With so many wildlife photography competitions out there, how do you tell one from the other? Well, the name British Wildlife Photography Awards speaks for itself — and these photos stand out from the pack.

The competition invites amateur and professional photographers to submit images they've captured across the United Kingdom. From the thousands of photographs submitted, winners are selected in 15 categories including a documentary film category and special categories for young photographers.

This year's overall winning image (and winner in the Black and White category) is Paul Colley's photograph of bats flying across a reservoir. Colley used an infrared camera and lighting system to capture the flight paths and wing beats of the Daubenton's bats.

No other image in my portfolio had been so clearly conceived and yet so difficult to achieve. My artistic intent was to capture this extraordinary little bat’s speed of movement and hunting flight path, but the journey to success was littered with disappointing failures. Fortunately, fellow photographers encouraged imaginative experimentation and taught me to anticipate setbacks as a reasonable price for ultimate success. In hindsight, I experienced a huge gradient of emotion. There were the lows felt during months of long, cold and exhausting dusk-to-dawn sessions, sometimes waist deep in water and often without getting a single useable image. And then the natural highs of those light bulb moments, when new ideas blossomed, problems were solved and the project inched closer towards the potential to win this exceptional accolade.” – Paul Colley

The winning images, which you can see below, along with 100 other images are currently on display at the Mall Galleries in London. The exhibit will rotate through different museums around the U.K. until September 2019.

Close to Nature

Close to Nature winner
Goose Barnacles (Goose Barnacles), Sanna Bay, Highland (Photo: David Bennett/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Coast and Marine

Coast and Marine Winner
Storm Gull (Lesser black-backed gull), New Haven, East Sussex (Photo: Craig Denford/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Hidden Britain

Hidden Britain Winner
Waiting for her Prey (Nursery Web Spider), Dunchideock, Devon (Photo: Andrew McCarthy/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Botanical Britain

Botanical Britain winner, kelp bed
Kelp Bed at Dawn (Oarweed), Kingsgate Bay, Kent (Photo: Robert Canis/British Wildlife Photography Awards)


Portraits Winner
Bean (Badger), Peak District National Park, Derbyshire (Photo: Tesni Ward/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Animal Behavior

Animal Behaviour winner
Life and Death at the Edge of the World (Great Skua and Puffin), Fair Isle, Shetland (Photo: Sunil Gopalan/British Wildlife Photography Awards)


Habitat winner
Spectacular Isolation (Mountain Hare), Cairngorms National Park, Highlands, Scotland (Photo: Andrew Parkinson/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Documentary Series

Documentary Series Winner
Rehabilitated Grey Seals Being Released into the Wild, Cornwall (Photo: Ben Watkins/British Wildlife Photography Awards)


Seasons winner spring
Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels (Red Squirrel), Rothiemurchus Forest, Highland (Photo: Neil Mcintyre/British Wildlife Photography Awards)
summer seasons winner
Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels (Summer) (Photo: Neil Mcintyre/British Wildlife Photography Awards)
fall seasons winner
Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels (Autumn) (Photo: Neil Mcintyre/British Wildlife Photography Awards)
winter seasons winner
Seasonal Scottish Red Squirrels (winter) (Photo: Neil Mcintyre/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Urban Wildlife

Urban Wildlife winner
Magpie in the Snow (Magpie), Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow (Photo: Christopher Swan/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Wild Woods

Wild Woods Winner
Seasonal Overlap (European Beech), Aviemore, Highlands, Scotland (Photo: James Roddie/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Young Winner, 12-18

Young Winner 12-18, tadpoles
Eye of the Spawn (Common Tadpoles), Walmer Castle, Kent (Photo: Ivan Carter/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

Young Winner, Under 12 Years

Winner under 12 years, cute bug
Who Says Bugs aren’t Cute (Cockchafer), Borrowdale, Cumbria (Photo: Lucy Farrell/British Wildlife Photography Awards)

BWPA book cover

These images have been published from British Wildlife Photography Awards 9 published by Ammonite Press, RRP £25, Available online and from all good bookshops.