Our previous winners were:
2013 Gavin Haig (Devon)
With Gavin's return to blogging this year, hopes were high that our very first winner would make an assault on the trophy, especially since he has adopted some prime birding real estate on the Dorset coast. But where was he? He posted absolutely no white-arse images at all!
2014 Martin Casemore (Kent)
When you live at Dungeness, and possess an enormous lens (steady now...), there can be no excuse for not having a go at reclaiming the trophy. Although he started with good, early intent, the pressure must have become too much, as he disappeared to Morocco for ten days at the end of April!! Despite this, he managed a creditable seven white-arses.
2015 Jono Lethbridge (Essex)
The man who is more Wheatear than human saw off the devious methods of Surrey's Peter Alfrey to lift the trophy last year, when he posted a record breaking 33 images. But Jono is a man consumed by short breaks away from Blighty and his mind was clearly not on defending his title. Some say he's burnt out, others that he has become complacent. Whatever the reason, he managed a white-arse count of six for 2016.
So, who are the winners?
This was shared by two Dungeness shingle-botherers, who posted an image on their blogs during the evening of March 25th. Step forward Martin Casemore and Paul Trodd. They both win a pair of DBO-themed thongs, which they will be all too willing to model during the first good day of Pomarine Skua passage this May, most probably outside of the sea watch hide. Hope the weather's not too cold gents...
Lucy @ A Natural Interlude wins, with this portrait of a female doing what Wheatears do best - perching on a post. The smooth green background helps to define this favourite species of us birders.
The big one... so far we have seen the trophy go to Devon, Kent and Essex. And now, not only do we have our first winner from Hertfordshire, but also our first female winner! Step forward
Lucy @ A Natural Interlude
As is the way of award ceremonies, Lucy was unavailable to collect her award, as she was busy putting together another fine post on her blog, which can be visited by clicking here. But my people are in touch with her people, and the presentation of the trophy will be taking place on the summit of Ivinghoe Beacon at dawn tomorrow, with traditional maypole dancing and cider drinking laid on for the expected crowds. She will also receive a commemorative 'White Arse' gold medal, which Sir Steven Redgrave has recently said is worth far more than "all of his Olympic gold medals put together..."
This is the last year of the competition. Good things come to an end, and this one has run on for probably too many years already. My thanks to all of those fine bloggers who have made us happier naturalists with the posting of images of one of our finest migrants. Keep 'em coming...