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.