About Common By Nature

I’m James, an amateur naturalist privileged to find myself living my dream of a career in nature.

I launched Common By Nature back in 2011 as a place to share my interest in natural history. While the topics covered have diversified in the years since I’d like to think my writing has improved somewhat.

My core interests lie in natural history: in observing and recording wildlife, albeit with a slight bias towards plants and invertebrates.

What to expect on Common By Nature?

If you yearn for organisation and a clearly defined purpose, I’d jump ship now. This blog can be a bit of a hotchpotch at times.

For me, this blog has always been an amalgamation of various different interests. You can expect nature, that’s for sure, likely in the form of wildlife sightings, accounts on local walks, and perhaps the odd factual piece on wildlife identification and ecology too.

Wildlife Recording

As a naturalist, my main interest is wildlife recording. Whether we’re talking plants, bees, or more recently, ladybirds, you’ll most often find me out and about recording wildlife. While slightly bonkers, I recently won an NBN Award for just this reason.


As a BSBI Vice-County Recorder for North Northumberland (V68) and an iRecord verifier for South Northumberland (VC67), much of my time is spent looking at plants. While I am far from an expert, much of the content you’ll find on Common by Nature will focus on botany.


Currently, I volunteer as County Recorder for ladybirds across Northumberland and County Durham (VC66, 67 & 68). As well as helping others with their finds, when able, I like to get out and about to find these insects for myself. I suspect you’ll see a fair few on this blog.

Pondering Chalk Knapweed at Silverlink Biodiversity Park

The boring bit

Since leaving university, I have worked mostly in conservation and now work as Senior Naturalist at the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

While I seldom write much anymore, my work has been published in two editions of the Anthology for the Changing Seasons book series, as well as The Entomologists Record, Roebuck, and the Countryman. I also established the popular New Nature Magazine which ran for four years between 2016-2020. Online, I have maintained columns for Northumberland Wildlife Trust and various other organisations. A slightly outdated list of my written work can be found here.

Though it beggars belief, my waffling about wildlife has seen me featured in BBC Wildlife Magazine on occasion, as well as in finalist positions at the Northern Blogger Awards, UK Blog Awards, and Living North Awards.

Looking for Sea Spleenwort at Berwick, Northumberland