A journey through the unusual trees (and shrubs) of Newcastle

I’m rubbish at tree identification, and shrubs too for that matter. There, I said it. While I can separate the more familiar British species, your oaks, birches and common maples, anything beyond that has traditionally gone straight over my head. Not so useful in the city where planting and landscaping, both historic and recent, meanContinue reading “A journey through the unusual trees (and shrubs) of Newcastle”

Ladybird recording in Newcastle

Keen to further explore Newcastle’s ladybirds as part of the North East Ladybird Spot, last weekend I set off for two local sites that I seldom visit. The first, Newcastle’s Great Park, a new suburb of the city located four miles from the city centre, and the second, the well-known Havannah Nature Reserve near Dinnington.Continue reading “Ladybird recording in Newcastle”

A trip into the wildlife garden

Much as it did for great many people, I suspect, lockdown led to an increasing focus on gardening in our household. The focus for us being to transform our little urban yard into something appealing, for both wildlife and ourselves. I wrote about our mini-rewilding efforts a little last year (here) but realising that IContinue reading “A trip into the wildlife garden”

Wildlife recording on the street – looking back at 2020

When lockdown dawned in 2020 and naturalists across the country were forced to redirect their wildlife-watching close to home, I set myself a challenge: to find and record as many species as possible on and around my Newcastle street. Birds, bees and butterflies; mammals and molluscs, everything and anything counted. An easy task, or soContinue reading “Wildlife recording on the street – looking back at 2020”

Eye-catching Invertebrates at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Owing to a diverse mosaic of habitats, including plentiful dead wood, Gosforth Nature Reserve is a fantastic place at which to indulge a fascination for the North East’s smaller wildlife. This Rhinocerous Beetle (Sinodendron cylindricum) was, without doubt, the star of the show last week. A first for me, this glossy, cylindrical beetle (a male)Continue reading “Eye-catching Invertebrates at Gosforth Nature Reserve”

Chasing Urban Orchids

Few wildflowers capture the imagination quite like our orchids. They’re beautiful, of course, but also sufficiently scarce to provide a little jolt of excitement whenever you happen across one. They are also the only group of plants – to the best of my knowledge – that manages to unite all natural history enthusiasts, whether theyContinue reading “Chasing Urban Orchids”

Where to watch wildlife in the North East: Jesmond Dene

In a new series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at the best places to watch wildlife in  North East England. By no means comprehensive but hopefully informative, these posts are intended to provide inspiration on where to visit in the North East to observe and enjoy nature, as well as detailing some ofContinue reading “Where to watch wildlife in the North East: Jesmond Dene”

Excitement in the wildlife garden

Wildlife gardening has become somewhat of an obsession of late as we attempt to make our urban ‘yarden’ as appealing as possible to all forms of life, from flies to visiting birds. Hand in hand with this, we have increased the time spent monitoring our little plot, with positive results. Already this year, we haveContinue reading “Excitement in the wildlife garden”

The blue, the bronze and the hairy

We have been on somewhat of a quest this year to transform our little urban yard into a plot beneficial to wildlife. Planting a range of native and ornamental plants, constructing a tiny pond, adding a bee box, and creating a small meadow area in a raised bed, we had hoped that wildlife would beContinue reading “The blue, the bronze and the hairy”

On the hunt for urban bees

For me, one of the few positive aspects of our current lockdown has been the opportunity to look closer at the wildlife that persists close to home. Doing so has been eye-opening, to say the least, and while of course, I would rather have been venturing into the wider countryside, the diversity of life hereContinue reading “On the hunt for urban bees”

More tales from the urban jungle

In line with the government guidance, this week, time in nature has been squeezed and condensed. A  few short forays to my local park and innumerable laps of our eerily quiet street the best I could muster while sticking to the law. Outside, the seasons advance regardless of the turmoil unfolding in human society andContinue reading “More tales from the urban jungle”

Tales from the urban jungle

It certainly feels like Spring has sprung in my little corner of Newcastle: garish daffodils of all shapes and sizes adorn the roadsides, House Sparrows emerge from beneath the slates of terraced homes and cool yet brighter mornings are marked by the fluted notes of Song Thrush and the caterwauling of returning Lesser Black-backed Gulls.Continue reading “Tales from the urban jungle”