BPY 40: the BB Bird Photograph of the Year competition 2016

The original bird photograph competition

Since 1976, the aim of this award has been to recognise the best and/or the most scientifically interesting bird photographs. Up to three images may be submitted by each photographer, of birds taken anywhere within the Western Palearctic region (Europe, North Africa and the Middle East) or of regularly occurring Western Palearctic species photographed elsewhere.

The 40th year of this competition will be marked in a number of different ways. In the August issue of BB, as well as the traditional write-up of this year’s competition, there will be a review of the first 40 years of the award, charting the progress of photographers and their equipment during that time, and the resulting images. The period of this award has seen extraordinary developments in photography.

As always, and unlike many of the rival competitions that have sprung up in its wake, BPY is free to enter. And there’s £1,000 in cash for the overall winner.

Read the rules below to find out how to enter.

Bird Photograph of the Year is sponsored by

PrintThe Eric Hosking Charitable Trustwww.erichoskingtrust.com
SKlogoSimon King wildlifewww.simonkingwildlife.com

The rules of the 2016 competition

1. Up to three images can be entered for the Bird Photograph of the Year competition. In addition, a further three digiscoped images may be submitted by each photographer. All images must have been taken since 1st January 2015 and depict wild birds which are not in any way restrained.

2. These may be digital images or scans of colour transparencies. Colour transparencies and prints are NOT permitted. Entries will be judged not only on technical excellence, but also on originality, scientific interest, aesthetic appeal and artistic composition.

3. Photographs must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere, although images previously posted on websites are acceptable.

4. The photographs in the final shortlist may be used at the discretion of the judges and editor for publication in British Birds and/or for the promotion of the journal (including the British Birds calendar) and future competitions. By entering images for this competition, entrants agree to these terms. Copyright of images remains with the photographer and use subsequent to publication in British Birds is unrestricted.

5. A brief account must accompany each photograph, giving the circumstances in which it was obtained, the method used, technical details (exposure and shutter speed, ISO rating, make and model of lens and camera body etc), locality, date and photographer’s name, address and email.

6. Images with minor adjustments, as outlined in a recent article in British Birds covering basic manipulation of digital images (click here) are acceptable. Manipulation of images shall be restricted as follows:

– Use of levels and curves and other tools to adjust contrast, brightness, exposure and colour saturation, and for minor cleaning work to remove dust spots.

– Images can be sharpened and noise removed. Cloning is forbidden.

– Images may be cropped to enhance their aesthetic appeal and artistic composition. Adding content is expressly forbidden.

– Entries shall be in JPEG format, at 300 dpi and at least 2600 pixels along the longest side, and saved once at level 12. Images that are over-cropped to the extent that the quality is compromised, making them unsuitable for publication in British Birds, will not be accepted.

– Details of all image manipulation, together with a note of the software used, shall also be submitted, together with the original RAW or JPEG file from the camera.

– Manipulation that in any way changes the ‘science’ of the picture (for example, even minor changes to feather detail) is expressly forbidden.

– ALL entries are accepted only on the above conditions.

7. The first prize is a cash award of £1,000 plus a selection of books. Book awards will go to second and third places. There is an additional prize of up to £200 for the best digiscoped entry, which is sponsored by The Eric Hosking Charitable Trust.

8. The closing date for entries to the 2016 competition is 1st April 2016.

9. Entries should be submitted by email to bpybritishbirds@yahoo.co.uk or on CD to Peter Kennerley at 16 Coppice Close, Melton, Suffolk IP12 1RX

10. Please ensure that you include both a postal address and an e-mail address with your entry.

11. The competition is free to enter.

12. The judges’ decision is final.

The winning entries are featured in the August issue of British Birds and exhibited on our stand at the British Birdwatching Fair.

The British Birds Bird Photograph of the Year 2015 winners were as follows:

BPY 001

BIRD PHOTOGRAPH OF THE YEAR 2015 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Lake Csaj, Hungary, January 2015. (Nikon D4, Nikkor 200-400 mm f4 @ 240 mm; 1/20, f4, ISO 3200.) Tom Dyring

And here’s Tom receiving his prize, from Simon King:



BPY 002

Second Goosander Mergus merganser with chicks, Derbyshire, May 2014. (Nikon D7100, Nikon 300 mm f2.8 AFS; 1/2000, f5, ISO 1250.) Gary Smith


Third Gadwall Anas strepera, Waters Edge CP, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, January 2014. (Canon EOS 1D Mk IV, Canon 500 mm f4; 1/2500, f5, ISO 500.) Graham Catley

BPY 004

Fourth Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia, Chelmarsh Reservoir, Shropshire, May 2014. (Nikon D7100, Nikor 70-300 mm @ 220 mm; 1/160, f9, ISO 640.) John Robinson

BPY 005

Fifth Dipper Cinclus cinclus, Derbyshire, April 2014. (Nikon D7100, Sigma 150-500 mm f5.6-6.3 @ 450 mm; 1/320, f6.3, ISO 800.) Helen Brassington

BPY 006

Sixth Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus, Islay, Argyll, June 2014. (Canon EOS 5D Mk III, Canon 300 mm f2.8 + 1.4x converter; 1/8000, f6.3, ISO 800.) Robert Snell

BPY 007

Seventh Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus, Torrile and Trecasali LIPU Natural Reserve, Parma, Italy, April 2014. (Canon EOS 1D Mk IV, Canon 500 mm f4 + 1.4x converter; 1/500, f6.3, ISO 500.) Michele Mendi

BPY 008

Eighth equal Common Goldeneyes Bucephala clangula, Northumberland, March 2015. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 500 mm f4 + 1.4x converter; 1/1250, f8, ISO 800.) Jonathan Gaunt

BPY 009

Eighth equal Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Lancashire & North Merseyside, May 2014. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 800 mm f5.6; 1/1600, f8, ISO 800.) Austin Thomas

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Tenth Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, Deep Bay, Mai Po Nature Reserve, Hong Kong, February 2014. (Nikon D300, Nikkor 500 mm f4 G ED VR + Nikon TC14E II 1.4x converter; 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 200.) Ray Tipper

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) feeding in shallow water, Lake Csaj, Pusztaszer, Hungary, June, 2014.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) feeding in shallow water, Lake Csaj, Pusztaszer, Hungary, June, 2014.

Eleventh Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Pusztaszer, Hungary, June 2014. (Canon EOS 5D Mk III, Canon 500 mm f4 + Canon 25 mm extension tube; 1/640, f7.1, ISO 2000.) Ian Butler

BPY 012

Twelfth equal Red Kite Milvus milvus and Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Embalse del Oso, Avila, Spain, November 2014. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 500 mm f4 + 1.4x converter; 1/800, f6.3, ISO 1000.) Michele Mendi

BPY 013

Twelfth equal Wren Troglodytes troglodytes, Dumfries & Galloway, July 2014. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 300 mm f2.8 + 1.4x converter; 1/2500, f7.1, ISO 2000.) Edmund Fellowes

BPY 014

Fourteenth Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax, Catalonia, Spain, May 2014 (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300 mm f2.8 IS; 1/2500, f3.5, ISO 400.) Peter Beesley

BPY 015

Fifteenth Hoopoe Upupa epops, Catalonia, Spain, June 2014 (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 500 mm f4 IS; 1/400, f6.3, ISO 800.)  Ashley Grove

Great Grey Owl (Srix nebulosa) Kuusamo Finland March 2015

Great Grey Owl (Srix nebulosa) Kuusamo Finland March 2015

Sixteenth Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa, Kuusamo, Finland, March 2015. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 400 mm f2.8; 1/2500, f3.5, ISO 3200.) Markus Varesvuo

17, Little Owl, Austin Thomas

Seventeenth Little Owl Athene noctua, Lancashire & N Merseyside, July 2014. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 400 mm; 1/3200, f5.6, ISO 2500.)  Thomas

Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) Inari Kiilopää Finland February 2015

Eighteenth Willow Grouse Lagopus l. lagopus, Inari, Lapland, Finland, February 2015. (Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 70-200 mm f2.8 @ 70 mm; 1/100, f10, ISO 2000.) Markus Varesvuo

19, Red-backed Shrike, Phillip Ward

Nineteenth Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Winterton Dunes, Norfolk, August 2014. (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 500 mm f4 + 1.4x converter; 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 320.) Philip Ward

20, Short-eared Owl, Marcus Conway

Twentieth Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, June 2014. (Canon 5D Mk 111, Canon 500 mm; 1/800, f5, ISO 800.) Marcus Conway

And the digiscoping winner, taking home the prize from the Eric Hosking Charitable Trust, was Ian Boustead:

Digi 1, winner, Isabelline Wheatear, Ian Boustead

2015 Digiscoping winner Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina, Cleveland, November 2014 (Nikon 1 V1, 18.5 mm prime, Swarovski ATX95 telescope; 1/250, f4.5, ISO 400.) Ian Boustead

Digi 2, Oystercatcher, John Davis

2015 Digiscoping runner-up Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Ceredigion, November 2014 (Panasonic Lumix TZ35, Swarovski 80 HD telescope with a 20×60 zoom eyepiece; 1/500, f3.9, ISO 100.) John Davis

Digi 3, Woodcock, Mark Dillingham

2015 Digiscoping third place Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Danes Dykes, Flamborough, Yorkshire, November 2014 (Apple iPhone 4S with PhoneSkope adapter, Swarovski ATX 25-60×65 telescope; 1/1175, f2.4, ISO 50.) Mark Dillingham