Wildlife wonders at Moors Valley

STUNNING images of wildlife across the country are on show at Moors Valley country park near Ringwood in the annual exhibition of the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA).

The images were selected from thousands of entries and raise awareness about biodiversity, British species and their habitats. Alongside amazing close-ups, incredible underwater images and revealing habitat shots, the overall winning image is the perfect reminder that wildlife can be found in the most ordinary of places. Daniel Trim’s photograph shows a pied wagtail silhouetted by the lights of Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Daniel said: “Urban pied wagtail roosts are incredibly important for the birds’ survival during these harder times, both for the additional warmth our buildings generate but also because there’s safety in numbers… I spent time looking for birds I could isolate against interesting background lighting. The birds soon tuck their heads under their wing to sleep, you have to get lucky with one waking up briefly to have a look around.”

Seven images, from Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, were highly commended in this year’s awards including two taken by Wimborne-based Robin Goodlad. In the Portraits category his Ring in Bright Water captures an otter making a perfect circle in the water, while his second image, Ethereal Dawn, is in the Wildwoods category and shows a carpet of wild garlic in Dorset woodland.

Robin said, “I have always been fascinated by otters, and while you can see them much more regularly on the rivers of Dorset, it is much more difficult to observe their magical underwater behaviour, and what phenomenally agile creatures they are. While photographed in captivity, this was still not an easy photograph to achieve. Good timing was key to capturing that brief moment when he came in for a perfect circle, and to me this extraordinary behaviour is what makes the photo for me – a ring in bright water.”

Moors Valley is the only location on the south coast to host the BWPA national touring exhibition. Recently announced as Dorset’s best large attraction in the Dorset Tourism Awards, one of the park’s core objectives is to provide opportunities for visitors of all ages to experience, understand and learn about Moors Valley’s wildlife and wider environmental issues. It is one of the best places in the UK for dragonflies and home to all six species of British reptile as well as a highly successful water vole reintroduction programme.

The exhibition is open daily in the Visitor Centre and Ranger Den at Moors Valley Country Park from 20th January to 4th March. It is free to view. For more information go to www.moors-valley.co.uk

Pictured: The overall winning image, Heathrow Roostings, Heathrow Terminal 5, London, by Daniel Trim
Habitat class winner, Ben Hall’s Wren on frost-encrusted fern, Dunham Massey, Cheshire; Puffin in a hole, Skokholm Island, by ten-year-old Oliver Teasdale; Ring in Bright Water, by Robin Goodlad.