Monday, 28 November 2011

BWC Photo Comp; "Junior" Shortlist

Welcome to the first of our posts showing off the 20 short-listed photos for each category. First up is the Junior  section. We were very pleased to see a lot of interest in this category, which was for people aged 16 years old or under.

Below are the 20 photos... congratulations to all who made it this far. Winner and runner-up will be announced early January after our judging panel, including professional wildlife photographer Andy Rouse, have had a chance to look through them all.

 "Marsh Frog" - Andrea Alvarez

 "Tawny Owl" - Andrea Alvarez

 "Red Squirrel" - Chris Smith

 "Frog Prince" - Daniel Jackson

 "Just so cute" - Daniel Jackson

 "Red Fox"- Fiona_35

 "Reflection" - Fiona_35

 "Polecat" - Sam

 "Eagle Owl" - Kai  Vallely

 "Red Fox" - Kai Vallely

 "Fox" - Laura Rouse

 "Have you got my best side?" - Lydia Akrel

 "Squirrel" - Lydia Akrel

 "Water Vole" - Pardus99

 "Wildcat" - Pardus99

 "Squirrel" - Sid the Photographer

 "Squirrel" - Sid the Photographer

 "Squirrel" - Sophie

 "Squirrel" - Sophie

"Harvest Mouse" - Tim Brammel

Good luck to all the short-listed entries above. The next category to be announced will be the Artistic Interpretation. 

Friday, 25 November 2011

BWC Photo Comp; Staff Favourites

The next in our weekly blog posts on the 2011 photo competition, in the run-up to the winners announcements early next year, is to show off some of the staffs favourite photos.

The task was simple... for each staff member to chose one image from the hundreds entered which they particularly liked. Not necessarily what they thought was the best, but one of their favourites. It proved a very difficult task but below is what was chosen.

The short-listing for each category is nearly complete, and next Monday will see the first blog post on the short-listed entries. First category to be announced will be the "Junior" category showcasing the talent of the 16 year olds and under which visit the Centre.

So, onto staff favourites...

Realise Photography

Izzy, Keeper - "I like the way the motion of the wing is covering the owl, with just the eye visible between the feathers" 


Rich, Keeper - "I really like this one because it shows off a wildcat really kicking ass!"

Mandy Swanwick

Leonie, Keeper - "I like the way it shows the movement of otter through the water and the way it has captured the spume"


Tom, Keeper - "I love the muted colours in this one and the way it accentuates the golden eyes of the owl"

Mandy Swanwick

Jean, Centre Manager - "The detail captured in the fur as the otter has just come out of the water is amazing"

Phil Long

Liza, Interpretation and Marketing - "I love how this photo shows Flo as she really is, always happy, full of life and enjoying being stroked and tickled by Matt"

Sid the Photographer

Mandy,  Coffee Shop Manager - "This one just makes me smile every time I look at it. It is almost human like in pose, and reminds me of how I feel after a day at work"

Ian Rentoul

Linda, Accounts - "A great pose. I have seen many of the squirrels like this, but this is my favourite"

Phil Homer

Michael, General Maintenance - "It makes you look at it closer after a first glance. Then you can see it is an otter with good camouflage and in a really natural setting"

Philip Pound

David, Owner - "I think this is a clever idea, and it has been done really well"


Matt, Head Keeper - "This one stood out to me as it shows two of my favourite girls, both looking very smug as they think they have just done a good flying display"

Don't forget to check out the blog on Monday for the short-listed entries for the "Junior" category.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Photo Comp: Round Up

Wow! A staggering 804 photographs have been entered in to this years BWC photographic competition, over the six separate categories. Having downloaded them all over the weekend, this week sees the difficult task of whittling them down to a shortlist of 20 photographs per category.

This will not be easy as the standard looks extremely high and varied, but the BWC staff are up to the challenge and always enjoy looking at a good photo, especially when it is of one of our animals.

The shortlisted entries will then be looked at by our judging panel made up of:

Andy Rouse; International Professional and Multi Award Winning Wildlife Photographer
David Mills; BWC Owner and keen Amater Artist
Matt Binstead; BWC Head Keeper and keen Amateur and Award Winning Photographer

Between them they will choose the winner and runner-up of each category, with any dispute being decided by head judge Andy Rouse. Then from the 12 chosen photos the overall winner will be decided by Andy Rouse to win the prize of a one-on-one day with him here at the BWC, worth £500!

Winners will be announced during January of next year.

Each week in the lead up to the announcement there will be a blog post on the competition. This will start with the staff's favourites, where each staff member will pick one photo they particularly like for what ever reason. Not necessarily what they think is the best, but just their favourite.

This will follow with the shortlisted entries from each category for you all to look at, then finally a post to announce the winners and runner ups of each category and then the final post declaring the overall winner.

Here are just a few pics from the competition to wet your appetite for some amazing photos which are going to be posted over the coming weeks...


 Chris Allesebrook

 Chris Sweet

 Dominic Burch

 Duncan Jennings

 Gary Rachamme

 Gill Merrit

 Jason Steel

 Mandy Swanwick

 Mark Bridger

 Mike Bainbridge

 Paul Reader

 Philip Pound


 Ray Braim

 Sue Edwards

 Tessa Brammel

Tim Wright

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Night Heron spotted on Nature Reserve

Back in May of this year, we had a very rare visitor of Britain visit our nature reserve. At the time, although knowing it is not often seen in this part of the country, we did not know just how rare this sighting was.

The bird was a Night Heron! Duncan Jennings, one of our more frequent visiting members and keen amateur bird watcher, was lucky enough not only to spot this rare bird but also take these photos you see on this page.

After casually mentioning this spot to our local expert twitcher, Ken Noble, he got very excited and asked to see the photos as evidence. Once he had confirmed that they were indeed night herons he passed this on to the Surrey Birds Club Records Committee who immediately got in contact with me.

Apparently, this is only the 4th Night Heron to have been spotted in Surrey since 1900! Well done Duncan!

The Night Heron is a very rare visitor to Great Britain in general, and any spotted over here tend to have come from the Netherlands either slightly blown of course or during a slight detour whilst migrating. The photos show it is a juvenile night heron with the brown and pale flecked plumage, the maturer ones being more black and white.

They tend to be quite a crepuscular bird mainly hunting at dusk on the edge of the bank, for small fish and invertebrates. Although only seeing one on our nature reserve, they quite often hang around in small groups and it is not unusual to see them in the trees such as our Grey Herons that live on our reserve.

Well done again to Duncan Jennings for these great photos of this rare bird. To see more of Duncan's photos check out his flickr page at