Winning Images - Biodiversity Photographer of the Year Annual awards of the Irish Environmental Network celebrates National Biodiversity Week Fri 16 Jun 2017 Norther Gannet by Sprog (John Holden), the overall winning image in the IEN Biodiversity Photographer of the Year competition. Taken on the Great Saltee Island, Co.Wexford of the bird flying back to his mate with an offering of freshly harvested Sea Campion. Catherine Dolan - "Their Habitat Must be Protected" - A little stonechat perching high amongst the wildflowers. The image has won 2nd place overall in the Irish Environmental Network photo awards which celebrate National Biodiversity Week. Jessica Hamilton's image of a Cockchafer "What are you doing here??" won 3rd place overall in the Irish Environmental Network photography awards. "My first encounter with this magnificent mini-beast & right on cue for its nickname the May bug (1st May). Curious but clumsy creatures. Billy Horan's image "Do you like my new antlers??" was highly commended. "I see this large Red Stag in Killarney National Park and he stood still to give me the perfect pose. A velvet skin covers his Antlers this time of year to protect them while they are in growth and the velvet skin also gives oxygen and nutrients to the growing Antler." Geoff Hunt's picture of a Common Blue pair was highly commended. "There are many areas of waste ground within our towns and cities. To some they are just a dumping ground, an eye sore or a place to let the odd horse lose to feed. To me,it is an urban jungle that holds many colourful surprises, like this pair of Common Blue butterflies surviving among us in Kilmallock Co Limerick." Pat Somers' image "Love is in the Air?" was highly commended. "A pair of Large Red Damselflies mating. It's amazing how they form a love heart while in the act of mating" Highly commended: Larry Doherty: "Look Into My Eyes". Shortlisted: Sprog (John Holden): "Yellow Tailed Moth Caterpillar [Euproctis similis], The Raven Forest, Wexford. Portrait after a shower of rain. This specimen measures approximately 7 ? 9 mm in length. The shot was taken in The Raven Forest in Co. Wexford. He was sheltering under a leaf, but still managed to collect a few micro rain droplets." Shortlisted: Sprog (John Holden): Puffin [Fratercula arctica]. Great Saltee Island, off Kilmore Quay, Co.Wexford. Puffins nest in burrows dug out of sandy cliff edges. Their wings are short and ultimately designed for flying under water, although they are also impressive flyers in the air with a wing beat of up to 400 per minute. Shortlisted: Sprog (John Holden): Red Squirrel. " This Red Squirrel is one of an important and healthy population of approx. 300 at The Raven, where they are holding their own against the invasive Grey Squirrel. The Grey has a devastating effect on Red Squirrel populations, through food competition and the fact that the Grey carries the Squirrel Parapoxvirus, which they are immune to, but which kills the Reds in large numbers.." Shortlisted: Gary Kett: "Cetaceans and seabirds feeding at the Skellig Islands. These photos, captured from RV Celtic Mist (Irish Whale and Dolphin Group) during a research survey, depict a large fish-feeding aggregation of common dolphins, minke, fin and humpback whales and thousands of gannets, to the north of Skellig Mhichael. These islands are an icon of ecotourism in Ireland and have served an important role in our heritage and wildlife appreciation. " Shortlisted: Photograph: Todor Tilev Shortlisted: Photograph: Todor Tilev Shortlisted: Pat Somers: "Are You Looking at Me?? "The Common or Viviparous Lizard is Ireland's only reptile.They can be found all over Ireland.On warm days they can be seen sunning themselves on rocks or dried logs.Common lizards are viviparous, which means that the young develop within egg membranes inside the female?s body.This takes 3 months they can have up to 12 young in a litter.They blend in very well with their surroundings and scatter very quickly when disturbed." Shortlisted: Photograph: Brenda Cullen - Mount Usher Gardens Ashford Co Wicklow Shortlisted: Darran Rafferty - "Mad Eyes" Shortlisted: Chris Howes - fox coming back from a long night out hunting. Shortlsited: Darren Rafferty - Resting Shortlsted: Photograph: Catherine Dolan This photograph by Brian Joyce won the schools competition. Winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited for four weeks after the prizegiving on Wednesday June 21st at Pearse Street library. The competition was judged by Irish Times picture editor Frank Miller.