An urban shot of a heron “behind bars” has scooped top prize in this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards.
Fairytale images of a single bluebell among greenery and Narnia-like woods covered in snow, an action shot of a swift skimming water and portraits of fish, spiders and butterflies are among the winning photos in the contest.
Daniel Trim, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, won the overall prize of £5,000 for a shot of a grey heron hunting in the cover of a bridge in London.
The morning light shining through a grill gives the impression the bird is behind bars as it peers out through the mesh.
Prizes for top pictures were awarded in 14 categories, including ones that focus on the coasts, close-up images of the natural world, the same subject through the seasons, video, and a documentary series of photographs.
To mark the 10th year of the competition, and to help raise awareness of the coasts and the threats they are facing, the awards have expanded the coast and marine category to include British and Irish coastlines within four separate categories: Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland and the Coast of Ireland.
In the junior categories 10-year-old Ollie Teasdale, from Caernarfon, Wales, won the under-12 age group for a black and white image of a razorbill on a rock taken on Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire.
The 12-18 age group was won by 18-year-old Jacob Guy, from Torquay in Devon, for a shot of a spiny starfish taken in Falmouth, Cornwall.
An exhibition of winning and commended entries from the competition will go on tour, starting in London on Tuesday September 17, and a book, British Wildlife Photography Awards 10, will feature the best images.
Conservationist and presenter Mark Carwardine said: “Who needs penguins or polar bears when we have puffins and badgers?
“With so many photographers scouring the globe for exotic megafauna, it’s easy to forget how much wildlife we have in our own small and densely populated backyard.”
He said the focus on coasts marked the 10th anniversary of the competition, with the UK and Ireland surrounded by some of the “richest seas in the world”, but warned that people did a bad job of looking after them.
And he said he hoped the competition would inspire people to get involved and help protect wildlife, adding: “It really does need all the help we can get.”
The category winners are:
– Coast and marine: Overall category winner and Scotland winner, Seal in Seaweed Garden, Isle of Coll, Inner Hebrides, Argyll and Bute by Alex Mustard from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
England, Stalked Jellyfish and Rissoa Snail, taken in Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, by Paul Pettitt from Royston Hertfordshire.
Northern Ireland and Coast of Ireland, Mauve Stinger, Malin Beg, Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland by Trevor Rees from Worcester, Worcestershire.
Wales, Plaice Face, Criccieth Beach, Gwynedd, by Mark Thomas from Northwich, Cheshire.
– Black and white: Marbled White In Grass, Nicholas Court, from Derby, Derbyshire.
– Animal portraits – Peering Through the Darkness (small-spotted catshark), Mark Kirkland from Thornliebank, Glasgow, Scotland.
– Animal behaviour: Common Swift Skimming The Water, Robin Chittenden from Norwich, Norfolk.
– Urban wildlife, and overall winner: Behind Bars (grey heron), Daniel Trim from Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
– Hidden Britain: Garden Spider, Alan Smith from Reading, Berkshire.
– Wild woods:- Welcome to Narnia (European larch), Dave Fieldhouse from Lichfield, Staffordshire.
– Habitat: – Brighter Skies on the Horizon (rock dove or feral pigeon), Rich Bunce from Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
– Botanical: Amongst Emerald Depths (bluebell; mare’s tail), Jack Mortimer from Great Milton, Oxford.
– British seasons: Seasonal Blue Tit (Blue Tit), Paul Sawer from Orford, Suffolk.
– Documentary series: Britain’s Most Loved Mammal (European hedgehog) Lawrie Brailey from Merstham, Surrey.
– Wildlife in HD video: Dancing Spiders (zebra spider), Tom Hartwell from Marlow Buckinghamshire.
– Under 12 category: In the Spotlight (razorbill), Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire, Ollie Teasdale (age 10), from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales.
– 12-18 years category: Spiny Starfish, Falmouth, Cornwall, Jacob Guy (age 18) from Torquay, Devon.