Pictures of the Month 2023


Starling © Colin Brown, Cottenham, 22 January 2023

Melvyn & Brenda Smith have chosen January's Picture of the Month:

“Of all the lovely photos,  Brenda and I have agreed on the Starling by Colin Brown. Not only is it a very good photo, in our minds it also encapsulates so clearly the boisterous attitude of this bird, perched “cock-a-hoop” on its perch, proclaiming to all listening “I am here, look at me, take notice!”

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Little Grebe © Roger Cresswell, Wicken Fen, 20 February 2023

George Walthew has made the selection for the February Photo of the Month:

"My choice for February's bird of the month has to be Roger Cresswell's Little Grebe with a predated newt in its beak. A beautifully sharp picture capturing even the newt in detail. I must admit I also liked Tracy Graves Moorhen with its mirror- image reflected in the still water with even the reflection nicely sharp."

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Great White Egret © Caroline Baker, Fowlmere RSPB, 2 March 2023

Rachel Lennard has made the selection for the March Photo of the Month:

A great selection of photos and each had something that would make it deserving of photo of the month. However, after some deliberation I selected the Great White Egret photo by Caroline Baker. This photo elegantly captures the bird in flight and is perfectly in focus, but what really stood out is the use of light. The angle of the bird catches the sun, illuminating it beautifully against the blurred muted background. Well done Caroline – a fabulous shot.

 I also particularly liked the quartet of Whooper Swans. The composition is brilliant but the lighting of Caroline’s photo just edged it.

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Lapwing © Tracey Graves, Ouse Fen RSPB, 18 April 2023

Mike Foley has chosen the Photo of the Month for April: 

Of the many excellent pictures to pick from, I liked George Walthew's Bittern, partially hidden in reeds with its wings slightly outstretched.   Andy Merryweather's Mandarin drake interacting with a pair of Mallard was full of interest, technically good, the Mandarin seemingly displaying with full neck-stretch to the alert female while the Mallard drake seems distracted.  However, the picture I am choosing for April is the Lapwing by Tracey Graves, taken at Ouse Fen RSPB.  In flight, in breeding plumage and with fully splayed primaries the full iridescent coloration of the bird has been captured well using sunlight to full effect.  With a feeling of dynamism invoked by its pose, the picture conjures up the swooping flight of a bird over its nesting territory.

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Hobby © Simpon Stirrup, Wicken Fen, 16 May 2023

Jon Heath chose May's Photo of the Month:

“May often brings one of the best selections of bird photographs in Cambridgeshire. The summer visitors have now arrived in good numbers, breeding birds are busy feeding their young and there can be wonderful light in the mornings and evenings. Photographs that caught my eye this month included James Hanlon’s squabbling Heron sequence, Cookie Shorten’s ‘interesting’ Gadwall shot and Simon Stirrup’s displaying Snipe (showing the spread outer tail-feathers which make the drumming sound). My pick of the month is Simon Stirrup’s Hobby; part of a sequence showing the bird’s acrobatics to expertly pick off Mayflies above Wicken Fen, and well caught by Simon.”

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Sand Martin © Cookie Shorten, Dernford Reservoir, 20 June 2023

Steve Cutting chose June's Photo of the Month 

"I liked Nigel Sprowell’s Tawny Owls, especially the one looking downwards. It looked more like it was prepared for action. The others were technically perfect but looked a bit staged. Simon Stirrup’s Night Herons were impressive. Wow! Getting not one but three Night Herons in shot, and in flight. I preferred the second image, where the wings of all three birds are in different positions. Nice evening light, I presume. I love the first image of Cookie Shorten’s Sand Martin, with the bird on the left, and the shingle. It’s just more appealing to show the bird in its environment, plus looking cute, and in sharp focus. There are some really first-rate images here, but if I have to choose one, it’s the Sand Martin. It’s the one I'd be most pleased to have taken. It's clear, in focus, and the off-centre bird on the shingle makes for a picture you can keep coming back to. Lovely.

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Sandwich Tern © Matthew Mellor, Grafham Water, 25 July 2023

Christoph Zockler chose July's Picture of the Month

"July is peak breeding time and young birds and families are found everywhere. Steve Cooper’s astounding eleven Tufted Duck chicks depicts the exuberance of reproduction very nicely. Garth Peacock’s Peregrine Falcon not only shows the caring parent bringing food but also an intensity captured in an extraordinary close-up. The upside-down shot of Colin Brown’s Swift is an amazing feat.

Yet my choice is the Sandwich Tern by Matt Mellor. Maybe I am biased, strongly favouring terns. But this photo is focussed on every feather, the yellow-tipped bill is still clearly seen, even on the white background of the inner wing. Head and bill are replicated as a shadow on the wing. The agility of this seabird, uncommon in Cambridgeshire, is captured in this brilliant moment. I could almost hear the shrieking calls in my head!"

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House Sparrow © Chris Thompson, Fentstanton, 12 August 20232

Stu Butchart chose this month's picture:  "There are several reasons why an image can jump out as being particularly noteworthy: beautiful composition, attractive lighting, capturing a split-second moment, illustrating an interesting behaviour or a simply a creative take on a familiar sight. But Chris Thompson’s House Sparrow leapt out at me because the plumage is so striking. We are all used to seeing birds with aberrant plumages, and partial albinism  - when an individual has some or many white feathers – is quite common. But it is rare to see a pure albino, complete with pink eye and bare parts. Chris captured this unusual individual in a very pleasing and eye-catching image. I also enjoyed Cookie Shorten’s images of Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage and a calling Wood Sandpiper: passage waders are always pleasing!

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Ringed Plover © Cookie Shorten, Dernford Reservoir, 14th September 2023

Richard Allison chose September's Picture of the Month

"An excellent selection of photos to look at this month, many of which involved classic autumn migrants through the county, as well as some scarce resident species.  I particularly liked Steve Cooper’s Raven photos – how times have changed in the county allowing great views of a once mega-rare Cambs bird!  However, the wader photos stood out for me, with Greenshank and Little Stint being well represented by Steve Cooper’s and Roger Hardie’s submissions.  My favourite though, and the September winner is Cookie Shorten’s photo of a wing-stretching Ringed Plover. Nicely in focus and well framed – a very nice photo, evoking good memories of this year’s wader passage through Dernford!"

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Mallard © Tracey Graves, Milton GP, 11 October 2023

Peter Bircham chose October's Picture of the Month:

"While I am not a gull person I think the photos this month are very good and helpful to people who find gull identification more difficult.  Joanna Kubica's Whooper Swans are so evocative of the arrival of winter and no birder can surely tire of photos of owls, any owls, and Neil Bramwell is an expert at finding and photographing them. But for me the photo of the month has to be Tracey Graves' female Mallard bathing. A dull bird 'tis true, but the showering droplets of water are frozen by the photo in a moment the human eye would not quite capture and the whole image is simple but unusual.

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Great Northern Diver ©  Mike Weedon, Thorpe Meadows, 19 November 2023

Joe Parnham has chosen the Picture of the Month for November.


I have chosen Mike Weedon’s excellent shots of a Great Northern Diver. Stunning in summer plumage, you would be forgiven for dismissing winter-plumage divers (and indeed juveniles) as drab in comparison to when in their breeding finery. But divers, mostly Great Northern, do regularly inhabit inland bodies of water in winter allowing appreciation of the finer aspects of their winter plumage, as Mike captures here.   Joanna Hobson’s Park Starlings and Alan Fersht’s Short-eared Owl both coming in a close joint second.

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Blackcap © Steve Cooper, Melbourn, 23 December 2023

Ian Burfield has chosen the Picture of the Month for December.


"When asked to select this month's image, I feared the shortlist might consist entirely of Waxwings. Sure enough, there were some sublime shots of this photogenic but erratic visitor, with those by Garth Peacock and Ian Dale standing out. I also enjoyed Neil Bramwell's Short-eared Owl and Colin Brown's Stonechat, both of which were very evocative, while Nigel Sprowell’s head-scratching Goosander made me smile. But overall my favourite photo was Steve Cooper's unusual shot of a male and female Blackcap enjoying a water bath in his garden – what a great Christmas present!"  

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