Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Underneath the arches


Thursday's Guardian Country Diary concerns a remarkable haven of biodiversity underneath these three bridges that span the Ouseburn in Newcastle.


































The nearest carries the East Coast mainline railway, the middle one carries the Tyne and Wear Metro tracks and the distant brick arches are the Byker viaduct that carries the main road. Below and beyond that lies the wonderful Ouseburn City Farm, which you can read about here.



































The triangle of land where the arches converge is a nature reserve and community orchard, and includes ...



...... this pond and boardwork, where school parties can come to pond dip. It's seething with life, including these .........

























....... common darter dragonflies that fluttered all around us. But the star of the show on this visit was this .....





















.... exquisite holly blue butterfly.






















From a distance it looked like a little piece of silvery litter in the mud on the edge of the pond, where it was 'puddling' - sucking up mineral-laden liquid that is essential for its reproductive success.
















Holly blues have been recorded here in the past but this is the first that I've seen. It's near the northern limit of its distribution here.


















There's woodland where the Byker bridge passes under the Metro bridge ....



































..... and grassland under the mainline railway arches.




Purple loosestrife near the pond .....






















....... a Phragmites reed bed......


































... agrimony, with its hooked fruits ......



great hairy willow herb .........


..... teasels.....




















.... wild parsnip ....



















.... meadow browns on field scabious ... 

























.... together with skippers.

A crucible of biodiversity in an area which was once one of the most heavily industrialised parts of Newcastle.






12 comments:

  1. Wonderful - thank you.

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    1. A pleasure - thanks for visiting

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  2. Great post, it just shows you if you leave nature alone it will come back.. I find areas like this no matter how small they are are more interesting than nature reserves (Also important ) you just don't know what you are going to find.
    Amanda xx

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    1. My sentiments exactly - I'm fascinated by these wild corners in towns and cities. Have you read that wonderful book called Edgelands?

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    2. Had a look at this book and it is something I would defiantly read. Just been out this morning photographing down alleyways between houses ( we have a lot round here ) for another urban post.
      Amanda xx

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    3. Interesting how wind and rain sweeps seeds into nooks and crannies, creating plant communities in urban areas

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  3. Great Dragonfly photos - very nice closeups. I must say I really like the photos of all the arches. Something about the form - like what you did there. Jack

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  4. Nature will assert herself in wonderful ways! I always enjoy your posts.

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  5. I wish I had known about this patch of land when I was in Newcastle. Wondering about your urban / sub-urban blog. It got quite country-fied / sea-side-ified after a bit. Wondering if you are planning to go back to it any time.

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    1. Started with good intentions but it's been a bit neglected - planning to go back to it this autumn.

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