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Great Crested Grebes Bag Top Photo Prize

Haringey resident Andrew Palmer has been crowned the winner of The Royal Parks’ birding photography competition. The winning photo captures great crested grebes performing their iconic courting ritual against the backdrop of the Serpentine Bridge in London’s Hyde Park.

Palmer who won the first prize of binoculars worth £400 said:

The birds were very close to the edge of the lake, and I realised they were courting and unbothered by my presence so with some patience and probably over 100 shots, I realised I captured this beautiful moment of the birds mirroring each perfectly.

Nigel Jackman, Chair of the Richmond Park Bird Group, and on the panel of judges said the winning photo reminded him of a painting:

I love this picture. The composition is wonderful, and it just reminds me of a watercolour painting. I could picture it on my wall.

The competition was part of The Royal Parks’ ongoing mission to Keep Wildlife Wild, whereby the charity encourages the millions of people who visit London’s eight Royal Parks to observe wildlife in its natural habitat rather than touching or feeding animals. Earlier this year, as part of this initiative, the charity partnered with The Urban Birder, David Lindo, to run free bird watching sessions across the parks.

David Lindo was on the panel of judges and joining him were Nigel Jackman, Chair of the Richmond Park Bird Group, Pete Lawrence, Biodiversity Manager for The Royal Parks and Mike Turner, Assistant Park Manger for St James’s Park.

The judges also selected a winner in the under-18 category and a winner for the best image taken on a phone, with both winners receiving a pair of mid-range binoculars.

Topping the junior category was a photo of a skylark in Bushy Park, taken by 14-year-old Matteo De Oliveira who lives in Hampton Wick. Matteo is a wildlife enthusiast and recognises many bird calls.

He said:

I was just walking around in the park near some open grasses, where I knew there were skylarks. I heard one singing and I was just following them around from a distance until one perched on the sign that said, ‘Do not disturb the skylarks.’ I dropped down to the bird’s eye level and composed the shot to have the sign in the image. It was funny and a bit ironic that there was a skylark right next to the sign.

Darshna Ladva received top place for the best photo taken on a phone. She captured a shot of ring-necked parakeets atop a tree. The Urban Birder, David Lindo said this was a standout photo because

it combines three elements, the plants and flowers, the moon in the background and the birds embracing.
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