Connecticut Audbon Society

Congratulations to Jason Scavotto and Steven Jacqmin, winners of the 2024 Migration Magic Photo Contest

Jason Scavotto’s photo of a Baltimore Oriole confronting a Blue Jay won first place in the 2024 Birdathon Photo Contest.

June 13, 2024—The field of bird photography is flourishing. Almost 60 Connecticut birders submitted 170 noteworthy entries—several of them of rarities, many stunning in their depiction of birds in their habitats—in the 2024 Migration Magic Birdathon Photo Contest. 

Outstanding among them are the two winning photos: a Baltimore Oriole confronting a Blue Jay, taken by Jason Scavotto, and, in the Young Birder category, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron, by Steven Jacqmin.

The contest rules were that the photos had to be taken during May and in Connecticut (or the section of Connecticut Audubon’s Deer Pond Farm that is in New York). We sent the photos without identifying the photographers to the contest’s volunteer judge, Jesse Thompson, co-owner of Milford Photo.

Jesse chose Jason’s and Steven’s photos as the winners, and also picked four photos for honorable mentions. 

He noted the remarkable timing of the oriole-jay photo, which Jason took at Point Folly, on Bantam Lake in Litchfield County. “Interaction between two birds—and different ones—is very rare, judging by the entries, and this one is done at a height of drama skillfully,” Jesse said.

Jason Scavotto.

Jason is a 43-year-old English teacher at Manchester High. An Enfield resident, he said he’s been birding seriously for about three years, with his wife Barbara, who also participated in the Birdathon photo contest.

“My wife and I were on our way to visit my mother-in-law for a Mother’s Day celebration. We got out early so we could get first light. This shot was actually the first of the day. We got out of the car and immediately heard the calls of several orioles and the Blue Jay.

“I grabbed my camera and brought it up just in time to catch the confrontation. The Blue Jay looked like he had the upper hand, but the oriole had back-up and two others flew in and the three of them chased the Blue Jay away. The orioles nest not too far from the parking area. I missed the final chase, but was so lucky to capture this image.”

He uses a Nikon d850 with the 500mm f/5.6 prime lens. “I was at f/5.6 with a pretty high shutter speed (2500) because the light was perfect,” he said.

Jason’s prize is “Snow Goose,” a signed, limited edition print, professionally matted and framed, of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp for 1988, by Daniel Smith.

Steven Jacqmin won first place in the Young Birder category for this photo of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

Steven Jacqmin, a 16-year-old high school student from Fairfield, took his photo of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron near the mouth of Ash Creek, which separates Jennings Beach in Fairfield from St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea in Bridgeport.

Jesse praised his skills. “His images are sharp, well-composed and show he knows his subjects.”

“I came upon this shot early in the morning at Jennings Beach near St Mary’s by the Sea,” said Steven, who will be a sophomore at Fairfield Warde High in the fall. “I was definitely excited to get this image with it being my first photo of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron and my first subject for the contest. 

“It was the first time seeing this species and finding out more about it afterward. I snapped several angles of this beautiful bird as it fed by the shoreline and didn’t seem to mind me standing nearby. I couldn’t be happier about how it turned out!”

Steven is the lead photographer for Warde Focus, the school newspaper. He took his first-place photo with a Canon R10 with a Canon 100-400mm RF lens.

Steven Jacqmin, whose photo won first place in the 2024 Birdathon Young Birder category.

His prize is “Cinnamon Teal,” a signed, limited edition print, professionally matted and framed, of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp for 1986, by Gerald Mobley.

The photos that merited an honorable mention are:

Great Egret, by John Owen of New Canaan. Jesse said: “Great handling of light and background, super sharp so it wasn’t cropped that much, and recording a characteristic movement in the day in the life.”

Canada Goose gosling, by Michelle Babyak of Sandy Hook. Jesse said: “It’s crisp and has caught the goose in a characteristic moment. The lighting is spot-on—so many shots are under- or over-exposed with this kind of photography and they were in the right spot.”

Herring Gulls, by Vin Florentino of Stratford. Jesse said: “Hard to get two birds interacting and with what little birding I’ve done it’s a shot that’s tricky to pull off without having to crop the image without suffering a great deal of sharpness.”

Chestnut-sided Warbler, by Rebecca Miller of West Hartford. Jesse said: “The quintessential Audubon kind of rendering: optimal light, simple background, and striking pose that’s super sharp. So many images had one or two but this one is the strongest. I think of these kinds of images as portraits and you’ve got to work hard to get all of those factors in your frame.”

We send our sincere thanks to the contest judge, Jesse Thompson. Jesse has been teaching photography at Milford Photo for 25 years. Find out what he’s doing at

2024 Birdathon Photo Contest Honorable Mention: Great Egret, by John Owen.

2024 Birdathon Photo Contest Honorable Mention: Canada Goose, by Michelle Babyak.

2024 Birdathon Photo Contest Honorable Mention: Herring Gulls, by Vin Florentino.

2024 Birdathon Photo Contest Honorable Mention: Chestnut-sided Warbler, by Rebecca Miller.


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