Tuesday 2 January 2018

Top ten bird images from 2017

This time last year I was bemoaning the fact I had taken fewer decent photos than in 2015. I'm afraid to say that the same thing has happened again, and I don't think that it is because I am becoming more selective. Still, it was hard to pick just ten, there are so many that I like very much. Most of them have likely been featured on this blog before so they may not be a surprise, and they may not also be the "best" objectively. But they're the ones I've enjoyed planning and taking most. I've also got a top 10 non-birds planned, as I took a surprising number of non-avian subjects in 2017.

Cyprus Wheatear, April 2017. I did a trip with one of my daughters purely for relaxational purposes but managed to find time to visit some Cyprus Pied Wheatears whilst Kate ran off and played on the rocks - quality parenting. Talking of rocks, I used my favoured rock technique, where I first of all spend some time watching where the birds like to perch, and then placing an attractive rock on top of the perch. Nine times out of ten the bird perches on the rock atop the perch, and the scene is set.

This isn't the greatest photo I've ever taken, but I was particularly pleased to get a 'nothing' background on this Black-headed Wagtail in Greece. In my opinion this is the best flavour of flava, so to speak.

From the same location (i.e. within a few metres!) as the Wagtail shot above, this was taken out of the car window during a hugely enjoyable session around Lake Kerkini in Greece. This particular Whinchat was crushingly beautiful, and the head turn here which just shows a bit of that peachy orange breast is essentially, in my eyes, perfect.

Another score for Lake Kerkini, I lined up and framed this lone high reed in the hope that the Great Reed Warbler would ascend and sing from the very top. It did. I left happy.

Arctic Tern sex. Another car shot, they do sometimes make the best hides. I slept beside the Tern colony in the hope of getting photos like this in the early morning. Luckily the happy couple obliged. This is one of a long series of similar images but I think it is the one that I prefer.

I've probably said all there is to say about this already - a photo created out of pure luck and little else. This is the fourth in a sequence of five all taken in a split second alongside a tiny ditch in Iceland that was positively teeming with Red-necked Phalaropes. So many in fact that it was hard to isolate a single bird and I was concentrating on that rather then attempting this specific shot. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the camera. Well worth getting rather wet for as I basically had to lie in the same ditch to get to the right level.

This "periscope" image is also from Iceland and one that I had preconceived in my head. On my previous visits I never had the light that I wanted for this shot - this is always somewhat of a lottery in Iceland.

This was a simply stunning bird and whilst this image is not as I would wish it to be (no camera when we found it!) I've included it here because it was just one of those great patch moments.

I've got closer photos and I've got better photos, but this is a top ten of images that mean something and I was delighted to get this on day two of my recent South Africa trip. The bird is sharp and in typical habitat - I'm just going with it.

I've got full frames of the entire bird with the tail and everything, but I most liked this one for the framing and the inquisitive expression that the placement of the flowers seems to put on the bird's face.


  1. That Phalarope is not just YOUR best bird photograph of the year, it could well be THE best bird photograph taken by anybody in 2017.

  2. Very nice indeed. The Whinchat and the Diver do it for me in particular.