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….

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…

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…

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…

Bringing the wilds home: a backyard experiment

The problem with living in any city, whether that be London, Manchester or, like me, Newcastle, is that space is often at a premium. Large expansive gardens and idyllic personal grottos are few and far between and, more often than not, residents are forced to make do with small, confined and often uninspiring spaces. Living…

An hour in the company of aliens

Britain’s cities have served as the epicentre for countless invasions over the years. Landing sites, if you would, where species from far-flung destinations – East Asia, North America and closer to home, in Europe – gain first a toe-hold before beginning their creeping advance across the land. Here, in the city, the wheels of countless…

The exotic heart of London

Hailing from the North East of England, to me, a visit to London is much like a visit to a dystopian future. One where geographical boundaries blur and species which naturally should never have encountered one another, stand cheek by jowl in an odd assemblage of the tropical and tenacious. From squirrels, birds and fish…

Chris Packham’s UK Bioblitz comes to Newcastle

Have you heard of Chris Packham’s UK Bioblitz?  If not, it’s essentially a ten-day tour of 50 wildlife sites scattered across Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, conducted in an effort to highlight the extent to which our nation’s wildlife is under threat. With all data collected on the whirlwind tour being used to create…

Staying sane in the heart of the city

Growing up in semi-rural Northumberland, I have long been accustomed to residing in scenic and ecologically diverse areas. I am used to the presence of bustling nature reserves a mere stones throw from my front door and green-fringed streets ringing with the chirrup of Tree Sparrows; I am accustomed to having a garden, complete with…

An update from the birdtable

It won’t have escaped your attention – at least if you follow me on Twitter – that, just over a month ago now, myself and my partner erected a new feeding station in the front ‘garden’ of his home in the centre of Heaton, Newcastle. Big woop, you might say; though please bare in mind…

An Ode to the City

I’ve dedicated much of my time to urban wildlife watching of late, specifically in and around the city of Newcastle – my home patch for the foreseeable future due to a recent change of circumstances. While previously I possessed only a modicum of interest for the nature here, amid the hustle and bustle, perpetual light…