2013 Carl Zeiss Award

Published on 19 June 2013

At the 2013 BBRC AGM in Conwy we discussed the parameters and reasons for selecting the winning entry.  The ‘rules’ say that Images are to be judged as those most instructive in helping the BBRC’s assessment.  We agreed that it is perfectly acceptable to consider images that have been imperative in clinching the identification, as these are by their very nature instructive.  There was a concern that the winning image in several recent years had involved a photographer who had not been aware of the significance of the photo when they took it.  However, it was agreed that this should not be an issue if the image still met the criteria for being instructive to the committee.

There was some discussion about considering other categories such as best written description, best sketch etc.  It was agreed that it would be good to publish these in BB or on the website, but that the award would retain its focus on photographic images.

This year’s short-listed images continued the high standards of recent years, both in terms of quality of photo and quality of vagrant!  To give an insight in to the way the members approach this enjoyable task we have decided to show some of the comments they made (but best to ignore the English & spelling 🙂

Note that some records are still being assessed and being considered for the CZA award does not indicate that all records have been accepted by BBRC and/or BOURC.

Award winner will be announced in August issue of British Birds

Black Scoter, North-east Scotland a new plumage- probs overlooked and major scoop to get any photo of a Black Scoter in UK waters

Eleonora’s Falcon, Cornwall Poor but clinching pics. These pics were crucial to acceptance. A bird that is always difficult to convince others without photographs. Although the images are small, they leave no doubt about the identification. These photos with Cornish scenery thrown in for good measure prove the naysayers wrong.  Having a record that can be robustly defended is quite a prize.

Western Sandpiper, Cheshire Far and away the best photographs of this controversial bird, critically, showing it’s true colours – essential for correct identification, a fascinting bird- not easy to photo by all accounts, though I am still not sure what it is myself but needed at least instructive photos such as this one to work with

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Dumfries & Galloway Good photos of an unusual Semipalmated Sandpiper, would a  description have been acceptable for such a strange looking bird.

Short-billed Dowitcher, Dorset & Scilly birds ID was clinched online using photos and these pics important to confirm acceptance,

Thayer’s Gull, Lincolnshire Hugely instructive and helpful photos of v. difficult species. Crucial to convincing others to go and view the bird. This bird was seen by many and well studied, but the more photos the better for those of us that didn’t see it. An ID that rested on photo proof, that satisfies the criteria of instructive for assessment (on the day and as a record) huge sceptisim has surrounded these in past so good photo was needed to get folk moving

Sakhalin/Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Dorset Photos probably essential for identification to this species pair without the photos this might have stayed as a controversial Eastern-crowned or Arctic, and with no in hand data the only chance of getting it to species is from these photos. Although (currently) not identified to species, just such a fabulous, crippling bird. Without the images this would surely have been lost altogether, or accepted as an Arctic Warlber… this is mind blowing first, off the radar and shows to me at least some E Palearctic birds we know v little about

‘Western’ Orphean Warbler, Cleveland Photos probably only play a part in the ID here….photos facilitated the research and assessment criteria to verify racial ID.,

Sykes’s Warbler, Shetland Just wonderful pics showing all key features, aiding understanding of species appearance

Siberian Stonechat of the form stejnegeri, Dorset without the photos this would not have been proven to be the Dutch bird, not only an amazing record but also a relocation. This bird has created an environment for finding out if ID of these can be taken any further

Black-eared Wheatear, Lincolnshire Good and seemingly clinching shots of notoriously difficult species pair. Record would have been lost without the photo, and its actually good enough to assign to race as well. Another one that would surely have been lost without the images

Chestnut-eared Bunting, Shetland   for all the faults of forums and social networking, sometimes it can be very effective . The photo was enough to alert people even if it didn’t prove the ID. Another amazing bird. I think this would have been nailed in the end but the photos sure helped.