Short-eared Owl, Burwell Fen, 31st December 2015 © Neil Bramwell
David Hatton has made this month's selection.
"December was dominated by above-average temperatures and regular rain – the lack of frost, snow or prolonged bright skies resulted in the month’s haul of photos struggling to convey much of a wintery feel. Undeterred, the county’s gull aficionados produced a clutch of nice portraits of desirable winter target species, including Caspian Gull (notably by Simon Stirrup), Yellow-legged Gull (James Hanlon) and Iceland Gull (Jonathan Heath). As I write, no fewer than 10 Short-eared Owls are being seen at March Farmers, and it this species that has produced the winning shot, or should I say shots…
The sequence by Neil Bramwell of a hunting S.E.O. at Burwell, in which the owl strikes down into the long grass and emerges victoriously clutching a small vole, nicely conveys the thrill of watching this species hunting over the fens in winter. Most evocative of the bunch is probably image #4 of the 5, in which the owl arises completely from the cover, wings fully spread, revealing its feathered tarsi and its helplessly dangling prey. "
Blackbird, Willingham, 27th November 2015 © Colin Brown
Paul Mason has made this months selection.
"I might be biased towards a couple of fabulous images taken by friends, the silhouette of a Stonechat by Simon Stirrup really appealed, especially as I saw the bird itself in full colour, while the pose of Ian Dickerson's Sparrowhawk was so good that I encouraged him to post it on the gallery! Two images by Colin Brown really stood out for me, however; the Blue Tit going like a rocket through the air, and the Blackbird feeding on berries. In the end I went for the Blackbird because of the time of year and this image is Christmassy. It is well posed and eating its' Christmas pudding berry. It's colourful with the brick wall, black bird and the red and green of berried bushes. All good seasonal hues, what more could you want?"
Short-eared Owl, Burwell Fen, 28th October 2015 © Geoff Harris
Dick Newell has made this month's selection.
"The choice could be any one of half a dozen pictures. Does one go for unusual behaviour, photographic excellence/composition, and how unusual and arresting is the winner. So excellent clichéed portraits won't do it this time. Some of those I really like are Geoff Harris' Bearded Tit, Neil Bramwell's Velvet Scoter, Colin Brown's Rook and a plethora of Short-eared Owls and Cranes. Whatever I choose, I will feel gutted at the ones I can't have.
After much hand-wringing, it comes down to a choice between one of Geoff Harrs' Short-eared Owls or one of Garth Peacock's excellent series of Cranes - but which one? As a series, Garth's Cranes are exceptional, but when it comes to choosing one picture I keep getting drawn to Geoff's Short-eared Owl "
Treecreeper, Paxton Pits, 1st September 2015 © Phil Smith
Joy Dingley has made this month's selection.
"There’s a very intimate feel about this photo. A Treecreeper stopped for a moment and allowed you into his private world. You can appreciate every subtlety of his plumage, the softness of his white breast, the delicacy of his crampon claws. The bird holds the two parts of the composition together, in the background the vague patterns of his leafy world; in the foreground the rugged crevices of the tree bark. In a moment he will find that bug and be off, for an instant the camera allows us to give him the attention he deserves."
Sketches of the two Lakenheath crane pairs currently visiting Cambridgeshire. © Norman Sills
Vince Lea has made this month's selection.
"Pair A2 produced 2 fledglings, pair B produced 1 fledgling in 2015. We are interested in sightings of these family groups. Counts of accompanying young and any observations on feeding behaviour are of particular value to understanding their post-breeding movements and survival. We also welcome sightings of any other Crane pairs with young, which may tell us about any other East Anglian Crane pairs and their success. Pairs should remain with young until mid-Feb 2016. Ideally field notes on plumages of any Crane pairs should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org - photos may also be of use.
Distinctive features of the adults illustrated are:
- Male A2 Dark grey/brown bustle with black tips
- Female A2 Paler forewing than male but same upper breast grey as male
- Male B large, jet-black bustle, broad neck band, noticeably larger than female
- Female B Paler upper breast than male, narrower neck band and overall paler than male."
Normal photographic pictures will resume next month.
Spotted Flycatcher, Site Withheld, 2nd July 2015 © Garth Peacock
Mark Ward has made this months selection.
"July’s entries were a reminder that there is plenty of action to capture in the bird world in summer.
Fowlmere’s photogenic juvenile Marsh Harriers featured prominently and Geoff Harries’ shot of two in playful mid-air interaction is a beautiful composition. I also enjoyed James Hanlon’s atmospheric portraits of nesting Woodpigeons, but my winner is Garth Peacock’s copulating Spotted Flycatchers. The male, with a gift of insects, is captured in heraldic pose as he completes the necessary to contribute towards the ongoing survival of this threatened species. Congratulations to Garth."
Wren, Aldreth, 14th June 2015 © Simon Stirrup
Roger Cresswell has made this months selection.
"Although not as many as usual there was a fine selection of pictures for June. There were of images of bird behaviour, singing, feeding, preening, etc. which I particularly liked. Gary Thornton’s charming Goldcrest bathing, Christoph Zockler’s Sparrowhawk about to deal with it’s kill, Garth Peacock’s portrait of a Corn Bunting in full song. But the photo that really caught my attention was Simon Stirrup’s image of a chorus of four young Wrens eagerly awaiting a delivery. Superb. "
Grey Heron with Black-headed Gull, Ferry Meadows, 26th May 2015 © Peter Beesley
David Heath has made this month's selection.
"Although there were fewer images to judge this month compared to the last, what May's photographs lacked in quantity was certainly made up for by the quality. I particularly liked the singing Corn Bunting blurting out its song from a convenient perch taken by Simon Stirrup. The Reed Warbler in natural surroundings taken by Nigel Sprowell caught my eye as did the typical view of a Garden Warbler peering out of thick foliage by Gary Thornton. However, the photograph that stood out for me over the rest was the action shot of a Grey Heron being pursued by a Black-headed Gull perfectly caught and framed as the action unfolded."
Little Grebe, Wicken Fen, 11th April 2015 © Brendan Doe
Steve Cooper has made this month's selection.
" With over 100 photo's in the gallery for April it gets harder to choose just one. Many catch the eye such as superb flight shots of Black Tern (Garth Peacock) and Hobby (Roger Cresswell), stunning plumage detail of Glossy Ibis (Neil Bramwell) and Grey Partridge (Phill Smith) as well as some that show nice composition the Great Crested Grebes by Nigel Sprowell in particular and Toby Austin's Wood Sandpiper shows not all photo's need be portrait's. In the end my choice was for a photo that made me smile. Brenden Doe's Little Grebe having just caught it's stickleback lunch and looking like it went through the hedge backwards to catch it is my choice.
Grey Heron, Cambridge, 22nd March 2015 © Roger Cresswell
Geoff Harries has made this month's selection.
"Again a very high start of photography, but there were three images I narrowed it down to. Garth's Common Buzzard was a nice sharp image of a bird not often caught perched up. I liked the Turtle Dove by Simon Stirrup, but the image that stood out was the Heron with the large fish taken by Roger Cresswell. We are all left wondering if he swallowed it?"
Collared Dove, Willingham, 23rd February 2015 © Colin Brown
Peter Herkenrath has made this month's selection.
"As ever there is a wealth of images available and any choice is a hard one. All these fascinating gull images (Glaucous, Caspian, Yellow-legged) and several high-quality shots of owls in flight such as Nigel Sprowell and Peter Beesley's Barn Owls and Malcolm Housden's Short-eared Owl. Frank Bell's fierce-looking Sparrowhawk comes very close as does Colin Brown's portrait of a Wren and Simon Stirrup's Jay just catching a food item. But I go for Colin Brown's Collared Dove in flight, with nearly all feathers of body, wings and tail in focus, showing what a beauty this bird is."
Chiffchaff, Thriplow, 25th January 2015 © Gary Thornton
Louise Bacon has made this month's selection.
"Amongst many raptors and owls in flight, all beautiful in excellent light, I looked for a charismatic passerine to stand out. Frosty or sunny wintery vegetation with strongly-marked birds is always a winner, and the Reed Bunting female at Fen Drayton and the charm of Goldfinches at Holme Fen were strong contenders. The photo which stood out for me was the excellent Chiffchaff portrait by Gary Thornton - well-lit, with little messy background, allowing a study of an unobtrusive winter visitor - you can even see the wear and tear on the wing feathers, such is the detail in this image."