As the end of 2019 approaches, we're looking back at another fantastic year of nature photography. Over the last 12 months, our photographers have been busy pointing their cameras in all directions to bring us their views of the natural world. Here, we present a selection of our favourite nature images of 2019, as well as some of the hardest-hitting images made this year.
Eduardo Blanco / European mantis (Mantis religiosa) hunting swarming Pale burrower mayfly (Ephoron virgo), mayflies recently hatched. Tudela, La Ribera de Navarra, Navarre, Spain. August.
Neil Anderson / Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), two curled up asleep in drey inside nest box. Nest of lichen and Pine needles. Highlands, Scotland, UK. Medium repro only.
Sven Zacek / Frozen bends and flood plain of Halliste River, aerial view. Soomaa National Park, Viljandimaa County, Estonia. Febraury 2019.
Tony Wu / Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), group socialising in shallow water, aerial view. Part of larger group of more than 50 whales congregating, Sea of Okhotsk sub-population, Russia.
Yashpal Rathore / Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) on rock with forested hills beyond. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India. Camera trap image. 2019.
Phil Savoie / Smeathman's furrow bee (Lasioglossum smeathmanellum) feeding on Wallflower (Erysimum sp.) Monmouthshire, Wales, UK. April.
Alex Mustard / RF - Denise's pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise) looks out from its home in a sea fan (Annella sp.). Misool, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Ceram Sea. Tropical West Pacific Ocean. (This image...
Ann & Steve Toon / Ostrich (Struthio camelus) silhouetted in dust storm. Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Jack Dykinga / Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) male covering fledgling with wings to protect from danger. Fledgling flapping wings in protest. Marana, Arizona, USA. May. Sequence 1/2.
Shane Gross / Flying fish (Exocoetidae) in Sargasso Sea, Atlantic Ocean.
Oscar Dewhurst / Mute swan (Cygnus olor), two cygnets sheltering under parent's wing. Richmond Park, London, England, UK. April.
Klein & Hubert / Long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) on dune bordering the Gobi Desert at sunset. Mongolia.
Sergio Hanquet / Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) young animal tangled in fishing net. Tenerife, Canary Islands. 2019.
Philippe Clement / Visitors taking selfies with smartphones with Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) swimming in background. Zoo de la Fleche, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France. 2019
Will Burrard-Lucas / White rhino (Ceratotherium simum), portrait. Solio Game Reserve, Solio Ranch, Kenya. Taken with remote camera buggy / BeetleCam. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. All other uses require clearance
Doug Perrine / Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) calf riding on mother's head. Near Nomuka Island, Ha'apai Islands, Tonga.
Edwin Giesbers / Red deer (Cervus elaphus) silhouetted stag bellowing during rut in grassland, doe in background. Richmond Park, London, England, UK. October
Andy Rouse / Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) fighting over hippo carcass in water, Masai Mara, Kenya
Tony Heald / Elephant (Loxodonta africana) reaching up on back legs to feed on tree, front legs on termite mound. Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.
Guy Edwardes / Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), portrait. Lake Kerkini, Sintik, Greece. January.
Alex Mustard / Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) swimming close to surface. Brothers Islands, Egypt.
Andy Rouse / Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) silhouetted at sunset, Masai Mara, Kenya
Guy Edwardes / Marbled white (Melanagria galathea), two butterflies on Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis). Badbury Rings, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England, UK. June.
Andy Rouse / African Lion (Panthera leo) male at sunrise, Masai Mara, Kenya
Alex Mustard / Jellyfish (Catostylus sp.) swims beneath a slick of plastic debris. Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka. Highly commended in the Environmental Report section, Montphoto competition 2019
Danny Green / Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in flight, Alaska, USA, February
Guy Edwardes / Beech (Fagus sylvatica) woodland in moonlight. Cranborne Chase, Dorset, England, UK. March 2019.
Mark Carwardine / Aerial view of Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) lunge-feeding, with throat pouch distended, southern Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), Baja California, Mexico.
Tui De Roy / Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki), two on beach, front of sea lion covered in sand, in morning light. Mosquera Islet, Galapagos.
Ann & Steve Toon / Yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata), two pups nose to nose. Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Robert Thompson / Tussah moth (Antheraea godmani) close-up of head and bipectinate antennae. Santa Clara, Chiriqui Province, Panama. Focus stacked image.
Tony Wu / Sculpin (Alcichthys elongatus) eggs. Hokkaido, Japan. May.
Alex Mustard / Dugong (Dugong dugon) male and juvenile Golden trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) swimming over Seagrass (Halophila stipulacea) meadow. Marsa Nabaa, Marsa Alam, Egypt.
Karine Aigner / Least grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) family, adult feeding chicks whilst other sits on nest. Texas, USA. July.
Andy Sands / Orange tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) on bluebell flower in English woodland, Hertfordshire, England, UK, April.
Gabriel Rojo / Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) female and newborn baby, nose to nose in grassland. La Pampa Province, Argentina.
Alex Mustard / Snorkeller looking down on a Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) passing beneath. Indian Ocean, off Sri Lanka.
Andy Rouse / Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) standing on pack ice at sunset. Svalbard, Norway.
Klein & Hubert / Long-eared jerboa (Euchoreutes naso) at sunrise. Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
Shane Gross / Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) clinging to algae in a land locked alakaline lagoon on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas.
Doug Gimesy / Silhouette of the head of a Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) through its wings. On hot days when resting in trees, flying-foxes will spread their highly vascular wings, thereby allowing...
Ingo Arndt / Snow blowing in wind, over cracks in the clear ice of Lake Baikal. Siberia, Russia. February.
Eric Baccega / Eastern white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), four running in line, on migration, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
Ann & Steve Toon / Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) charging in aggression with open mouth. Chobe River, Chobe National park, Botswana.
Alex Mustard / Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) two swimming over sand bar, under stormy sky. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. British West Indies.
Christophe Courteau / Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), close up of eye. Bioparc Doue-la-Fontaine, France. Native to Brazil. Captive.
Andy Rouse / African Lion (Panthera leo) cubs age two months playing, Masai Mara, Kenya Medium repro only