The great escape
In the winter of 2012, on the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea, birdwatchers and hunters waited for migrating wildfowl to arrive at their traditional feeding grounds. But none came. The hunting season ended, and the hunters went home. So when winter finally moved the migrants south, only bird-lovers were there to greet the huge numbers of red-breasted geese that arrived. ‘There were so many, it could easily have been the complete world population of this endangered species,’ says Yves. With the hunters gone, only white-tailed eagles disturbed them. ‘On this occasion, the direction of both the eagle attack and the wind meant that they all flew in one plane,’ says Yves. More than 80 per cent of red-breasted geese winter at just five sites on the Black Sea coast, threatened by land-use changes and hunting.
Nikon D3X + 600mm lens; 1/800 sec at f4; ISO 200.
Shabla-Durankulak wetlands, Bulgaria
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