a good deal of turnover. It’s perhaps not surprising – the volume of work can be significant and for most recorders, that work equates to spare time not spent in the field. I suspect that most recorders would say that the bulk of the records come in with little effort, it’s chasing up the (hopefully small) minority of difficult species and recalcitrant observers that takes such a lot of time. Yet the county recorder network is a foundation for a huge amount of amateur ornithology and citizen science in Britain, and it plays a key part of the main reports in BB, including the Rarities, Scarce Migrants and Rare Breeding Birds reports. We acknowledge this in an admittedly small way by giving current county recorders a 50% discount on their annual subscription to BB. But by and large, county recorders are unsung heroes. So to all you past and present recorders and bird report editors: we salute you, thanks for your efforts. And to anyone thinking of putting their hand up for a vacant position – go on, give it a try; it need not be forever, and you will be making a really key contribution.

Roger Riddington, Editor British Birds

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