The art of birding challenges continue - Take a look at what participants came up with in March and see if you feel inspired to join in the photography fun!

We’re now well into the 2021 Art of Birding Photography Challenge, and the participants are going from strength to strength as you'll see below...


For aquamarine week, some participants took on the extra-credit challenge to use colour grading and other photo-editing techniques to push their photos further.


Sally Eyre (New Zealand) brought out the luminous aquamarine colours in this tūī. To make the background pop, she selected the background with the adjustment brush in LR, then played around with the saturation.


Gail Kirkelund (Canada) used colour grading with complementary colours to highlight this gorgeous male Pine Grosbeak. If you’d like to find out more about colour grading with the latest features in Lightroom, check out this excellent tutorial from Julienne Kost.


There were loads of fabulous entries for “picture postcard” week where the aim was to create an uncluttered image that would look good in a small format.


Helen Jenkins (New Zealand) took this gorgeous portrait of a kārearea (NZ falcon). The simple, contrasting background draws all the attention to this stunning bird.


Janet Gibb (Wales) showed us this stunning landscape. She says “The image is of Tryfan, a 917.5 metres mountain in the Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia, one of my favourite places to spend time. I was with Philip Milton, who has taught me all about photography. His input here was to remind me to choose carefully the edges of the location. We were absolutely frozen. I actually had a wet foot, but the serenity and sheer beauty was really worth it. At the time we were also being observed by a small family of wild goats. What more do you need for a perfect day.”


Brenda Pinfold (New Zealand) came up with a “Gentoo penguin dancing in the surf: Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands. We were thrilled to be photographing penguins after a two day delay in reaching the Falkland Islands due to rotor winds preventing our flight from Punta Arenas in Chile from landing safely. Our time on Bleaker Island was reduced to less than a day, so we had very limited time to visit the wildlife locations there before flying to Sealion island. The Gentoo are very comical to watch coming and going from the sea. The evening sunlight enhanced the colours of the sea and the penguin.”


Loralee Hyde (New Zealand) went on a pelagic outing and captured this stunning toroa/Southern Royal Albatross, perfectly banking. She reports “Seeing five species of albatross and mollymawks on my recent trip out from the coast with Albatross Encounter Kaikoura was one of the top wildlife experiences I've ever had. Four Southern Royal Albatross (toroa) stole the show as they swooped in to land near the boat (with a wingspan of over three metres, they weren't quite as graceful when trying to take off from the water!). This picture postcard image shows the power of a Southern Royal's formidable wings as the bird soars in flight. Such mastery in the air enables them to glide over oceans without flapping their wings. Sheer joy to watch and admire  ”


The most favourite challenge every year is invariably bokeh and blur! Last year I wrote about how to achieve these gorgeous effects without breaking the budget (unless you really want to!).

Tony Morton (Australia) took this lovely photo on an outing with the Hastings Birdwatchers near Lake Cathie. He says “This sandy heathland and low shrubbery land was sand mined in the seventies and rejuvenated successfully but was severely burnt during the 2019 bushfires and last spring was a mass of new plants rejuvenated by the fires. There were masses of flowering xantherias Christmas’s bells and banksia. The dried stalk the Welcome Swallow was on is one of the xantherias now finished and will probably stand for a few years till it decays. The shot was taken about 9am as we had just started our first walk, I spotted the bird resting on the stalk and got three shots this one I liked best as the bird was looking the right way and the sun behind me was good for light I felt that with the second stalk it balanced the shot.”


Kaylene Helliwell (New Zealand) posted this dreamy photo of autumnal seed heads, with the most gorgeous toning.


Jan Robinson (Australia) came across this gorgeous apricot rose in the main street of a small town in Western Australia. The soft background colours perfectly match the rose and help highlight it.

These three photos all show how it’s not just a matter of getting blur, but also considering the colour of the background too and how it helps support the subject.


We rounded out the month by asking participants to show the concept of manaaki (a Te Reo Māori word that encompasses qualities like caring and guardianship).


Gail Kirkelund (Canada) took this precious photo of a cow and her newborn calf. “This little calf is probably only 15 minutes old. Although Momma trusts her owner who was close by, she is still wary of her surroundings and you can tell by her eyes protective of her calf.”


Bronwyn Hayter (Australia) showed us this stunning photo of a magpie about to feed her fledgling, surviving against the odds. This photo was taken during the terrible drought and bushfires that hit Australia hard in late 2019.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenges in March! It gets harder every month to select our favourites. If you’d like to join the fun, just jump on in with the latest week’s challenge. Head over to to sign up or go to to find out more!

Judi Lapsley Miller

Art of Birding photo challenge creator