'Perfectly timed' photo wins inaugural game bird photo competition

The photo will be now used as the 2020 game bird habitat stamp.
The photo will be now used as the 2020 game bird habitat stamp. Photo credit: Supplied/Matt Winter

A Marlborough photographer's expertly timed photo of two paradise shelducks in perfect symmetry has won a new game bird photo competition. 

The picture, taken by Matt Winter, was judged the best paradise shelduck photo by Judges Mark Mitchell and Richard Cosgrove in the Game Bird Habitat Trust's photo competition.

Mitchell said it was incredibly rare for a photographer to be able to capture two birds in flight and in perfect symmetry.

"The timing and symmetry of the photo, with both birds in unison, made it stand out from the other entries," said Mitchell.

"The picture was taken while out duck hunting with a couple of mates on the West Coast and when these two birds lifted off it made for a great series of photos, but this one with the clean background just stood out to me", said Winter.

The winning photo will be now used as the 2020 game bird habitat stamp.

Matt Winter has signed 250 stamps and 250 prints for collectors which are available via NZ Post.
Matt Winter has signed 250 stamps and 250 prints for collectors which are available via NZ Post. Photo credit: Supplied

The stamp is sold on gamebird hunting licences and as a collectors stamp by NZ Post and raises funds for the protection and enhancement of game bird and other wildlife habitats. 

The Wildlife Act 1953 states that a game bird habitat stamp is displayed on every licence to hunt gamebirds, and is approved annually by the Minister of Conservation on the recommendation of the New Zealand Fish & Game Council. 

Purchases of the Habitat Stamp provide the core funds for the Game Bird Habitat Trust to distribute to projects that protect and restore game bird habitats. 

Each year a different species is selected for the stamp and the 2021 game bird species is the NZ Shoveler (spoonbill) and the 2022 bird is the pheasant. 

A photo competition will be held for both birds later this year with a $1000 cash prize to the winner.

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