A beautiful picture of a cormorant in front of the rising sun was voted the public's favourite.

Lensman Tim Nightingale was chosen as winner of the Sussex Wildlife Trust's annual photo competition - with a prize of £150.

Judges for the competition - headed up by wildlife photographer David Plummer - narrowed down more than 500 entries to just 12 for the public vote.

Tim said: "I went down to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve at first light on 30 April this year. I got there just after 5am, before the sun came up, or blue hour, as us photographers call it.

"I followed the path that runs parallel to the Rother, beyond the Discovery Centre, stopping briefly at the first hide. There wasn’t another soul in sight."

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As Tim got nearer to the beach and the river's estuary, the sun was beginning to rise from behind the dunes on Camber Sands.

"I then spotted the cormorant on the pole.  I had to move quickly to get in a position where it would be silhouetted. With the brightness of the sunrise and the darkness or low light in the scene generally, I used a tripod and shot it on a telephoto lens at about 300mm."

Over 1,000 people voted in the competition, with the finalists' images on display in the Sussex Wildlife Trust's 2024 calendar and at an exhibition at the Booth Museum in Brighton.

Tim added: "The cormorant was very accommodating and stayed in situ allowing me to fire off a few different shots at different exposures.

"For all that, it really just came down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. But I’m glad I made the effort to get up early."

The Argus: Nuthatch on Fungi by Brian WatkinsNuthatch on Fungi by Brian Watkins (Image: Brian Watkins / Sussex Wildlife Trust)

Brian Watkins from Haywards Heath was runner up with his picture of a Nuthatch bird landing on a stump.

He said: "I came across this fungi covered stump and decided put some seeds nearby in the hope of a bird landing on it, so was over the moon when this Nuthatch landed on the top and assumed its iconic pose."

The runner-up won a t-shirt from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.