Across the months of September and October, KBA Canada invited photographers of all levels to submit their favorite photos of KBAs as part of the 2023 KBA Canada Photo Contest. This was a smashing success, collecting over 110 submissions from dozens of photographers. Submissions across the four contest categories – Fauna, Flora and Fungi, Landscapes and Scenery, and People and Conservation – truly showcased the incredible variety and beauty of KBAs across Canada. An enormous thank you to the many photographers who submitted entries, and to all the judges at KBA Canada who were left with the enormous task of trying to pick favorites. For your enjoyment, we’ve collected here the top photos from each category, and included a healthy list of Honorable Mentions, which reflects the difficulty of choosing just three images to capture the wonderful diversity of scenes and moments on display.
The winners of each category will be receiving a KBA Canada Prize Package, and runner-ups and honorable mentions will all be featured across the KBA social media channels. Stay tuned for the next KBA Canada Photo Contest for your next chance to win prizes and have your photos of KBAs featured.
The Fauna category displayed the marvelous diversity and behaviors of wildlife within KBAs. Kris Cu’ delightfully composed winning photograph of an American Bittern stalking through a marsh captures a moment in life of a secretive vertebrate in the Fraser River Estuary KBA in B.C. The second and third place photographs, both by Vasura Jayaweera and taken in the Cape St. Mary’s KBA in Newfoundland, showcase some of the fascinating behaviours of Black-legged Kittiwakes and Northern Gannets – two species that aggregate at this KBA in nationally significant concentrations.
1st place – Master of the Marsh by Kris Cu.
The American Bittern is the quintessential marsh bird: silent, secretive and stealthy. Early one morning at my local wetland in the Fraser River Estuary KBA, I quietly observed and photographed this bird on the hunt. I admired its patience and focus as it navigated carefully along the reeds. (Fraser River Estuary KBA)
2nd place – A Love-Fuelled Collaboration by Vasura Jayaweera.
In the breathtaking landscape of Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland, witness the heartfelt collaboration of a pair of Black-legged Kittiwakes as they work together to build their cliffside nest. One individual tenderly brings nest materials to its cliffside abode, and its mate carefully arranges the materials to build their future nest. Their shared determination and affectionate gestures exemplify the strength of their connection, a beacon of love amidst the untamed splendor of nature. (Cape St. Mary’s KBA)
3rd place – Lovers on the rock by Vasura Jayaweera.
The bird rock in Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve is a vibrant hub of gannet activity. I captured this intimate interaction between a pair of Northern Gannets on the rugged cliffs of Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. Their gestures speak volumes, conveying a language of love and devotion that transcends words. This extraordinary display of connection showcases the intricate courtship rituals and lifelong partnerships that Northern Gannets are known for. (Cape St. Mary’s KBA)
Flora and Fungi
More than any other category, the photos submitted to the Flora and Fungi were magical in their ability to transport viewers into the hidden worlds of traditionally over-looked species and places. John Reynold’ winning photo exemplified this, capturing the mesmerizing miniature world that exists within moss on a fence in the ƛ̓ÉXƏTƏM Candidate KBA. Second and third place runner-ups Katelyn Luff and Trinity Wilton both submitted stunning images of small worlds in remote places, giving us a look at the flora and fungi of Queen Maud Gulf Candidate KBA (Nunavut) and Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park Candidate KBA (Alberta).
1st place – Solar-powered Moss by John Reynolds.
This Common Pincushion moss was growing on a split rail fence at ƛ̓ÉXƏTƏM / Colony Farm Regional Park. The twinkling drops of water on their capsules caught my eye, and I took the photograph using natural light. (ƛ̓ÉXƏTƏM Candidate KBA)
2nd place – Tundra Golden Hour by Katelyn Luff.
Backlit Mountain Avens glow in the midnight sun at the Queen Maud MBS (Queen Maud Gulf Candidate KBA).
3rd place – The World Is Your Oyster(mushroom) by Trinity Wilton.
Over the summer I worked and lived in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. I found these Pleurotus sp. while walking the trails one evening. (Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park Candidate KBA).
Landscapes and Scenery
Photos in the Landscapes and Scenery category captured the breathtaking landscapes, habitats, and scenic views within KBAs, perhaps capturing the character of each site better than any other category. Katelyn Luff’s winning photo of the gorgeous vista in Cypress Hills Candidate KBA invites onlookers into the scene, inspiring viewers to step into a world of soft pastel skies and verdant hills patched with wildflowers and pockets of forest. Katelyn similarly captures color and light in her photo of snow geese flying across a full moon in Nunavut’s Queen Maud Gulf Candidate KBA, which was awarded 2nd place in this category. Third place in this category fell to a tie between two striking shots of KBAs in Alberta – a wonderful aerial view of the Peace-Athabasca Delta KBA by Marsha Hayward, and a moody view of the Crowsnest Pass Candidate KBA by Adam Collingwood.
1st place – Cypress Hills overlook by Katelyn Luff.
View from the Conglomerate Cliffs in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, SK (Cypress Hills Candidate KBA).
2nd place – Goose Moon by Katelyn Luff.
Snow geese fly in front of a May full moon in the Queen Maud Gulf MBS (Queen Maud Gulf Candidate KBA).
3rd place (Tie) – Aerial #1 Peace Athabasca Delta by Marsha Hayward.
The Peace-Athabasca Delta PAD is full of an amazing number of wetland features, which are unique to the region. (Peace-Athabasca Delta KBA).
3rd place (Tie) – Stormy day in the pass by Adam Collingwood.
Panorama of Crowsnest Pass from the north. (Crowsnest Pass Candidate KBA)
People and Conservation
If a picture is worth 1000 words, submissions in the People and Conservation category were essays describing the efforts, initiatives and people dedicated to conserving (and enjoying!) KBAs in Canada. Amy Tucker’s photo of naturalist Patsy Cotterill examining a moss during a bioblitz in the Cardinal Divide (which overlaps with the Whitehorse Wildlands Candidate KBA and McLeod River Candidate KBA) does an excellent job of telling the story of the volunteers and experts whose expertise and passion form the backbone of the KBA program. Second place runner-up Adam Collingwood submitted a gorgeous black and white still of two kayakers exploring the Desolation Sound Candidate KBA, while Randall Greene took third place for his appropriately titled image “In Awe at the Cape”, capturing an onlooker in awe of the incredible aggregations of breeding seabird at Cape St. Mary’s KBA.
1st place – A close look at the Cardinal Divide by Amy Tucker.
In July 2023, conservation-minded volunteers and organizations banded together for a bioblitz in the Cardinal Divide area to collect as many species observations as possible. Patsy Cotterill, pictured has been returning to this area for decades and led a small group of keen young people to learn about the area. (Whitehorse Wildlands Candidate KBA).
2nd place – Moody waterfall by Adam Collingwood.
Kayakers enjoying a waterfall in the Desolation Sound Candidate KBA. (Desolation Sound Candidate KBA)
3rd place – In Awe at the Cape by Randal Greene.
Aggregations of breeding seabirds at Cape St. Mary’s KBA. (Cape St. Mary’s KBA)
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)