A very handy feature in BirdTrack is the facility to record much more detail about the birds you see without having to enter large amounts of text in the comments box. To access the 'Optional details' submenus, simply click on the at the end of the row in a species entry to open the 'Optional details' submenu. There are nine categories for entering optional details:
(1) Age/Sex: You can enter information on the age, plumage, sex or phase of birds you recorded. Addtionally, you can enter a count for each option. Note that the total count in thsi menu must not exceed that entered in the main count box.
(2) Activity: You can select one of twelve options to tag your sightings. For example, you can indicate that a particular bird was an escape or exotic, or if it is sick or injured. Further, you can enter a count for each activity, as well as a comment.
(3) Breeding details: Here you can enter counts for a particular breeding category, in case you encountered multiple incidences of breeding evidence for a species. For example, if you recorded 3 singing birds and two visiting a probable nest site.
(4) Pinpoint: This option allows to enter detailed locational information for a sighting, for example if a flock of birds was feeding in a particular area. You can also add counts for each pinpoint, and a comment.
(5) Direction of flight: This submenu is designed for timed counts of birds, such as at seawatches or on visual migration counts. Simply enter counts for each direction birs were flying in. Note that unlike other count fields, the Direction of flight fields can't contain count accuracy information (i.e. '+' or 'c').
(6) Habitat: Here you can enter a comment related to the habitat a bird was using.
(7) Sensitive: This option allows you to mark a sighting as 'Sensitive' which hides such records from BirdTrack's public outputs. This option can be useful if a rare or scarce bird is encounterd on private land or an otherwise inaccessible area. Note that the use of all BirdTrack records is governed by Rare Breeding Bird Panel (RBBP) guidelines. Records flagged as sensitive will remain available to local recorders, RBBP, the BirdTrack Organiser, Bird Atlas 2007–11 and designated individuals in the RSPB and the country agencies. To ensure that records can be used to maximum benefit, please avoid using the sensitive flag unless absolutely necessary.
(8) Remarkable: This option allows you to mark a sighting as 'Remarkable', which means it will be included in the 'Notable observations' page on the Global data entry portal (log-in required).
(9) Comments: This page allows you to enter any relevant comments for a sighting.
Tackling invasives: unpicking the definitions
BTO's Head and Principal Ecologist David Noble breaks down what we really mean by 'invasive species'.