British Wildlife Photography Awards – The Winners

  • Written by  Geographical
  • Published in Wildlife
Hitchhikers (Lion’s mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata)  St Kilda, off the island of Hirta, Scotland Hitchhikers (Lion’s mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata) St Kilda, off the island of Hirta, Scotland George Stoyle
29 Sep
2016
Stunning images of our nation’s wildlife make up this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards winners

The above image of a Lion’s mane jellyfish (and its passengers) was selected by the judges to be the overall winner of the 2016 British Wildlife Photography Awards. Photographer George Stoyle says of taking the winning shot: ‘I was working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a project to assess the current biological status of major sea caves around some of the UK’s most remote islands. At the end of one of the dives I was swimming back to the boat when I came face to “face” with the largest jellyfish I’ve ever encountered. As I approached cautiously I noticed a number of juvenile fish had taken refuge inside the stinging tentacles.’

Along with the overall winner, there were awards in 14 other categories, including two youth winners and one for the best HD video. The winners, along with a large selection of other entries, are available in the official book of the competition, the British Wildlife Photography Awards Collection 7 (available here) and can be seen on the current tour of the UK at the following venues:

  • Astley Hall, Lancashire – 16 September to 5 November 2016
  • Nature in Art, Gloucestershire – 15 September to 15 November 2016
  • Aberystwyth, Wales – 12 November to 14 January 2017
  • Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton – 21 January to 26 March 2017
  • Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset – 14 January to 26 February 2017
  • Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, Wild Film Festival – 8 March to 15 April 2017
  • Nunnington Hall, Yorkshire – 13 May to 9 July 2017

Contemplation Jamie Mina Scotland PORTRAITS winner

ANIMAL PORTRAITS WINNER: JAMIE MINA

Contemplation (Mountain hare, Lepus timidus)

Tomatin, Inverness, Scotland

‘The idea for this shot was to take the camera off the tripod and get down low to the same level as my subject, placing the camera on a small mound of heather for stability. This allowed me to throw the foreground out of focus and make the hare stand out more. The lone grass stalk was an unintended bonus and I think adds further interest to the composition. Conditions were typical for spring in the Highlands: wet and very windy. My subject was very tolerant of my approach and showed no sign of distress as I crawled on my back, camera on chest, to my viewpoint. I spent around 20 minutes with him before leaving him as I found him, contemplating that last piece of grass.’

Back Garden Babies Jacqueline Spindley Nottinghamshire BEHAVIOUR winner

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR WINNER: JACQUELINE SPINDLEY

Back Garden Babies (Garden spider, Araneus diadematus)

Nottinghamshire, England

‘I had stopped in on this particular day due to my husband’s health, so I ventured into the garden in search of photographic inspiration. Under our BBQ I spotted a web with a tight moving ball in it and when the wind blew, baby spiders scattered in all directions. The light shone perfectly on the blue gas bottle and illuminated the spiders. Being careful not to disturb the web, I sat manually focusing inches away, enjoying nature.’

The Supermarket Starling Geoff Trevarthen Conrwall URBAN winner

URBAN WILDLIFE WINNER: GEOFF TREVARTHEN

The Supermarket Starling (Starling, Sturnus vulgaris)

Bude, Cornwall, England

‘I was walking past a local supermarket when I heard a bird singing loudly. I found that the beautiful singing was coming from a starling, which was standing on the handle of a supermarket trolley. I started taking photographs, slowly getting closer each time, until I was able to capture a decent shot of the bird in mid-song before it flew off. It taught me to listen for opportunities, as well as look for them.’

Emergence Stephen Darlington Oxfordshire HIDDEN BRITAIN winner

HIDDEN BRITAIN WINNER: STEPHEN DARLINGTON

Emergence (Common clubtail, Gomphus vulgatissimus)

Goring, Oxfordshire, England

‘Dragonflies spend the majority of their life underwater; aquatic killing machines that after one-to-five years emerge from the water and in a few hours transform into the flying insects you see around ponds and rivers. Here I have captured the moment the dragonfly has got its thorax free, before pulling its abdomen from the empty larval case (called the exuvia). The process always reminds me of the chest-bursting scene in Alien.’

Twisted Green Steve Palmer Derbyshire WILD WOODS winner

WILD WOODS WINNER: STEVE PALMER

Twisted Green (Pedunculate oak, Quercus robur)

Padley Gorge, Grindleford, Derbyshire, England

‘On a winter walk up Padley Gorge I came across these trees growing on the steep side of the gully and was intrigued by their shape and colour. Covered in moss and twisted in form, they almost mirrored each other. The sun had not fully reached into the deep-sided valley and a soft, beautiful light illuminated these twisted green trees reaching for the sky.’

Living Space Charles Everitt East Lothian HABITAT winner

HABITAT WINNER: CHARLES EVERITT

Living Space (Northern gannet, Morus bassanus)

Bass Rock, East Lothian, Scotland

‘The uninhabited Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth is the world’s largest northern gannet colony and home to over 150,000 birds. Free from human disturbance, every free space is occupied by nesting pairs providing safety in numbers. The sheer volume of birds is staggering, especially when given perspective by the ruined chapel. Taken from the mainland, soft evening light complemented the view that was part of a wider project to photograph East Lothian’s coast.’

Bird Seed David Maitland Norfolk BOTANICAL winner

BOTANICAL WINNER: DAVID MAITLAND

Bird Seed (Silver birch, Betula pendula; Garden spider web, Araneus diadematus)

Feltwell, Norfolk, England

‘The birds and the seeds. A spider’s web hung beneath a silver birch on a windy day in autumn. The wind-blown seeds of the silver birch are trapped on the almost invisible sticky threads of the web. The wind-dispersed seeds each have a pair of translucent wings and are produced on the birch seed cone between sterile protective bracts – the beautiful bird-shaped “seeds” in the picture.’

Tadpoles Jeannette Sakel Bristol CLOSE TO NATURE winner

CLOSE TO NATURE WINNER: JEANETTE SAKEL

Tadpoles (Common frog, Rana temporaria)

Frenchay Campus, UWE Bristol, England

‘I took my lunch break at the little wildlife pond behind my building at work. There I noticed a myriad of tadpoles wriggling about, snuggling close together. I was fascinated by their colours and patterns, and the shapes they were forming as a whole. I had to underexpose the image slightly to capture their fast movement while leaning over the pond with an inch to spare above the waterline.’

Free Bird Chaitanya Deshpande London BLACK AND WHITE winner

BRITISH NATURE IN BLACK AND WHITE WINNER: CHAITANYA DESHPANDE

Free Bird (Raven, Corvus corax)

London, England

‘On a handful of occasions every year London is engulfed in a thick fog that gives the cityscape a mysterious, mythical look. On this particular occasion, looking up at this skyscraper, I watched as birds kept flying about at the height of the fog, as if to show they would not be beaten by building or fog. The juxtaposition of bird and building was beautifully stark. I just had to wait for the right moment.’

BRITISH SEASONS WINNER: ROBERT E FULLER

(Common weasel, Mustela nivalis)

Thixendale, North Yorkshire, England

‘When I spotted a weasel in my garden I seized the opportunity to watch this little-observed lithe mammal up close. While weasels are common, they are so small, fast and elusive that there are barely any studies of their behaviour. I left food out in specially designed boxes for the minute female predator. Once she had become a reliable visitor, I developed my back garden as a sort of ‘weasel town’. I put 12 surveillance cameras at strategic points, installed alarmed motion sensors, a nesting chamber where she later raised her kits, drystone walls, log piles, root piles, clambering branches and even a mini-pond. These were linked to TV screens in my house so that I could track her every move, following her story from the moment she mated to the birth of her kits. It was a real privilege to get an insight into the secret world of a family of weasels. These photographs tell the story of this tiny family through the seasons.’

DOCUMENTARY SERIES WINNER: NICK UPTON

Harvest Mice (Harvest mouse, Micromys minutus)

Moulton College, Northamptonshire, England

‘Harvest mice have been reintroduced to many UK sites in recent years to stem the decline caused by modern farming methods, but their above-ground lifestyle and tiny size makes it hard to assess their survival and spread using traditional mammal traps. I photographed some ingenious new methods devised at Moulton College to track released mice, capturing technological and canine sensing innovations and the tiny, golden mice using their prehensile tails to clamber around meadow plants.’

HDVIDEO

WILDLIFE IN HD VIDEO WINNER: LIAM MARSH

Spring on the River (Dipper, Cinclus cinclus)

Otterhead Estate, Blackdown Hills, Somerset, England

‘I started watching this dipper pair back in February. At first I was trying to photograph what I thought was just one dipper that went very quickly from being an occasional visitor to the river to going nearly every day for about two months. Early on I realised that still photography was not paying off. I was seeing some great behaviour – the birds courting and collecting nesting material – but it just wasn’t coming across in the stills. I decided I would make the switch to film and it was my intention from the beginning to enter it into BWPA. Despite the discomfort of lying on the cold riverbed each morning I enjoyed every second I spent watching the dippers. My biggest disappointment with the whole project was missing the fledglings leave the nest. Having spent weeks watching and waiting, I missed a couple of days due to illness. When I returned to the river I found the nest site disturbed and the birds had already left.’

Kung Fu Puffin Becky Bunce age 18 Reading 12 18 YEARS OLD winner

WINNER OF THE 12–18 YEARS CATEGORY: REBECCA BUNCE (AGE 18)

Kung Fu Puffin (Atlantic puffin, Fratercula artica)

Skomer Island, Wales

‘Taken on Skomer during a two-day stay on the island with my father. This photo highlights the more aggressive behavioural patterns of puffins that, up until the moment of capturing this image, I had not seen before.’

Cygnet with Swan Seren Waite age 10 London YOUTH UNDER 12 winner

WINNER OF THE UNDER-12 CATEGORY: SEREN WAITE (AGE 10)

Cygnet with Swan (Mute swan, Cygnus olor)

Millwall Docks, London, England

‘For several weeks I had been watching this family of swans, first waiting for the eggs to hatch, then following the cygnets as they grew up. They would often hitch a ride on their parents’ backs, snuggling up beneath warm feathers.’

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