FROM FIELD AND FEN
Crow Meadow Press
Mike Toms has long been the British Trust for Ornithology’s go-to man for facts and figures, as well as a contributor to this magazine and the writer of a countryside diary in a newspaper. In this new season-by-season compilation, he goes searching for the specific wildlife treasures – golden orioles in summer, golden pheasants in midwinter – of his home in Breckland in Norfolk. But most rewarding of all, Toms says, is simply to be immersed in the surrounding landscape: “We benefit from the stillness of the natural world and the opportunity to settle within its embrace.” It’s a detailed, delicate and personal perspective on one man’s ‘patch’. A better understanding of the range of pollinators. Honeybees get a lot of headlines, but many other insects do their bit, including bumblebees, flies, bee-flies, hoverflies and beetles. Birds such as hummingbirds, lizards, bats and non-flying mammals also pollinate.
Do readers need to know botany to enjoy the book?
No – there are extended captions. When shooting I tried to get in close to reveal the reproductive parts of each flower, and to show how pollen is transferred.
Do you use any special techniques?
For many of the plant photos I used focus stacking, in
Pollinators are declining globally. How can we help?
Gardens are increasingly important reservoirs, so plant species that provide nectar and/or pollen throughout the year – ask your local garden centre, or organisations such as Buglife, the RSPB and the Royal Horticultural Society. However, ‘double flowers’ – varieties bred for extra petals – are little use. They have either lost their reproductive parts or the petals are so tightly packed that insects cannot access them.
by Heather Angel is a beautiful and informative insight into the hidden secrets of plant pollination (Kew Publishing, £25.00): http://shop.kew.org