At the first meeting of our new season on 20th September Richard Revels spoke on the subject of Britain’s wonderful wildlife. Richard is a highly regarded photographer who offers a wide range of illustrated talks on natural history and has contributed to the production of many books …
The evening was primarily a presentation of Richard’s superb photographs supported by his knowledgeable commentary, and used photos mainly from Bedfordshire and the Chiltern hills. Richard demonstrated the huge variety of flora and fauna to be found in the British countryside grouped according to their habitat. In this talk he dealt mainly with woodland, chalk uplands and coastal mudflats. Richard’s photos lived up to the title of the talk and did indeed illustrate the wonder of the wildlife which is all around us. Much of it we would never see on a walk in the country and it takes the dedication of a photographer willing to spend long hours in a hide to catch some of the beauty and drama. Most of us will long remember the shot of a curlew preparing to devour a crab whole.
Other photos showed the wonder of what we can all see for ourselves if we look carefully. There was a fascinating series of photos of ants showing the variety and disproportionate size of the items of prey that ants will catch and drag to their nest; how do ants kill a wasp ? In the course of a series of photos showing the wide variety of fungi, Richard threw in the comment that all fungi are edible; it’s just that you might die after eating some of them.
The starting point of Richard’s dedication to the study and photography of wildlife came from an interest in butterflies and he showed us something of the variety of butterflies which inhabit our countryside; beautiful pictures showing in most cases the difference between the colours and patterns of the upper and lower sides of a butterfly’s wings. There was also a series of photos of longhorn beetles, topped by a picture of the fearsome aspect of a stag beetle.
We are well aware of the wonder of British bluebell woods, beautifully illustrated by Richard, but he told us that the vast sheets of bluebells that we see are something unique to this country. Orchids were well represented amongst the flower photos and we were given the opportunity to buy Richard’s latest book entitled Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire.
We sometimes get a fleeting glimpse of a deer and Richard had photos of both muntjac and fallow deer. Many people will never see a badger in the wild and Richard made up for that. Amongst the birds that were illustrated we saw some that are familiar in out gardens, birds of prey and a good number of the birds you are likely to see on mudflats.
We are grateful to Richard for a fascinating and uplifting evening.
A small selection of photos from Richard’s Talk:
Our next meeting will be on 18 October on “Colour in the Autumn Garden” by Richard Harvey of Harveys Garden Plants nursery. Please note that our meetings now start at 7.30pm. Guest visitors will be welcome at the bargain price of £3 each for the rest of our meetings in 2016 before an increase with effect from our new membership year in January 2017.