Finalists: BBC wildlife photographer of the year contest

In place of “Readers’ Wildlife Photos” today I’m putting up some of the BBC’s “Wildlife photographer of the year finalist entries,” and you can vote for the “People’s Choice” award here. The captions and credits are those given on the BBC Website, which shows 25 pictures. These are my ten favorites:


A cub escapes deep snow by hitching a ride on its mother’s backside in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Taken by Daisy Gilardini, from Switzerland.



Cold temperatures on Shodoshima Island, Japan, sometimes lead to monkey balls, where a group of five or more snow monkeys huddle together to keep warm. Thomas Kokta climbed a tree to get this image.



Gunther Riehle arrived at the sea-ice in Antarctica in sunshine, but by the evening a storm had picked up – and then came snow. He concentrated on taking images of the emperor penguin chicks huddled together to shield themselves.



Stephen Belcher spent a week photographing golden snub-nosed monkeys in a valley in the Zhouzhi Nature Reserve in the Qinling Mountains, China. The monkeys have very thick fur, which they need to withstand the freezing nights in winter. This image shows two males about to fight, one already up on a rock, the other bounding in with a young male.



The kingfisher frequented this natural pond every day, and Mario Cea used a high shutter speed with artificial light to photograph it. He used several units of flash for the kingfisher and a continuous light to capture the wake as the bird dived down towards the water.



Sabella spallanzanii is a species of marine polychaete, also known as a bristle worm. The worm secretes mucus that hardens to form a stiff, sandy tube that protrudes from the sand. It has two layers of feeding tentacles that can be retracted into the tube, and one of the layers forms a distinct spiral. Photo by Marco Gargiulo, Italy.



The bird’s wing acts as a diffraction grating – a surface structure with a repeating pattern of ridges or slits. The structure causes the incoming light rays to spread out, bend and split into spectral colours, producing this shimmering rainbow effect. Photo by Victor Tyakht, Russia.



Tapio Kaisla took a trip to Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjell National Park, Norway, to find these oxen in their natural habitat. Even though spring is not rutting season for these animals, they were already seriously testing their strength against each other. The air rang out with the loud bang of the head-on collision.



During the summer months, 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats arrive at Bracken Cave in San Antonio, Texas, US, to give birth and raise their young. Each evening at dusk, the hungry mothers emerge into the night in a vortex, circling out through the entrance and rising into the sky to feed on insects. Photo by Karine Aigner, USA

And of course we must have a kitty:


Bernd Wasiolka encountered a large lion pride at a waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. One of the two males spray-marked the branches of a nearby tree. Later two females sniffed the markings and for a brief moment both adopted the same posture.

h/t: pyers


  1. Posted November 30, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink


    • Dominic
      Posted November 30, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Such planning going in to those pics! Kingfisher wins for me.

      • Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Yes that one is a tremendous picture.

      • Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Me too, amazing.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink


  2. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The diving kingfisher shot is an excellent photograph, brilliantly executed and no doubt requiring huge skill and effort to achieve, but I have seen a number of examples of pretty much the same composition (I seem to recall a publicity shot for one of the big optics firms that was rather similar)so I don’t think it should win.
    All of the photos presented though are fantastic and i would have been as pleased as punch to have produced anything a fraction as good as any of them

  3. Jonathan Dore
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Snub-nosed monkeys: not really clear what’s going on without the caption.

    Kingfisher: the one that produced an an audible gasp from me, so that’s my choice — whether it’s been done before or not. I doubt that “photograph something that’s never been done before” is one of the criteria.

  4. Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I love the faces on the snub nosed monkeys.

  5. Posted November 30, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Maybe this will help me finally get it out of my head that monkeys only live in hot places! *Two* examples of monkeys and snow! Wow.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    These are stunning!

    It got me thinking about all the great photos we see here every day. Imagine what life was like just a short time ago, before photography.

  7. everydaypapa
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Each and every one of these is stunning. Judging them to pick a winner would be no easy task. If I had to, I’d definitely pick one of the monkey photos. Or the oxen. Or the bristle worm…


  8. Kiwi Dave
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Although the kingfisher shot is spectacular and quite possibly superior in photographic skill – I’m quite ignorant of these things – the musk oxen picture appeals more with its, power, stark colours and repeated patterns of hair and grass.

  9. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    #1 monkey ball
    #2 musk oxen

  10. Marcia DePree
    Posted December 3, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Outstanding! Bravo.

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