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”

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”

Rhyzobius chrysomeloides in Tyneside

Recently, I was delighted to discover a population of the inconspicuous ladybird, Rhyzobius chrysomeloides, in Tyneside.

Exploring the scarcer ladybirds of Newcastle

While out and about in search of ladybirds this last few weeks, I have been lucky enough to stumble across a number of scarce and unusual species

Winter ladybirds on conifers

Continuing this year’s Ladybird Year List and capturing records for the North East Ladybird Spot, the last few weekends have been spent admiring winter ladybirds conifers. Scots Pine, Larch, exotic Lodgepole and Black Pines, even the odd spruce. Havannah Nature Reserve near Dinnington first and few visits to explore the site’s conifers turned up aContinue reading “Winter ladybirds on conifers”

The North East Ladybird ‘Year List’ begins

With the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s fantastic North East Ladybird Spot launching this week, most of this weekend has been spent searching for these colourful insects at various sites across Tyneside. A January pastime I would never have considered a few short years ago that now, knowing where to look, is becoming somewhat ofContinue reading “The North East Ladybird ‘Year List’ begins”

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.