My thanks to all of you who helped make the 2019 Rendezvous in Mandeville’s Fontainebleu State Park so fantastic! I thought it another great success and I really enjoyed it and learned so much that my head is brimming, I’m still recovering!  I’d like to thank Bette Kauffman for the ride that enabled my attendance and the excellent photographers who entered our LMNA 2019 Annual Wildlife Photography Contest.

As promised, I’ve posted the winners to the Louisiana Master Naturalists Facebook but to give them further coverage I repost here too.

The members voted for their favourite images and the outright winner was Connie Guillory from Cenla Master Naturalists for her super shot of feisty Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) behavior “Hey, Woody, get off our perch!”. She told me some background:

“We live on Hynson Bayou in the Garden District of Alexandria, LA.  These wood ducks have been returning to the bayou in front of our home for several years now. They start showing up around the end of January and leave sometime early June after mating and nesting is completed.  We have placed wood duck boxes and perches along the bayou in front of our home.  It has provided us with a lot of entertainment and joy watching these ducks.  The ducks have become acclimated to the traffic noise and people walking their dogs past them.  I took this photo of this trio of ducks from our front yard.  Initially, there was just the pair of ducks.  The hen did not like the drake jumping on “their” perch and I captured her moment of displeasure.  Our favorite pass-time this time of year is sitting out front at dusk and watching their antics.
Photography is one of my hobbies.  I am currently the newsletter editor for our local bird club, Loose Alliance of Casual and/or Keen Birders of Central Louisiana.  I know it is a mouthful. I put together two newsletters a month one for our local orchid society and one for our bird club. I enjoy nature and bird photography.  The public can view some of my bird photos on our Loose Alliance Facebook page or in newsletters I post on the page. I am new to the Master Naturalist Group and help our local Cenla Master Naturalist Club post pictures on Facebook as well.
I was beyond excited to receive my very generous prizes today.  I will enjoy the book tremendously and the card will always come in handy.”

In second place was the remarkably soothing portrait of a Little Blue Heron taken on Lake Martin from a kayak by Jane Patterson. It’s a great portrait with lovely framing and perfect exposure capturing the bird in a reflective moment.In addition to being a Master Naturalist, Jane is the current president and education chair for the Baton Rouge Audubon Society.  She loves introducing folks to birding and teaches classes in beginning birding each spring and fall, in addition to giving programs to various groups around the state. She is also the education coordinator for the LA Photographic Society in Baton Rouge and is especially interested in bird photography, but will shoot anything that catches her eye.  View more of her photography here:

There were two joint winners in third place with a great  animal behavior shot by Bob Rogers entitled “Breakfast on the Bayou” of a formidable American Alligator feasting on a Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus in Sabine National Wildlife Refuge !
I love big ‘gators and I always wanted to see a musk rat so, this shot is doubly satisfying. Bob says he and his wife were thrilled to get so close to this 12 footer, who didn’t just eat and go, but stayed around long enough for them to get a good number of other shots!  Dr. Bob Thomas says Southeast Louisiana is a great area to hear the Bull gators roaring in their forthcoming Spring breeding displays. The water shivers over their backs due to the intense high frequency vibrations!
Last but not least is this very fine macro photograph of a very hairy caterpillar (ID to come) entitled “Mid-day Munching” taken by the talented Erin M. Bryan a master of macro!  If any of you have tried getting a tight close-up of anything on a wobbly plant stem you’ll know how tough that is, you’re contending with such a tight depth of field plus motion, and hairy things often confound focus!  That’s a lovely saturated orange and dynamic framing! So well done Erin!
In addition to a memory card for first and second place winners, each photographer won a signed copy of A Primer On Reptiles and Amphibians by Micha Petty of the Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network.
Well done, all of you! I think I speak for all of us in saying we can’t wait to see more of your work!