As always, the Bird Photographer of the Year competition has produced a crop of stunning images. The most striking of which for me was one of a familiar bird, the gannet. Richard Shucksmith won the Gold Award and the People’s Choice Award for this amazing image.
I particularly love the eyes, and what could be called the facial expressions of rapt predators.
With a 6ft wingspan, pristine white plumage, black wingtips, yellow saturation to the head and an impressive dagger-shaped bill, the Northern Gannets is not only Europe’s largest but also one of it’s most attractive breeding seabirds. Nesting in colonies numbering into the 10 000’s and occupying some of the continent’s most remote and dramatic sea cliffs and reaching diving speeds of over 60mph on entering the sea in search of their prey, the northern gannet is an iconic species which offers exciting opportunities for nature photography.
Very few images have been made of gannets diving underwater within the UK. Over the last five years by studying the gannet’s behaviour, and understanding the movement of the fish they feed on, I have been able to successfully predict the best times to photograph gannets underwater.