Recording North East nature in 2021 – ten highlights

2021 has been a funny old year but despite the big c and the various restrictions it brought, it has also been a memorable one.

Plant of the Week: Oxford Ragwort

Clad in the vibrant yellow flowers typical of ragworts, Oxford Ragwort flowers all year round and never fails to brighten up a walk along our street

Plant of the Week: Mougeot’s Whitebeam, Sorbus mougeotii

It might seem odd to start a new series with a tree few have heard of (I certainly hadn’t until a few weeks past) but recently, I’ve been bumping into the unassuming Sorbus mougeotii quite a bit in my local area. Looking similar to the Swedish Whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia), at least to my untrained eye,Continue reading “Plant of the Week: Mougeot’s Whitebeam, Sorbus mougeotii”

The flora of Walker Riverside

Walker Riverside Park is a funny old place. Created in the 1980s, it sits atop former industrial land and boasts an intriguing mix of habitats, from grassland and woodland areas to salt-sprayed riverbanks.

A journey through the unusual trees (and shrubs) of Newcastle

A journey through the diverse and beautiful trees and shrubs of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. While I can separate the more familiar British species, your oaks, birches and common maples, anything beyond that has traditionally gone straight over my head. Not so useful in the city where planting and landscaping, both historic and recent, mean that would beContinue reading “A journey through the unusual trees (and shrubs) of Newcastle”

The flora of Iris Brickfield Park

Iris Brickfield Park sits fairly close to our home in Heaton, Newcastle, and as such, has been a mainstay of our local walks during the pandemic. Fairly small, at least when compared to Newcastle’s other parks, and managed by Urban Green, it provides a lifeline to many people living in the local area: dog walkers, joggers,Continue reading “The flora of Iris Brickfield Park”

Bees, butterflies and botany at Lesbury

Beginning a week of annual leave, a fortnight past, I hopped on the train keen to explore surrounds of Lesbury in North Northumberland. Arriving at Alnmouth station and taking the short walk North to where the circular walk begins beside the River Aln, a roadside field rife with Common Knapweed provided an interesting first portContinue reading “Bees, butterflies and botany at Lesbury”

Botany on the coast: Alnmouth to Boulmer

A few weeks past, a Saturday free of commitments provided a rare opportunity for a trip North. Opting for a walk on the Northumberland coast, on this occasion we headed for Alnmouth, intending to walk a few miles up the shoreline towards Boulmer, recording as we went. Arriving at Alnmouth train station, it was interestingContinue reading “Botany on the coast: Alnmouth to Boulmer”

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

Bees and botany at Newbiggin

A short while ago, a sunny Saturday afternoon provided the perfect opportunity for a June venture to the Northumberland coast. Deciding against sites we visit frequently, it was decided that we would head to Newbiggin for a closer look at the plants and insects that abound along a stretch of coastline we seldom visit. DepartingContinue reading “Bees and botany at Newbiggin”

Walking the Tyne: Wylam to Prudhoe

A sunny Friday off work recently provided the perfect chance to explore yet another stretch of River Tyne between Wylam and Prudhoe. Starting out from Wylam, and slight detour found me heading first for the small Northumberland Wildlife Trust reserve at Close House Riverside. An intersting little site, widely known for its myriad rare plantsContinue reading “Walking the Tyne: Wylam to Prudhoe”

North Shields: brownfield bliss

I’ll admit it, I have a strange fascinating with brownfield sites. Not just because some of these places – spoil heaps, forgotten corners and abandoned urban land – often have an interesting back story, but because wildlife often thrives on these forsaken spaces. Indeed, whereas today it is possible to walk for miles in areasContinue reading “North Shields: brownfield bliss”