Red-breasted Merganser by Martin Abbess
Sawbills are particularly smart-looking ducks and some would argue that male Red-breasted Merganser is among the best of this group. With their punk crests, startling red eyes and whacky bills, these birds are a sight to behold. Fortunately, finding this species is relatively straightforward around our coasts, although getting close enough for good photos isn't quite as easy.
Step forward Martin Abbess, who was able to make the most of a close encounter with this pristine male along the Northumberland coast recently. Martin has caught the merganser in a terrific pose as it lifts off from the water. The wings have been framed in a perfect position and there is great eye contact with the bird as it flies by, while we're also treated to a great view of those bright red legs. Congratulations to Martin on nailing this shot – it would have been easy to fluff the opportunity and end up with soft or blurred images of what is always a fast-flying species.
Other notable images
Lapland Bunting, Mount Comfort Airport, Indiana (Steve Bell).
Great Grey Shrike, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura (Angus Croudace).