Wild winning images

Great crested grebes by Rebekah Nash

Dancing birds, close-up ants, undersides of fungi and sublime countryside; 12 wild-watchers and wild-walkers have scooped prizes in this year’s photography competition run by local nature conservation charity, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

The twelve winners are celebrating their wins with a copy of the fundraising calendar that their images feature within.

The competition invites people to enter images of the amazing wildlife and wild places that can be found throughout the county, from common to rare species and from gardens and greenspaces to towns and countryside.

Wendy Carter, organiser of the competition, explained “We knew that lockdown had given people the opportunity to spend more time noticing nature but we were overwhelmed with entries to this year’s competition.

“More than 80 photographers entered over 400 images, which gave the judges a few head-scratching moments trying to choose one image over another.

“Our beautiful county is home to lots of fascinating wildlife and, as we discover every year, it’s also home to some very talented photographers who enjoy watching wildlife.

Whether you’re watching wildlife in your garden, your local park or on a nature reserve, it’s always worth keeping a camera to hand – you never know what you might stumble across. Nature is there for us all.
Wendy Carter
Organiser of the competition

“Congratulations to the winners and runners up and a big thank you to everyone who entered, helping us to produce a beautiful calendar full of fabulous images and that helps our conservation work right across Worcestershire.”

Each winning photograph features as an A4 image in the Trust’s 2022 calendar. A further 24 photographs by runners up feature as smaller inserts.

The overall winner of the competition, whose photograph appears on the front cover, was chosen by a public vote run promoted across the Trust’s social media channels in June.

Great crested grebes 'weed dancing' by Rebekah Nash

Great crested grebes by Rebekah Nash

Rebekah Nash, of Catshill in Bromsgrove, was delighted that her image of two great crested grebes performing a courtship dance at Arrow Valley Country Park, beat off stiff competition from three other images in order to win the coveted top prize.

Rebekah said “I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of the twelve winning images to grace this year’s calendar. And to then be chosen as the overall winner, I am lost for words! 

“There are some amazing photographers out there that not only take good images but spend years studying their subject.  I am humbled to call them my friends, we share images, locations and occasionally bump into each other as we wonder along the paths of the Trust’s nature reserves. 

“I spend most of my free time watching and photographing kingfishers and dragonflies so this win is especially special as this is a new subject that I chose to watch and learn over the past two years. 

“Thank you to everyone who supports the Trust and who voted for my image.  Special thanks go to Wendy and all involved.”

All staff at the Trust are involved in judging a longlist of images. Previous winners of the competition, professional wildlife photographer Pete Walkden and semi-professional wildlife photographer Jason Curtis, then help to whittle the shortlist down to just twelve winners.

The calendar is available to buy from the Trust’s online shop and costs £8.00   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.    

The winners

​​​​​​​January – Trench Wood nature reserve by Gillian Smith

Trench Wood in winter by Gillian Smith

Trench Wood in winter by Gillian Smith

“This photo was taken on a cold January afternoon with the last rays of a winter sun breaking through the trees in Trench Wood, I hope it captures the atmosphere of the scene.”

​​​​​​​February – Buzzard, Worcester by David Meredith

Buzzard soaring through the air by David Meredith

Buzzard by David Meredith

“I’ve tried for some time to take an image of a buzzard in flight that captures the spirit and character of this magnificent bird.  Eye contact was needed and, after many attempts, I was lucky to get this image of the buzzard looking straight into the lens.”

​​​​​​​March (& overall) – Great crested grebes, Redditch by Rebekah Nash

Great crested grebes 'weed dancing' by Rebekah Nash

Great crested grebes by Rebekah Nash

“I've been watching grebe behaviour for years.  The lake at Arrow Valley can spoil a shot, so I had to pick the right spot.  Three hours I sat and watched them courting, then they both dived and this happened, magically right in front of me.”

April – Menithwood walk by Martin Bennett

Menithwood with sunlight shining through newly emerging leaves by Martin Bennett

Menithwood by Martin Bennett

"I live on the edge of Menithwood. I was walking up through these beautiful woods to get a sunset photo and just happened to look back down the track and saw this. I walk up and down this track almost every day; this is the only time it has looked like this!"

May – Mayfly, Leigh Sinton by Simon Pugh

Mayfly and reflection by Simon Pugh

Mayfly by Simon Pugh

“I find photographing nature blends patience and experience with a good measure of serendipity. We don’t live near water so I was surprised when a mayfly appeared, presumably after hatching from a neighbour’s garden pond, as I finished washing my car. Memo to mayflies: If you only have one job to do and one day to live, don’t confuse shiny black cars for still water!”

June – Grass snake, Hanbury Hall by David Cole

Grass snake swimming by David Cole

Grass snake by David Cole

“Walking past one of the Hanbury ponds in late July 2020, you can imagine my surprise when this large grass snake suddenly swam up to the bank and poked its head out of the water just long enough for me to compose myself and capture a few images!”

July – Wood ants, Trench Wood nature reserve by Richard Clifford

backlit wood ants on a stem by Richard Clifford

Wood ants by Richard Clifford

“I was fascinated watching these tiny wood ants dashing over the little stems trying to get some honeydew from the aphids. This was taken by the pond at silly o’clock in the morning where you’ll often find me - I was searching for roosting damselflies but these tiny critters kept me busy for quite some time."

August – Otters, River Arrow by Matthew Lissimore

Mother and cub otter in water by Matthew Lissimore

Otters by Matthew Lissimore

“Whilst walking early one morning I heard the distinct high-pitched squeaking of otters. I slowly crept towards the bank and couldn’t believe my luck, a family of otters were playing together. I witnessed one of the pups coming nose-to-nose with its mother and begin begging for food. It was a real privilege to see them - it’s certainly an encounter that I won’t forget anytime soon.”

September – Sunflower, Wyke Manor Estate, Pershore by Lauren French

Close up of a sunflower with a field of sunflowers behind by Lauren French

Sunflower by Lauren French

“An offering of a simple sunflower on a blazing summer’s day. Amidst the madness of the pandemic sat this bloom of tranquillity. As an amateur photographer, capturing this shot is a highlight of my artistic journey, so thank you to my wife for spotting it!”

October – Foggy morning, Severn Valley by Ric Harding

Tree tops rising out of the mist by Ric Harding

Misty morning by Ric Harding

“Leaving my fog-bound home in Powick one October morning, I drove up the Wyche Road onto the Malvern Hills where I found this atmospheric view of lines of trees and a solitary church spire in the Severn Valley created by the rising sun as it slowly burnt off the fog.”

November – Fungi, Piper’s Hill and Dodderhill Commons nature reserve by Malcolm Styles

underside of fungi that is clumped together by Malcolm Styles

Fungi by Malcolm Styles

I went out on a cold, damp afternoon in November to find some fungi and I was delighted to find an abundance of species. This one was taken on my Olympus OMD-EM1 Mk111 and 60mm macro lens and, with the help of a little flash, I managed to get down to get this image.”

December – Great tit and blackbird, Egdon by Yana Northen

Great tit and blackbird sitting on cups of food in the snow by Yana Northen

Great tit and blackbird in the snow by Yana Northen

“I love having guests come to my house. This snowy winter morning, what a welcome and lovely surprise to have as visitors a great tit and blackbird sharing from my cups as I looked on sipping my morning beverage.”

2022 calendar: winners
2022 calendar: runners-up