Short-eared Owl, Burwell Fen, 28 December 2018 © David Ball
Jenny Brightwell made this month's selection:
"The picture of the month for me is David Ball's head-on shot of a Short-eared Owl. The facial disc and eyes are so sharp against the out-of-focus background – quite a challenge with birds in flight. Along with the movement, the intense and direct focus of the Owl makes a real connection, which is what makes this image really stand out for me. Great photograph. There were some other excellent photos (and birds) in December, not least the Water Rail, Sparrowhawk, White-fronted Goose and Slavonian Grebe, plus a stunning Blackbird, all on my short list."
Common Buzzard, Little Gransden, 6th November 2018 © Adrian George
Bryan Davies made this month's selection:
"Selecting a winner from the November photos in the Gallery has proved much more difficult than I expected – there are so many excellent ones to choose from. My first ‘short’ list was 11 entries long ie. nearly half the total! Eventually I have chosen Adrian George’s Common Buzzard taken at Little Gransden. It’s a very attractive action shot taken with the bird just taking off and showing its colours to best effect. Ian Dawson’s Stonechat perched on barbed wire, Jonathan Heath’s Cattle Egret which appears to have mistaken a sheep for a cow and Neil Bramwell’s Rough-legged Buzzard would all have pride of place on my wall.."
Fieldfare, Wicken Fen, 29th October 2018 © David Ball
Joy Dingley made this month's selection:
"If any birds spell the imminent arrival of winter it's the Fieldfare. Noisy, patchwork plumaged birds they are unmissable and cheer the heart in the depths of winter's grey days. Yet they arrive as the seasons are turning, when berries shine in the blue skies and we'd like to bottle the days like sloe gin for future use. This photo so perfectly combines the bird in the habitat we recognise so well, how strange then the Scandinavians consider it the harbinger of spring."
House Sparrow, Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB, 12th September 2018 © Garth Peacock
Rita & Stuart Lingard made this month's selection:
"It’s very difficult to judge on photographic merit as all of them are excellent. We don’t have any special species favourites but the three which we have chosen, in order are the House Sparrow by Garth Peacock, the Turtle Dove by Jonathan Heath and the Common Buzzard by Jonathan Stevenson.
- The composition of the picture of the House Sparrow eating a bramble captures the autumn brilliantly
- The focus on the neck of the Turtle Dove reminds us of the days we spent many years ago (50++) when they were a common species, and
- The detail of the underwing of the Common Buzzard is a contender for any Bird Guide.
But then we could have chosen any one of the others, especially the Cattle Egret by Ian Dawson and the Juvenile Bearded Tit by Neil Bramwell.
Congratulations to all from Rita & Stuart Lingard!"
Dunlin, Grafham Water, 11th August 2018 © Neil Bramwell
Richard Pargeter has made this month's selection:
"This was not easy! However, my choice is the Dunlin from Grafham Water.
Apart from being a clear sharp photo, with good composition and background, it captures the essence of a busy little shore bird, feathers slightly ruffled in the breeze, pausing briefly, but ready for action, be it to dodge the next wave, or snatch the next prey."
Cormorant, Grafham Water, 26th July 2018 © Garth Peacock
John Roote has made this month's selection:
"My favourite is the unusual pose of the Cormorant by Garth Peacock. I also liked the unusual view of the Marsh Harrier by Roger Cresswell. There was a good selection of Grebes (Little and Great-crested), Kingfishers and Black-headed Gulls, with particularly nice markings on the juvenile Black-headed Gull by Doug Radford. Jonathan Stephenson provided an atmospheric Common Tern and some nice passerine studies."
Cuckoo, Ouse Washes RSPB, 3rd June 2018 © Richard Patient
Vince Lea has made this month's selection:
"With slightly fewer photos in June it should have been a bit easier to pick a favourite. There were some instructive series of photos such as Steve Cooper's female Pied Wagtail parade, the second, with a lovely reflection, almost made the top spot. Brendan Doe's set of launching starlings, with the Rosy at the centre of the action, are fabulous; particularly the first image with Rosy in the Gold position and adult and juvenile Commons taking up Silver and Bronze! Nigel Sprowell's Spotted Flycatcher bringing food to the nest, with a beautifully framed shot of the nestlings being fed struck a chord with me having helped find one of these nests for Michael Holdsworth's ringing project. All of these work well on the blog as series but what we need is one image for the POM... so I have chosen Richard Patient's Cuckoo at the Ouse Washes. This image engenders such a tranquil scene and a view that we seldom get of this species."
Greylag Goose, Fowlmere RSPB, 3rd May 2018 © Garth Peacock
Paul Rule has made this month's selection:
"This image of a very common species that most photographers would probably ignore really stood out for me. It’s not possible to pose birds for a family group, but if you could, you could hardly improve on this. The lighting is perfect, and the out of focus background with its muted colours allows the geese to really stand out.
They say that every picture tells a story, and to me this one tells one of protective parents who are not going to allow anyone, or anything to mess with this family."
Cormorant, Grafham Water, 2nd April 2018 © Phil Smith
Dr Simon Gillings has made this month's selection:
"I'm generally not a fan of bird portraits as I prefer to see bird subjects in the context of their environment. But Phil Smith’s portrait of a Cormorant stands out as my choice for photo of the month. Against a clean, cold background, the crispness of the Cormorant’s salt-and-pepper plumage makes a striking image. Bird portraits really work when they make you re-evaluate a bird you think you know well – to see and marvel at details like the monochrome marbling on the bill and that amazing jade green eye with blue eye-ring – this photo does that for me. Stunning."
Goldeneye, Grafham Water, 13th March 2018 © Phil Smith
Richard Genochio has made this month's selection:
"My first step was to create a shortlist of over a dozen eye-catching images, all worthy of mention if space allowed! The winner, however, was Phil Smith’s Goldeneyes (13th March). An outstanding and beautiful portrayal. The timing necessary to catch this one extraordinary moment with the male in display was of the highest order. The runner up was Saimon's Peregrines; a highly idiosyncratic portrayal of a bird normally associated with craggy peaks. The comedy of the situation is beautifully conveyed – a medium sized falcon sits dumpily on a very large falcon, with the latter appearing to be in some pain from the former’s sharp talons which grip its forehead. Phil Smith's Great Crested Grebe (30th March) was also commendable, a brilliantly captured moment, requiring fast trigger-work, with the grebe powering towards the camera in a slightly intimidating fashion, like a Royal Navy frigate moving under full steam through a fairly heavy swell in mid-Atlantic."
Song Thrush, Grafham Water, 8th February 2018 © Phil Smith
Steve Cooper has made this month's selection:
"The popular S E Owls at Eldernell provided some nice images again this month and Jon Heath's fine Hawfinch stand out, but Phil Smith's Song Thrush at Grafham Water is my choice. A good portrait of a common species but one that also has added interest as the grey rump, mantle and cold plumage tones show that this is a 'continental' Song Thrush (sub species T.p.philomelos) as much a winter visitor here as Redwing and Fieldfare but very much overlooked."
Hawfinch, Wimpole Hall, 27th January 2018 © Neil Bramwell
Richard Patient has made this month's selection:
"My eyes cannot help being drawn to the unfamiliar, and Jonathan Heath's ghostly Iceland Gull is seasonally evocative, whilst Bob Jarman's unusual gull must have provided a scare to the observers! Indeed, without such fine photographic documentation it could also have scared a records committee. Similarly Steve Cooper's shot of a House Sparrow shows again that there is variation even amongst the everyday. Phil Smith provided a lovely Lapwing and his shot of a Great Crested Grebe (plus Zander) was also a strong contender. However another action shot gets my vote for photo of the month - Neil Bramwell's Hawfinch preparing for take-off. It gives a rare angle on those unusually shaped inner primaries and is a fitting winner during an unprecedented winter for this species locally."