When Rob Chace invited me to help out with an 'Open Day' at a nature reserve with a brief to help budding photographers photograph plants and insects I hesitated. I tried to remember whether I'd ever photographed a plant deliberately in the past myself and decided I hadn't. However, I've done a fair amount of insect photography and I decided I could probably manage and so signed up.
Skylark Meadows is a small nature reserve owned by Plantlife on the outskirts of Bawdrip village in Somerset. I hadn't heard of this charity before - you can read about them here. The day was well organised by local volunteers together with a contingent from Plantlife head office. The village worthies had the hall stocked with home made cake and the regulation tea urn was in place so even if it had tipped down with rain, the day would have been worthwhile! Rob and I were joined on the photographic front by Nick Edge who takes amazing butterfly (and other) pictures with his compact camera. Have a look at his Flickr photostream here.
65 people turned up for the event. About 1/3 were from the village and the rest were made up of people from as far away as Exeter and Bristol. All age groups were represented and all levels of knowledge. I learned a lot and have found out about plants such as yellow rattle which is partially parastitic on grasses and so can help to establish wildflower meadows by controlling grass. The iridescent green dock beetle was another fascinating find. This beetle is a godsend to farmers trying to avoid the use of herbicides and can control dock plants by simply eating their leaves away to a mesh. The highlight for me was the common blue butterfly which was present mainly in the second of the three fields.
Thanks to all for a great day out!