(CNN) — Images of a jumping spider, an elusive gecko and battling birds are among a selection of amazing photos to have been picked in this year’s British Ecological Society photography competition.

The overall winner of the competition is an image of a flying dalmatian pelican by Alwin Hardenbol, organizers said in a press release Thursday.

There were several winning categories and an additional 16 highly commended images.

Hardenbol said he took thousands of pictures trying to perfect the shot.

“I gave this image the title ‘The art of flight’ because of how impressive this bird’s wings appear in the picture, you can almost see the bird flying in front of you despite it being a still image,” Hardenbol said.

“Winning such a competition as an ecologist provides me with the opportunity to continue combining my research with my passion for nature photography.”

Hardenbol’s photo “captures the movement, grace and beauty of the bird perfectly,” said Jane Memmott, president of the British Ecological Society, who added that it is “a challenging photograph to take and a deserving winner.”

Hardenbol also collected the award for the “People and Nature” category with a photo of a black-legged kittiwake pictured on a building in Varanger, Norway.

Other winners include an image of a great dusky swift on a rock at Iguazu falls in Argentina, taken by overall student winner Pablo Javier Merlo. The birds fly in and out of the 80-meter waterfalls and are known as “waterfall swifts” locally.

“The Iguazú National Park has remarkable importance since it protects a very diverse natural ecosystem, and the waterfall swift is an important icon of Iguazú and its diversity,” said Merlo.

Among the six-person judging panel was wildlife photographer Gabriela Staebler, who congratulated those behind the impressive pictures.

“The standout images show not only great photographic skills, but love and emotion for wildlife,” she said. “With their impact on people they will contribute to the preservation of nature.”

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