Discovering the Hidden World of Nature in Our Gardens with Forestry and Land Scotland

Estimated read time 3 min read

Colin Edwards, the Environment manager for Forestry and Land Scotland, is an avid nature enthusiast who spends a significant amount of time outdoors. His passion lies in macrophotography, focusing on capturing the beauty of what many consider to be ‘ugly’ creatures.

His journey into photography began during his school days when cameras used films and were sturdy in design. It wasn’t until he set up a moth trap in his garden that he transitioned to using modern digital cameras to document the insects he found. This led to a newfound fascination with the smaller invertebrates in his surroundings, sparking his interest in macro photography.

Over time, Edwards has captured hundreds of species and amassed a collection of thousands of images. One of the rarest discoveries he made was a greenish-blue wasp, which he found at a restock site in Fife. His picture of the ruby-tailed wasp marked the first recorded sighting in Scotland since 1998. With the help of specialists in Fife, Edwards is able to identify and record these unique species.

Edwards pondered whether certain species are genuinely rare or if they are simply under-recorded. He believes it is crucial to observe and identify these creatures as they contribute to building a biodiversity evidence base. By tracking their populations, we can better understand any fluctuations in numbers.

Despite the sometimes unsettling nature of these creatures and their peculiar habits, Edwards finds solace in the patience required to capture their behavior. He views photography as a calming and meditative practice, which also benefits his mental health and inner resilience.

While public interest often gravitates towards larger and more charismatic species, Edwards emphasizes the importance of invertebrates in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. As key components of the natural world, they play a crucial role in pest control and pollination.

In his role at Forestry and Land Scotland, Edwards works towards protecting species and enhancing habitats. He encourages individuals to make small changes in their own spaces, such as creating bug houses, maintaining grassy meadows, and cultivating native plants. These efforts, whether on a large or small scale, can make a significant difference in supporting biodiversity.

Ultimately, Edwards hopes to inspire others to appreciate the diversity of nature, whether in their own backyard or by exploring the woodlands and nature reserves that Scotland has to offer. By taking the time to observe and connect with the natural world, one may uncover unexpected marvels that lie just beyond their doorstep.

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