Bird photographer of the year BPOTY

bpotyYou may have made a trip to Kew Gardens to see some of the winning entries of the BPOTY competition. You may have seen some of the images published in newspapers and magazines. If so you have only seen the tip of an incredibly creative iceberg.

Now you can own the wonderfully produced book that supports the competition. You will get a true sense of the quality of the entries, understand why the judges had such a difficult job in picking the winners and see what prompted head judge, Chris Packham, to say – “To have been gifted with so many of these ‘wow’ photos in year one of this new competition is extraordinary.”

It’s true, there are some outstanding photographs in this book. Whilst Andy Parkinson’s ‘Mute swan adult in detail’ deserved to win the competition, my favourite, ironically also as swan but this time a whooper, is Tom Hines creative image entitled ‘Whooper swan’. I bet, thumbing through the book, you will find your own winner.


“When I saw the aggressor twitch, I fired a burst of frames”


The book showcases a selection of the winning and shortlisted images. The categories range from simple portraits to creative imagery giving you an insight into what can be achieved with modern cameras. But the camera is just the tool! What you see in these pictures is passion and an understanding of the subject – and that comes from the individual photographer. No picture better exemplifies this than another of Andy Parkinson images, ‘Redwings fighting over fallen apples’.

Andy’s description of how he took the photograph reads, “I had spent eight hours in a neighbour’s garden before I took my first image. With the hide set up on a lower part of the garden, I was able to create an eye-level view with the windfall apples the birds were feeding on. When these redwings finally appeared, I was immediately struck by the contrasting body language of these two birds…when I saw the aggressor twitch, I fired a burst of frames.

Descriptions like this further enhance the book, making you feel you were there when the picture was taken. The book is a credit to all the participants who took part in the competition. It is their efforts that make this book a must-have for anyone who has an interest in nature.

The BTO and Nature Photographers Ltd, should themselves be highly commended for being brave enough to launch a competition when so many exist already. The result is the first of what will become many excellent books stuffed full of creativity that capture the essence of what birds are – spectacular.

Allan Archer – talk: Wildlife

November 2016

This year’s competition closes on 30th November; find out more:




Related article: Going potty for BPOTY