Sound the trumpets for Akshay Jamwal, who has won the Feathered Friends competition. He led by five votes in the end. Congratulations.
My thoughts on the images.
alibarber's pelicans: Looks like it could be put in a wildlife reference book under 'pelicans'. With its mouth open this is a great shot and the exposure looks well-controlled for such bright white birds. Some said that the second pelican detracted from the image, I think quite the opposite, it only adds. What is more, this shot was captured with the humble 500/8; a difficult lens to work with indeed.
Akshay's Pelican: This is a more arty shot, composed and/or cropped purposefully. Some said that they did not like how the end of the bill had been removed, but that's exactly what makes this shot compositionally special. The detail and colour is also admirable. The eye looking straight at you makes everything come together nicely. I can see why it won.
rrox's Egret: The most common gripe expressed by members was that the subject is too small; but since when does a shot have to be a close-up to be worthwhile? This image is in a similar vein to the old 'tiny camel in a vast desert' shot; the composition is spot-on and the background thoroughly interesting of its own accord - the subject being small gives the image a grandness, a feeling of big open spaces through which the egret flies. Without the background the egret is nothing, and without the egret the background is pointless. Together they work.
Clive gannet: Like ali's pelicans, this belongs in a bird reference book somewhere, as it shows a gannet in all its detail and active glory without the image style being at all arty farty, yet still interesting. Sharp subject, exposed perfectly, a blurred but obvious surf behind - sums up the gannet and its habitat.
Now to sort out a small prize for Akshay!
Clive's competition is on. Looks a treat. Check it out and be sure to enter.