It’s official! Blyth, Bedlington, New Hartley and North Shields are home to four wonderful wildlife photographers.
For the four, Keith Cochrane, Tom Pugh, Paul Stamp and Fabien Balezeau have all been awarded prizes in the 2014 North East Wildlife Photography Competition at the special awards ceremony at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.
Fabien Balezeau from North Shields won first prize in the Botanical Category for his poppy picture taken at Leazes Park in Newcastle, while Paul Stamp who lives in Bedlington, won the Wildlife in the Landscape category with his image of storm-blown redshanks off Cresswell Beach in Northumberland.
Retired roofer, Keith Cochrane’s shot of a cuckoo in flight at Druridge Bay saw him secure the Commended prize; Keith, from Blyth said: “I was told by friends that there was a cuckoo on the Bay, so I headed there and found it hopping from fence post to fence post.
“You hear cuckoos but it is not often you see one, but this was a young bird which allowed me to get quite close and I feel privileged to have got the shot.”
Last of the ‘Fab Four’, but by no means least, is Tom Pugh from New Hartley, whose photo of a puffin in flight, taken on the Farne Islands in Northumberland, won him the Commended prize in the Wildlife in Action Category.
Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive said: “This year’s competition attracted the most entries so far and it is wonderful to think that they reflect the wildlife gems in our region which our organisation works tirelessly to protect.
The competition was sponsored by Nestlé which has a factory in Fawdon in Newcastle, and an exhibition of the winning photos is on display at the Great North Museum, also in Newcastle.
“I would like to thank all the people who took time to go out and take their photos and enter them, and the judges who put time aside to cast their expert eyes over them - not a quick task due to their impressive quality.”