Getting (un)lucky

Ivory Gull
Ivory Gull

Sometimes you have to spent a lot of time in getting a specific image, while at other times you just get lucky and your subject lands literally in front of your feet. As usual, we split up in different groups at this landing. One group was going to climb some mountains in order to get a closer look at an Ivory Gull colony, while I lead the middle group who would wander around the tundra at a slower pace. Ivory Gull colonies are very difficult to find, as they are always high up on a mountain and the gulls may only use a specific colony for a few years before they move on to a new place. This means that first of all you have to climb a lot (which is not my favourite thing to do) and secondly you might be out of luck, as the birds might have gone.

At this specific site, we had recent information that there was an Ivory Gull colony on a mountain and some people were willing to go up on the mountain to have a closer look. I decided not to join the climb (as I said, not my favourite thing to do), even though I would love to have a better look at a colony of these beautiful birds.

We had just heard that the mountain-party had reached the colony and had a nice look for a few minutes before the colony disappeared in the fog, when three of those pure white gulls landed right in front of us. And they did even gave us a nice show. One made sure all feathers were in the right place, while the other two quarrelled a bit, before they flew off. The photogenic one was not afraid at all and as we approached, he (or she) just made sure we saw his best side.

Ok, I admit, not as nice as seeing a real colony with several juvenile birds, but still a good compensation.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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