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Calendar Gulls

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Congratulations to Clive Gravett, the winner of our photographic competition Window on Wildlife. His engaging photo of herring gulls on a window fitted the competition's theme perfectly.

Thank you to everyone who entered this year's competition and the 900 people who voted to decide the winner.

The final 12 images will feature in a wall calendar

and a computer-desktop calendar (available late Nov).

We asked the top placed photographers to describe how they took they winning images:

Clive Gravett - Herring Gull and Chick

herring gull and chick / Clive Gravett
herring gull and chick / Clive Gravett

The photograph was taken when a herring gull chick appeared to have prematurely left a nest on our chimney and took up residence on our kitchen/conservatory roof. I had to wait a considerable time to achieve the final image and frame mother and chick together on a relatively clean pane of glass! Also perfect natural light conditions were required as flash would have bounced back from the glass. The chick was successfully reared by the parents and fledged after several weeks.

Clive's prize is A Weekend Retreat for two people, kindly provided by Woodland Skills.

Pete Holmes - Bumblebee and Sea Holly

bumblebee and sea holly / Pete Holmes
bumblebee and sea holly / Pete Holmes

Back in August this year we discovered a bumblebee nest at ground-level in our garden. Concerned for our children's safety we contacted the Sussex Wildlife Trust and Bumbleebee Conservation Trust who very kindly helped identify the species (common carder), supplied information and offered advice on how to protect the nest.

Two flowering plants in our garden seemed particularly popular with several species of bumblebees as well as solitary and honey bees; I quickly became aware the lavendar and sea holly close to the house were constantly buzzing with activity. I spent a couple of hours attempting to photograph the bees. They're fast! Whereas I was getting lots of good shots as they briefly settled on flowers to gather pollen and nectar, the more dynamic shots were those where bees were hovering or in flight. Increasing shutter speeds to 1/1600 (and keeping the depth of field narrow) I positioned myself and my trusty Canon Eos 7D, focusing on distinct sea holly heads and waited. This capture was my favourite of the shots taken that afternoon.

I'll certainly be buying some bee-friendly flowering plants with the prize money!"

Pete's prize is 100 cash kindly donated by The Ecology Consultancy.

Lee Crawley - Great Crested Grebe

great crested grebe / Lee Crawley
great crested grebe / Lee Crawley

I'm one of those creature of habit photographers and I tend to go to the same places to get images, I know them fairly well and I rotate between them season to season... this year I decided to give Tilgate Lake a punt, it's very near to my doorstep and we had been experiencing some beautifully misty sunrises, I got to the lake very early and made my way slowly round looking for my subject - my research told me there were several pairs of grebes courting... I picked my spot and assumed a prone position (trust me it was freezing) but the conditions were ideal - I was rewarded when a grebe charged through shot - it's distinct silhouette emphasized by the the fiery sunrise and the mist was the icing on the cake! I can't wait for next spring to do it all again.

Lee's prize is a Llama Walk for two people kindly donated by Ashdown Forest Llama Park.

Chris Dixon - Badger

badger / Chris Dixon
badger / Chris Dixon

The badger photo was taken through my conservatory doors. We have fed our suburban garden badgers for the last six years and know their personalities well, they come nightly for peanuts. On this occasion one of the cubs came much earlier than usual, so instead of using the flash I could photograph him in natural light. They are fascinating and beautiful creatures.

Chris' prize is a Family Ticket kindly donated by Weald & Downland Open Air Musuem

The final 12 images will feature in a wall calendar and a computer-desktop calendar

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