Dappled light falls to our feet. It comes in waves as we walk over concrete, a slow dance between shadow and silver as a late summer breeze pushes through the canopy.
We (Cain and I) are strolling through Jesmond to Ouseburn on a September morning, rewilding ourselves in the heart of Newcastle city, on route to our Wild Intrigue office.
A break in the canopy draws our eyes past the allotments toward Vale House, a 28-storey flat block towering over Jesmond Dene, rooted in the valley since the 60’s. A moment of auburn contrasting in the summer green brings our eyes back to the dense scrub: a Roe Deer.
She (a doe) walks onto the scene; it feels like a theatre display, our very own, exclusive show. From where we sit, the foreground is a full border of luscious late-summer leaves, the main ‘set’ behind a striking juxtaposition of natural regeneration surrounding towering human architecture.
We watch on as the doe browses on the mix of plant life; grasses, ferns, bramble, herbs – she stretches now and then to add a side order of tempting tree leaves. She continues her foraging commute into the scrub and vanishes, we move on.
The trees are ladened with the jewels of heavy fruit this year; the Ouse Burn itself is trimmed with a richness of Bramble, Elder, Apple, Hawthorn and Rowan. The summer heat settles on the fruit and turns the air to jam, a heady aroma of Blackberry stirring with the botanic note of Elder.
It’s not only us who have noticed the delectable bounty. A hum of life shares the feast; Hoverflies, Butterflies, Spiders, Ants, Bees, Wasps, Shieldbugs, they have all arrived in a finery of colours to feast. That is, before they too are feasted upon…
We reach Ouseburn, where the burn itself joins with the River Tyne. The day’s tasks start to return to our minds, and we chat about plans for next year.
A flash of blue.
A cobalt and coral blur and a distinct following call – like a flash of lightening and (a squeak of) thunder – it dashes under the bridge and over fallen trees. A Kingfisher, in Ouseburn. It’s as though graffiti has taken flight from the wall. The Kingfisher certainly looks the part in Ouseburn, but the presence of this remarkable little bird is quite uncommon, something to protect. Instances of pollution upstream displace species like Kingfisher, and even Otter, along the Ouseburn.
Watching this beautiful blue dart catch fish offers us an inspiring vision of how our city can be a bold, resilient, healthy place for people – but also for much more wildlife – with a little extra care.
We follow on, passing by gangs of Mallards and a flickering Grey Wagtail – an Amber listed bird, right here by our feet. Flowers are starting to turn, heavy-headed with seeds full of the promise of a colourful pathway to walk by next year. A silvery Robin calls from the woods behind the office – a perfect transition from summer to autumn.