The May meeting of the Clays Horticultural Society was very different, but nevertheless extremely interesting. Geoff Trinder, a leading authority on wildlife and a brilliant photographer, presented a fascinating insight into the birds of Namibia and South Africa.
He began with views of the weird landscape of Namibia, festooned with the derelict remains of long-gone diamond mining. Shacks stand out from what is known as the ‘Red Desert’, as the hot sun beats down on mountainous sand dunes. Scattered here and there are the parched branches of dead trees, bleached white by the heat.
The Owambo people of the region still manage to make a living by maintaining a nomadic existence with their herds of cattle, goats and sheep. They paint themselves with red ochre and fat to protect their bodies from the heat.
There are 645 species of birds and over 200 types of mammal, all wonderfully adapted to the climate. Geoff showed many remarkable shots of rosy cheeked love birds, parrots, and hornbills, along with mountain zebras, hyrax and wildebeest.
In South Africa, with its carpets of wildflowers which appear like magic each spring, the above creatures are joined by many others such as social weavers, so called because of their large, intricate nests and falcons. The country teems with animals from small rodents to the majestic elephant, big cats to giraffe – plus the famous springbok after which the rugby team is named.
Geoff’s wonderful pictures left members wanting to visit these different and beautiful countries. He has visited many times and his one plea is that ‘leave the world as we find it’.
Instead of an indoor gathering, in July Clays Horticultural Society hopes to visit Binbrook Fern Nursery, with a guided tour by Neil Tim, followed by a supper at a local hostelry. They have also booked a visit to the new RHS garden at Bridgewater, near Manchester. There is no meeting in August but meetings resume 21st September at 7.30pm in Wheatley Village Hall.