Cranes, Undisclosed site. 20 January 2019
© Simon Stirrup
Vince Lea has made this month's selection:
"There were a couple of images showing flights of the amazing flock of Cranes which has built up in the Cambridgeshire Fens over the last few years, and although it is not as clear as David Benton's shot of 47 over his house (wow!) the evocative evening light makes Simon Stirrup's image my photo of the month. I was also really impressed with Gary Thornton's garden Nuthatch, the portrait of a fine Long-eared Owl by Dave Spencer and Neil Bramwell's Black Redstart might have made the cut if it had been fully tailed. "
Short-eared Owl, Undisclosed site. 5 February 2019
© David Banasiak
Jonathon Stephenson has made this month's selection:
With an unseasonably warm and spring-like February came many pictures of a very high standard, which made it extremely difficult to whittle them down to a final three. My choice for picture of the month is David Banasiak’s Short-eared Owl. It’s an unusual angle to capture and really illustrates the amazing power of flight these beautiful birds possess. Joint runners up are two separate series of photos. Nigel Sprowell’s Goldcrest, with its golden crown shining in the sunshine and Simon Stirrup’s Bearded Tit, three lovely shots of this reedbed specialist.
Little Grebe, Fowlmere RSPB, 11th March 2019
© Garth Peacock
Mike Foley has made the selection for this month.
I have always had a soft spot for these tubby waterbirds and so I could not resist choosing this pair for the picture of the month. In second place are Brendon Doe's Cranes, an awesome sight as they fly overhead, and in third place is the elegant looking Iceland Gull in flight showing its underside to the camera, again by Brendon.
Common Tern, Fen Drayton Lakes, 25th April 2019
© Garth Peacock.
Eric Towner has made the selection for April.
The photo takes me right into the world of this elegant bird dipping the very tip of its bill into the rippled water - wonderful light and contrast highlighting the subtle colours of the plumage. The Great White Egret at the Ouse Washes (23rd April) taking a pike by Brendan Doe also took my eye, the fish having just been plucked, still dripping, from the water. What happened next? Neil Bramwell’s eyeball to eyeball second shot of the Hobby at Wicken Fen (29th April) shows the bird alert and highlights the aerodynamic shape and plumage detail.
Common Tern, Fen Drayton Lakes, 7th May 2019
© David Ball
Doug Radford has made the selection for May.
It's always a privilege to be asked to assess the photos in the Bird Club gallery. There's always lots of great portraits to choose from, but this time I decided to look for something different to the variations on a 'bird on a stick', and I've chosen David Ball's Common Tern as it skimmed over a pool at Fen Drayton. I love terns, and David has captured perfectly the elegant grace of the bird as it delicately picked something from the surface of the water. Wonderful!
Great Grey Shrike, Needingworth, 4th June 2019
© Neil Bramwell
Louise Bacon has made the selection for June.
The photo selection for June was a easy pick to the final 2. I am a big fan of behaviour photos, and there were two great images which caught my attention from the June collection. It finally came to a choice between House Martins coming down to mud on June 5th by David Ball and a great pic of the Needingworth Great Grey Shrike taken by Neil Bramwell. A series of 4 photos of the shrike being active were posted on June 4th, and the shot of it peering through the barbed wire wins it for me...
Sand Martin, Dernford Reservoir, 24th July 2019
Ade Cooper has made the selection for July.
Being a quieter month in the year of birding there were fewer photos to choose from than usual. The Sand Martin in flight by David Ball is a very nice shot and immediately caught the eye. Fully spread wings and tail make for good composition, the sharpness of a fast flying bird is excellent, along with the photo being well lit. Above all the subject is of a lovely species and being a juvenile it shows off those immaculate, pale fringed feathers beautifully.
Common Sandpiper, Sutton North Fen, 11th August 2019
© Steve Cooper
Matthew Mellor selected this month's Bird of the Month.
There were some really good photos taken in August this year, even if the subjects themselves were some of the more everyday species; and when it came to waterfowl, many were in eclipse plumage. That said, the smart comparison of a drake Garganey with a Mallard by Mike Weedon was nicely illustrated. There were a few striking compositions, not least David Ball's House Martins at the nest, Simon Stirrup's Calder-esque Cormorant along with James Hanlon's atmospheric Black-tailed Godwits and well-caught Little Tern. As ever, Grafham produced some of the most vivacious photos, but it is Steve Cooper's juvenile Common Sandpiper that gets my vote for its excellent capture of colour and pose - one for the ID books.
Little Stint, Grafham Water, 9th September 2019
© Ian Dawson
Pam Peacock has made this month's selection:
Choosing the photo of the month is a good excuse to desert the list of jobs and spend a pleasurable time browsing the website. A good start on 1st September is the autumnal Redstart by Mike Weedon, Garth Peacock’s Great White Egret in flight caught the light beautifully, and the Hobby in flight by Brendan Doe is a crisp image. But my choice is the neat Little Stint parading along the water’s edge at Grafham by Ian Dawson.
Fieldfare, Wimpole Hall, 29th October 2019
© Robert Skeen
Mike Everett has judged this month:
This is not only a pin-sharp and perfectly composed shot, but also one which brings the bird very much to life - perched up there, alert and watchful.... I can imagine it taking off and calling as it flies away. The perfect October bird, too. Two others tied as runners-up. - in fact both came very, very close to becoming my first choice. Barn Owl pics are ten-a-penny, but Bob Steed’s ghostly apparition is something rather different and rather special. George Walthew’s wonderful Long-eared Owl is a real birder’s photograph - just as you might see one, and proof that it’s not all about that perfect portrait!
Bullfinch, Fowlmere RSPB, 19th November 2019
© David Ball
Roger Swain has made the selection for November:
The obvious choice would have been Derek Benton's brilliantly coloured Kingfisher. I was also very taken by Garth Peacock's striking male Goldeneye which contrasted nicely with the crystal clear background. However, my first choice is David Ball's Bullfinch photo, the subtle colours of the bird being framed beautifully by the foliage. Coincidentally its one of my favourite garden birds, and one that came a very close second the last time I was a selector, so it was good to give it a second chance.
© Gary Thornton, Fowlmere RSPB, 2nd December 2019
John N Wells gives us his choice for December
There were 21 photographs from various locations around the county including some very difficult ‘subjects’ to photograph in their natural habitat, such as the Long-eared Owl by George Walthew and the Pallas’s Warbler by Jon Heath. There was a mixture of interesting poses as well as some inclusions which were both scientific and novel, such as the preening Siberian Chiffchaff by Garth Peacock, the speedy Common Sandpiper by Ian Dawson, to the malformed beak of the Goldcrest in three close-ups, again by Garth.
Also included were atmospheric shots of Starlings at roost by Jon Stephenson and Short-eared Owl by two photographers (two studies, in separate locations), hunting at dusk in fading light. It was not an easy job for my first attempt at judging for the Club.
After much thought and some tough ‘calls’ in deciding a winner, I reduced it to four based on sharpness, composition, exposure and light: Common Sandpiper by Ian Dawson, Siberian Chiffchaff by Garth Peacock, Kestrel by Gary Thornton and Siberian Chiffchaff by Neil Bramwell.
My winning selection was the male Kestrel by Gary Thornton. The warm and rich winter light together with the overall sharpness, background study in an agricultural setting and pin sharp stare of the bird towards the camera won me over.