Bittern, Fowlmere RSPB, 3rd December 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Matt Mellor
"Once again a great selection of high-quality photos of the rare, and brilliant studies of the not so rare. I really liked the composition of Roger Cresswell's Meadow Pipit at Wicken Fen, the atmosphere of James Hanlon's Brambling at Heathfield and the detail of Garth Peacock's winter thrushes. What many of the pictures show is how rare a commodity good light was in December (and has continued into January). I have a personal bias against the Penduline Tits, despite James H's excellent capture, because they wasted so much of my time in freezing conditions, remaining unseen on three visits though apparently showing well only 5 minutes before I first showed up. In selecting my favourite, though, I'm afraid I betray demonstrate a positive, local bias, to Fowlmere RSPB, where the Bittern, despite the fact that this bird has also eluded me so far, has been photographed so expertly and opportunely by a number of people. The best shot, to my mind, is Gary Thornton's of the Fowlmere Bittern on the prowl by the mere, where the reserve staff maintain the margins to make birds more visible."
Waxwing, Oakington, 30th November 2012 © Garth Peacock
Picture chosen by Tony Fulford
"It is now mid-December and we’re in desperate need of some colour in our lives to get us in the Christmas spirit. But right on cue, the Waxwings have arrived to arrange themselves decorously among brilliant berries. No contest! Garth Peacock’s winning photograph stood out from a strong field of other waxwing photos because the bird is so animated with berry in beak and showing off its full colours to perfection among a full head of wonderful pink berries. The photograph is crisp with no interfering shadows – perfect Christmas card material!
Others that caught my eye among so many amazing pictures were Gary Thornton’s Chiffchaff (though mostly for the extraordinary golden leaves surrounding it), Garth Peacock’s Jackdaw (I’m a hopeless corvidophile) and especially JH’s series of Redpoll studies."
Red-necked Grebe, Brampton, 20th October 2012 © Simon Stirrup
Picture chosen by Pete Holt
"High quality work from the county's photographers again this month. Several stunning portraits from Garth Peacock. Peregrine on a kill, always impressive, from Gary Thornton. Bathing Sparrowhawk from Barbara York; good to see behaviour like this in a photo. Never easy to pick one image, but Simon Stirrup's Red-necked Grebe on a take-off run is my choice. Despite what could be awkward light conditions, Simon's got a decent composition showing a scarce Cambs species in motion. Nice work."
Kingfisher, Fowlmere RSPB, 3rd September 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Brenda and Melvyn Smith
"The striking colours, crisp image and lack of any back ground distraction make this an excellent photograph."
Grey Heron, River Cam, Cambridge, 26th August 2012 © Roger Cresswell
Picture chosen by Sue Jarrett
"My choice for photo of the month is Roger Cresswell's grey heron August 26th. I choose this photo because of the perfect capture of the bird's beautiful neck and chest feathers - the detail of which I have never really noticed before, which shows how much we take for granted our more common birds. Also the photo makes me feel for the poor unfortunate mammal face down the heron's long throat! Again an every day event but so poignantly captured by Roger. Finally the heron's expression makes me wonder if he's thinking "have I bitten off more than I can chew here"! It looks a bit of a challenge to swallow!"
Bullfinch, Fowlmere RSPB, 12th July 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Lewis York
"The reason I have selected this picture is that it fully expresses how beautiful the Male Bullfinch plumage is and I also like the way that the fluffy chest feathers have been captured. The look in the individual’s eye is also intriguing and the overall appearance of this species resembles the look of a startled squashed peach."
Spotted Flycatcher, Thriplow, 14th June 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Diana Leech
"The winning picture is the spotted flycatcher sitting on the fence, taken by Gary Thornton. The true beauty of this unassuming little bird revealed by the photographer. Maybe on a favourite feeding perch?"
Yellow Wagtail, Near Fowlmere RSPB, 14th May 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Jon Heath
"With over 74 photos to choose from, picking the photo of the month for May was no easy task. May is a great month for finding county rarities with a Red-rumped Swallow at Grafham captured nicely in flight by Peter Beesley then followed by close-up shots by Mark and Steve. It is also a good time to photograph birds on passage and I really like Jonathan Taylor’s shots of Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff. There are many pictures of newly-arrived summer migrants with Brian’s Turtle Doves and Garth’s Swallow the pick of the bunch. However, the two stand-outs for me are Garth’s perched Hobby shots and Gary’s Yellow Wagtail. I think the Yellow Wagtail just edges it with its lovely upright pose and crisp sharpness creating a nice depth of field."
Wren, Fowlmere RSPB, 12th April 2012 © Malcolm Housden
Picture chosen by Charlie Kitchin
"I didn’t think April was a great month for photography being so wet and wild but clearly people still managed. I thought Stuart Elsom’s photos of the possible Iberian chiffchaff, were greatly enhanced by the flowering blackthorn and Garth Peacock’s tawny owl by the gnarled bark however it was Malcolm Housden’s almost completely spherical wren that I enjoyed seeing most, fluffed up in some miserable weather no doubt."
Female Linnet, Fowlmere RSPB, 26th March 2012 © Gary Thornton
Picture chosen by Bob Jarman
"I gave Andy Bayles photograph of the two Grey Partridges “cosying together” serious consideration. I liked the background of frost- covered winter wheat and the fact that it was taken in fenland; I rarely see Gray Partridge in the fens, usually on the chalk in the south and east of the County. However, the photograph I decided upon as the Club member’s picture for March 2012 is the female Linnet by Gary Thornton. It’s a detailed portrait and an unusual subject. Photographs of species with sexual plumage differences often feature males in breeding plumage rather than females with their subdued cryptic colouring. It’s also an identification challenge; I didn’t get it at first but it pushes identification skills forwards as well as being a balanced and clear composition."
Starling, St. Ives, 5th February 2012 © Nigel Sprowell
Picture chosen by Barbara York
"There was much to admire whilst considering February’s photo of the month. The evocative photographs of bittern, water rail and gulls pictured on the ice and snow made one shiver as if actually stood on the ice in bare feet. The vivid colours on the red legged partridge and greenfinch were a feast and the antics of the snow bunting well captured. However the photo I have chosen is the portrait of a starling by Nigel Sprowell. The bird’s attributes are beautifully shown: the shape of the spots; the contrasting colour of its legs and the shimmer of the purple sheen on its throat and upper breast. But it’s the bill that draws my eye: morphing through mauve, gold and baby blue. All this is contained in a natural frame formed by its perch of textured twigs."
Female Kestrel, St. Ives, 23rd January 2012 © Colin Brown
Picture chosen by Mel Quy
"There are many worthy shots this month, especially of the Short-eared Owls and water fowl with lovely reflections, but I just loved this very well composed shot of a female kestrel by Colin Brown. Her colouring is complimented beautifully by the brown chimney pot and yellow lichen, and all set off against the blue sky ."