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”
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.
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”
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”
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”
The last few weeks have seen countless bee species emerging across the North East. The annual appearance of these colourful invertebrates providing the ideal opportunity to reacquaint myself with the common and abundant species found close to home but also, as restrictions ease, to set out in search of a few new and exciting species.Continue reading “Exploring the North East’s solitary bees (part 1)”
I have visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne many times to admire the sites birdlife, chase rarities and even seek out insects, but never to appreciate its diverse and interesting flora. Lindisfarne is well known as an excellent site for those interested in botany, it’s unspoilt beaches, sprawling dune slacks, fields and expansive areas ofContinue reading “Exploring the Fascinating Flora of Lindisfarne”
For a ages, I have read the blogs of others who have visited the Prudhoe Spetchells yet, shamefully, have never visited myself. Until now.
Spurred on by the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, this weekend saw us venture inland to the wild reaches of Allen Banks
It’s shaping up to be a good year for Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). Sure, the much anticipated ‘waxwing winter’ – an irregular spectacle marked by the mass arrival of these colourful birds to our shores – never quite came to fruition, but there is still a good number around. Hundreds, as opposed to thousands, yetContinue reading “Winter wildlife doesn’t come much better than this”
Orchids capture the popular imagination to a far greater extent than any other group of plants. Indeed, birders, entomologists, mammal-watchers – those who would never, under normal circumstances, label themselves a botanist – often find themselves weak and the knees and enraptured by their blooms. Perhaps this is due to visual appeal – orchids areContinue reading “On the hunt for orchids”
Before yesterday commenced, I had only seen three Red-necked Grebes in my lifetime. Two as distant apparitions amid undulating heat haze on a vast swath of Estonian marshland, and the other, as an equally uninspiring spec on the horizon here in the UK. The latter being tossed astray by the tide around half a mileContinue reading “A once in a lifetime encounter”