From friendly Antarctic penguins to the rainbow plumage of a Colombian hummingbird, our readers on their favourite images – and the lengths they went to to capture them.
I took this photo at the end of January in Balloch, Scotland. I have always wanted to take a picture of a male mandarin duck. It is the bird that made me want to start taking photographs. They are beautiful, with so many stunning colours. At the end of January, I had heard via Facebook that there was a pair of them up the road from me. I got up early and drove to Balloch. I had all but given up hope, when all of a sudden I saw the bright orange tail feathers of the duck in between some bushes on the river’s edge. I had to lean on a tree that was in the water to take the pictures. I then fell into the water and tore my trousers, but it was worth it. Paul Fraser, 36, freshwater biologist, Callander, Scotland