Monday, 23 June 2014
Guest Blog: James Fair hits the road to see wildflowers
Environment Editor, BBC Wildlife Magazine
Taking to my bike for a rare morning away from the kids at the weekend, I was happy to realise that it was a really good way to see wildflowers. I was going fast enough to cover plenty of ground, but slow enough to spot things as I went, and I didn't have to worry about blocking a narrow country lane when I stopped to take some shots.
I went with nothing but my not-very-top-of-the-range smartphone, and while some photos didn't come off, most look pretty good.
This picture of common poppies Papaver rhoeas and ox-eye daisies Leucanthemum vulgare was taken on the edge of a field, but it was easily accessible from the road.
I found these pyramidal orchids Anacamptis pyramidalis on the very steep Culver Hill which makes its way up some 500 feet or so from the bottom of the Nailsworth Valley to Minchinhampton Common.
I saw this white campion Silene latifolia at the Rodmarton Long Barrow – a neolithic burial site that's in the middle of vast fields of wheat.
As I said, I was only carrying my smartphone, so some shots didn't quite come off. These meadow cranesbills Geranium pratense – at least I hope they're meadow cranesbills – were swaying in the wind, which may be why I haven't quite got the focus right.
Dog roses Rosa canina were everywhere and looked fantastic.
These flowers have tested my ID skills – they don't look quite right for red campion Silene dioica to me, so I wonder if they could be hybrids. The wildflower guide in the office suggests they could be.
There was only one point when I regretted not having a proper camera with a long lens with me. I saw a roe deer sitting among a huge wheat field, and when it ran off, leaping high over the lush crop, it would have made a fantastic photo.