The spat: For several hours, the noisy sounds of courtship and mating were all Joe McDonald was treated to as he sat, sweltering in the hot sun, in a boat on the Three Brothers River in Brazil’s Pantanal. So when the female jaguar finally emerged from the undergrowth and walked down to the river to drink, he was grateful for the photo opportunity. But that was just a start. After slaking her thirst, the female flopped down on the sand. Then the male appeared. After drinking and scent-marking, he approached the female, who was lying in what appeared to be a pose of enticement. At least, that’s what both Joe and the male thought. She rose, growled and suddenly charged, slamming the male back as he reared up to avoid her outstretched claws. His own claws were sheathed. “I couldn’t believe the energy and intensity of those three seconds,” says Joe. The pair then disappeared into the undergrowth to resume their courtship, leaving Joe with a sense of awe and a rare, winning image. (Joe McDonald / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013)
Thanks to Atlantic’s website for bringing this to our attention:
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, founded in 1964, is an annual international showcase of the very best in nature photography. Owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, the contest includes 18 individual categories, ranging from birds and mammals to “Creative Visions” and “Nature in Black & White.”This year, the 49th annual competition, drew tens of thousands of entries from dozens of countries. Starting today, the winning photos will be on exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London until March 23, 2014. The owners and sponsors have been kind enough to share the following 10 images from their group of overall winners. Be sure to visit their website to see all of the winners and find out more about the competition
Among other of the top-ranked photos,
5 Mother’s little headful: One night, Udayan Rao Pawar camped near a nesting colony of gharials on the banks of India’s Chambal River — two groups of them, each with more than 100 hatchlings. Before daybreak, he crept down and hid behind rocks beside the babies. “I could hear them making little grunting sounds. Very soon a large female surfaced near the shore, checking on her charges. Some of the hatchlings swam to her and climbed onto her head. Perhaps it made them feel safe.” It turned out that she was the chief female of the group, looking after all the hatchlings. Gharials were once found in rivers all over the Indian subcontinent. Today, just 200 or so breeding adults remain in just 2 per cent of the former range. “The Chambal River is the gharial’s last stronghold,” says Udayan, “but is threatened by illegal sand-mining and fishing.” (Udayan Rao Pawar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013) #
8 Lucky pounce: “Anticipating the pounce — that was the hardest part,” says Connor Stefanison, who had come to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, in search of wildlife as much as the spectacular landscape. He had found this fox, his first ever, on his last day in the park. It was so absorbed in hunting that Connor had plenty of time to get out of the car and settle behind a rock. It quartered the grassland, back and forth, and then started staring intently at a patch of ground, giving Connor just enough warning of the action to come. When it sprung up, Connor got his shot. And when it landed, the fox got his mouse.(Connor Stefanison / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013) #
See all the winning entries here.