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….

Signs of Spring, by Frances Jones

My walk through the woods has become significantly more important for me since the announcement came that the country was going into lockdown. The song of the blackbird, the sight of a butterfly; these and many more moments have become more precious as the freedom to move whenever and wherever is reduced. After a number…

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…

Enjoying a waif from the East

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with the long-staying male Black-throated Thrush at Whipsnade Zoo, in Bedfordshire (a long way from home for this Geordie). Enjoying a scarce bird is always a pleasure but, I confess, the experience of observing just such a lost waif in the company of free-ranging South American…

Bringing Nature into the Music Lesson, by Frances Jones

On New Year’s Eve, in a cosy cafe over pots of tea, a friend put a question to the group: ‘So what are you going to do to save the planet this year?’ I don’t fly, and have for a long time tried to tread lightly and shop sustainably, although I can always do better….

1,064 ancient woodlands face damage or destruction

Figures released by the Woodland Trust show 1,064 ancient woodlands to be at risk of damage or destruction – the highest number since it started compiling the data in 1999. It is thought that this is just tip of the iceberg, as there may well be others it has not been notified of. Of these…

A Tale of Two Plant Hunts

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s (BSBI) New Year Plant Hunt is an annual event in which botanists, expert and amateur alike, head out to record the plant species bucking the time-honoured trend and blooming in the depths of winter. Now in its ninth year, the four-day survey is both great fun and an…

Winter Walks in the Vineyard, by Frances Jones

The bright sunshine urged me out of doors this Sunday morning, and I pulled on boots and a raincoat in readiness for a walk. Long-standing readers of this blog may recall I previously wrote about experiencing nature in the city. Living in the midst of a built-up area, surrounded by blocks of flats and busy…