In addition to the three winning photos from the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, we’re thrilled to present this gallery of 22 finalists:
Photographer: Michael Rossacci
Location and date: Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich, Massachusetts, June 17, 2017.
Description: The southern tip of Plum Island offers an annual refuge for nesting Piping Plovers. A few years ago, I visited Sandy Point State Reservation on a morning with bright overcast skies, my favorite conditions for photographing these delicate birds. While observing a couple of adult plovers making runs from the receding surf back towards the nesting area, I spotted a young chick lagging one of the adults. Lying prone in the sand, I follow-focused the chick as it curiously started approaching me, repeatedly taking a few steps and stopping. Eventually, it turned sideways and began stabbing its bill into the moist sand probing for a meal. I began firing off several frames hoping to record some of this behavior. With luck, I was able to capture this fleeting moment as the chick demonstrated its innate ability to successfully find food on its own, even at this tender age. This precious moment would not have been possible without this little one accepting me as part of its world on that summer morning.
Gear and settings: Canon EOS 7D, 300 mm F/2.8 L IS lens, and 1.4x III teleconverter. ISO 400, 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, 6000 Kelvin white balance, and manual exposure mode.
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.