Great Blue Heron Steals the Show

By Terry Deputy

Contest-winning photo of a great blue heron flying low over the water“Incoming,” a photo of a great blue heron at Trap Pond State Park by Sharon Denny, is the winner of this year’s Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest. In September, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control invited photographers of all ages and skill levels to enter the contest, hosted by the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship.

The contest goal was to share the beauty of Delaware’s diverse environment while acting as a vivid reminder that everything that happens on land directly affects what happens in our waterways. A watershed is all the land that water moves across or under while flowing to a specific body of water. Delaware consists of many different watersheds and DNREC encourages residents to learn more about how they can help improve the health of their watershed.

A river otter swims along the bald cypress trees at Trussom PondOnly images from Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed were accepted in this year’s contest. Future contests will highlight different watersheds.

Contest judges were looking for striking images of Delaware’s waterways, landscapes, sustainable watershed practices, native plants and animals, and agricultural practices.

A photto of bald cypress trees rising out of the water in the fall“I grew up on the water on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so the health of the Chesapeake Bay always has been important in my life,” said Denny of her winning photo, which was taken from one of the floating piers along the pond at the park. “There were two great blue herons vying for one fishing spot. This one flew right past me on its way to encourage another great blue heron to relocate. The great blue heron is perhaps the most iconic and widespread aquatic bird species of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Estuary.”

Two honorable mentions were awarded this year, and both went to photographer Beth Baker, for “Autumn Swim” and “Bald Cypress Autumn.” In “Autumn Swim,” a river otter swims along the bald cypress trees at Trussom Pond, and “Bald Cypress Autumn” features bald cypress trees in varying stages of autumn colors providing a beautiful place to canoe or kayak.

Terry Deputy is the director of the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship.