A wonderful evening in the Pennines

On the evening of Monday 27th June Wakefield Camera Club hosted a talk entitled “Wildlife of the Pennines” by Tim Melling who is the RSPB Senior Conservation Officer for Northern England. Despite England’s European Cup game being broadcast at the same time, a good audience of over 40 members were treated to a fascinating evening of wildlife photography and information. Tim Melling explained that he is not “a photographer” first and foremost (although the images he showed were of that class), but a naturalist who uses photography to record what he sees.

He structured his talk by habitat, starting with the very tops of the moors and the blanket bog which is to be found there. By doing this we gained an understanding of the relationship between the habitats and the flora and fauna which can be found there. Images of plants, birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles, mountain hares etc. came in rapid succession, each illustrating a point Tim was making. All this was accompanied by Tim’s informative and entertaining commentary. He hardly stopped for breath and we were all swept along by his enthusiasm. The images never stopped either, with shots of both well-known and rare subjects. Coming down a level on the hills Tim talked about the heather moorlands and the impact of grouse on the habitat. The images illustrated the differences found at these levels which may easily go unnoticed by the casual walker. These images included wonderful shots of birds in flight such as hen harriers and peregrine falcons. Given the speed of these birds (and others) it was quite an achievement to have usable images at all, let alone of the standard Tim presented. Moving down Tim came to the woodland levels and again the flora and fauna changed. Images became more difficult to capture as trees and other plant life tended to get in the way but Tim managed to do it

It was an enthralling evening, crammed with hundreds of excellent images, in which everyone was captivated, not just by the images, but also by Tim’s infectious enthusiasm. It must be wonderful to have a job with so many opportunities to photograph such special species and habitats.

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