Digital Cameras

Bats, spiders and squirrels abound in the winners of the British Wildlife Photography Awards

Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
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Winner of the youth, under 12 category. Who Says Bugs Aren't Cute? Borrowdale, Cumbria
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Winner of the youth, under 12 category. Who Says Bugs Aren't Cute? Borrowdale, Cumbria
Winner in the youth, 12 to 18 year old category. Eye of the Spawn – Walmer Castle, Kent
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Winner in the youth, 12 to 18 year old category. Eye of the Spawn – Walmer Castle, Kent
Winner in the Urban Wildlife category. Magpie in the Snow – Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow
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Winner in the Urban Wildlife category. Magpie in the Snow – Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow
Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
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Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
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Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
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Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
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Winner of the British Seasons category, a four-image collection. Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels, Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland
Winner in the Animal Portraits category. Bean – Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
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Winner in the Animal Portraits category. Bean – Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
Winner in the Hidden Britain category. Waiting for her Prey – Dunchideock, Devon
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Winner in the Hidden Britain category. Waiting for her Prey – Dunchideock, Devon
Winner in the Habitats category. Spectacular Isolation – Cairngorms National Park, Highlands, Scotland
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Winner in the Habitats category. Spectacular Isolation – Cairngorms National Park, Highlands, Scotland
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
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Winner of the Documentary Series. Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild – Cornwall
Winner in the Coast and Marine category. Storm Gull – New Haven, East Sussex
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Winner in the Coast and Marine category. Storm Gull – New Haven, East Sussex
Winner in the Close to Nature category. Goose Barnacles – Sanna Bay, Highland
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Winner in the Close to Nature category. Goose Barnacles – Sanna Bay, Highland
Winner in the Botanical Britain category. Kelp Bed at Dawn – Kingsgate Bay, Kent
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Winner in the Botanical Britain category. Kelp Bed at Dawn – Kingsgate Bay, Kent
The Overall Winning Image – Contrails at Dawn
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The Overall Winning Image – Contrails at Dawn
Winner in the Animal Behavior category. Life and Death at the Edge of the World – Fair Isle, Shetland
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Winner in the Animal Behavior category. Life and Death at the Edge of the World – Fair Isle, Shetland

Established in the 2009, the British Wildlife Photography Awards concentrate on local UK photographers celebrating the beauty and diversity of Britain's flora and fauna. The extraordinary winning image, 14 months in the making, uses an infrared camera to capture the flight path of a rare bat at night.

The fascinating winning image from photographer Paul Colley is titled Contrails at Dawn. Taken at Coate Water Country Park in Wiltshire, the image reveals the high-speed flight of several Daubenton's bats, with one captured just moments before catching its insect prey. Colley spent 14 months developing a unique infrared camera and lighting system with the goal of imaging this elusive bat's speed of movement and hunting flight path.

The Overall Winning Image – Contrails at Dawn
The Overall Winning Image – Contrails at Dawn

"In hindsight, I experienced a huge gradient of emotion," Colley says, explaining his long journey in attempting to capture this single striking image. "There were lows felt during months of long, cold and exhausting dusk-to-dawn sessions, sometimes waist deep in water and often without getting a single usable image. And then the natural highs of those light bulb moments, when new ideas blossomed, problems were solved and the project inched closer towards the potential to win this exceptional accolade."

Winner in the Animal Portraits category. Bean – Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
Winner in the Animal Portraits category. Bean – Peak District National Park, Derbyshire

The competition spans a massive array of different categories, from animal behavior and portraits, to a documentary category focusing on entries comprising six images that tell a single story. All the winning images are celebrated in an exhibition tour, as well as being collected into an annual coffee table book.

Naturalist and author Stephen Moss suggests the competition is an important reminder of the broad assortment of species and habitats found in Britain. "It is a snapshot of Britain's diverse and beautiful wildlife, at a time when these wild creatures – and the places where they live – are under threat as never before."

Winner in the Hidden Britain category. Waiting for her Prey – Dunchideock, Devon
Winner in the Hidden Britain category. Waiting for her Prey – Dunchideock, Devon

Take a look through our gallery to see all the winning images, which can also be found in the annual published collection, available online here.

Source: BWP Awards

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