A dramatic image of gannets nesting on a far-flung rocky outcrop in the Shetland Isles amidst swirling mist is one of the award-winning pictures in the 2014 British Wildlife Photography Awards.
A Life At Sea For Nesting Gannets, which won the Habitat category, was taken by Ruth Asher of Oxfordshire.
The overall winner was The Tourist an “extraordinary” shot of greylag goose under a stormy London sky by the River Thames with the Shard in the background which beat thousands of entries to win the Urban Wildlife category.
Lee Acaster, from Wortham in Suffolk, who scooped the top £5,000 prize described how he grabbed the opportunity to photograph the greylag goose: “It was a real privilege to have such a close encounter with a wild bird in the very heart of London.
“I vividly remember the excitement I felt as she patiently waited for me to get the shot, and I knew immediately this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I’m just grateful that she didn’t lose interest as quickly as my children do when I’m taking photographs of them.”
Mark Ward, competition judge and editor-in-chief at the RSPB’s Nature’s Home magazine, said: “The winning photograph shows a familiar bird in a familiar setting, but the visual impact is extraordinary.
“Lee’s stunning photograph proves you do not have to travel far to capture the very best of Britain’s wildlife images.”
Other stunning photographs taken in Scotland were Otter and Puffin taken by Richard Shucksmith from Shetland which won the Animal Behaviour category and Autumn Jewels by Peter Cairns from the Cairngorms of woods in the area.
Chris Packham, TV presenter and naturalist, said: “Anyone passionate about protecting and preserving wildlife will be inspired by the British Wildlife Photography Awards, which in its fifth year has done more than any other award to raise the profile of British wildlife.”
A close-up of a seal’s claw and a London telephone box being reclaimed by nature to grow plants are among the more unusual winning photographs.
In the junior categories, 11-year-old William Bowcutt from Leicestershire won top prize for a youngster under 12 with his image of a dipper, taken in Dumfries while a head-on shot of a fox on the prowl in South London won the 12 to 18-year-old category for Joshua Burch,16, from London.