8th Sep 2017
A jaw-dropping selection of the the best and most striking 2017 submissions for the annual Bird Photographer of the Year was released recently with the overall winner announced as nature photographer Alejandro Prieto Rojas. He won the top spot with his image of a pink flamingo feeding a chick, taken at Rio Lagartos, Mexico and will receive a £5,000 cash prize.
The annual competition is a collaboration between the British Trust for Ornithology and Nature Picture Library. BPOTY helps raise funds for the BTO, so far having raised over £5,500 from entry fees alone. The money has been used to help support the BTO’s young birders program, aimed at engaging a younger generation of naturalists and ornithologists.
Our own birdlife here at the stud has also begun to thrive with growing colonies of buzzards, wrens, treecreepers and kingfishers, spotted amongst the more common visitors. Our heron population has also increased and although a little shy of our visitors, they can often be observed quietly fishing along the shores of St Fiachra’s Garden.
Herons are considered pests to fishermen but our head gardener in St Fiachra’s Garden, Davey, sees no great issue with the numbers and is excited to report in fact, that a lesser known white heron called a Little Egret has also been noticed from time to time. These are much rarer and could be compared to this beautiful image, another finalist in the BPOTY competition:
Our Mute Swan cygnets haven’t faired so well and we were heartbroken to have lost three of the four that hatched. Davey is shocked too and can only put it down to the mink which continue to plague the waters and can be very damaging. Nature is sometimes very hard to swallow.
In their memory however, one of our visitors took this magnificent shot earlier in the year which will go forward to our 2019 Calendar Competition, where we feature 12 of the best shots taken by visitors during the year.
Autumn is a truly splendid time of year with the lessening light making for perfect pics alongside the backdrop of golds and browns.
So take out your lenses and get snapping. Autumn at the Irish National Stud is simply stunning. The colour in the Japanese Gardens is hard to match anywhere and as visitors tail off, there are plenty of opportunities to capture that ‘special’ image.
Our Bug Hotel is also beginning to fill up with all sorts of critters including the threatened honey bee. Worldwide the news is good for the bee population too. After positive efforts to restrict the use of pesticides, the populations are beginning to grow by over 3% per month – good news for us all!