The British Trust for Ornithology in partnership with Nature Photographers Ltd is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) competition for 2015. The announcements were made at BirdFair 2016 during a packed awards ceremony held in the main events marquee and hosted by BTO President and competition head judge, Chris Packham.

Overall winner – Mute swan by Andy Parkinson

Mute swan Cygnus olor I am often drawn look for strikingly graphic and simple compositions, especially if I think that I can present an image that causes people to look again at familiar subjects in new ways. During a two year photogrpahic project on mute swans I was frequently drawn to their beautiful formation of their tail feathers when in threat postures and so here I used subtle evening backlighting to create an simple study in form. It almost has the look of a fungi about it but I still think that it is beautiful. I've taken it by sitting below a weir and shooting upwards so that I've been able to hide the rest of the swan. Nikon D3s, Nikon 600mm, 1/2000sec at F4, ISO 800, Gitzo tripod, Wimberley head Derbyshire, UK

Mute swan Cygnus olor
I am often drawn look for strikingly graphic and simple compositions, especially if I think that I can present an image that causes people to look again at familiar subjects in new ways. During a two year photogrpahic project on mute swans I was frequently drawn to their beautiful formation of their tail feathers when in threat postures and so here I used subtle evening backlighting to create an simple study in form. It almost has the look of a fungi about it but I still think that it is beautiful. I’ve taken it by sitting below a weir and shooting upwards so that I’ve been able to hide the rest of the swan.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 600mm, 1/2000sec at F4, ISO 800, Gitzo tripod, Wimberley head
Derbyshire, UK

Congratulations go to Andy Parkinson from Matlock in Derbyshire for his unusual and imaginative image of a Mute Swan which united the judges in their admiration. Andy takes the winning prize of £5,000 and the title of Bird Photographer of the Year. A jubilant Andy comments, “Winning the overall title of Bird Photographer of the Year is a massive honour for me and is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career. The standard of entries was exceptionally high and I count myself extremely lucky that the judges chose my image as the overall winner. I always strive in my photography to try and produce genuinely unique images, revealing familiar subjects in different ways, and to show that there is always a new image and unique angle. This is achieved by spending months or years working with local subjects, building an encyclopaedic knowledge of behaviour, light and perspective. I’m delighted that my endeavours have been so generously rewarded.”

White Tailed Eagle Landed and Running Towards A Fish Which Was Caught By The Crows .. I Spent 12 Hours Daily For In A Hide To Get This Shot As It Is .. I Always Wanted To Catch A Bird's Eye Between Its Feather In Flight! Its Really Hard And You Have To Be Lucky! I Believe I Was Lucky To Capture This Shot While Landing

Redwing Turdus iliacus A pair of adults squabbling over the ownership of a windfall apple. Derbyshire, UK

Redwing Turdus iliacus
A pair of adults squabbling over the ownership of a windfall apple.
Derbyshire, UK

Tufted Duck (Aythya Fuligula), London WWT, Barnes, London, United Kingdom, January 2012. I had have taken a number of shots of these ducks over the past year. I have noticed the bill and eye really stand out and an image taken in poor lighting was the perfect opportunity to show this off.

Tufted Duck (Aythya Fuligula), London WWT, Barnes, London, United Kingdom, January 2012.
I had have taken a number of shots of these ducks over the past year. I have noticed the bill and eye really stand out and an image taken in poor lighting was the perfect opportunity to show this off.

Over 6,500 entries were received from 40 countries around the globe, the standard of which was simply stunning. Chris Packham comments, “We upload more than 700 billion photographs every year and, as much as they communicate in many ways, in terms of photographic merit the vast majority are total rubbish. What we are looking for are those images which have an instant and enduring ‘wow’ factor. And when they do pop up the response is exhilarating, so exciting, so rewarding. To have been gifted with so many of these ‘wow’ photos in year one of this new competition is extraordinary, because photographing birds is enormously challenging. They fly off, don’t listen to a word you say and are a much favoured subject in the wildlife photography genre – hence there is massive competition, making it hard to ‘say something new’ with an image. But the winning image exemplifies this art perfectly – a much photographed, familiar and accessible subject is represented in an entirely new and fabulously imaginative way. Roll on next year!”

Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus scoenobaenus) singing in reedbed in early morning. Norfolk, UK. May 2015. Nikon D4S, AF-S Nikkor 500mm f4 lens, TC-14EII teleconverter, tripod. 1/5000s @ f5.6, ISO 640.

Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus scoenobaenus) singing in reedbed in early morning.
Norfolk, UK. May 2015. Nikon D4S, AF-S Nikkor 500mm f4 lens, TC-14EII teleconverter, tripod. 1/5000s @ f5.6, ISO 640.

eider ducks in anti- predator formation. a swimming otter came by

Eider ducks in anti- predator formation. as an otter swims nearby

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Me? Category: Best Portrait Photographer: Bence Mate Taken on: 12/2/2011 Email: photocompetitions@matebence.hu Address: Mezo utca 2/B, Pusztaszer, Csongrad County, 6769, Hungary Telephone: +3630427408 Description: Curious Dalmatian Pelicans Date: 2011-12-12 Location: Greece, Lake Kerkini I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Best Portrait Winner

Best Portfolio winner8

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Lightning Category: Birds in the Environment Photographer: Bence Mate Taken on: 14/6/2015 Email: photocompetitions@matebence.hu Address: Mezo utca 2/B, Pusztaszer, Csongrad County, 6769, Hungary Telephone: +3630427408 Description: While the lights of the storm do not really disturb the birds, the lightning of the photo flesh scares them. Date: 2015-06-14 Location: Hungary, Kiskunsag National Park I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015  – Birds in the Environment
Photographer: Bence Mate

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Portrait Category: Best Portrait Photographer: Bence Mate Taken on: 2/1/2015 Email: photocompetitions@matebence.hu Address: Mezo utca 2/B, Pusztaszer, Csongrad County, 6769, Hungary Telephone: +3630427408 Description: Portfait of a Grey Heron with backlight. BAIT: On the territory of and in co-operation with Kiskunsag National Park, there is feeding at the lake, for subserving the winter survival of the animals habibating here. Date: 2015-01-02 Location: Hungary, Kiskunsag National Park I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 – Photographer: Bence Mate

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Little ringed plover Category: Birds in the Environment Photographer: Marc Albiac Taken on: 22/6/2013 Email: marcalbiac@gmail.com Address: Paseo Doctor Moragas, 157, 2-1, Barbera del valles, Spain, 08210, Spain Telephone: +34 636058702 Description: Little ringed plover in its environment, the river. Date: 2013-06-22 Location: Aragón, Spain I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 – Young BPOTY Winner  – Marc Albiac

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: P1430039 TTanaka 2.1.6 WM Category: Birds in the Environment Photographer: Tara Tanaka Taken on: 22/4/2013 Email: h2otara@comcast.net Address: 4797 Lakely Dr., Tallahassee, FL, 32303, United States of America Telephone: 850-509-1410 Description: Just as the sun was setting, this well-camouflaged Western Screech Owl was waking up, getting ready for an evening of hunting. The just-set sun can be seen in the reflection of his iris. An incident that occurred that evening caused me to write a post in the Tucson Audubon blog about what I'd witnessed: http://tucsonaudubon.blogspot.com/2014/10/minimizing-birder-disturbance.html This photo was digiscoped using manual focus. Taking advantage of the mirrorless design of the Panasonic GH3, this photo was captured at 1/60s. Rob Read approved adding a small watermark to the entry; an unwatermarked version can be provided immediately if requested. Date: 2013-04-22 Location: Green Valley, AZ, US I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: false I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 –  Photographer: Tara Tanaka
Just as the sun was setting, this well-camouflaged Western Screech Owl was waking up, getting ready for an evening of hunting. The just-set sun can be seen in the reflection of his iris.

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: fours a croud Category: Best Digiscoped Image Photographer: justin Carr Taken on: 20/12/2015 Email: bentleybirdman@hotmail.com Address: 9 Bentley rd, bentley, , Doncaster, South yorkshire, DN5 9SD, United Kingdom Telephone: 07856197647 Description: digiscoped Purple sandpipers Bridlington, taken on a Swarovski ATX 85 Date: 2015-12-20 Location: Bridlington UK I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 – Justin Carr
 Digiscoped Purple sandpipers Bridlington, taken on a Swarovski ATX 85

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Observer Category: Bird Behaviour Photographer: Bence Mate Taken on: 2/9/2015 Email: photocompetitions@matebence.hu Address: Mezo utca 2/B, Pusztaszer, Csongrad County, 6769, Hungary Telephone: +3630427408 Description: A White-fronted Bee-eater watching its flying kins in front of their nestle. Date: 2015-09-09 Location: South Africa, Mkuze I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015-  Bence Mate
A white-fronted bee-eater watching its flying kins in front of their nest.

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Humming Category: Birds in Flight Photographer: Bence Mate Taken on: 12/12/2015 Email: photocompetitions@matebence.hu Address: Mezo utca 2/B, Pusztaszer, Csongrad County, 6769, Hungary Telephone: +3630427408 Description: Costa Rica is famous for its amazing diversity of birds, one of them is Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Hummingbird name is referring to the fast movings of their wings, sounding like humming. Date: 2015-12-12 Location: Costa Rica, Boca Tapada I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 – Bence Mate
Costa Rica is famous for its amazing diversity of birds, one of them is rufous-tailed hummingbird. Hummingbird name is referring to the fast movings of their wings, sounding like humming.

I had great fun with this Great Egret that day ,, he was posing like a pro model! so i waited for him to do something interesting , and surprisingly he did .. his body and the beginning of his neck is now a guide line for his eye .. he stayed like that for exactly 4 seconds only! one of the photos that are dear to my heart

I had great fun with this Great Egret that day .. he was posing like a pro model! so i waited for him to do something interesting , and surprisingly he did .. his body and the beginning of his neck is now a guide line for his eye .. he stayed like that for exactly 4 seconds only!
one of the photos that are dear to my heart

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) leaping from water on rocky shoreline near Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) leaping from water on rocky shoreline near Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Stillness in the colony Category: Birds in the Environment Photographer: José Manuel Grandío Taken on: 18/6/2015 Email: txemagrandio@gmail.com Address: Lezo 4, 4A, Irun, Spain, 20301, Spain Telephone: 0034 943610287 Description: Gannetry Date: 2015-06-18 Location: Scotland I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 –  José Manuel Grandío

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: creative06 Category: Creative Imagery Photographer: Rachel Piper Taken on: 22/12/2013 Email: racheltpiper@gmail.com Address: 70 Belmont Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9NU, United Kingdom Telephone: +447758930642 Description: Murmuration of starlings with oil paint filter to express movement. Date: 2013-12-22 Location: Tring Reservoirs, Herts I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015  –  Rachel Piper
Murmuration of starlings with oil paint filter to express movement.

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 Caption: Nuthatch Category: Garden Birds Photographer: Alex Meek Taken on: 1/11/2015 Email: smeek69@hotmail.com Address: 70 Pinewood Drive, Scarborough, YO12 5JP, United Kingdom Description: A Nuthatch feeds by a pool creating a perfect reflection Date: 2015-11-01 Location: Scarborough I give my permission for this photograph to be added to the bto archive: true I confirm that this is not a captive bird: true

Bird Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 – Alex Meek

Gaurav Ramnarayanan gaurav10298@yahoo.co.in 24, Kamaraj Road, Coimbatore - 641018, Tamil Nadu, India +91 9487546744

Gaurav Ramnarayanan

Although BPOTY clearly sets out to showcase the stunning photographic capture of birds, its aims are far wider. The competition will directly benefit many of the ‘subjects’ of the images by generating income for British Trust for Ornithology’s conservation research; it further helps to promote the Trust by extending its profile beyond its current reach. But it works the other way too. BPOTY aims to promote the artistry of bird photography and the photographers themselves to the wider ornithological community, giving them the opportunity to have their work published and recognised through the competition book, associated merchandise and exhibition.

A lavish 256 page coffee-table book featuring over 230 of the best images from the competition including the winners, runners-up and commended images has been published by William Collins. The book is now available to purchase through all major retailers and directly from the BTO website (www.bto.org) where a percentage of the proceeds will go directly towards supporting the valuable work of this organisation.

The excellence of the images is also being showcased in an exhibition being held at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from the 10th September 2016 to 29th January 2017.

The 2017 competition is now open for entries. Visit www.birdpoty.co.uk for more information on how to enter.