In addition to the three winning photos from the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, we’re thrilled to present this gallery of 22 finalists:
Photographer: Graham Gerdeman
Location and date: Growild Native Plant Nursery, Fairview, Tennessee, November 5, 2018.
Description: The property of Growild Nursery is one of my favorite places to bird. I lead an annual birding walk there in the spring, but last year I really wanted to get out during the fall as well. A friend and I met up and walked the fields of native prairie grasses and nursery plants, observing many fall migrants and arriving wintering Tennessee species, when we suddenly heard the "zzzipp!" like call of Pine Siskins, which occur only sporadically in Middle Tennessee in winters. They are always an exciting find, especially away from feeders! These were the first of what would end up being an irruption year for the species in the state.
We soon found ourselves surrounded by a flock of perhaps 20 birds, all chattering and feeding from the seed heads of these swamp thistles. The sounds and sights of it were perfect. The bird in the photo got quite close and made a really nice image with the arced stem of the thistle it was hanging from helping to frame the siskin with some negative space of lovely autumn red and brown.
Gear and settings: Nikon D500; Nikkor 300mm f4 lens, handheld ; Exp. 1/1250 sec at f/4, ISO 800.
Thanks to our judges: Matt Mendenhall, editor of BirdWatching; Wes Pitts, editor of Outdoor Photographer; Marie Read, an award-winning nature photographer based near Ithaca, New York; and Brian E. Small, a professional nature photographer based in Los Angeles whose photos illustrate our “ID Tips” column.