2024 Edition

Gillian Evans

Ice angel

Ivory gull, Norway, 2022

Category - Polar Wonders

Ice angel

Off the north coast of the Svalbard archipelago, (at approx. 80 degrees North), whilst I was sitting in a small RIB (rigid inflatable boat), I observed an Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) circling around a bright blue iceberg. As it flew around this iceberg it spread its wings like an angel before disappearing into the icy depths. The white or ivory gull - named for its immaculate plumage - is a rare seabird found mainly in colonies in the High Arctic. Although perfectly adapted to the extreme conditions of the North Pole, its population is small and one of the species most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These seabirds are invaluable indicators of the planet's health, but they remain difficult to observe in these areas that are so difficult for humans to access.

70-200 mm f/2.8 Lens - 1/3200 sec at f/5.6 ISO 1600