The Urban Wilds of Ouseburn
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The Urban Wilds of Ouseburn

City Nature Challenge

Last weekend (26th – 29th April 19)  saw an international celebration of wildlife in cities take place; with our very own North East England joining in for the first time.

This celebration, a global bioblitz of cities, is called the City Nature Challenge, which invites members of the public to download the iNaturalist app to photograph and identify every single species they discover in their city – from Feral Pigeons to obscure Lichens, steadfast Dandelions to seafaring Kittiwakes.

Stock dove nesting in disused drainage hole, Ouseburn,

The City Nature Challenge came to the North East this year thanks to the coordination of the Great North Museum: Hancock, the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN), and the Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC North East), who hosted a series of events throughout the weekend to survey the wildlife of Newcastle and the immediate surrounding urban areas. (P.s. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out NHSN, they organise incredible wildlife events and activities)

Of course it wasn’t just NHSN leading events for the City Nature Challenge, other small organisations and charities got involved too, take a look at the full events listing to see who got involved.

Ouseburn’s Wildlife

As part of the City Nature Challenge, we linked up with NHSN to host an exploration of wildlife in one of our favourite places – Ouseburn, Newcastle – on Sunday 28th April.

If you haven’t been, Ouseburn is a lively hub of independent pubs, coffee shops, breweries, art galleries, musicians – even an urban farm – surrounding the River Ouseburn. So when you throw wildlife into that mix, you’ve got an intriguing place indeed.

The walk was quickly fully booked! With 20 NHSN Members geared up to explore and record the wildlife of this eclectic hub. We wanted to show that wildlife and human life can not only live together, but can thrive, no small feat in the 3 hours we’d given ourselves.

Moorhen fledgeling emerging from nest inside a boat(!), Ouseburn.

In the end, we had barely even touched the sides by the time our walk had completed. Every wall, nook and cranny was thriving with plant and insect life, the river and neighbouring wild spaces were abundant with nesting/ foraging birds, wildflowers, self-seeded trees, signs of mammals – intricate ecosystems living amongst a thriving community of people. The juxtaposition of wild spaces and species beneath motorway bridges and between buildings gives an essence of rewilding, which in some areas is exactly the case; soil has been disturbed and the seed bank within has simply taken hold and succeeded, enabling insects, birds and mammals to colonise the area.

Our full species list of the day can be found below, we recorded 86 species overall!

We’d like to thank the NHSN, their members who joined us, and the Ouseburn Trust for their support and endless enthusiasm on the day. Thanks of course to our intern James Hughes for capturing the day on camera too!

We will certainly be hosting more wildlife events at Ouseburn, so watch this spaces. We’ve already got Bats & Pizza Nights, how does Nature & Nachos sound…?


Ouseburn Species List | Sunday 28th April 2019


Alder Alnus glutinosa

Ash Fraxinus excelsior

Birch sp. Betula sp.

Bird Cherry Prunus padus

Black Medick Midicago lupulina

Blackthorn (AKA Sloe) Prunus spinosaBramble Rubus fruticosus

Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara

Common Groundsel Senecio vulgaris

Common Vetch Vicia sativa

Cushion Xanthoria (lichen)

Daisy Bellis perennis

DandelionTaraxacum officinale

Elder Sambucus nigra

Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium

Field Maple Acer campestre

Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata

Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys

Greater Plantain Plantago major

Goosegrass (AKA Cleavers/ Stickyweed) Galium aparine

Gorse Ulex europaeus

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsute

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna

Hazel Corylus avellana

Herb Robert Geranium robertianum

Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera

Ivy-leaved Toadflax Cymbalaria muralis

Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium

Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna

Maidenhair Spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

Ragwort Jacobaea vulgaris

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

Rough-stalked Feather-moss Brachythecium rutabulum

Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare

Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica

Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum

White Clover Trifolium repensWhite Deadnettle Lamium album

White Poplar Populus alba

Nursery Web Spider


Black Aphids Aphis fabae

Black Garden Ant Lasius niger

Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris

Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum

European Comma Polygonia c-album

Green-veined White butterfly Pieris napi

Grey Field (AKA Milky) Slug Deroceras reticulatum

Harlequin (AKA Asian) Lady Beetle Harmonia axyridis

Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis

Orange-tip butterfly Anthocharis cardamines

Peacock butterfly Aglais io

Sawfly sp.

Seven-spotted Lady Beetle Coccinella septempunctata

Sloe Bug Dolycoris baccarum

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly Aglais urticae

Speckled Wood Pararge augeria

St. Marks (AKA Hawthorne) Fly Bibio marci

Tree Bumblebee  Bombus hypnorum

Two-spotted Lady Bug Adalia bipunctata

Sloe Bug


Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Feral Pigeon Columba livia domestica

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Great Tit Parsus major

Greenfinch Chloris chloris

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Kestrel (Eurasian) Falco tinnunculus

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Long-tailed TitAegithalos caudatus

Magpie (Eurasian) Pica pica

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

Moorhen (Eurasian) Gallinula chloropus

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Stock Dove Columba oenas

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Kestrel roosting under motorway bridge, Ouseburn