live near some of the best birdwatching sites in the north east! The new RSPB
reserve of Saltholme is only a couple of miles away. I have lived in Teesside
for 30 years. I prefer living here very much as the countryside and coastline
is very accessible. It is also a great place if you like natural history as I
I have been interested in birdwatching since I was eleven! (I am fifty something now) The North East is one of the best places to live in the UK, if you want to see a good number of birds. My favourite birdwatching site is South Gare. This man made promontory sticks out into the Tees estuary. The number of species seen here is only rivalled by the hot spots of Norfolk. If you are ever up in this area I can recommend the book in the Christopher Helm series.
"Where to watch birds in North East England"
by Dave Britton and John Day.
will give you detailed instructions on how to get to some of the best sites.
Scaling Dam reservoir, on the road to Whitby, is another good place to visit at any time of the year but especially in Winter. It is one of the most reliable places in the North East to see Hen Harrier.
I used to live in Guisborough which is quite a good place for birdwatching with many interesting birds such as Hawfinches, Siskins, Tree Sparrows, Buzzards (rare here) Goshawk and perhaps our speciality Waxwings. Our location and the number of berry bearing bushes help to make our town one of the best places in the country to see these beautiful winter visitors.
Unlike my birdwatching, which started while I was at school, I became a very "amateur" botanist only when I met a keen botanist at college. I combined my interest in photography with botany, as it is much easier than bird photography, they don't fly away!
Although this area does not have as rich a flora as the South of England, there
are still plenty of plants to look for in the North East. The delights of
Upper Teesdale the coastline and the limestone dales, especially on the South
side of the North York Moors, make this part of the world a good place to
go plant hunting. Two books which you might find useful if you are looking
for wild flowers are
"A Guide to the Wild Flowers of Cleveland"by Ian Lawrence and also the
"Wild Plants and their habitats in the North York Moors"by Nan Sykes.
Teesside is a very diverse area with a number of different habitats, both for birds and plants. The coastal stretch is very good for "lime loving" plants as the slag from the blast furnace at Redcar, does add to the lime content of the soil. It can encourage species such as the Bee Orchid, which grows within sight of the British Steel complex.
I have been interested in photography since the late 70's. I now have a Canon autofocus digital SLR As my other hobbies are mainly to do with Natural History, as you might expect I tend to take more shots of the natural world than most people would do. Quite a few of the images on my site are my own. The lens I use most often is a Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro lens. This is invaluable for insect and plant photography.
Other aspects of Natural History
consider myself "curious" about any form of natural history and like to know what things are called. This
can be frustrating at times as the knowledge required to identify plants,
insects, birds, mammals etc, can be overwhelming. I do try to identify what
I can, but insects represent the biggest challenge. With some 2400 moths
in the UK alone it can be an enormous task. If you are interested in other
aspects of the natural world you might like to check out some of my wildlife