Tina McManus’s visit in July 2018 to Crane Beach, a 1,234-acre conservation area in Ipswich, Massachusetts, produced the second-place photo in the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards: this portrait of a Least Tern and its hungry chick.
“Least Terns are one of my favorite birds, and when they start hatching their chicks, I’m always on the lookout for a photo opportunity,” she said. “Once the chicks hatch, there is only a day or two before the adults take them back into the vegetation. You have to be very quiet and still around terns, as they’re very protective of their young and will become agitated if you’re not. I hunkered down outside the roped-off area near a nest with chicks and waited. After about an hour, one of the adults brought a fish, and I was able to get this image.”
McManus used a Canon 7D Mark II camera with a 500mm f4 lens and a 1.4x teleconverter. They were attached to a Skimmer Ground Pod, which supports camera gear to enable ground-level bird and wildlife photography.
The photo was one of more than 770 that photographers entered in our contest. Last week, we featured it among the dozen finalists. Check the links below for the first- and third-place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.