Half-Penny: how things have changed

Half-Penny: how things have changed

To those familiar with this blog, you will know that I owe my passion for nature almost entirely to my Grandmother. The lady who first introduced me to the joys of a life outdoors and who, through no end of weekend adventures, provided my first insight into the world of trees, birds, bugs and bees. [...]

Half-Penny: aliens and interlopers

Half-Penny: aliens and interlopers

There are many words used to describe species which, through human intervention, have found themselves existing far outside of their historic, natural range. Terms such as invasives, aliens, invasive aliens and nonindigenous species are quite familiar; while a glance at social media often reveals myriad more unflattering phrases: pest, nuisance, menace, vermin - I particularly loathe [...]

An interesting record…

An interesting record…

I love moth trapping. I adore the expectant thrill that abounds when venturing into the unknown each morning; as I carefully remove egg boxes and examine the various colourful critters disguised beneath. Mothing, for me, is addictive, exhilarating even - each morning bringing some different; whether in the form of a new species, a record [...]

Adventures in the sea air

Adventures in the sea air

This past week has been one of a distinctly salty theme, with each one of my sporadic outings over the past few days connected, in some way, to the coast. All things included -spectacular wildlife, tantalising rarities and some intriguing, conservation-themed visits - it has been a jolly good one, providing a welcome reprieve from [...]

The Nightlife of Rothesay Terrace

The Nightlife of Rothesay Terrace

Armed with a new moth trap kindly supplied by NHBS, I really do feel like a kid in a candy store at the moment. Every third morning - trapping is undertaken days apart so not to impact upon the moth lifecycle - filled with a sense of jubilant anticipation, paramount to that felt at Christmas, [...]

Wild respite

Wild respite

In dire need of a break from thesis writing, yesterday I set off for Druridge Bay in search of a little wild respite. The proceeding three hours, mercifully, filled with no end of fantastic wildlife - just what the doctor ordered to cure my current mood. Starting off at Cresswell Pond and the highlight here [...]

My Tree of the Year 2017

My Tree of the Year 2017

As you may have heard, the Woodland Trust has, once again,  launched its prestigious Tree of the Year competition. The contest, returning in 2017 for its fourth year, designed to celebrate the best of Britains trees: the most beautiful, iconic and historically significant, or simply those that mean the most to each of us on a personal level. [...]

The Joys of Migration

After weeks of measured gains and stop-start bouts of action, it finally feels like migration has reached its peak here in Northumberland. With this week alone bringing many and more enjoyable encounters with the vast majority of our more abundant Summer visitors - sometimes in volume, sometimes alone - as breeding sites dotted around the [...]

The floodgates are opening, at last

The floodgates are opening, at last

Migration really is a wonderful thing: one minute you can be gazing forlornly at a decrepit stand of brambles, hoping against hope to hear the faintest hweet from an elusive Chiffchaff; and next, you can be dashing around like a lunatic wholly surrounded by birds. Such is the nature of Spring, as the frustrating trickle of [...]

Winter’s Gibbet

Winter’s Gibbet

Winter's Gibbet, a decrepit relic of a bygone age when the public display of corpses was deemed acceptable, is a rather eerie place to visit. The structure, standing on the site of an ancient boundary stone, marking the spot where, following his execution for the 1791 murder of Margaret Crozier, the body of William Winter was [...]

Meandering through the Northumbrian Spring

Meandering through the Northumbrian Spring

The weather of late has been typically fluid; the last week alone finding me battered by gale force winds, soaked by Spring rains and, occasionally, warmed to the core by pleasant bouts of sunshine. The conditions so changeable, in fact, that I have aborted many more walks than I have enjoyed; though, mercifully, the select [...]

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

There has been an intermediate feel in the air of late; as Winter begins to release its frigid grip on the landscape and the welcome rejuvenation of Spring begins. Birdsong, amorous amphibians, butterflies and bursting buds marking the start of the new season while loitering relics of Winter remain very much apparent. It has all been [...]

Snatching some wild respite

Snatching some wild respite

The last few weeks have been manic; jam-packed with university assignments and other, more menial, tasks. All of which, combined, have greatly impacted upon my ability to get outside and enjoy the sort of things I usually do at this time of year. It has all been rather frustrating in truth, and may well have [...]

Another week in Northumberland

Another week in Northumberland

This week has been a jolly good one; one jam-packed with exquisite encounters, cold fingers, early mornings and, of course, some brilliant birds. Each day taking me somewhere new in the local area as I attempt to get the year list off to a decent start and reacquaint myself with the local wilds from which I [...]