Woodcock by Andy Thompson
Here's a question: how many times have you actually seen a Woodcock during the spring out in the open like this, let alone been able to photograph it? My own views have always been of roding birds at this time of year, and I've never been able to point a lens at one, so I looked with envy at this stunning image by Andy Thompson.
This is a beautiful portrait of a very tricky bird to photograph out in the open, and it really does appear to be enjoying the early morning sunshine. With a highlight in the eye, soil on the bill and the cryptic plumage on full show, it's hard to imagine a better-looking shot; even the branch along the bottom of the frame takes nothing away from the composition.
Andy took advantage of a superb opportunity using a 600 mm lens, shooting at 1/800th second, f7.1 on ISO 640. Congratulations to him on this well-deserved Photo of the Week.
You can read more on bird photography from Steve Young, including product reviews and a regular Photo Challenge for readers, every month in Birdwatch magazine.
Other notable images
Western Subalpine Warbler, Switzerland (Photo: Jacques Cloutier)
Alpine Swift, Cyprus (Photo: Russell Hayes)