Common Kingfisher by Max Thompson
Common Kingfisher has understandably been one of the most popular species to appear in the BirdGuides galleries over the years. To date there have been close to 4,700 images of the species submitted over the past couple of decades, and such a volume of shots means that it takes something truly brilliant to stand out from the crowd.
We've become accustomed to the classic perched shots, or indeed some of the eye-catching diving photos that have become a feature of recent years, but a genuine flight shot of this rapid bird is an incredibly difficult image to execute.
Max Thompson's submission, therefore, is a truly exceptional shot. The kingfisher, with a recent catch, is in the process of powering past. With nice light, a diffuse background and – crucially – the bird in focus and sharp, this image pushes the boundaries on what is possible for bird photographers.
Other notable images
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bloomington, Indiana (S Bell).