Wildlife photography award showcases ‘creatures great and small’

Photographer Toni Ward was driving past Merimbula Lake one morning when she came to a screeching halt.

A flock of spoonbills reflecting in the still water had caught her eye, she captured the scene with her camera.

The striking image has taken out this year’s Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness’ Wild Eye Photo Competition, and the exhibition has been invited to CSIRO Discovery in Canberra next year.

“In this picture they had just settled themselves down, then each placed their head beneath a wing for a mid-morning snooze, which also made a very cute image,” Ms Ward said.

Each year the citizen science organisation runs the competition, showcasing wildlife of the Far South Coast, some of which are classified as threatened species.

Tess Poyner’s silhouette of a moving kangaroo claimed second place in the competition, and Georgia Pyner’s image of a seal pup took out third place.

An Atlas for Life spokesperson said the winning images “are a treasure trove of the glories of the nature that surrounds us here”.

“This year’s competition has produced wonderful images of many creatures great and small - from whales to rare birds - a diamond firetail and a beach stone curlew, a complete paper nautilus and ghost mushrooms glowing in the dark. 

“Thanks to everyone who entered and our judges who had such a difficult job, and congratulations to our winners

“Competition is hot, but exciting, so do carry on capturing images of what you see and recording them on our Atlas of Life,” they said.

A collection of winning images from this year’s competition are on show over the next two weeks at Merimbula optometrist Merimbula EyeQ, on Market St, and online at the Atlas of Life website.

The exhibition will be on show at libraries across the shire over the next 12 months.