The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2020 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to Zaphir Shamma of Gunpowder, MD, for his striking photo of an eastern screech owl nestled in a tree cavity.

This year’s grand prize package includes $500, a Maryland State Parks Passport, a subscription to Maryland Natural Resource magazine, and five copies of the 2021 calendar with the winning image displayed on the cover.

About 2,500 photos were submitted by 475 photographers in this year’s contest. In addition to the overall grand prize winner, the judges selected first through third place winners in four seasonal categories—winter, spring, summer, and fall.

The “Fan Favorite” (featured image) was chosen by popular opinion on the department’s Facebook page. Photographer Heather K. Rees of Rising Sun, MD, captured the Maryland flag’s image via a droplet of water dangling from the claw of a Maryland Blue Crab.

Here are the winners of the 17th annual Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest:

Grand Prize: Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma of Gunpowder

First place: Sunrays Over the King and Queen Seat by Matthew Settle of Bel Air
Second place: Blue Heron’s Buffet by Joey Melvin of Georgetown, Del.
Third place: Winter Company by Frank Tiralla of Cockeysville
First place: Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma
Second place: Fox on Table by Zaphir Shamma
Third place: Mud Turtle by Charles White of Owings
First place: Flyfishing on the Susquehanna by Mark Rutt of Darlington
Second place: Dance of the Yellow Jacket by Heather Rees of Rising Sun
Third place: Least Terns Feeding by Mitch Adolph of Lutherville-Timonium
First place: Blackwater Sunrise by Wayne Zussman of Grasonville
Second place: Kilgore by Eric Larson of Bel Air
Third place: Kiteboarder at Assateague by Kevin Moore of Perry Hall

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