Prize winning photo of moorland bird took four years to capture
With piercing yellow eyes, the short-eared owl alights for the briefest of moments on a fencepost as golden evening sunlight bathes the moorland.
Malcolm Mee's winning photograph was pitted against a high volume of entries showing 'moorland and wildlife' scenes, and impressed the judges enough to take first prize in the Moors for the Future Partnership's first photography competition.
The winning image was chosen by wildlife photographer Paul Hobson and BBC Springwatch regular contributor Wildlife Kate (Kate MacRae) who said “Golden light falling on this stunning short-eared owl was what made this shot stand out. The moor in the distance puts this awesome hunter in context with its landscape. A cracking shot!”
Malcolm explained how he achieved his winning image: “I have been visiting the same location for four years trying to get shots of this daytime hunter - I stay in my car as it makes a perfect hide. Finally the owl landed briefly on a post on the other side of the road giving me just enough time to get the portrait that I was looking for”.
The five runners up chosen by the judges were: a beautifully atmospheric image of a red deer stag in the mist taken by Brent Hardy; a Peak District mountain hare camouflaged on a snowy moor taken by Paul Gibbs; a family of mandarin ducks lined up on a river bank taken by Steve Green; a brown hare hiding amongst ox-eye daisies and a water vole feeding - both taken by Mary Wilde.