Exploring the North East’s solitary bees (part 1)

The last few weeks have seen countless bee species emerging across the North East. The annual appearance of these colourful invertebrates providing the ideal opportunity to reacquaint myself with the common and abundant species found close to home but also, as restrictions ease, to set out in search of a few new and exciting species.Continue reading “Exploring the North East’s solitary bees (part 1)”

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”

Exploring the Fascinating Flora of Lindisfarne

I have visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne many times to admire the sites birdlife, chase rarities and even seek out insects, but never to appreciate its diverse and interesting flora. Lindisfarne is well known as an excellent site for those interested in botany, it’s unspoilt beaches, sprawling dune slacks, fields and expansive areas ofContinue reading “Exploring the Fascinating Flora of Lindisfarne”

Wonderful Wildflowers at Bishop Middleham Quarry

A Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Durham Wildlife Trust nature reserve encompassing a disused magnesian limestone quarry, I have read about Bishop Middleham Quarry for years. People, it seems, visit the site from far and wide to experience the fantastic flora on offer here. As well as for an abundance of colourful insects.Continue reading “Wonderful Wildflowers at Bishop Middleham Quarry”

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”

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”

Investigating the Prudhoe Spetchells

For a long time, I have read with envy the blog posts of others who have visited the Prudhoe Spetchells yet, shamefully, have never found the time to visit myself; though this all changed a fortnight past. The Spetchells are an interesting site in a great many regards. Created as a by-product of factory workContinue reading “Investigating the Prudhoe Spetchells”

Into the Wild Woods at Allen Banks

Spurred on by the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions in England, this weekend past saw us venture forty-five minutes inland to the wild reaches of Allen Banks. An ancient woodland site situated on the banks of the River Allen and maintained by the National Trust. Now, I visit Allen Banks at least once every yearContinue reading “Into the Wild Woods at Allen Banks”

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”