Hugo was heading up the path for a view over the Abbey of Novacella, freshly sprinkled with snow, when he saw alpine choughs pecking away at the mortar of the chapel walls. Grabbing his chance, he contrasted the scattering of glossy black birds with the white-dusted, geometric roof.
These distinctive crow-like birds, with yellow bills and bright red legs, are common in the nearby mountains, feeding on insects. In winter, some seek refuge around the monastery, taking advantage of any fruit remaining in the orchards. The mortar provides them with calcium for their eggs and grit to help them grind up food.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II; 300mm f4 lens; 1/125 sec at f4; ISO 250; Gitzo tripod and Linhof head.
Eisack Valley, South Tyrol, Italy
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Hugo Wassermann, Italy
Hugo was born and raised in Brixen, Italy, where he now works in the family company as a carpenter. About once a year he escapes his everyday life to visit places such as Scotland, Norway and Iceland. At home he spends hours lying just outside his house, taking pictures of small animals and plant details.