Cambridgeshire Bird Club
     

Pictures of the Month for 2016

Kestrel and Short-eared Owl

Picture of the month for January
Short-eared Owl, Burwell Fen
20th January 2016 ©Geoff Harries
Chris Brown has made this month's selection.

"For me, January’s photos demonstrated a diversity of birdlife and of approaches to bird photography. I loved the portrait shots of Slavonian Grebe and female Goldeneye with beads of water on their plumage, and Roger Cresswell’s pin sharp Drake Pintail (#2) at Wicken. The portraits of the two Serins at Fen Drayton were also strong candidates. Again this month there were instructive shots of gulls, inviting us to look more closely at this family; James Hanlon’s excellent comparative shot of a Yellow-legged and a Caspian Gull together stood out amongst these. But for the sheer surprise element, I have to go for Geoff Harries’ series of a Kestrel robbing a Short Eared Owl of its prey; the second shot of 3 is little short of breath-taking, with the subjects caught against the light and in dramatic action – a rare moment. "

Grey Wagtail

Picture of the month for March
Grey Wagtail, Fowlmere RSPB
14th March 2016 ©Gary Thornton
Andy Merryweather has made this month's selection.

"Capturing the alertness and everyday dynamism of birds can be hard to achieve, and this month a particularly rich variety of marvellous ‘action images’ caught my eye. One can almost feel the concentration and effort being expended by Doug Radford’s Great Black-backed Gull, just to get into the air! And of the many wonderful images of Short-eared Owl from Colin Brown, Geoff Harris and James Hanlon, the first image taken by Colin at Fen Drayton (25th March) so beautifully captures the intense focus of the bird, momentarily stalling, feet down, ready for the drop. Similarly, I particularly appreciated the dynamics of the highly active 'courting' Buzzards sequence (Colin Brown), both the Meadow Pipit (Jonathan Heath) and Robin (Colin Brown) dramatically caught in the act of singing, as well as the fabulous clarity of the Dartford Warbler in flight (James Hanlon). Finally though, my choice for March is Gary Thornton’s wonderfully crisp image of a Grey Wagtail feeding, which for me so brilliantly captures a small moment in the life of this highly mobile and notorious active little bird. "

Reed Warbler

Picture of the month for May
Reed Warbler, Fowlmere RSPB
18th May 2016 ©Gary Thornton
Steve Mumford has made this month's selection.

"As a new member I am honoured and thrilled to be asked to pick my favourite photo from the May 2016 blogspot photo's. I must say that all the entries are sensational and it is very difficult to pick a favourite from so many wonderful shots. I loved the Great Crested Grebe at Fen Drayton on 30th May by Colin Brown, superb photo, the Grey Partridge from Wicken Fen on 23rd May by Brendan Doe was a very interesting image and very close to my heart, the Coot at Fowlmere RSPB on 7th May by Malcolm Housden was an amazing piece of work ... BUT my favourite photo for May 2106 goes to Gary Thornton for his image of a Reed Warbler at Fowlmere RSPB on 18th May ... in my eye a superb image which I have tried to capture a 1,000 times with no success ! Well done to all images for May 2016, sensational stuff ... a credit to your dedication and patience.
Thank you so much, a lovely surprise and a VERY DIFFICULT choice ... all superb photos' "
Whinchat

Picture of the month for September
Whinchat, Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB
5th September 2016 ©Garth Peacock
Ben Phalan has made this month's selection.

"There are some great autumnal moments captured in September’s photos, including Colin Brown’s Jay off to stash its acorn, and an array of passage waders. Other photos that particularly caught my eye included James Hanlon’s lovely Grey Heron composition, Neil Bramwell’s Bearded Tit splayed between two reedmace stems, Ian Dawson’s crisp shot of a Common Scoter with its interesting double reflection, and Ian Harris’s Kingfisher. My pick for the month is Garth Peacock’s superb portrait of a Whinchat. Garth has captured an outstanding image of this declining species, its subtle tones of buff and brown matching the straw bale it’s perched on. We now know that not only are Whinchats often site-faithful in their breeding grounds in Europe, but many return to the same wintering territories in Africa as well, year after year. The mind boggles at the ability of these little birds to find their way with such precision across sea and desert from one "home" to another."
Wren

Picture of the month for November
Wren, Grafham Water
4th November 2016 ©Phil Smith
Colin Kirtland has made this month's selection.

"Selecting this month's photo was difficult. The quality of modern cameras and lenses and the skill of the photographers result in many outstanding images and I was also faced with the problem of which criteria to use when judging. Should I opt for an action shot that illustrates behaviour or a near perfect portrait? Action is captured brilliantly in Garth Peacock's Kestrel with bill open and talons extended, attempting to steal prey from a Short-eared Owl, while distinctive behaviour is well depicted in Neil Bramwell's Bittern pointing skyward, not intent on concealment but with neck feathers erect in threat posture, maybe having spied a Marsh Harrier overhead. The bright conditions later in the month obviously encouraged many to try their luck at flight shots, always a challenging task, resulting in some fine Short-eared Owl images, particularly Neil Bramwell's which illustrates beautifully both the upper and underwing patterns. Colin Brown's fast-flying Wigeon and the Peregrine of Roger Cresswell also deserve mention. Despite the obvious merits of all these, I finally chose Phil Smith's Wren, perched on a rock at Grafham. We can easily yield to the appeal of the rare or spectacular but our common and familiar birds are no less worthy of attention. Small and always active, Wrens are never an easy target but this sharp image, unobscured by any foliage or shadow and in typical posture captures the charm of this widespread but often overlooked bird.."

 

Moorhen

Picture of the month for February
Moorhen, Fowlmere RSPB
18th February 2016 ©Lily Wilson (aged 9)
Jake Allsop has made this month's selection.

"So many criteria to apply to so many fine photographs! Capturing the essence of a common bird, Lily Wilson's Moorhen and Colin Brown's Robin take some beating. For composition, Colin Brown's standing Oystercatchers vies with Neil Bramwell's Mistle Thrush in a tangle of twigs. Capturing context is good: look at Neil Bramwell's Siskins on Alder or Colin Brown's cute Wren peeping from nettles. Stories are told by Andrew Gardener's male Sparrowhawk, with feathers puffed out and taking a breather; Pat Doody's extraordinary series of a Cormorant struggling with a huge fish, and Geoff Harries' SEOs. There are some tasty shots of the vagrant Dartford Warbler. In the end I was torn between Neil Bramwell's Bitterns, which combines portrait, context and action; and Lily Wilson's Moorhen, which is the kind of photograph I wish I had taken: the bird, the context, the composition, the clarity. My final choice for February is Lily Wilson's Moorhen, taken at Fowlmere. "

Wren

Picture of the month for April
Wren, Fen Drayton Lakes
28th April 2016 ©Colin Brown
Peter Bircham has made this month's selection.

"This month's selection is Colin Brown's Wren, taken at Fen Drayton Lakes on April 28th. It was chosen by Peter Bircham for the latest E-Bulletin, to highlight the many excellent shots of small birds taken during the month. There are similarly stunning images of Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps, Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart and Greenfinch among others, showcasing the skills of our photographers and the power of the latest lenses and digital cameras. ."
Little Owl

Picture of the month for June
Little Owl, Site undisclosed
27th June 2016 ©Gary Thornton
Chris Quy has made this month's selection.

"As usual, all the photographs in the gallery are of a very high standard. The gruesome Little Owl with dead Magpie, the Little Grebe feeding its chick, close-ups of Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Nightingale, Dunnock and Turtle Dove (among others of equal quality), but Gary Thornton’s shots of a Little Owl with a worm really caught my eye and after some thought I had to give it to the second of them, showing the results of its efforts. "

Corn Bunting

Picture of the month for July
Corn Bunting, Folwmere
17th July 2016 ©Steve Cooper
Kevin Hand has made this month's selection.

"A very difficult and in the end personal choice, and I needed a second opinion, so thanks, Kate Saxton! Amongst many contenders Geoff Harries’ Marsh Harrier with food and  Colin Brown’s Great White Egret in flight were both excellent, but  I have gone for Steve Cooper’s Corn Bunting, as it shows how beautiful close-ups can change our image of an iconic Cambridgeshire bird."

Bittern

Picture of the month for August
Bittern, Wicken Fen
12th August 2016 ©Roger Cresswell
Howard Slatter has made this month's selection.

"Not an easy job choosing from an array of such impressive photos. At first sight my attention was particularly taken by Colin Brown’s King’s College House Martins and flycatching Starling, Phil Smith’s waders at Grafham and Paxton Kingfisher, James Hanlon’s powering Great Crested Grebe, and Roger Cresswell’s Spotted Flycatchers, Water Rail and stalking Bittern.
In the end I had to go for the close-up of the Bittern at Wicken Fen, taken by Roger Cresswell on 12th August. The fact that the bird is partly obscured by the vegetation and shadow detracts in no way from the portrait; it actually adds to the menace shown in its intent stare."

Isabelline Wheatear

Picture of the month for October
Isabelline Wheatear, Wardy hill
29th October 2016 ©Jonathan Taylor
Vince Lea has made this month's selection.

"This month's selection could only be one bird! Photographically better images appear in the October parade, such as the Burwell Fen Short-eared Owls, and the Jack Snipe and Water Rail at Fowlmere which many photographers have captured beautifully. Phil Smith has come up with a couple of arresting images, a gaping Magpie and apparently sunning Grey Heron while Colin Brown continues to capture great flight shots including one of a Jay which must have taken great patience or luck to achieve. But the first Isabelline Wheatear for Cambridgeshire deserves a place on our home page for at least a month! The question is which image... several action shots reveal the diagnostic tail but this relaxed portrait by Jonathan Taylor conveys the sense of place and time, with the spider webs across the bare clods of earth; it is also the sharpest image submitted to our photo page."
Wren

Picture of the month for December
Goldcrest, Paxton Pits
29th December 2016 ©Phil Smith
Tony Roberts has made this month's selection.

"Not being a photographer I admired all the wonderful photos. Finding my favourite was very difficult, but I decided to give it to the Goldcrest by Phil Smith. My reason being that it was a very sharp and composed shot of a difficult bird to photo as it is usually on the move. "

Pictures of the Month 2015
Pictures of the Month 2014
Pictures of the Month 2013
Pictures of the Month 2012
Pictures of the Month 2011
Pictures of the Month 2010

 


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