The stunning snaps of borough wildlife selected as winners of photography competition

Adult winner Steve Drake captured this shot of a juvenile kestrel. Picture: Steve Drake / Barking and Dagenham Council

Adult winner Steve Drake captured this shot of a juvenile kestrel. Picture: Steve Drake / Barking and Dagenham Council - Credit: Archant

Eagle-eyed snappers in the borough captured a green woodpecker, an urban fox and a juvenile kestrel for a wildlife photography competition.

Janette Powell was a winner of the adult category for this photo of a fox. Picture: Janette Powell / Barking and Dagenham Cou...

Janette Powell was a winner of the adult category for this photo of a fox. Picture: Janette Powell / Barking and Dagenham Council - Credit: Archant

The stunning shots were some of the winning entries in the “wild and free” competition run by the council’s ranger services team over the summer, which asked for photos that bring the diverse wildlife of the area into focus.

The winners’ and finalists’ photos will be featured in a 2021 calendar, which will be available for people to buy at a later date.

A panel of judges - including deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf, and member champion for climate change, Cllr Andrew Achilleos - chose four winners across three age group categories.

Cllr Andrew Achilleos said: “We have so much beautiful green space in Barking and Dagenham, where wildlife thrives and I’m sure at times, can go slightly unnoticed.

Under 7 winner Deividas Kunigelis' photo of tadpoles. Picture: Deividas Kunigelis / Barking and Dagenham Council

Under 7 winner Deividas Kunigelis' photo of tadpoles. Picture: Deividas Kunigelis / Barking and Dagenham Council - Credit: Archant


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“It was great to see how our residents went out and captured local wildlife in its natural habitat.

“It is important for the community to visit the parks in the borough and I hope that this competition highlighted how wonderful they are.”

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Deividas Kunigelis, 6, was the winner of the under 7 category with a photo of tadpoles.

The photo “brings back memories of childhood, simple pleasures, and highlights how much life can exist right in front of us if we pay attention and look closer.”

Aaron Khan won the 8-11 years old category after snapping a green woodpecker in the street. Picture: Aaron Khan / Barking and...

Aaron Khan won the 8-11 years old category after snapping a green woodpecker in the street. Picture: Aaron Khan / Barking and Dagenham Council - Credit: Archant

Aaron Khan’s photo of a green woodpecker on the pavement won the 8-11 years old category.

The 11-year-old’s entry was chosen for capturing “the unusual sight of this bird in an urban setting, more often seen in parks and green spaces - literally ‘wildlife on your doorstep’.”

Adult category joint winner Janette Powell’s photo of an urban fox was “a perfect example of nature making the most of quieter roads during lockdown and how nature will come to you if you are patient and quiet.”

Steve Drake was the other adult winner with a photo of a juvenile kestrel - “a species that people may not be so familiar with, a brilliant find in the woodlands by the photographer.”

The shot was described as a “really lovely, clear image with lots of personality as it’s looking right into the camera.”

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