IT IS a shot of a familiar bird in a very familiar setting.
But the “extraordinary” shot of a greylag goose under a stormy London sky has won this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards.
The picture, by Lee Acaster from Wortham in Suffolk, captures the goose in close-up by the Thames with part of the London skyline, including the Shard, in the background.
The shot beat thousands of entries in the annual photographic awards, which are now in their fifth year, to win the urban wildlife category of the competition and scoop the top prize of £5,000 for the overall winning image.
Mr Acaster said: ‘It was a real privilege to have such a close encounter with a wild bird in the very heart of London.
“I vividly remember the excitement I felt as she patiently waited for me to get the shot, and I knew immediately this was a once in a lifetime opportunity,
“I’m just grateful that she didn’t lose interest as quickly as my children do when I’m taking photographs of them.”
Striking images of a shag resting, a puffin in the jaws of an otter and a gannet breeding colony as well as Scottish woodland and a telephone box being reclaimed by nature are among the winning photographs in this year’s contest.
Prizes were awarded in 16 categories including a close-up of a seal’s claw which won the Close to Nature section and was taken by Jim Greenfield, from Harrogate.
Competition judge Mark Ward, editor-in-chief at the RSPB’s Nature’s Home magazine, said: “The winning photograph shows a familiar bird in a familiar setting, but the visual impact is extraordinary.
“The stormy, brooding backdrop sets a dramatic scene, while the orange and pink from the bird bring vibrancy to the monochromatic cityscape.
“Lee’s stunning photograph proves you do not have to travel far from home to capture the very best of Britain’s wildlife images.”