Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS) is a Local Record Centre holding information on species, geodiversity, habitats and protected sites for the whole of the county of Norfolk. NBIS is a member of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres and operates within the guidelines of the National Biodiversity Network. NBIS functions with guidance from a Steering Group, serving the need for environmental information in Norfolk through the collection, collation, assessment and interpretation of high quality data.


NBIS provides:

·         A single source of environmental information for Norfolk

·         Collation of available data for Norfolk

·         Validation and evaluation of these data

·         Identification of gaps in knowledge – taxonomic, geographical and temporal

·         A permanent and secure location for data

·         Improved flow of data from individual recorders to users at both local and national levels

·         Quick and easy access to information for all


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Species of the Month - Wasp


Have you seen a wasp this month?

Click the picture and let us know (or use buttons below):

Our Species of the Month for September are the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German Wasp (Vespula germanica)

These two related species feed the larvae in their nest with caterpillars and other insects, and in return the larvae provide tham with a sweet saliva. They often seem to suddenly appear in September as this is the time that the queen stops laying eggs. The workers' time is no longer spent feeding the larvae and so they start searching for other sweet foods for themselves - this could include your pint of cider or your jam sandwich!

Wasps, unlike bees, can use their sting multiple times. This makes them more likely to sting than a bee. However they are unlikely to do so unless threatened by a sudden movement or violent behaviour.

The two species are commonly found and look very similar. The best way to tell them apart is that the Common Wasp (top photo) has an anchor shaped black mark on the front of its head, while the German wasp (photo to left) has three small dots (this difference is particularly obvious in females).

Please record sightings (with a photo if possible) using our online recording form below:

Species of the Month - Otter


Have you seen an Otter this month?

Click the picture and let us know (or use buttons below):

Our species of the month for August is the
European Otter (Lutra lutra)!

Once a rarity, the otter is now recovering well and there are lots of places in Norfolk where they can be spotted all year round. Being mainly nocturnal, dawn and dusk are the best times to see them (so you might need to get up early!)

One of Britain's largest mammals, otters are brown with a cream patch on their chin and underbelly. Males can be up to 1.2m long and weigh up to 10kg, while females are slightly smaller.

As they can be quite elusive, otters are often best recorded from field signs. Their footprints are about 6cm wide and they have 5 webbed toes (though often only 4 will show up in the footprint). Otter spraints (droppings) are highly variable but can usually be identified by their smell which is sweet, musty and fishy. They are often left on logs or stones or under bridges and act as territorial markers.

Otters can sometimes be confused with a closely related species, the mink. Mink are smaller than otters, black in colour with a pointed muzzle. They are generally bolder than otters and often seen out in the day. Their footprints are much smaller (approx 2.5cm across) and mink scats smell horrible!

Click here for more information on ID and Otter track and signs

Please record sightings (with a photo if possible) of Otter or their tracks or signs using our online recording form below:

Species of the Month - Bee Orchid


Have you seen a Bee Orchid this month?

Click the picture and let us know (or use buttons below):

Our species of the month for July is the
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)!

When you see it it's pretty obvious how the bee orchid got its name - its flower looks like there is a female bee sat on it! The plant uses this to lure in male bees which then pollinate the flower. To make themselves even more irresistible to their pollinators they give out chemical signals that smell like a female bee!
The bee orchid is very distinctive and now is a great time to go out looking for it. They can pop up on all sorts of grassy places - even on road verges and waste ground, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled!

Please record sightings (with a photo if possible) of Bee Orchid using our online recording form below:

Bioblitz at Dinosaur Adventure!

Between 12 noon on Saturday 2nd August and 12 noon on Sunday 3rd August, Dinosaur Adventure are asking people to join in trying to record as many species at Dinosaur Adventure as possible:

It is a chance to discover all about the wonderful wildlife that calls Dinosaur Adventure its home!

We will be joined by experts from around the county, who will be surveying the site over a 24 hr period, and recording the species found.


The August E-Bulletin ("Biodiversity News in Norfolk"): available to DOWNLOAD NOW (28/08/14)

Download and read no. 38 here. 

You can also fill in our reader survey for the E-bulletin here.

Sign up for our monthly e-bulletin - get the latest biodiversity news by clicking here and sending

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A collection of interesting national biodiversity news from August (28/08/14)

NNNSI "Urban Invaders" Invasive Alien Species Survey

Humans are increasingly moving species outside their natural range, sometimes deliberately and sometimes accidentally. In the absence of their natural enemies, some species can spread rapidly and cause problems. These species are termed

Invasive non-native species are considered to be one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss worldwide, second only to habitat destruction and fragmentation.
They can also have significant economic impacts. One recent estimate put their cost at almost £2 billion a year in the UK alone!

Urban areas are a hotspot for invasive non-native plants. Our new survey - Urban Invaders - aims to help improve the quality of our data on some of the most damaging invasive plants found in Norfolk. We need YOU to help by telling us when
and where you see them.


New Zealand Pigmyweed/Australian Swamp-stonecrop (Crassula helmsii)
Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)
Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Download the Urban Invaders Leaflet here

NBIS Hedgehog Survey


Have you seen me this spring?

Click the picture and to let us know (or use buttons below):

Hedgehogs appear to be declining in the UK at the same rate as tigers are globally— at around 5% per year.   There may be less than a million left in the whole of the UK*.

 The hedgehog was voted “Britain’s National Species” after a recent poll organised by the BBC Wildlife Magazine, reflecting its popularity.
Please help us learn more about hedgehog populations in Norfolk by sending in your sightings.

Any records you send to NBIS will assist with an action plan to help safeguard Norfolk’s hedgehogs.:

Norfolk Species Surveillance Network

NBIS needs you!

Norfolk Species Surveillance Network 


NBIS are continuing to develop their Multi-taxon species monitoring initiative known as the Norfolk Species Surveillance Network (NSSN), launched in 2013.

We are expanding this network and the recording levels on them, hence needing as many of you as possible to volunteer to monitor species change across Norfolk.  We are looking for individuals or local parish/conservation groups to get involved.  No previous experience of the methodology is necessary, just a passion for wildlife.


The Wonder of Birds, Norwich Castle Museum, 24th May - 14th September 2014.
New exhibition open at Norwich Castle Museum, combining art and natural history to explore the cultural impact
of birds on humanity.

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