"This photo was taken on a trip with the Hog Island Audubon Camp’s Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens group. I was able to attend thanks to a full scholarship from the Wyncote Audubon Society," explains Nathaniel Sharp. "I was with a group of teens and researchers helping to survey a tern colony. The terns obviously were unhappy with us being this close to the nests, and were churning in a mass above our heads. These two common terns chased each other around in a territorial fight."
Photograph by John Blumenkamp
Professional Winner. Short-eared Owl. Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, UT
"After I relocated to Salt Lake City, capturing the area’s wildlife with my camera became a passion," says John Blumenkamp. "Each winter I explore northern Utah, looking for raptors to photograph. Some years I’m lucky to see a fair amount of owl activity. With colder-than-usual weather in late December 2012, a handful of short-eared owls were active during the day, hunting for voles. This particular owl would fly among the reeds and cattails, staring and listening for its prey."
Photograph by Susan Faulkner Davis
Amateur Winner. Purple Gallinule. Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, FL
"Purple gallinules are a wonder with their brilliant colors and amazingly oversized feet. In summer they climb the long, limber flowering stalks of the fire flag, gathering nearby stems as they go for support until they can reach their reward: tasty purple flowers or plump green seeds," says Susan Faulkner Davis. "I always stop to watch and capture their work when I am lucky enough to spot them. The gray background here, a reflection of the overcast sky, was a great setting for the jewel-like colors of the gallinule."
Photograph by Michael Libbe
Grand Prize Winner. Great Blue Heron. Viera Wetlands, Viera, FL
"These wetlands have an area of 12- to 14-foot cabbage palms where great blue herons build their nests," says Micael Libbe. "They also use the palms for their courtship rituals, including stretching their necks to be as tall as they can. One heron was facing me directly as he reached for the sky. I was too close to get his entire body in the frame, so I focused on the neck and head. I was able to catch this one just at the apex of his stretch."