STUNNING images of a dive-bombing kingfisher, a mother bear being nuzzled by her cubs and a group of monkeys relaxing in a river are among the finalists for a Scottish photography award.
The Scottish Seabird Centre has revealed the images shortlisted for its prestigious Nature Photography Awards.
Now in their eighth year, organisers said they had attracted a record level of entries across seven categories, with more than 100 photographs from around the world in the running.
The images include some of nature’s most elusive creatures and include the brown bear and her cubs taken in Alaska and the group of macaques indulging in a natural spa treatment in Japan.
A number of Scottish wildlife photographs feature as well, capturing puffins, red squirrels, red deer and ospreys in their natural habitat.
The judges include Lorne Gill, the award-winning official photographer at Scottish Natural Heritage, freelance photographer Graham Riddell and Scottish Field editor Richard Bath.
Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “We’re delighted to have received a record number of entries this year, and are also thrilled by the incredibly high standard of the images submitted. Given that the competition is only open to amateur photographers, the quality of the entries is stunning.
“These amazing photographs will inspire everyone who sees them. Whether the images are closely observed shots that capture flora and fauna in detail or sweeping landscapes that take a creative approach, the one thing they all have in common is that they demonstrate outstanding skill in highlighting our amazing natural environment.”
The images will form part of an exhibition at the Discovery Centre in North Berwick until 31 January, with the public invited to vote for their favourite. The one with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.
Each of the category winners will be given the opportunity to join a boat trip from North Berwick to the Isle of May National Nature Reserve, which is under the care of Scottish Natural Heritage. It will take place in spring to coincide with the return of the puffins at the start of their 2014 breeding season.
The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony at the Scottish Seabird Centre in February.