Bearded Reedling by Tony Moss

British Wildlife Photography AwardsNaturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham has applauded the British Wildlife Photography Awards, an exhibition of which opens at Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood in the New Year.

He said, “These stunning images by so many talented photographers highlight the diversity, breadth and beauty of our precious wildlife and the need to protect their habitats.

Tony Moss is one of two local photographers whose work was chosen for the exhibition. Based in the New Forest, his intriguing shot of a bearded reedling was captured at Weymouth’s Radipole RSPB Nature Reserve.

“I knew photographing the bearded reedling would be a real challenge as they are notoriously difficult to see, let alone photograph,” said Tony. “This shot was taken on my fourth visit to the reserve. On a freezing February morning, I was lucky enough to locate a small group immediately adjacent to the path and ended up standing still for ages before they started showing well enough to even start taking photographs. They then pretty much disappeared once the light levels improved – the frequent complaint of many wildlife photographers”. Tony’s patience was rewarded when his image received a highly commended placing in the portraits category of the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

Sherborne’s Jeremy Walker also received a highly commended for his photograph of New Forest woodland.

This year’s overall winning shot was taken off the coast of Northern Ireland by George Karbus. Capturing a truly magical moment, it depicts a dolphin, just as it starts to surf a deep tube inside a wave. Its fin is seen cutting through the surface of the water to create a perfect window onto the land beyond.

“The British Wildlife Photography Awards are without doubt one of the most important photography awards in the UK. Anything that raises the public’s awareness of the importance to conserve and protect British wildlife is very close to my heart and these awards afford a spectacular insight into the habitat and behaviour of our British wildlife,” added Chris Packham. “From blue tits to badgers, never has Britain’s wildlife looked more beautiful.”

The British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition will be open daily in the Visitor Centre at Moors Valley Country Park from 25 January until 9 March and is free to view. Parking charges do apply.

The 2014 British Wildlife Photography Awards opens for entries on 1 February. Details will be available on www.bwpawards.org.

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