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….

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 I…

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 so…

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)…

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 they…

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 have…

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 be…

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 eyeopening, to say the least, and while of course, I would rather have been venturing into the wider countryside, the diversity of life here…

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 and…

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….

Laying the Foundations of a Wildlife Garden

Our garden (if we can call it that) was a barren old thing. Little more than a few square meters of concrete fenced off and overlooked on all sides by housing. Not exactly what you would call wildlife haven; though things did improve somewhat when we set about making a few small changes last year….

Tales from the Urban Jungle: Starting Out

It must be said, I miss living in the countryside. I miss the sight of natural greenery, fields, woodlands, bustling wetlands and bountiful hedgerows. Likewise, the omnipresent wildlife: the constant possibility of an encounter with a Roe Deer or Badger, the sound of migrating geese, the bubbling calls of curlew and the wealth of birdlife…