Connecticut Audbon Society

2020 Birdathon Photo Contest Winners

June 1, 2020 — We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2020 Birdathon Photo contest.

Birders from across the state submitted approximately 100 photos, all taken in Connecticut from May 22 to 24. They included geese, ducks, herons, hawks, owls, warblers — even a box turtle. We sent them with no identification marks to this year’s judge, Julian Hough, an experienced bird photographer and graphic designer. Julian chose the winners. We included his remarks about each photo, below.

We start with first place in the Overall and Young Birder categories, and then move to second place and two honorable mentions in the Overall category, and second place among the Young Birders.

Common Yellowthroat, photographed by Elizabeth Jaffin.

First Place
Common Yellowthroat, by Elizabeth Jaffin, of Woodbury.
“Overall a well-lit image with a good separation of the bird from the background. The bird itself is sharp and captured in a nice dynamic pose with good catchlights in the eyes. Small warblers are hard to capture well, but the branch has sweeping lines that help form a balanced composition. The leaves that the eye lands on as they follow the bird’s gaze is a nice secondary focal point.”
Prize: a print by artist, author and Connecticut Audubon Board member Patrick Lynch.


Bobolink, by Eli Holton. First place, Young Birder.

First Place, Young Birder
Bobolink, by Eli Holton, 15 years old
“This image is well lit and although the subject bird is not large in the frame, the lush green grass frame the bird in its breeding habitat. The black and gold of the plumage contrast nicely and the bird is sharp and evenly lit. A nice image.”
Prize: Connecticut Audubon Bag of Swag & a Connecticut Audubon membership.


Second place: Black-crowned Night Heron, by Tomas Koeck.

Second Place, Overall
Night Heron, by Tomas Koeck, of Fairfield.
“A nice background and perch frame this unique picture. The head-on perspective is unique and the bird is sharp with a good depth of field. The prey item adds an element of action that makes for a pleasing image with a nice contrast of greens black and grey.”
Prize: $25 REI gift certificate & a book from Connecticut Audubon’s collection.


Third Place, Overall
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, by Christina Cole, of Killingworth.
“The difficulty in capturing such a small subject is worthy of mention here. That the bird is frozen with its wings out atop a thin perch against a soft background makes for a pleasing  composition. The only thing that would have improved this more would have been more even lighting on the bird , but still a great image of a difficult subject.”
Prize: Connecticut Audubon Bag of Swag & a Connecticut Audubon membership


Honorable Mention, Barred Owl, by Tomas Koeck.

Honorable Mention
Barred Owl, by Tomas Koeck
“An image with action captured by the wing-stretch of a bird usually seen at night. A nice pose and pleasing background adds to the overall composition.”


Second place, Young Birder
Tree Swallow, by Rene Gentes
“A nice exposure with the bird against a clean background. The bird is sharp and the inclusion of the nest box adds some context.”


All rise: Julian Hough, 2020 Birdathon Photo Contest judge.

Thank you to all the 2020 Birdathon photographers. And a special thanks to Julian Hough, who served as this year’s judge.

Julian Hough has been interested in birds since age 6. His passion for birds led to extensive travel to far-flung corners of the globe, including extended periods in India, Nepal, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and most recently Central and South America. Originally from England, his penchant for American birding and photography was nurtured and inspired by extended periods in Cape May, New Jersey.

Julian’s images have been featured in many books and magazines in Europe and North America, most notably in Connecticut Audubon Society’s annual State of the Birds reports.

He is a very active birder in the state and currently serves on the Connecticut Avian Records Committee of Connecticut (ARCC) and resides in New Haven, Connecticut.







Follow Us Facebook Twitter Instagram