Carl Zeiss awards

Since its inception in 1991, the Carl Zeiss Award has been awarded to the photograph or series of photographs that BBRC have judged to be the most instructive in their adjudications throughout the preceding year. BBRC members have always had a slight difficulty in deciding what exactly constitutes ‘helpful, interesting and/or instructive’ photographs when comparing the many hundreds that we receive, and this often leads to in-depth discussions and debates. This all helps the voting process of course, and ultimately it was a very personal choice for individual members, with previous winners including the Ascension Frigatebird Fregata aquila in 2014 and the Asian Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica daurica/japonica in 2012.

Change of criteria for winning

At a meeting in November 2014, followed up at the AGM in March 2015, it was decided to slightly change the direction of the Carl Zeiss Award, starting from this year. From 2015 onward the award will be given to the best overall submission of the year. We hope that this will encourage those birders lucky enough to find or identify something rare to put that little bit of extra effort into their submission. Obviously, this could well include an instructive series of photographs, but will not be limited to such. Sketches, paintings, detailed notes and sound recordings may all form part of a good submission, as well as a good account of the circumstances around the sighting, and BBRC will judge each one on its merits.

Carl Zeiss Award winners

2020 onwards

YearSpeciesObserverLocation and date
2022American Black TernRoss AhmedNorthumberland, July 2021
2021Zino's PetrelBob FloodAt sea off Scilly, July 200
2020Eastern Yellow WagtailJames McCallum and Kayn ForbesNorfolk, December 2019


YearSpeciesObserverLocation and date
2019Brunnich's GuillemotDave CooperShetland, January 2018
2018Green WarblerDavid ParnabyFair Isle, July 2017
2017Brown ShrikeMichael McKeeShetland, September 2016
2016Iberian ChiffchaffEd HunterGlamorgan, May-July 2015
2015'Isabelline' WheatearMartin PerrowNorfolk, September 2014
2014Ascension FrigatebirdJim SimIslay, July, 2013
2013Thayer's GullTom LoweLincolnshire, April, 2012
2012Asian Red-rumped SwallowIan FultonOrkney, June, 2011
2011Baikal TealAdrian KettleEssex, October, 2010
2010Eastern Crowned WarblerDougie HoldenDurham, October, 2009


YearSpeciesPhotographerLocation and date
2009Macqueen's BustardEric HoskingSuffolk, November, 1962
2008Olive-tree WarblerHugh HarropShetland, August, 2006
2005Scopoli's ShearwaterBryan ThomasOff Isles of Scilly, August, 2004
2004Syke's WarblerLes BirdSussex, August, 2002
2004Blyth's Reed WarblerAndy MiddletonGreater London, October, 2001
2003Oriental Turtle DoveRichard HewittHighland, November, 2002
2002Soft-plumaged PetrelGary BellinghamAt Sea, August, 2001
2001Collared FlycatcherDave HattonOrkney, May, 1999
2000Pallid SwiftSteve YoungYorkshire, October, 1999


YearSpeciesPhotographerLocation and date
1999Lesser Sand PloverIain LeachSussex, August, 1997
1998Little SwiftMartin HunnybunIsle of Wight, May, 1997
1997Buff-bellied PipitMartin ScottIsles of Scilly, October, 1996
1996Gull-billed TernDot JonesMerseyside, July, 1995
1995Spotted SandpiperJohn SzczurNottinghamshire, December, 1994
1994Wilson's Storm-petrelAdrian WanderOff Scilly, August, 1993
1993Steppe Grey ShrikeRen HathwayCornwall, April, 1992
1992Pechora PipitBon ProctorShetland, September, 1991
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