The "rules"

Here are some suggested rules for the 1000 for 1ksq challenge.

1. Have fun. This is supposed to be enjoyable and educational and really something to inspire us all to get up in the morning and look for things. Added bonus of not burning loads of petrol too. But if you don't think you'll reach 1000, no problem.

2. The rules are optional. However, if people want to compare, then it is useful to have a level playing field. So....

For competition purposes...

3. The area has to be a square. Ideally this should be a 1 km square of the national grid (or equivalent overseas), but this is not critical so you can shift it a bit to avoid motorways! No wiggly polygons that take in lots of nice habitat and miss lots of rubbish though. You do not have to live within the square.

4. All species must be within the square, or deemed to be probably in the square. Birds flying miles away don't count, but if you're genuinely not sure, it's up to you.

5. The species must be detected between 1st Jan 2013 and 31st Dec 2013, although identifications can continue afterwards if necessary.

6. Species should be identified using appropriate sources of information, including relevant keys where required. However, an element of "balance of probabilities" is allowed - e.g. Carrion Crows do not need to be checked critically to rule out American Crow, etc. Be aware though that the distribution of many taxa is not well known, or indeed may be changing, and be alert for new discoveries.

7. For the purposes of the competition, only species-level identifications count. Aggregates of any defined grouping at greater than species level, even where no species within that grouping have been identified, do not count.

8. Birds need to be on Category A or C of the BOU list. Same sort of thing for other groups - you can't have deer-park Fallow Deer, goldfish, domestic mammals. But you can have humans, so long as they're really really wild. Garden plants are allowable if they have spread under their own steam more than 2 metres from the nearest garden boundary. Trees that have clearly been planted deliberately, for whatever reason, are not countable; however, it has to be accepted that it may be impossible to tell for many native trees, especially old ones, and in such cases the species can be included.

9. The participant does not have to fully identify each species themselves; help is allowed, so long as the participant is engaged in the identification process and understands why the species is what it is (i.e. no sending buckets of flies to the local museum...)

10. Dead things count so long as they clearly died within the square (e.g. pitfall traps) and were clearly alive during the year in question.

11. Evidence-only records (mole hills, galls, leaf-miners, etc) do not count for the competition unless the organism itself is seen or heard. Bat detectors can be used "live", but bat detectors left out and analysed subsequently do not count for the purposes of this challenge.

12. Species can be detected by sound (e.g. bird-song) so long as you are sure of the identification and that the species is present within the square. If you really want to count fox on the basis of smell alone, this is left to your conscience...

But, for wider (and more useful) biological recording purposes...

13. It is always useful to record non-native species, so jot down those Black Swans even if they don't count for the competition.

14. Evidence-only records (such as vacated leaf mines, mole-hills, passive overnight bat detectors) form valuable biological records and should always be submitted to recording schemes.

15. It may be useful to submit records of taxa that have not been identified to the species level (e.g. Dark/Grey Dagger, Bramble sp., etc) even if they don't count for the competition.

16. All records should be submitted to the relevant local or national recording society or local record centre, as appropriate.

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