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 71.2842, longitude -178.894 Wrangel Island, Russia: latitude 71.2842, longitude -178.894

Wrangel Island, Russia

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Sergey Gorshkov

Sergey Gorshkov, Russia

Sergey is the founding member of the Russian Union of Wildlife Photographers. His images are printed in magazines around the world and he has garnered awards in Russia, the UK, Italy and France. He also organises personal exhibitions and seminars in Russia and Europe.

  • Arctic treasure
  • The cauldron
  • Desert survivor