Competition winners announced

Monday 22nd July 2019

Great crested grebe (c) Pete CheshireGreat crested grebe (c) Pete Cheshire

From otters to orchids and birds to butterflies, twelve photographers from across Worcestershire are celebrating after being chosen as winners for a popular county wildlife calendar.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s annual photography competition to find images for their fundraising calendar aims to highlight the wonder of the county’s wildlife and wild places. Photographers are invited to enter images taken around the county, from gardens to nature reserves.

Wendy Carter, organiser of the competition for the Trust, explained “We’re really lucky to be living in a fantastic county with some fabulous species of wildlife and some very talented photographers.

“There were almost 200 images entered by more than 40 photographers; judging was hard! The upshot is a great calendar full of wonderful images that will look great on walls and the sales of which will help our conservation work right across Worcestershire.”

Winning images will appear as A4 pages in the Trust’s 2020 calendar with a further 24 runner’s-up images also featured as smaller inserts.

The overall winner of the calendar, whose photograph features on the front cover of the calendar, is Pete Cheshire of Great Witley.

Pete’s great crested grebe carrying its youngsters on its back was taken at English Heritage’s Witley Court last summer. It beat Robin Couchman’s orchids photo in a public vote run across the Trust’s social media channels.

Pete commented “"This photograph says as much about Witley Court and Worcestershire in general as it does about the photographer! There is so much wildlife in our wonderful county and, as frequently highlighted by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, often in places we least expect.

“I take thousands of photographs each year, mostly of wildlife, but rarely capture the image as I imagine it; this one comes very close to what I had in mind.

“It's mainly thanks to my friends at Witley Court who told me the great crested grebe were there and to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust for inspiring me to take wildlife photos in Worcestershire with their great promotional work of the county's treasures and their yearly photographic competition encouraging all to do the same.

“Having just seen the runner’s-up in the competition I am amazed that mine is one of the twelve winners let alone the overall winner.

“I am honoured that my image is on the front cover and hope that it will help sell many calendars and thus help Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to continue to do their sterling work in promoting, protecting and propagating all wildlife in this glorious county of Worcestershire."

Thanks to judges and entrants

All Trust staff are involved with the judging process before enlisting the help of Pete Walkden of Pete Walkden Photography and Jason Curtis of Wyre Wildlife, both local wildlife photographers and previous winners of the competition.

Wendy added “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who entered and to Pete and Jason for helping with the difficult judging decisions.

“Whilst photographs have been taken on our nature reserves and in the wider countryside, it’s great to see so many photographs of wildlife are being taken in entrants’ gardens, which demonstrates just how important our own spaces are for wildlife and how much joy we can get from wildlife in the areas close to home.

“Increasingly research is showing that being close to and spending time in green spaces is rally beneficial for our wellbeing. Watching wildlife can be exciting, relaxing and inspiring and helping wildlife at home can give a real sense of purpose and satisfaction.

“We’d just remind people to have a camera to hand in order to capture the action!”

Entries for the 2021 calendar will open later this year.

The calendar is available to buy from the Trust’s offices or online shop and costs £7.00. All proceeds directly benefit the Trust’s work 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.

Montage of winning photos


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

January – Redwing, Hartlebury by Roy Porter, Bromsgrove
“I go to the same spot every year for fieldfares, redwings and waxwings; I just sit in the car and wait, hopefully, for them to turn up…which they did.”

February – Mute swans near Egdon by Yana Northen, Egdon
"Quite often in the mornings I go out with my camera when nobody else is around and that way I can capture those peaceful and quiet moments that are so special to me in so many ways. The swans encompass those qualities and the beautiful sunrise just completed the overall moment.”

March – Goldcrest, Caunsall by Anne Rothin, Caunsall
“This is the hardest bird I have tried to photograph so far as it is very small and very busy! I spent many hours returning to the same location and waiting until I finally managed to get this shot.”

April – Reed bunting, Upton Warren Wetland Reserve by Elaine Robinson, Bromsgrove
“I spent many hours watching song birds come and go when a male reed bunting perched amongst the blossom, my patience was rewarded with this lovely composition.”

May – Cowslips and green-winged orchids, Eades Meadow National Nature Reserve by Robin Couchman, Droitwich Spa
“I have spent many hours up at Eades Meadow photographing the flowers and have tried many times to capture that wonderful feeling of being there at dawn on a spring morning surrounded by the myriad flowers all coated in dew.”

Jun – Great crested grebe with chicks, Great Witley by Pete Cheshire
“Having heard the grebe and young were on Witley Court pool I immediately set off with long lens and picnic. Many aching hours prostrate on fisherman's jetty, and hundreds of shots later, I finally managed to capture my imagined image."

Jul – Otter, Pershore by Mark Everett, Pershore
“Whilst photographing kingfishers on the Avon near Pershore I was stunned when this otter surfaced about six feet in front of me, completely out of the blue in the middle of the afternoon.”

Aug – Grass snake, Upton Warren Wetland Reserve by Bob Tunstall, Worcester
"I was in the North Moors Hide at Upton Warren when a coot started to behave nervously close by because a grass snake was swimming close to it; this happened so quickly that other photographers did not see it.”

Sep – Comma, Trench Wood nature reserve by Carl Graef
“I spent four hours in Trench Wood trying to get a decent photo of a white admiral when the only comma I had seen all day landed right in front of me…as they say ‘the best laid plans…’”

Oct – Fungi, Malvern by Ira James, Malvern
“I have a lot of old logs dotted around my garden, I spotted these tiny fungi after an autumn rain shower. I rested the camera on a bean bag and used a remote release to capture this macro image.”

Nov – Grey heron, Croome by Jill Orme, North Littleton
“I was so taken with the light on this winter afternoon at Croome that I lost track of time; suddenly realising that the estate was about to close, I had to run up the hill to the car park with all my heavy gear, so as not to be locked in for the night!”

Dec – Snowy day, Upper Sapey by Gillian Smith, Rochford
“I took the photo on a wintry walk across the fields above Stanford Bridge. As I walked up the hill the fence came into view; it looked quite forlorn & forgotten.”

Tagged with: Photography & The Arts