Talented bloggers in the UK and around the world have been busy exploring wildlife habitats on their doorsteps and further afield over the past year.
They have been sharing their exciting nature experiences and discoveries with a passionate online community via the BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporters Forum.
Our expert panel of judges had the wonderful task of reading through blog posts that are rich in variety, admiring wildlife photography and watching footage of amazing animal behaviour.
Ciara Stafford, Stripy Tapir
Manchester, UK / Amazon, South America
I started Stripy Tapir as a field journal of sorts, to share photographs and stories of the wildlife I see at home and on my travels. Though distinctly international in scope, I hope my blog bears testament to the fact that beguiling species are never too far from home. I split my time between Manchester and Norwich in the UK, and my field site in the Amazon rainforest.
I study primate conservation, and my research focuses on exploring the relationship between primates and the indigenous communities they share their habitat with. I’m interested in whether people think primates have ecological or cultural value, which species benefit from the way populations manage their forests, and which are most vulnerable to hunting.
Highlight of the year:
The night walks in the Amazon jungle come out on top as my highlight of the year, as they included some of the area’s most bizarre invertebrates, and glimpses of behaviours that are really rare. I saw a bird caught in a spider’s web, and a tailless whip scorpion.
A tailless whip scorpion, which is actually harmless to humans © Ciara Stafford
I even managed to find my first ever gladiator tree frog. For years I had only heard the disembodied croaks of this species coming the canopy. Incredible animals, great company, and an adventure. What more could a Local Patch Reporter want?
“Ciara has genuine expertise to impart to readers AND writes a neat blog which is informative, and gently humorous,” said James Fair, one of the judges.
Will Harper-Penrose : Wild South London
My blog began as photographic evidence of my local wildlife, but through a new-found awareness of what I’m looking at, it has become a place for pondering animal behaviours.
Highlight of the year:
I was visiting South Norwood Country Park in May, an old sewage works that now hosts a range of habitats and wildlife. On this visit, it was rampant with butterflies including green-veined whites.
Tawny owl chick © Will Harper-Penrose
I noticed the raucous call of two jays, who were mobbing something a few metres away from me. I raced to the scene to find a bemused-looking tawny chick peering at me with two big black eyes.
“Will’s open writing style makes the ordinary seem extraordinary,” said Lianne de Mello, one of the judges.
Connel Bradwell, Daily Nature
John Watson, The Waterland
Emma Caton, The Wildlife Channel
Caitlin Kiska, The Gambling Bird
Phil Barnett, Roby Milling
Lianne de Mello is public relations and communications officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and leads on media campaigns.
Melissa Harrison is a novelist and nature writer. She is also the editor of four anthologies of writing about the seasons.
David Lindo is a naturalist, writer and photographer from London who is passionate about engaging people with urban wildlife, especially birds.
James Fair is environment editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine.
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