The Four Seasons
The theme of the evening was ‘The Four Seasons’, with speaker Peter Smith making a welcome return visit. His beautiful photographs started with some evocative winter scenes, then moved elegantly through the year, taking us on a journey with the landscape, wildlife and plants as they changed with the seasons. His many years of experience as a meticulous observational naturalist were very much in evidence, and as well as his visually stunning images, he also shared with us the stories behind what we were seeing: many photographs were the result of hours of patient waiting in order to capture the key moment. The harvest mouse was a kind of recurrent theme, and we saw these tiny, fragile creatures at every point in the year, facing all the many challenges that shape their lives. The image of the combine harvester advancing relentlessly down the field towards a tiny mouse is one that will stay in my mind. But Peter is a self-described ‘bird man’, and these were the subjects that delivered the most astonishing pictures. The details of the bright red inside the beaks of the baby ravens, the nightjar family at its nest and the waxwings in winter all made the audience gasp. He did not shy away from the ‘death’ side of life, and his poignant image of the dead kingfisher in the snow was very powerful. The point was repeatedly made that life in the wild is hard for everyone, both predator and prey, and the line between surviving and succumbing is a very fine one. Butterflies, reptiles, fungi and flowers all featured as the year turned, along with some much-loved mammals. The red deer, the red squirrels, the seal pups and in particular the vole with the blackberries were among the many highlights. The next meeting will be on 11 October, when Alan Fielding will give a presentation on ‘The Golden Eagle’.
Edited Photo by (collage idea and original combination by Predavatel) – Spring in Switzerlandauthor: BenHur (GFDL)Summer in Polandauthor: Nova (GFDL)Autumn in the United Kingdomauthor: Jongleur100 (CC-zero)Winter in Germanyauthor: SpaceJ (GFDL), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2010169