Shropshire Star

‘Heart-warming’ photograph of little owls wins South Downs photography prize

The winning image was taken in Edburton, West Sussex.

Little Owl Chick Dad by David Jeffery

A “heart-warming” picture which captures the “fatherly love” of an owl for its chick has been announced as the winner of the South Downs National Park’s annual photography competition.

“Little Owl Chick and Dad”, by David Jeffery, took the top spot in the contest which attracted more than 500 entries.

The winning image, taken in Edburton, West Sussex, shows a male little owl preening its young next to a weather vane showing west to east and spelling “we”.

With a competition theme of Near and Far, the judging panel stated the image was “extraordinary and thought-provoking”.

Swan at Petersfield Heath Pond on a frosty morning, by Christopher Pearson, won the mobile phone picture award in the South Downs National Park competition (Christopher Pearson/PA)

Judge Nick Heasman, countryside policy manager for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “I like the east and west theme and it’s very fitting for the South Downs, which is such a long national park and changes so much from east to west.

“I’m also reminded of the great poet Rudyard Kipling who adored the South Downs and wrote of them ‘running’ from east to west. The photograph is out of the ordinary and something we haven’t seen before.”

Mr Jeffery, who lives in Portslade, East Sussex, who claims the £250 prize, said: “I’m proud of the photographs I take but getting recognition is always a special moment.

“I always love seeing natural behaviour when out photographing wildlife, but to see a dad and his chick being so comfortable with my presence was especially rewarding.”

Hello World by Carl Gough was the runner-up in the competition (Carl Gough/PA)

The runner-up prize went to “Hello World” by Carl Gough, which captures two juvenile kestrels taking their first look at the world before fledging from their hollowed tree nesting site.

Judge Rachael Talibart said: “Kestrels are just the most majestic animal – doesn’t matter how often you see them. I love this image. The composition and framing is fantastic. It looks like we’ve had a secret view into their world.”

Look Down by Thomas Moore won third place in the competition (Thomas Moore/PA)

Third place was awarded to Thomas Moore’s “Look Down”, a shot of a cricket at RSPB Pulborough Brooks, with “Swan at Petersfield Heath Pond on a frosty morning” by Christopher Pearson winning the mobile phone category.

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