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Logbooks - What Are The Options

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Old Sunday 7th June 2015, 09:23   #1
Nomad Z
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Logbooks - What Are The Options?

Been thinking of getting some sort of logbook for birding in the UK. I'm not especially into lists, and so far have only taken notes once, but I feel that I'm starting to forget some birds that I've seen and that some sort of basic record keeping would be a good idea. I'd like to at least maintain a list of what I've seen (life list), and some info like when and where. My preference is for pencil and paper (because my ageing iPhone is increasingly unable to install the latest versions of any software, and because the batteries don't run out on the traditional method). It's likely that the field-recorded info will be transferred to a spreadsheet at home (thus allowing me to derive other lists should I feel inclined).

I've been looking at pre-printed options, and have only found three so far. The RSPB do a basic little booklet at £1, but this is only for doing ticks and has an abbreviated list (which appears several times for multiple lists). Also had a look at the landscape format Coxton one, which has a more comprehensive list and lots of space for field notes, but it's a bit big and is a soft cover. I felt it was too big for a pocket, and didn't think it would be particularly easy to handle in the field.

The third one I'm aware of is the Birders Pocket Logbook, but I haven't seen it other than online. The size of this looks much better - about the same as a Moleskine pocket notebook, and seems to offer the same sort of thing as the Coxton (a comprehensive list and plenty of room for field notes). There also seem to be two versions of this, but it's not clear what the differences are. There's the logbook, and a boxed version, while other sites distinguish them as paperback and hardback. Is the cheaper one always paperback, and the hardback always the boxed version? Or is the hardback version available without the gift box thing? Also, does it have space to add species not in its printed list?

Are there any other pre-printed logbooks that are worth considering?
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Old Sunday 7th June 2015, 21:47   #2
Craig H
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Personally I prefer a small lined notebook and just add free text. I transfer anything interesting (new birds for the year, site or lifers etc) onto my computer when I get home. It's pretty much up to you, but the versatility of a blank page wins every time for me.
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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 09:56   #3
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I find I either write rubbish or nothing at all at the moment with a plain notbook. The Birder's Pocket Logbook offers the British List and lined notebook space, and it's pretty compact. The Coxton is too big for me, and the RSPB one too limited.

Decided to try the pocket logbook - ticking the list should encourage me to get it out more often. I'll probably still carry an unlined Moleskine in any case, but put it in the bag instead of a pocket.

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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 19:49   #4
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Rite In The Rain is the standard for field notebooks, IME. Comes in many sizes and formats.

They aren't as durable as they could be, but the only intention is to provide an all-weather writing surface. They tend to get a bit "fuzzy" around the edges with use, but that's better than the "pulp mush" that normal paper becomes.
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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 22:36   #5
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I use a paper "policeman's" type notebook, but keep it in a sandwich bag to protect from rain; you can then make notes whilst keeping the book dry (although I usually wait until I'm under shelter).
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Old Friday 19th June 2015, 20:29   #6
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And our younger friends will most likely use something that exists on their phone such as the new ebird app:

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