Close Encounters With Nature -Richard Ashbee – 16th September 2013.

Richard Ashbee stepped in at short notice with an excellent photograph led talk in which he revealed to us again both his passion for nature and photography plus his understanding of wild life.  The standard of the photographs was quite outstanding.

His talk ranged from every day subjects found in one’s garden to rare birds and mammals.  There was even a photograph of a male kestrel (I think) giving food to its mate in mid-air.  On the close up scale, after showing how a water boat man treads on the surface film of still water, he showed the water surface during a rain storm.  He also showed what happens when a drop of water hits the surface of a pool.  He drew our attention to the small things all around us like a rolled up leaf found under a stone to the colours in part of a rainbow.  The colours in the head of a mallard to the might of a killer whale; the cuteness of a water vole to the emerging head of a seal were all beautifully recorded.

Richard has a particular passion for wild birds which he has photographed all over the British Isles and beyond.  His robin appeared to be posing for a Christmas card but his puffin with a beak full of sand eels is a more unusual sight.  Richard explained how the severe decline in the sand eel population was causing the decline of some bird species and the rise of others.  His views of various hawks in mid-flight were quite spectacular in fact spectacular would be a word to describe the entire talk.