Rearing ladybird larvae – an experiment

To help identify a few of the tricker species out there, recently, I’ve been experimenting by rearing ladybird larvae at home.

Brownfield wildlife at North Shields

Not only are brownfield sites phenomenal for wildlife but offer a rare look at what would happen if nature was permitted to reclaim larger tracts of our towns and cities.

Urban Botany on the Ouseburn

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of leading my first guided walk for Wild Intrigue, a fantastic ecotourism enterprise seeking to bring people in the North East closer to nature.

Bee Orchids at B&Q

Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) are like hen’s teeth in the North East. Sure, they’re fairly reliable at a few more calcareous sites in the near area (Silverlink, in particular) but by large, pop up sporadically in odd places. In any given year, I tend to only encounter a few away from my usual haunts –Continue reading “Bee Orchids at B&Q”

Recording North East ladybirds: twenty-six species and counting

Inspired by the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s North East Ladybird Spot and the #LadybirdYearList challenge launched on Twitter by Andrew Jewels, this year I’ve been dedicating quite a bit of time to finding and recording the North East’s ladybirds.

A fleeting visit to Alnwick Moor

Hankering for a trip into the uplands, last Saturday, Matt and I set off for Alnwick Moor in North Northumberland. Walking West from Alnwick first through woodland, and then to the boggy, birch strewn outskirts of the moor itself, the trip made for a welcome change to the norm and there was certainly a greatContinue reading “A fleeting visit to Alnwick Moor”

Spring Botany at Allen Banks

With my Natural History Society of Northumbria hat on, yesterday I had the pleasure of leading a small group of students from Newcastle University to one of my favourite local haunts: the glorious National Trust reserve at Allen Banks. The wooded areas here making for a superb location at which to enjoy a range ofContinue reading “Spring Botany at Allen Banks”

Comparing Plant ID Apps for Beginner Botanists

With so many plant apps out there to choose from, just where do you turn when trying to identify a troublesome plant? Many botanists turn their noses up at the idea of using a plant app. Indeed, this approach requires minimal skill, no field guide and really, not a single jot of traditional botanical knowledge.Continue reading “Comparing Plant ID Apps for Beginner Botanists”

Where To Send Your Wildlife Records?

As I mentioned previously, biological recording is a bit of a minefield and there are plenty of organisations, groups, societies and schemes out there vying for your valuable wildlife records. Generally, biological recording is an interconnected affair and records submitted through a chosen platform usually (but not always) find their way to where they’re needed.Continue reading “Where To Send Your Wildlife Records?”

Creating a Wildlife Record

Wildlife recording is quickly becoming a main passion of mine. The process of searching out interesting species, making notes, creating records and contributing in some small way to our understanding of nature proving to be a fulfilling way of making use of time outside. Before digging into the subject in a little more detail onContinue reading “Creating a Wildlife Record”

Blue Comfrey (Symphytum caucasicum)

Well, here we have it, the first in a new series of ‘What’s Growing‘ posts taking a look at some of the unusual, colourful or otherwise interesting plants we’ve somehow managed to cram into our already jam-packed Newcastle yarden. There’ll be nothing too heavy here, merely a moment of appreciation for a particular plant thatContinue reading “Blue Comfrey (Symphytum caucasicum)”

Heather Ladybirds at Rothbury

Continuing this year’s quest to find and record ladybirds across the North East, back at the end of March I popped up to Rothbury in search of the elusive Heather Ladybird (Chilocorus bipustulatus). This is a species which should, theoretically, be incredibly numerous up here given the abundance of Heather but despite this, there isContinue reading “Heather Ladybirds at Rothbury”