A number of considerations can affect the reliability and acceptability of a record including the ease with which the species in question can be identified, the demonstrated competence of the observer in making identifications, and whether or not that species was expected in that part of the state. A voucher specimen is the "gold standard" for exceptional records (newly described species, new state record species, or significant range extensions). Close-up photographs are sufficient to confirm records of most species, and sight records are sufficient for easily identifiable species when made by skilled observers. The rule of thumb is that rare or unusual records require greater verification than more common records (exceptional records require exceptional verification).
A voucher specimen with an accurate date/location label is always the preferred standard for exceptional records:
Considerations that affect acceptance of photographic or sight records include:
Thus, a sight record for a new county record of a common species is acceptable if:
When in doubt, take a photograph!