UK-Visions Images by Michael Taylor and Terry Longley


Churches from around the country
Images from around the coastline.
All around us there are many varied habitats: coastal and freshwater regions, mountains, woodlands, farmland, parks, gardens and urban landscapes, providing for different plants and animals. Each habitat is created firstly by the underlying rock which interacts with the climate and affects the formation of the soil; the composition of the soil determines the vegetation which grows and this in turn determines the animal life that colonizes the area. Secondly, man's often profound impact on his surroundings can alter entire habitats, causing both plant and animal life to die out, move out or adapt to the new circumstances. The more diverse habitats there are the more varied and abundant is both the plant and animal life around us.
Larger mammals found in the British countryside ,from the urban success story that is the Red Fox, which benefits directly from our wasteful society, to the Otter, which in the early 1960ís was on the verge of extinction due to river pollution, habitat loss and hunting. Now with full legal protection, cleaner rivers and managed habitat the otter is returning to its former haunts.
Some of our smaller and less often seen mammals. From the Water Vole, which has declined dramatically in recent decades and is probably best known as Ratty from The Wind in the Willows, to the cute Hazel Dormouse. The dormouse's shy and retiring nature along with its nocturnal habits mean few people will have seen one in the wild. Both these small mammals are in extensive captive breeding programmes for release into the wild to secure their future.
The arthropods form the largest of the animal groups. This group comprises insects, spiders and harvestmen, crustaceans, centipedes and millipedes and they all have hard, external skeletons and pairs of jointed limbs. The only crustaceans on land are the woodlice which are restricted to damp habitats, crustaceans commonly found in the sea are Crabs, Lobsters and Shrimps.
A mollusc is a soft-bodied animal such as a slug, snail, limpet, mussel or octopus. Molluscs can be found on land, in freshwater or in the sea and many protect their bodies by producing hard shells. Although often small, many arthropods and molluscs are fearsome in appearance and used as models for aliens or monsters. They are frequently the subject of nightmares! See them here!
There are many native species of Butterfly such as the Comma and colourful Peacock which overwinter in old buildings. All of which can be found flying in abundance throughout our countryside during the hot sunny days of summer.
Dragonflies and Damselflies are the iridescent essence of Summer with their rapid and acrobatic flight over both land and water in the hunt for food and a mate. Mating and egg laying displays are fascinating to watch and photograph. Evidence of the Dragonflies' former underwater existence can be found on reeds at the water's edge in the form of larval casts or exuviae.