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”

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

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”

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”

Ladybirds 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.Continue reading “Ladybirds in Newcastle”

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

A trip into the wildlife garden

Much as it did for great many people, I suspect, lockdown led to an increasing focus on gardening in our household. The focus for us being to transform our little urban yard into something appealing, for both wildlife and ourselves. I wrote about our mini-rewilding efforts a little last year (here) but realising that IContinue reading “A trip into the wildlife garden”

Wildlife recording on the street – looking back at 2020

When lockdown dawned in 2020 and naturalists across the country were forced to redirect their wildlife-watching close to home, I set myself a challenge: to find and record as many species as possible on and around my Newcastle street. Birds, bees and butterflies; mammals and molluscs, everything and anything counted. An easy task, or soContinue reading “Wildlife recording on the street – looking back at 2020”

Eye-catching Invertebrates at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Owing to a diverse mosaic of habitats, including plentiful dead wood, Gosforth Nature Reserve is a fantastic place at which to indulge a fascination for the North East’s smaller wildlife. This Rhinocerous Beetle (Sinodendron cylindricum) was, without doubt, the star of the show last week. A first for me, this glossy, cylindrical beetle (a male)Continue reading “Eye-catching Invertebrates at Gosforth Nature Reserve”

Chasing Urban Orchids

Few wildflowers capture the imagination quite like our orchids. They’re beautiful, of course, but also sufficiently scarce to provide a little jolt of excitement whenever you happen across one. They are also the only group of plants – to the best of my knowledge – that manages to unite all natural history enthusiasts, whether theyContinue reading “Chasing Urban Orchids”