Wildlife at Walker Riverside

Of all of the places I regularly visit in Newcastle, Walker riverside has to be my favourite. Owing to a mix of abdanonment and neglect, it just about the most diverse local site I know of for plants and insects

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)…

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…

Butterflies on Box Hill, by Frances Jones

After weeks of hot, dry weather, the River Mole meandering gently through its wooded valley looked particularly welcoming. Dogs were splashing about in the water and willows dipped and danced in the breeze at the water’s edge. We took the Stepping Stones across the river and headed up the path through the woods. Meadow Browns…

A paradise of parched grasses

Walking at Weetslade Country Park this past weekend, the rolling grasslands of the former colliery site appeared almost Mediterranean. Parched grasses, sapped by what seems like an eternity of vigorous sunlight, appearing yellowed, dry and lifeless. The vista laid out before me more like a sight from the South of Spain, or Portugal than one…

UK’s most endangered butterfly thrown a lifeline by the National Trust

The enigmatic High Brown Fritillary, the UK’s most endangered butterfly, has been thrown a vital lifeline in 2018 through the creation of a new conservation project led by the National Trust and partners. With the charity now embarking on an ambitious plan to develop 60 hectares of lowland heath and wood pasture – the butterfly’s…

Butterflies: Poetry in Nature – Guest post by Jonathan Bradley

There is poetry everywhere in the natural world, but for me nowhere more so than in butterflies. What is poetic about butterflies? Poetry is a heightened form of writing that plays on our emotions and imagination. Poems use imagery, beautiful or expressive words, rhythms, rhymes and sounds that encourage us to see the world a…

Seeking Lepidoptera

In need of some respite from dissertation work and keen to spend as much time as possible outside in the glorious weather, yesterday was dedicated, wholly, to surveying Lepidoptera. Daylight hours spent chasing butterflies as I attempted to survey a few new sites for this year’s Big Butterfly Count and night, moth trapping in the…

30DaysWild: a recent roundup

Though I started off well, my #30DaysWild posts seem to have faded over the past few weeks. This due to some wild commitments elsewhere – blog post to follow shortly – and not due to laziness or disinterest. Despite this, and in keeping with the theme of the month, I have persisted in my efforts…