Pictures of the Month 2021

From this month on, there is a slight change to the selection procedure. In line with the procedure used for the Picture of the Year, a small committee will agree a short-list of pictures, based on criteria of sharpness/focus, composition, light/exposure, and rarity. From this selection which is presented to the person choosing the Picture of the Month, one winner will be chosen.

January

Kingfisher © Roger Cresswell, Cambridge, 25th January

Mike Foley chose Picture of the Month for January: "With so many wonderful photographs to look at, I am rather relieved that I have had technical help to reduce the number to ten. Even so, it has been a challenge. Not being a photographer I am in awe at the patience and expertise that is often needed to get a really good photo. To me, a particularly striking bird is the Jonathan Stephenson's Carrion Crow, in a snow scene made bleaker by having such bedraggled plumage. Garth Peacock's Cattle Egret was high up the list as a potential bird of the month, as was Mike Weedon's Iceland Gull, but after a lot of thought my choice for Picture of the Month has to be Roger Cresswell's Kingfisher. Roger has thoughtfully caused a deliberate blurring of the background which focuses the eye fully on the bird, enhancing the excellent artistic composition."

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February

Jackdaw © Jonathan Stephenson, St. Ives, 23rd February 2021

Sue Greenway chose this month's picture. She says, thank you for giving me the opportunity to choose a picture of the month. I have been informed that February can be a difficult month to photograph birds due to the quality of light. I am not a photographer so I am relieved that I only have 10 fantastic photos to choose from. My husband ( who is a photographer) helpfully suggested some subcategories to score each photo on. This still made it difficult to choose but in the end, the one photo that made me smile and keep coming back to was Jonathan Stephenson's Jackdaw. In this photo, I could really feel the character of the bird and the sense of its movement as it shook the water from itself.

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March

White-tailed Eagle © Ian Dawson, Grafham Water, 6th March 2021

Duncan Mackay made this month's selection:

"I enjoyed several of this month's images. Some are excellent compositions, others are technically almost perfect... but combining both photographic criteria with what the image tells you about the bird and its behaviour, I think the series of White-tailed Eagle photos by Ian Dawson takes some beating. The mobbing gull for scale, together with the dramatic bending of the feathers really gives the photograph a lot of feeling which makes this image very arresting. Number 5 is my choice".

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April

Bearded Tit © Neil Bramwell, Ouse Fen RSPB, 22nd April 2021

Tim Watling has made the April selection: "A difficult decision between two pictures and I have chosen this Bearded Tit. It is centrally positioned in the frame, all in focus and brightly lit. The plumage detail is well defined with bright white-looking specs on the chest, the wing colours are all picked out and the long tail is showing to two points. The bird’s size is shown by the scale against the reed background. What a lovely bird."

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May

Long-tailed Tit © Jonathan Heath, 16 May 2021, Cambridge Research Park,

Louise Bacon writes: due to an administrative glitch, the POTM shortlist only appeared on May 25th, and no other volunteer came through speedily to make a selection, so the Chair went for the easiest option which was to dump it on the other occupant of the house!

It was relatively easy to get to my top three picks from the 10 that I was asked to select from, although I very nearly stopped at the first picture, which happens to be the one I went for... however, there were two excellent photos which did make the choice a little harder. Ian Dawson's Pied Flycatcher just shows how beautiful a black and white bird can be, and Richard Patient's Channel Wagtail (pic 2) was also an excellent composition clearly showing the features key to identification of this hybrid. In the end, Jon Heath's Long-tailed Tits won it. Activity, a well-composed picture and cute fledglings usually win it for me any time...

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June

Peregrine Falcon © Simon Stirrup, Ely Cathedral, 25 June 2021,

Alan Fersht has selected the June winner:

"In my opinion, the first of a series of Peregrine shots taken by Simon Stirrup on the 25th June is outstanding and deserves to win. Lots of action, interesting, nicely sharp, good lighting and nicely composed."

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July

Tawny Owl © Nigel Sprowell, undisclosed site, 26 July 2021

Tracey Graves chose this month's picture.

“As a new member, I was honoured to be asked to judge this month’s photos. By coincidence, I had my first ever Tawny Owl sighting in July, with two chicks appearing in my garden, but my shot was nowhere near the quality of Nigel’s adult owl. Presumably it is relatively used to humans, to have been able to get so close, but any night-time photography is tricky. Well done.”

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August

Ringed Plover © Pat Doody, Borrow Pit Brampton, 1 Aug 2021

James Hanlon chose this month's picture.

"Some lovely pics to look through for the month of August, with fledged juveniles, fluffy chicks, passage waders and active singers all featuring in the mix. Choosing a favourite is never easy as there are many quality photos that didn't even make the short-list. Of those that I enjoyed the Cuckoo shots from both Howard Slatter and Roger Cresswell, good images of a shy species. Jonathan Stephenson's Kingfisher with raised wings shows a lovely pose; Ian Dale's Sand Martin is nicely captured though the Coot spoils the backdrop a little. But it was Pat Doody's action shot of a cringing Ringed Plover getting dive-bombed by a territorial Little Ringed Plover that made my final choice with a blend of action and species comparison".

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September

Black Tern © Garth Peacock, Dernford Reservoir, 3 September 2021

Pam Peacock selected this month's picture. "My eye was immediately caught with Charlie Kitchin’s Hoopoe, a stunning bird on a sunny day. Ed Gill captured the piercing stare of a Sparrowhawk perched with clenched talon in a tree illuminated with dappled sunlight but it was the crisp flight shot of Garth Peacock’s juvenile Black Tern that is my choice for this month".

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