Photo competition winners announced

Thursday 21st July 2016

Little owl (c) Magnus McLeodLittle owl (c) Magnus McLeod

An eleven year old from Worcester has scooped top prize in an annual photography competition.

Magnus McLeod beat more than 50 photographers to win the coveted front cover of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s calendar. More than 250 photos of wildlife and wild places across Worcestershire were entered into this year’s competition.

Ferns and bluebells (c) Gary LawsonWendy Carter, organiser of the competition for the Trust, commented “We’re so lucky in Worcestershire not just to live in a beautiful place but to also have so many fantastic photographers who capture our wildlife and wild places.

“Judging this annual competition seems to get harder each year but it really does engage all our staff – everyone gets to vote on the long-list before external judges Jason Curtis and Pete Walkden help to choose the winners.

“We believe we’ve got another great calendar this year that shows off our county at its best and will hopefully take pride of place on walls throughout Worcestershire and beyond.”

External judges, Jason Curtis of Wild about Wildlife photography and Pete Walkden of Pete Walkden Photography are both previous winners of the competition.

Public vote for overall winner

Of the twelve winning images, five were put forward for a public vote to choose the overall winner to feature on the cover of the calendar.

A little owl in Grimley, taken by Magnus McLeod when he was ten, won more than 44% of the votes.

Magnus said “My first reaction to being told I had the front cover picture was surprise because I was up against adults. Even though I knew I was in the top five, and therefore had a fair chance of winning, it was a bit of a shock.

“I was also really excited but nervous at having my photos on people's walls for some of the year.

“Worcestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserves are some of my favourite places to go and the conservation work brings them to a new level.

“Thank you so much to everyone that voted!”

Avon Meadows (c) Sarah FowleOther winning images include a coot’s eye view of Avon Meadows Community Wetland in Pershore, a snowy walk through Warndon Villages, a close-up of a hornet nest in Redditch and a cheeky long-tailed tit in Far Forest.

The annual competition is open to any photographer taking places of wildlife and wild places across the county.

The twelve winning images will be showcased as full A4 pages in the conservation charity’s 2017 calendar. 16 runner’s-up will have their images featured as smaller insets.

Wildlife in your garden

Many of the entries, including several of the winners and runner’s-up, help to illustrate just how much wildlife can be found in gardens as well as in the wider landscape.

Common frogs (c) Nigel HootonThe Trust hopes that the calendar will inspire people to help wildlife on their doorstep and explore the mysteries of the natural world in their neighbourhood.

Wendy continued “It isn’t just rare wildlife that’s exciting – spending time watching the more common can be just as rewarding. Some of this year’s winners really do show what can be achieved by helping wildlife and keeping your senses open when you’re out and about in our beautiful and diverse county.

“Receiving so many entries each year helps to show just how important and inspiring our wildlife and countryside are to so many people.”

The calendar is available to buy from the Trust’s offices or online shop  now costing £7.00 each. All proceeds will directly benefit the work of the Trust to protect Worcestershire’s wildlife and wild places.

Photographers can stay in touch with the Trust online through their active Flickr group, Facebook page and Twitter account.

Winners

Photographs featured in the calendar can be viewed in the charity’s Flickr photostream.

Warndon Villages (c) Roger WyldeJanuary – Snowy walk, Warndon Villages by Roger Wylde
"I try to take my SLR with me on most of my travels. However I captured this snowy scene on the way home from the supermarket, with a bag in one hand and my pocket camera in the other."

February – Little egret, Upton Warren Wetland Reserve by Dennis Capewell
"I had to wait for two hours in the hide on The Moors Pool for it to come closer... but it was well worth the wait."

March – Common frogs, Worcester by Nigel Hooton
"We are blessed with these frogs that can be seen in our garden pond along with lots of tadpoles in spring every year. So wonderful to have nature at work in this way so close at hand!"

Bullfinch (c) Bas YatesApril – Bullfinch, Inkberrow by Bas Yates
"A pair of bullfinches found the dandelions I had left on the side of my lawn; lucky for me the male was close enough for me to get a good shot."

May – Ferns and bluebells, Tiddesley Wood nature reserve by Gary Lawson
"Spring is always my favourite time of year because it's a time full of new growth and colour. The bluebells in Tiddesley Wood are stunning to photograph but when the ferns emerge, it almost looks alien, and I really like that. I thought it would create a great contrast in the photo!"

June – A coot’s eye view, Avon Meadows Community Wetlands, Pershore by Sarah Fowle
"I noticed a coot family scooting out from under the boardwalk and I wondered what it looked like from a coot's perspective so I lay on my front on the boardwalk and held my camera just above the water and took this photo to see what they see."

July (& overall) – Little owl, Grimley by Magnus McLeod
"I took this in July 2015, when I was 10, at one of my favourite wildlife photography sites. I was just leaving that day when I spotted this little owl in an oak tree by the side of the lane. I quickly took some pictures: it was tricky to get the branches to frame his face, rather than block it. He didn’t seem very used to people - he glared at me, then shuffled along his branch and hid in the ivy."

Hornet nest (c) Brian BullAugust – Hornet nest , Arrow Valley Country Park by Brian Bull
"I frequently walk past the tree with my dog and one day was told there was a nest in it. I returned with my camera, put it in a gap in the tree and pointed upwards – I was eye to eye with a hornet but it didn’t seem concerned so I carried on. If I’d have known they were home before I put my camera in, I probably wouldn’t have ventured that close!"

September – Piper’s Hill & Dodderhill Common nature reserve by Robin Couchman
"I had been waiting for a suitably misty morning for some weeks and couldn’t believe my luck when the sun briefly shone through the mist and created the rays."

Glistening inkcap (c) Dave MerryOctober – Glistening inkcaps, Nunnery Wood, Worcester by Dave Merry
"Fungi are my favourite subject in the autumn; I’m fascinated by the variety of colours, shapes and textures. But to get a good photo, you need to get your knees dirty!"

November – Kestrel, Droitwich Spa by Greg Coyne
"I had been watching the kestrel sitting on a distant telephone pole for an hour or more hoping that he may come down to the perch in front of my hide. After a long wait he came down, enabling me to rattle off a few shots as he landed… a stunning encounter."

Long-tailed tit (c) Mark RobertsDecember – Long-tailed tit, Far Forest by Mark Roberts
"The moment you make eye contact with wildlife you are transported into their world. As I focused on this little fella he seemed to know I was up to something, swinging around the branch he stared right back at me. It only lasted for a few seconds yet the silent conversation between us is timeless."

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