The winner of the 2010 BBC Wildlife Nature Writer of the Year Competition has claimed his prize of an Earthwatch expedition to the Peruvian Amazon.
In his winning entry, Phantom, Conor Jameson from Sandy in Bedfordshire, describes his encounter with a goshawk in Berlin, revealing some striking behavioural observations.
Conor said: "I've gone a lifetime without really seeing one of these incredible birds properly, and when German friends told me they had goshawks in their cities, I had to go and see for myself. I was spellbound by the goshawk encounters there. I was eager to share what I'd seen, and help people view this greatly overlooked species in a new light, so the story just poured out after that.
"I chose the Peruvian Amazon expedition as it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. The biodiversity there is spectacular, and the chance to work with local people as well as the Earthwatch team is a big draw. I'm looking forward to helping with the research there and writing about the experience. The only downside is there are no northern goshawks in the Amazon!"
Conor had a choice of three Earthwatch expeditions, and selected Amazon Riverboat Exploration as his prize. In November he will join a team of fellow Earthwatch volunteers and Peruvian biologists for a fortnight, helping them to collect information about the wildlife in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, along the Samiria River, a major Amazon tributary.
Earthwatch scientists are surveying the area's biodiversity to develop sustainable community-focused conservation strategies for the region. Illegal timber companies, pet traders, and hunters have decimated wildlife in other areas of the Amazon, lending urgency to the conservation of these almost pristine reserves.
The competition judges included well-known BBC natural history presenter and Earthwatch supporter, Kate Humble, and Earthwatch writer and editor Rob Stringer, who also writes fiction and plays. The competition was open to everyone aged 18 or over, whether a previously published writer or not. Entrants were invited to submit a piece of non-fiction inspired by a particularly memorable wildlife experience.
Rob said: "Phantom evokes the thrill of observing an elusive and beautiful predator in an unusual environment, while addressing the longstanding persecution of the goshawk, and its continued survival in the face of numerous threats."
Read the winning entries in the BBC Wildlife Nature Writer of the Year Award.
Find out how you can join the Earthwatch expedition, Amazon Riverboat Exploration.
Competition winner Conor Jameson.
Volunteers help to survey for dolphins, fish and river turtles.
At work on board the boat.