From wild flowers to bugs, beetles, butterflies, birds and ladybirds the photographs were stunning – but that was to be expected as Richard Revels, our speaker for September, is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. Richard started photographing wildlife in the mid 1960s and now runs his own Photo Library supplying publishers with images of British Wildlife.
Over the years Richard has had thousands of his pictures published in books, magazines and calendars and has won numerous photographic awards with his pictures in National and International competitions – so it was a real treat to view his photographs of Bedfordshire wildlife …
It was interesting to learn that with regards to wild flowers, Bedfordshire has some national rarities, for example, flowers such as the Burnt Tip Orchid, Chiltern Gentian, Spotted Cats Ear, Moon Carrot and Field Cow Wheat are found in this county.
Chalk pits and sandy areas are good places to see such flowers and in some cases rabbits encourage their growth as they are averse to eating them but disturb the ground with their scratching so that seeds are dispersed, one good example was the wild candytuft – huge swathes in particular locations in Bedfordshire where the rabbits provide ideal conditions. We are used to seeing wild daffodils, but how many of us have seen wild lily of the valley?
Sandy wooded areas of Bedfordshire provide good habitat and gravel, sand and clay pits fill with water and attract wildlife, but even dry pits are important.Richard then turned his attention to butterflies. Again, Bedfordshire provides good habitat for silver washed fritillary butterflies, purple emperor, white admiral and black hairstreak.
Food for caterpillars is a very important factor in their survival, for example the silver washed butterfly feeds on nectar from brambles and thistles but its caterpillar feeds on violets, so both are essential. When Richard reached the section in his slide presentation on bees, wasps and insects the photographs became even more spectacular. Richard’s use of high speed flash produced photos of a flying wasp staying upright whilst swinging its wings at right angles in order to change direction – something impossible to see with the naked eye. A humming bird hawk moth hovering by a flower to collect nectara bee killer wasp carrying a honey bee, which it had previously stung and paralysed, a spider spinning web were just a few of the many images displayed in great detail and clarity …
The second part of Richard’s presentation focused on the wildlife in his own garden. Richard has an area, complete with pond, where nature’s creatures can go about their business undisturbed, he even grows broad beans – not to eat, but to attract aphids for ladybirds. Again, the photos were lovely and we hope that you will enjoy some of them on our website as we have chosen just a few to accompany this report. Richard’s knowledge of his subject was extensive and I, for one, learnt a great deal. More importantly, a message for us all as gardeners has to be – don’t tidy up too much – leave an area of your garden wild – for the wildlife.
[Images reproduced with kind permission of Richard Revels]
Our October meeting on the 16th will feature a presentation by Guy Lambourn from Wassledine Farm – a vey special farm in Upper Gravenhurst, more details of this can be found on our website – Linda Truscott