Carl Zeiss Award (CZA)

Since its inception in 1991, the Carl Zeiss Award has been awarded to the photograph or series of photographs that BBRC have judged to be the most instructive in their adjudications throughout the preceding year. BBRC members have always had a slight difficulty in deciding what exactly constitutes ‘helpful, interesting and/or instructive’ photographs when comparing the many hundreds that we receive, and this often leads to in-depth discussions and debates. This all helps the voting process of course, and ultimately it was a very personal choice for individual members, with previous winners including the Ascension Frigatebird Fregata aquila in 2014 and the Asian Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica daurica/japonica in 2012.

 Change of criteria for winning:

At a meeting in November 2014, followed up at the AGM in March 2015, it was decided to slightly change the direction of the Carl Zeiss Award, starting from this year. From 2015 onward the award will be given to the best overall submission of the year. We hope that this will encourage those birders lucky enough to find or identify something rare to put that little bit of extra effort into their submission. Obviously, this could well include an instructive series of photographs, but will not be limited to such. Sketches, paintings, detailed notes and sound recordings may all form part of a good submission, as well as a good account of the circumstances around the sighting, and BBRC will judge each one on its merits.

Year Species Photographer Location & Date





Brunnich’s Guillemot

Green Warbler

Brown Shrike

Iberian Chiffchaffs

“Isabelline” Wheatear

Dave Cooper

David Parnaby

Michael McKee

Ed Hunter

Martin Perrow

Shetland, January 2018

Fair Isle, July 2017

Shetland, September, 2016

Glamorgan, May-July, 2015

Norfolk, September, 2014

2014 Ascension Frigatebird Jim Sim Islay, July, 2013
2013 Thayer’s Gull Tom Lowe Lincolnshire, April, 2012
2012 Asian Red-rumped Swallow Ian Fulton Orkney, June, 2011
2011 Baikal Teal Adrian Kettle Essex, October, 2010
2010 Eastern Crowned Warbler Dougie Holden Durham, October, 2009
2009 Macqueen’s Bustard Eric Hosking Suffolk, November, 1962
2008 Olive-tree Warbler Hugh Harrop Shetland, August,  2006
2005 Scopoli’s Shearwater Bryan Thomas Off Isles of Scilly, August, 2004
2004 Sykes’s Warbler Les Bird Sussex, August, 2002
2003 Blyth’s Reed Warbler

& Oriental Turtle Dove

Andy Middleton

Richard Hewitt

Greater London, October, 2001

Highland, November, 2002

2002 Soft-plumaged Petrel Gary Bellingham At Sea, August, 2001
2001 Collared Flycatcher Dave Hatton Orkney, May, 1999
2000 Pallid Swift Steve Young Yorkshire, October, 1999
1999 Lesser Sand Plover Iain Leach Sussex, August, 1997
1998 Little Swift Martin Hunnybun Isle of Wight, May, 1997
1997 Buff-bellied Pipit Martin Scott Isles of Scilly, October, 1996
1996 Gull-billed Tern Dot Jones Merseyside, July, 1995
1995 Spotted Sandpiper John Szczur Nottinghamshire, December, 1994
1994 Wilson’s Storm-petrel Adrian Wander Off Scilly, August, 1993
1993 Steppe Grey Shrike Ren Hathway Cornwall, April, 1992
1992 Pechora Pipit Bob Proctor Shetland, September, 1991

On other pages you can find a few sample images from past winners, along with the article that appeared in British Birds to announce the winner. Nowadays those articles are quite large showing a selection of images from the winner and those short-listed.