© Garth Peacock, Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB, 26th February 2020.
This month, Nigel Sprowell chose the Picture of the Month.
“Considering the appalling weather in February, photographers need to be applauded for producing some excellent images which made it very hard to single out the best . There were some very fine photos of Greater White-fronted geese, especially from Roger Orbell and Matthew Mellor and I particularly liked Roger Cresswell’s detailed Water Rail. James Hanlon’s excellent portrait of a female Kestrel nearly took my vote, but after much deliberation, the nicely composed , beautifully detailed and pin sharp image of a female Stonechat by Garth Peacock won the day.”
© George Walthew, Site Undisclosed, 21st March 2020
This month, David Ball chose the Picture of the month.
"A long shortlist included Neil Bramwell’s beautifully captured Barn Owl in flight (6th March), Garth Peacock’s immaculate Buzzard portrait, James Hanlon’s engaging Blue Tits and the pleasing symmetry of Simon Stirrup’s flying Whooper Swan formation. After much deliberation, however, I decided that, for me, the most memorable image was George Walthew’s Long-eared Owl. It’s an achievement in itself to create a photo opportunity with this bird, but the pin-sharp and optimally lit and exposed image also do full justice to its features and characteristic surprised expression, making a nice connection between viewer and subject".
© Garth Peacock, Apr 22nd.
Vince Lea presents his case for his choice of this month's bird:
I decided we needed something to offer a bit of amusement in these dark times. David Ball started the ball rolling (sorry!) with an April Fool's Day Snowy Owl, but Colin Brown's Blackbird doing a dancing and juggling act had a bit more photographic merit. However, Garth Peacock's series of flight shots of Starlings shows what can be done with a good set up in your own garden, and the image with one appearing to be balanced on the head of another as they come down to land is my selection for photo of the month. There is a stunning array of other images to admire for anyone still confined to home, including an impressive array of spring migrants, with White-tailed Eagle, Hoopoe, Dotterel and some lovely passage gulls and terns to admire, including a very useful image of Arctic Tern by Matt Mellor showing the key identification features. Regular species were also the subject for several superb studies, ranging from Grey Wagtails and Grasshopper Warblers to Red-legged Partridge. Christoph Zockler's photo of a hybrid Aythya duck and Steve Cooper's studies of Pied Wagtails are also well worth a look.
© Nigel Sprowell 7th May
Louise Bacon chose May's bird. "There were lots of great action shots in the May gallery, and I am a fan of good bird action photos. I am a bit bored of birds in flight or birds on water, though, so my photo of the month selection almost automatically excluded those. Although I did waver over a runner-up spot for a Common Tern pair over water in early morning light by Garth Peacock, I ended up deciding between photos of three resident species. Narrowing it to three photos was fairly easy (but a sneaky Sedge Warbler trying to steal a spider from a web was also an excellent photo), I had a photo of a Little Owl in amongst the branches of an Ash tree by Ed Gill... the bird is only a small part of the picture here, and simply highlights the unobtrusive nature of our smallest owl. Abhishek Nag's Dunnock on May 18th was, I thought, a photo which shows the very intricate plumage of a very common and overlooked bird which we all see on a very regular basis.
However, my photo of the month is Nigel Sprowell's Long-tailed Tit. The curved tail shows this is probably the female, recently off the nest taking a break from incubating duties... the confines of the ball of feathers, web and moss which is the nest means that the tail gets bent round on the female whilst she spends much of the day on her eggs. The great composition against a completely plain background shows off the colours and pattern of a common bird nicely, as well as almost highlighting the fatigue and boredom (?) of the incubation period."
© Simon Stirrup 17 June
Andrew Dobson chose June's photo. "There are many photos to admire in June’s photo gallery. The paparazzi were out in full force to record the successful peregrine breeding and produced some superb images. Perching birds are usually easier to compose and capture and I was very tempted to pick the partially obscured Tawny Owl – a chance occurrence for Peter Lawrence in his back garden.
What really impresses me are the photographers who not only capture birds in flight but with great detail. Roger Cresswell’s Oystercatcher with earthworm is terrific and Colin Brown’s Swift delightful, but my choice is Simon Stirrup’s female Cuckoo. Never easy to photograph in flight, his photo is taken in gorgeous light showing off the plumage to best effect. It is as if the bird looked at the camera and tipped its wing to you as it flew past."