Egrets used to approach Peg Dittmar and take pieces of barracuda off a fork when the Cape May Court House artist spent winters in the Florida Keys. She got such close-up looks at the birds there, she said, and plenty of photos.

“They’d come right up to the porch to get fish,” she said. “The egrets are too aloof here.”

Now, she visits Lily Lake in Cape May and other locales to see herons and egrets — her favorite subjects to paint — but mainly she relies on the countless photos she took, she said.

“I’ve got enough photos of birds to paper walls from here to eternity,” Dittmar said.

She has won plenty of awards, and her paintings have been recognized in juried and invitational exhibitions sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Corp., Immaculata University, the Noyes Museum of Art, the Renaissance Art Center and the Wetlands Institute, she said.

Two years ago, she won the Nature Award at the John J. Audubon Center at Mill Grove, in Audubon, Pa., with an oil painting of a great egret, and last year, she took second in that show, she said. This year’s contest is April 12-27, and she entered a portrait of a barred owl and its chick.

Dittmar will have an exhibit at Great Bay Gallery, 829 Bay Ave., in Somers Point through May 17. A reception will be held for her at the gallery 1-3 p.m. April 26 during Bayfest.

She is a 28-year member of the Barnabas Art Group, named for the Barnabas Church in the Villas where the art group’s founder was pastor. That was Father William Shelton, Dittmar said. He has passed away, but the group still paints together at the home of artist Fury Feraco in Cape May Beach, and holds an art show each August at Feraco’s home that attracts about 1,000 people, she said.

Dittmar’ husband, Ned, retired as president of Grace Oil Company. They have two adult daughters.

Technology Bowl champs

Atlantic County Institute of Technology’s team of Adam Bengis, of Galloway Township; Samantha Carey, of Woodbine; and Chris Mendick, of Egg Harbor Township, won a first-place prize in the Technology Bowl against 14 other schools’ teamas at this year’s NJ TSA High School State Conference at The College of New Jersey, an ACIT spokesperson said.

The bowl consists of a written test and an oral quiz. About 1,600 high school students from around the state competed in more than 30 competitive events. The winners qualify for the National TSA Conference.

Amani Reid, of Pleasantville, placed third for Future Technology Teacher; and the team of Amber Evans, of Hammonton; Justin Gavin, of Folsom; Christian Harrypersad, of Egg Harbor Township; and Kyle Rebman, of Brigantine, placed third for Webmaster.

More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.