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Diary/Notebook (1 Viewer)

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Wasn't sure where to put this but what do you buy to put all your notes/sightings in? Is there a specific brand of notebook/diary that's good for this sort of thing?
 

sward17

Member
I use a small 'red 'n' black' notebook in the field, then write up neat in an A4 day to page diary when home, usually there's enough room to add a photo of the site/target bird and a map. I also record sigthings onto BTO's birdtrack website as well. I find this works well for me.
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Wasn't sure where to put this but what do you buy to put all your notes/sightings in? Is there a specific brand of notebook/diary that's good for this sort of thing?

You can buy a notebook with waterproof paper and also a pen that writes in the rain, but they are relatively expensive and personally I've never felt I needed them. I would look for a small notebook (I get mine from WH Smith, but other stationers are available ;)), or what about a diary that has a page for every day. Just make sure whatever you get fits into a pocket because you'll want both hands free for holding bins, camera etc. As has been said, you can transfer your data when you get home into a "proper" notebook, or write it using your PC, or your blog.
 

IDIC

Well-known member
I also use a red n black note book in the field and then transfer to a "Birding Journal" on my PC later.

By using my PC I can add photos or maps and also alter things at a later date if needed. I dont use a special PC programme, just Microsoft Word. It works for me.
 

Gill Osborne

Well-known member
I've been birding since the early 80's and always meant to keep a diary of my bird sightings but never actually got around to it until six months ago :smoke:
I use an A4 file so I can add in sketches, drawings, photos, maps etc :t: Wish I'd done this years ago as it's so relaxing to write things up at the end of the day.

I've ALWAYS had a small notebook with me in the field however and always used to use those hardbacked blue-marbled notebooks. Now I use a small A5 sketch pad as it gives me space to sketch and write notes.
 

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
Calvin, I've always used policeman style notebook.
Small enough to hold in one hand while writing and fits in most pockets.
Used to write them all up in A4 notebooks, but a few years off regular birding got me out of the habit and I'm struggling to keep up to date these days.

I think the important thing is to keep notes, though. Doesn't matter where or how - "just do it" (hey that could make a good slogan ...)
 

TomSmith

Well-known member
I think you will find a page-per-day notebook awkward: lots of nearly-blank pages with just a line or two, and then a few pages where you've had to cram everything in. Better get an ordinary book and then you can be flexible.

(I'm fond of these smart notebooks from Rymans: nice paper, a band to hold it shut, a page marker and a little pocket in the back for membership cards.)
 
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Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
You can really use any notebook to record your sightings, as long as its not to big, around A5. I think a black n red notebook with that size of sheet is probably the most convinient and smart looking, but you can go for anything else of your choice.

Regards,

Joseph
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
You can really use any notebook to record your sightings, as long as its not to big, around A5. I think a black n red notebook with that size of sheet is probably the most convinient and smart looking, but you can go for anything else of your choice.

Regards,

Joseph

I agree Black n' Red, but having sensible sized pockets I use an A6 (105X148mm) one each year in UK and for each country (well I might go back) abroad.

As well as day lists of varying length for each day of the year working from the front (annotated with day's mileage, who was in the crew and anything else that might be useful or interesting later), I use the back:

handy phone numbers, e-mails and addresses, these still work when the phone runs out:

Year lists (birds, mammals, butterlfies, odonata, moths, reptiles and amphibians)

field sketches (not so many of those these days, camera takes up the slack more than it should)

odd bits of verbally given directions for use in future.

I use sufficient personal abbreviations that the front has a "legend" in it:

Underline in day lists = year tick

+ = ten mile radius of home (year) tick

* - ****** = star quality (this started out as a five star system but then things like the Berry Head Gyr and Great Cowden Blue-cheeked Bee-eater were obviously better than already seen five-star birds)

NEWS with an arrow over whichever = flying in the direction

underline in year list = official rarity

M = life/British tick for my wife Marion

P = Photographed

My ticks, naturally, get a tick.

John
 

chris butterworth

aka The Person Named Above
As Joseph says, you can use any notebook you like. The three I've used over the years are the "ubiquitous" black n red and the black "policemans" notebook ( the latter is rather useful if you're birding in an "iffy" area ). At present Morrissons do an A6 one, 5 for £1, which is handy for taking notes in the field, but not really substantial enough to keep, so I do a write-up in an A5 page a day diary afterwards.
Chris
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
The Black n' Red is quite durable. Mine just about see the year out with the spine covering tending to rip about mid November (a simple bit of sellotape over the spine extends the life sufficiently).

John
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
I have an A4 Black and Red which I obviously don't use in the field, but I use it to record bird related things such as my personal records of memorable days out and several bird related lists I wouldn't put in my normal book. In my birding notebook for the field, I write my year lists at the back and work my way upwards as I see more birds, and at the front I do day lists. I used to record every species I saw, but now I only record the slightly less common birds that I see in the day. I also in brackets put the number of a specific species I've seen, particularly fun and interesting when your sea-watching. ;)
 

sward17

Member
Just going of on a slight tangent from this thread, do most people here write up their field notes neat at home or just use field notebooks as a permanent record? And also as Joseph highlighted, do people record and/or count every bird on a birding day or just the 'target' species?
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Just going of on a slight tangent from this thread, do most people here write up their field notes neat at home or just use field notebooks as a permanent record? And also as Joseph highlighted, do people record and/or count every bird on a birding day or just the 'target' species?

I personally don't take field notes. I record every species seen every day, not just on birding days. And the weather and general conditions as well.
 

prattw

Desert Rat
I use a 4" x 6" top-bound "Write-in-the-rain" spiral notebook in the field (it just fits into a top shirt pocket or the zipper pocket on the weather cover for my bins) using black waterproof ink in a roller-ball pen. (I'm in the US, so measurements and available brands are different.) Back home, or back at base camp, or wherever, I transcribe and expand my notes onto 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" three-ring paper in a zippered canvas 3-ring binder. After several days, or at the end of the trip, I enter my records into AviSys6 and file the pages in an ordinary 3-ring binder that gets shelved in one of my book cases. I get one or two years into a binder (more likely one year of late, and I can see where I'm moving towards 6 months, be warned, note taking is addictive and there doesn't seem to be a twelve step program for it.)

My rough field notes use band code for names and similar coding based on the technical name for plants, and that gets expanded during transcription.

Will
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Just going of on a slight tangent from this thread, do most people here write up their field notes neat at home or just use field notebooks as a permanent record? And also as Joseph highlighted, do people record and/or count every bird on a birding day or just the 'target' species?

I use one notebook a year. It ends up nearly full, but even if it was less so, because it is my permanent record I get quite worried towards the end of the year that I might lose it somehow - its a relief to start a fresh one on 1 January!

On big days out I generally write down everything in case it starts to look like a century is "on" once the targets are out of the way. On normal days round and about (to and from work, walking dog) it is more likely anything unusual: that might just mean a good count of Black-headed Gulls on a flooded playing field I'm trying to exercise the dog on.

John
 

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