A few weeks back I headed over to Newcastle to spend a few days helping Heather and Cain out with the City Nature Challenge. So far it’s been a busy year and not had a chance to do much work for Wild Intrigue, so I was really excited to get involved and see how everything works. We started off Saturday by heading to the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s (NHSN) Gosforth Park Nature Reserve where a bioblitz and family explorer event was taking place.
While I was only there briefly, I was blown away by the knowledge that all the members there had. Everyone was an expert on something, and as someone who is just getting into nature/ecology it was amazing to hear the conversations between people, and really inspired me to dive into more books! The highlights of the day were the Stock Dove, nesting within a drainage pipe (pictured below) as well as watching a Moorhen chick waiting patiently for food from one of the parents seeking shelter within a boat.
I then spent the day at Scotswood Natural Community Garden. While there, Heather and I were trying to inspire children when it comes to nature. We would get them to explore the garden armed with bug pots and bring them back to us so we could identify what species they had. I found this quite a learning experience, as I’ve not dealt much with young children, but found it really rewarding watching their faces light up after telling them what they had brought back, then run off again in search for creepy crawlies!
The following day we headed into Newcastle to lead a walk up the River Ouseburn. This was a chance to meet locals and members of the NHSN who were passionate about their local wildlife patch and find out what flora and fauna was around them. I really learned a lot on that day, having people interested in birds, insects, and plants, helped me a great deal as I was constantly struggling to identify things. I really enjoyed getting to know them and share their knowledge of the natural world! I will definitely be looking for similar things happening around near Carlisle for me to get involved with, as I feel it could add so much towards my learning.
Once the walk had finished, we headed towards the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, as Heather and Cain wanted to show me the Kittiwakes which nest on the building ledges for the upcoming Kittiwakes and Doughnuts Mini Exped. I never thought the words, “They are adorable” would come out my mouth while speaking about essentially a seagull. They are really quite cute little gulls, I could easily spend a good few hours observing them.
Overall I had a very productive and action-packed weekend, that got me back into the nature mood after being bogged down with so much university work! Over the summer I look forward to doing more work for Wild Intrigue, helping out with their expeditions and mini expeds!