A rare overhead photo of goosander ducklings following their parent ‘like a string of pearls’ has won a competition hosted by the Society of German Nature Photographers.

Andreas Geh’s photograph beat more than 4,000 entries to claim the 2016 crown, with an image captured from a bridge near Lake Maggiore in Italy.

Andreas Geh has been a photographer since childhood. Fellow photographers told Andreas how they had never seen goosanders photographed this way, before persuading him to enter the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year.

Commenting on the shot Andreas said: ‘At the end of May when out photographing dippers at a mountain river that empties into Lake Maggiore, I had watched a goosander emerging from out of the rocks every morning and taking its young downriver towards the lake.’

‘They stayed around the mouth of the river during the day and retreated back up the river at night to rest. I was moved by the animal’s reliability and care and wanted to capture how the chicks followed their parent with tight bonds like a string of pearls.’

‘Thus I developed the idea to wait for them in the evening on the bridge that crosses the mouth of the river and photograph the whole family straight from above. The crystal-clear water enabled me to include the reflections of the rocks on the ground in the scene.’