- Latest Highlights > 2020 > Our Favourite Images of 2020 (149) More files...
It’s been a year many would choose to forget – and one what will never be forgotten. But even amidst a global pandemic, flowers blossomed, birds sang and bees buzzed. Even as our cities fell silent, the voices of nature were as loud as ever in the forests and fields.

At a time when people all over the globe were forced to abandon their travel plans and stay at home, Nature Picture Library photographers chose to ‘grasp the nettle’ and focus their lenses on the places where they live. In the UK, Ann and Steve Toon found solace in their local wildflower meadow. In Melbourne, Doug Gimesy swapped the Australian bush for an inner city apartment, where a trio of rescued baby wombats were being raised. In The Bahamas, watching the ocean through the eyes of a drone helped Shane Gross to breathe through dark and scary times.

The photos are a potent reminder that nature is never too far away, and somewhere we can find refuge in times of uncertainty. What is most striking is the sense of stillness and calm which so many of these images covey, almost as if the photographers were searching for an antidote to these profoundly unsettling times, and wanted to share that feeling with us, too.

We hope these images bring a little bit of light and joy to the end of your year.

Read more in our blog here.

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) landing on Lake Kerkini, Greece  -  Guy Edwardes
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Guy Edwardes / Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) landing on Lake Kerkini, Greece
A mother Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) and her joey, surrounded by burnt trees. Survivors of a bushfire in Mallacoota, Australia, January 2020. Winner of Man and Nature category of Nature...  -  Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
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Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals / A mother Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) and her joey, surrounded by burnt trees. Survivors of a bushfire in Mallacoota, Australia, January 2020. Winner of Man and Nature category of Nature...
Pelagic blanket octopus (Tremoctopus gracilis) female in full display, off Anilao, Batangas Philippines, Pacific Ocean.  -  Magnus Lundgren
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Magnus Lundgren / Pelagic blanket octopus (Tremoctopus gracilis) female in full display, off Anilao, Batangas Philippines, Pacific Ocean.
Japanese dwarf flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii) male sitting in tree, portrait. Hokkaido, Japan. March  -  Tony Wu
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Tony Wu / Japanese dwarf flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii) male sitting in tree, portrait. Hokkaido, Japan. March
Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. UK. The much smaller fruiting bodies in the bottom of the f...  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Slime mould (Physarum robustum), in mature reproductive phase. Close-up of erupted fruiting bodies (sporangia), bearing thousands of spores. UK. The much smaller fruiting bodies in the bottom of the f...
A vibrant Caribbean coral reef with two Reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) and Common sea fans (Gorgonia ventalina) and sea plumes (Pseudopterogorgia sp). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen Nat...  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / A vibrant Caribbean coral reef with two Reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) and Common sea fans (Gorgonia ventalina) and sea plumes (Pseudopterogorgia sp). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen Nat...
Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) feeding on an icicle formed from the sap of a painted maple tree (Acer pictum) in winter. Hokkaido, Japan.  -  Tony Wu
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Tony Wu / Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) feeding on an icicle formed from the sap of a painted maple tree (Acer pictum) in winter. Hokkaido, Japan.
Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Dorchester, Dorset, England, UK.  -  Guy Edwardes
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Guy Edwardes / Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Dorchester, Dorset, England, UK.
Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo), male flying, Wales, UK.  -  Andy Rouse
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Andy Rouse / Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo), male flying, Wales, UK.
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) walking on drifting sea ice. Svalbard, Norway.  -  Ole  Jorgen Liodden
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Ole Jorgen Liodden / Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) walking on drifting sea ice. Svalbard, Norway.
Three Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) cubs sleeping near den. Yonne, France, May.  -  Cyril Ruoso
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Cyril Ruoso / Three Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) cubs sleeping near den. Yonne, France, May.
Lanza's salamander (Salamandra lanzai), endemic to Cottian Alps, Monviso massif, Italy.  -  Emanuele Biggi
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Emanuele Biggi / Lanza's salamander (Salamandra lanzai), endemic to Cottian Alps, Monviso massif, Italy.
Mountain hare (Lepus timidus) on snow covered moorland at last light, Derbyshire, UK.  -  Ben Hall
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Ben Hall / Mountain hare (Lepus timidus) on snow covered moorland at last light, Derbyshire, UK.
Multiple exposure of a cherry tree (Prunus sp) in blossom. Potsdam, Germany. April. Created using 10 exposures.  -  Sandra Bartocha
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Sandra Bartocha / Multiple exposure of a cherry tree (Prunus sp) in blossom. Potsdam, Germany. April. Created using 10 exposures.
Waves crashing on beach and carrying sediments back out to sea, aerial view. The Bahamas.  -  Shane Gross
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Shane Gross / Waves crashing on beach and carrying sediments back out to sea, aerial view. The Bahamas.
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) shaking its wings with slow shutter speed to reveal movement, Martin Mere WWT Reserve, Lancashire, UK.  -  Ben Hall
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Ben Hall / Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) shaking its wings with slow shutter speed to reveal movement, Martin Mere WWT Reserve, Lancashire, UK.
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) flying close to hive entrance, with flight trails visible. Urban garden, Bristol, UK, May.  -  John Waters
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John Waters / Honey bee (Apis mellifera) flying close to hive entrance, with flight trails visible. Urban garden, Bristol, UK, May.
A vortex of foam and autumn leaves on Ohne river in Valgamaa county, Southern Estonia.  -  Sven Zacek
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Sven Zacek / A vortex of foam and autumn leaves on Ohne river in Valgamaa county, Southern Estonia.
Close-up of patterns in iceberg, with green colour created by sun shining through the ice. Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway.  -  Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Close-up of patterns in iceberg, with green colour created by sun shining through the ice. Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway.
Aerial view of cereal fields, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.  -  Juan Carlos Munoz
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Juan Carlos Munoz / Aerial view of cereal fields, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.
Common blue butterfly {Polyommatus icarus} resting on Devil's bit scabious {Succisa pratensis}, Volehouse Farm, Devon, UK. August.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Common blue butterfly {Polyommatus icarus} resting on Devil's bit scabious {Succisa pratensis}, Volehouse Farm, Devon, UK. August.
Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) flying over water in falling snow. Kachemak Bay, Alaska, USA. February.  -  Danny Green
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Danny Green / Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) flying over water in falling snow. Kachemak Bay, Alaska, USA. February.
A group of European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) resting on a rock. Coast of Troms, Northern Norway.  -  Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / A group of European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) resting on a rock. Coast of Troms, Northern Norway.
Northern Pygmy owl (Glaucidium californicum) fledgling, Oregon, USA . June.  -  Gerrit Vyn
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Gerrit Vyn / Northern Pygmy owl (Glaucidium californicum) fledgling, Oregon, USA . June.
Snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) resting in a tree in Tromso, Northern Norway.  -  Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) resting in a tree in Tromso, Northern Norway.
Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) displaying to sibling. Territorial behaviour, UK.  -  Andy Rouse
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Andy Rouse / Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) displaying to sibling. Territorial behaviour, UK.
Common tern (Sterna hirundo) flying low over water. Hjalstaviken, Uppland, Sweden.  -  Staffan Widstrand
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Staffan Widstrand / Common tern (Sterna hirundo) flying low over water. Hjalstaviken, Uppland, Sweden.
Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) male feeding on tree trunk in snow covered forest. Finland. February 2020.  -  Jussi Murtosaari
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Jussi Murtosaari / Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) male feeding on tree trunk in snow covered forest. Finland. February 2020.
Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) flying directly overhead, Kuhmo Finland February.  -  Markus Varesvuo
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Markus Varesvuo / Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) flying directly overhead, Kuhmo Finland February.
Male Korean seahorse (Hippocampus haema) giving birth. Some of the babies are still curled up inside their egg membranes. Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.  -  Tony Wu
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Tony Wu / Male Korean seahorse (Hippocampus haema) giving birth. Some of the babies are still curled up inside their egg membranes. Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.
A large female Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) probably heavily pregnant, resting/bottling at the surface in shallow water, head above water, Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / A large female Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) probably heavily pregnant, resting/bottling at the surface in shallow water, head above water, Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK
Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) feeding underwater, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Bahia Magdalena, Baja California, Mexico.  -  Franco Banfi
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Franco Banfi / Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) feeding underwater, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Bahia Magdalena, Baja California, Mexico.
Neon flying squid (Ommastrephes bartramii) producing ink, Balayan Bay, off Anilao, Batangas, Philippines, Pacific Ocean.  -  Magnus Lundgren
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Magnus Lundgren / Neon flying squid (Ommastrephes bartramii) producing ink, Balayan Bay, off Anilao, Batangas, Philippines, Pacific Ocean.
Split level photo of an American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) beneath red mangrove trees (Rhizophora mangle) above a bed of seagrass (turtlegrass: Thalassia testudinum). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens...  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / Split level photo of an American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) beneath red mangrove trees (Rhizophora mangle) above a bed of seagrass (turtlegrass: Thalassia testudinum). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens...
Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) underwater, Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico.  -  Franco Banfi
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Franco Banfi / Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) underwater, Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico.
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) swimming near surface in halo of light. The Bahamas.  -  Shane Gross
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Shane Gross / Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) swimming near surface in halo of light. The Bahamas.
Tompot blenny (Parablennius gattorugine) in colourful sea weeds, with fish behind. Swanage, Dorset, England, United Kingdom. British Isles.  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / Tompot blenny (Parablennius gattorugine) in colourful sea weeds, with fish behind. Swanage, Dorset, England, United Kingdom. British Isles.
Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) mother and calf, Maui, Hawaii  -  Ralph Pace
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Ralph Pace / Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) mother and calf, Maui, Hawaii
Sunbeams play through the roots of red mangrove trees (Rhizophora sp.), encrusted with marine life and home to schoolmaster snappers (Lutjanus apodus). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen Natio...  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / Sunbeams play through the roots of red mangrove trees (Rhizophora sp.), encrusted with marine life and home to schoolmaster snappers (Lutjanus apodus). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen Natio...
A Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) swims over a Grooved brain coral (Diploria labyrinthiformis). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen National Park, Cuba. Caribbean Sea.  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / A Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) swims over a Grooved brain coral (Diploria labyrinthiformis). Jardines de la Reina, Gardens of the Queen National Park, Cuba. Caribbean Sea.
Scalloped ribbonfish (Zu cristatus) juvenile,Balayan Bay, Batangas, the Philippines.  -  Magnus Lundgren
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Magnus Lundgren / Scalloped ribbonfish (Zu cristatus) juvenile,Balayan Bay, Batangas, the Philippines.
Double exposure of a Tompot blenny (Parablennius gattorugine) with underwater sun beams. Swanage, Dorset, England, United Kingdom.  -  Alex Mustard
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Alex Mustard / Double exposure of a Tompot blenny (Parablennius gattorugine) with underwater sun beams. Swanage, Dorset, England, United Kingdom.
Schneider's leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideros sperosis) in half submerged old temple ruins. Hampi World UNESCO Heritage Site, Karnataka, India  -  Yashpal Rathore
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Yashpal Rathore / Schneider's leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideros sperosis) in half submerged old temple ruins. Hampi World UNESCO Heritage Site, Karnataka, India
Japanese dwarf flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii) peering out of nest hole in tree trunk. Hokkaido, Japan. March.  -  Tony Wu
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Tony Wu / Japanese dwarf flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii) peering out of nest hole in tree trunk. Hokkaido, Japan. March.
Pine marten (Martes martes) running, Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK. September. Photographed with a camera trap.  -  Terry Whittaker
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Terry Whittaker / Pine marten (Martes martes) running, Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK. September. Photographed with a camera trap.
European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) peeking out of a snow bank. Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy.  -  Emanuele Biggi
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Emanuele Biggi / European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) peeking out of a snow bank. Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy.
A white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), habituated after being fed by locals and tourists, sticks its head into the photographer's car in New Brunswick, Canada.  -  Jen Guyton
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Jen Guyton / A white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), habituated after being fed by locals and tourists, sticks its head into the photographer's car in New Brunswick, Canada.
American Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) on tree trunk drinking in a beaver pond. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.  -  George Sanker
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George Sanker / American Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) on tree trunk drinking in a beaver pond. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.
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