Merlin by Jeremy McClements
In a particularly strong week for uploads to the BirdGuides gallery, Jeremy McClements's outstanding close-up of a flying Merlin takes top spot. For most birders, an encounter with this raptor amounts to a fleeting glimpse as the bird zooms by at breakneck speed, often in pursuit of a hapless Meadow Pipit or Eurasian Skylark. Such sightings are often extremely brief and the bird is long gone in a matter of seconds. As such, capturing a high-quality image of a Merlin is no mean feat, and Jeremy is to be commended for his skill in producing this week's winning image. It is just about as perfect a shot as one could hope for, with a razor-sharp bird, immaculate feather detail, a great pose and fantastic eye-to-eye contact. Congratulations to Jeremy!
Other notable images
Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Beringovskiy, Chukotka (Jens Kirkeby).
Corn Bunting, Tagus Estuary, Portugal (Ian R Poxton).