WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Commended 2012

Behaviour: Birds

Sergey Gorshkov, Russia

The duel

In late May, about a quarter of a million snow geese arrive from North America to nest on Wrangel Island, in northeastern Russia. They form the world’s largest breeding colony of snow geese. Sergey spent two months on the remote island photographing the unfolding dramas. Arctic foxes take advantage of the abundance of eggs and, later, goslings, caching surplus eggs for leaner times. But a goose (here the gander) is easily a match for a fox, which must rely on speed and guile to steal eggs. ‘The battles were fairly equal,’ notes Sergey, ‘and I only saw a fox succeed in grabbing an egg on a couple of occasions, despite many attempts.’ Surprisingly, ‘the geese lacked any sense of community spirit’, he adds, ‘and never reacted when a fox harassed a neighbouring pair nesting close by.’

Technical specification

Nikon D300S + 600mm f4 lens; 1/2000 sec at f5; ISO 640; Gitzo tripod.


Wrangel Island, Russia: latitude 71.28417, longitude -178.89352 Wrangel Island, Russia: latitude 71.28417, longitude -178.89352

Wrangel Island, Russia

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.