Macleay Island resident Greg Abbott expressed feelings of honour, surprise and happiness on being named the winner of this year’s BirdLife Australia photographic competition.
The winning shot, judged in the “Human Impact” category, featured a contemplative Curlew against the backdrop of a construction sign, symbolising the intersection of human development and wildlife.
Abbott, an amateur photographer, attributed the success of his photo to recognising a special moment and his iPhone.
Yet, there’s no doubt his 38 years spent living on the island, immersed in observing and appreciating local flora and fauna, underpinned his natural instinct for a unique shot.
The photograph, taken on a quiet April evening at the Macleay Island jetty during a major reconstruction, showcased the Bush Stone-Curlew pondering the implications of the upgrades.
Abbott, alone in the car park, captured the moment as he checked out the construction while waiting to pick up a passenger from the ferry.
In describing the inspiration behind the photo, Abbott said: “Perhaps it was the solitude of the moment.”
In his entry submission, Mr Abbott wrote that: “…the Curlew just stood there as if the construction, signs, lights and dead machinery had stumped it. …. I too was somewhat stunned at the implications for wildlife of the multimillion-dollar upgrade to jetty and the extended parking areas. I stood with the Curlew for a while.”
The 2023 competition attracted more than 6000 entries from some of Australia’s best bird photographers.
Birdlife Australia celebrates 120 years of advancing ornithology.
In 2023, BirdLife Australia marked its 120th anniversary since the establishment of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU), coinciding with the birth of the newly federated nation of Australia.
Originally formed by a group of amateur birdwatchers, the RAOU aimed to advance ornithology, protect avifauna and promote ornithological research through the publication of The Emu.
This significant milestone highlights the enduring commitment to the study and conservation of Australia’s birdlife.