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…

A Walk on the North Downs Way, by Frances Jones

A couple of weeks ago, I walked part of the North Downs Way with a friend. Not a particularly unusual event, normally, but many of us have had rapidly to adjust our expectations of normal over the past months. I had wandered through the fields around my home almost every day since lockdown, charting Spring…

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 inĀ  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 of…

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…

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 work…

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 year…

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…

Could you contribute to the North East Bee Hunt?

The Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) has launched a new citizen science scheme aiming to map the distribution of five distinctive yet under-recorded bee species across North East England. The five species at the heart of the North East Bee Hunt are common and widespread in other parts of Britain, yet there are noticeable…

Croaky! – Thousands of toads make perilous mass migration to breed

Each night a sleepy corner of the country witnesses an amphibian march as hundreds of toads and newts make a perilous journey across a busy road to breed. This mass migration to the Woodland Trust owned Haddon Wood, near Castle Carey, Somerset, is being charted for the first time by a team of hardy volunteers….