Early bird wins Sussex Wildlife Trust Photo Competition

, 07 November 2023
Early bird wins Sussex Wildlife Trust Photo Competition
© Tim Nightingale

Sussex Wildlife Trust judges, headed up by professional international wildlife photographer David Plummer, selected 12 finalists from more than 500 entries for its online photography competition. Then it was over to the public, where over 1000 people voted for their favourite.

We are excited to announce that Tim Nightingale is our 2023 winner, with his stunning photo - Cormorant at Sunrise.

Tim told us how he took the winning photo "I went down to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve at first light on 30 April this year. I got there just after 5a.m., before the sun came up, or blue hour, as us photographers call it. I followed the path that runs parallel to the Rother, beyond the Discovery Centre, stopping briefly at the first hide. There wasn’t another soul in sight.

As I got down nearer to the beach and the river’s estuary, the sun was just beginning to come up from behind the dunes on Camber Sands and then I spotted the Cormorant on the pole. I had to move quickly to get in a position where it would be silhouetted. With the brightness of the sunrise and the darkness or low light in the scene generally, I used a tripod and shot it on a telephoto lens at about 300mm. The Cormorant was very accommodating and stayed in situ allowing me to fire off a few different shots at different exposures. For all that, it really just came down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. But I’m glad I made the effort to get up early."

Brian Watkins from Haywards Heath was voted the runner-up with his superb photo of a woodland bird - Nuthatch on Fungi.

Brian said "I came across this fungi covered stump and decided put some seeds nearby in the hope of a bird landing on it, so was over the moon when this Nuthatch landed on the top and assumed its iconic pose."

Nuthatch on Fungi © Brian Watkins
Nuthatch on Fungi © Brian Watkins

Tim has won first prize of £100 and Brian won a t-shirt from Sussex Wildlife Trust's online clothing store.

All 12 finalists’ photographs will feature in Sussex Wildlife Trust’s 2024 online calendar, available to download in December this year. The photos will also feature on social media and the Trust’s members’ magazine. All 12 images were also displayed at the Trust's AGM and will be displayed at the Booth Museum in Brighton next year.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this year's competition.

Leave a comment


  • Lesley Bristow:

    Fabulous photographs

    08 Nov 2023 19:32:00

  • Shiri Goldsmith:

    Wonderful photographs. Must have been so difficult to judge. Congratulations to both talented men. Thank you for sharing

    09 Nov 2023 11:45:00

  • Margaret Kay:

    Stunning photos , love taking photos

    09 Nov 2023 13:10:00

  • penny:

    Amazing and extraordinarily beautiful shots!
    Thank you for helping us to really see how wonderful our wildlife is

    09 Nov 2023 14:29:00

  • Pat Winter:

    Both are joyous photos that evoke an intake of breath and a smile. Cormorant: The colours are wonderful, the composition like a Chinese painting, and the atmosphere tangible. Just beautiful. The Nuthatch: a stunning closeup of a bird on a trajectory, picking up the colours of the upsweeping fungi – sparkling with energy.

    09 Nov 2023 14:49:00

  • Liz:

    Wonderful photographs and well deserved first and second place. Congratulations Tim and Brian.

    09 Nov 2023 16:18:00

  • Ben:

    Lovely photo of the sun set cormorant. I thought I’d say this because I think it’s very sweet this newsletter even exists, it’s one of about two I don’t delete automatically having lived in Westmeston growing up and having found feather museum :)

    09 Nov 2023 20:12:00