The British Wildlife Photography Awards: The stories behind the winning entries
The wealth and diversity of Britain’s natural history is cause for celebration, as the British Wildlife Photography Awards testifies. We bring you a selection of this year’s winning entries
The British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) was established in 2009 and has two main aims: to acknowledge the huge talents of photographers practising in Britain, and to highlight the wealth and diversity of our natural history.
Our densely populated island has an impressive range of habitats, from moorland and forests to hedgerows and limestone pavements. These environments support a rich variety of wildlife, from hares and puffins to badgers and foxes. Much of this wildlife is accessible to us, as long as we are prepared to show respect for the animals we encounter.
This year a picture of a pied wagtail roosting at Heathrow airport won Daniel Trim the overall title, while Peter Cairns was first in the Documentary Series category with his series showing red squirrels being relocated to forests in the Scottish Highlands, where they have been absent for decades.
Take a look below for our gallery of some of the winning entries in the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2017.
Daniel Trim – Heathrow Roostings
Overall British Wildlife Photography Awards Winner & Urban Wildlife Category Winner
In winter, pied wagtails roost communally in urban areas, both for protection and for the warmth given off by buildings and lights. This extra degree or two can make the difference between life and death in harsh weather. Here, a single individual out of hundreds is silhouetted by the lights of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
Matthew Roseveare – The Golden Hour Hunt
Category Winner – 12-18 Years
As the light began to fade a short-eared owl emerged to hunt for prey above the marshes at Farlington, Hampshire. These birds are commonly seen hunting during the day. Sadly they are of European conservation concern and therefore are an Amber List species. Standing on the sea wall I was amazed when the owl began to fly towards me – it is a moment I will never forget.
Caron Steele – Emergence
Coast and Marine – Category Winner
Having seen many diving gannet photographs, I wanted to try to capture something a bit different. I watched the birds fishing and was fascinated by the way the gannets would emerge from nowhere to steal another bird’s prey. I was keen to capture the moment just before they broke the surface, while they were still in ‘stealth mode’. A combination of bright sunshine and cloud made setting the exposure difficult, but the result has some lovely patterns on the water.
Andrew Parkinson – Crepuscular Contentment
Animal Behaviour – Category Winner
In 15 years of working with badgers I have never seen one sit out in the open to scratch. I was concealed by a tree and downwind so it was especially nice that the badger had his back to me, demonstrating how inconspicuous and inconsequential my presence was.
Alex Hyde – Green Hydras
Hidden Britain Category Winner
The diversity of life in my small garden pond never ceases to amaze me, but many of the most fascinating subjects require high magnification to be appreciated. Measuring only a few millimetres in length, these green hydras were dangling from the underside of a lily pad. They capture prey with stinging tentacles and when disturbed they quickly retract into a small, compact green blob that is easily overlooked.
Melvin Redeker – Natural Beauty
Animal Portraits – Category Winner
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, what do these eyes tell you? Looking for a different perspective for a gannet portrait, I positioned myself on top of the cliffs on the Isle of Noss in the Shetland Islands. Looking straight down I had an intimate view of a group of gannets sitting on a higher ledge. I talked to them and one gannet looked up, revealing its rounded head, symmetry and beautiful blue eyes against its white feathers.
Francis Taylor – A Magical Morning
Wild Woods – Category Winner
Thick fog drifted through the eerie silver birches at Bolehill Quarry in the Peak District National Park, creating a magical morning of atmospheric light.
Ben Hall – Wren on Frost- Encrusted Fern
Habitat – Category Winner
Following a cold, clear night I visited local woodland to photograph deer. The temperature had dropped well below freezing during the night and on arrival frost clung to the trees and foliage, completely transforming the landscape. A heavy mist hung in the air, making the deer difficult to spot. After some time I noticed a wren flitting around in the frost-encrusted ferns. I set up my tripod and waited, following the bird with my lens as it moved. Eventually, it alighted on top of a fern close by and I inched my way back in an attempt to show the wren in its environment.
Steve Palmer – Reeds
Botanical Britain – Category Winner
I’d always been fascinated by the almost abstract patterns and reflections of these common reeds, but the conditions had never been perfect, despite numerous visits. However, on this morning the water was still and the light was soft and I was able to capture the image I was after.
Paula Cooper – Web of Life
British Nature in Black and White – Category Winner
I took this on a very misty day in Thetford Forest. It was too misty to photograph the trees so I tried looking for something closer up; I spotted this little snail making its way up a plant stem. I was lucky that at the moment I took this image the snail looked up towards the spider web.
Oliver Teasdale – Puffin in a Hole
Under 12 Years – Category Winner
I took this photo while I was visiting Skokholm with my dad. We were hoping to see and photograph puffins, and although there weren’t many, I was lucky enough to be sat by a side window of one of the hides when this little puffin poked its head out of a burrow. This is my favourite shot from the sequence as the puffin is hidden by the sea campion growing at the entrance to the burrow.
Winning and commended entries will be showcased in a touring exhibition and appear in the book British Wildlife Photography Awards 8. Published by ammonite Press, £25. ISBN 978-1-78145- 319-3. Available online and from all good bookshops. To find out more, visit www.bwpawards.org.