Razorbill captured by Z 8 / Z400f4.5 w/Z1.4x

Perched on the point looking straight down the four hundred foot cliff, peering through the fog at the Atlantic below, I was incredibly excited! When I started out decades ago pursuing my passion for birds, I studied Peterson’s Guide to North American Birds every night. Every night! There was one bird that stood out as just cool, one I wanted to see but never thought I would, the Razorbill. A pelagic bird that only comes to shore to breed, it was nowhere I could ever imagine being. On this morning, I was told there was one pair present in the fog. One pair amongst literally 40,000 birds on the rocky cliffs. What were the odds of seeing it? What were the odds of getting glass on it? No matter, all the other birds took a background in my stare.

Then, literally within minutes there was the pair! Two Razorbills on a ledge, their nest platform (they use rock for a nest). Over the next five days we came to find there are approximately 1600 Razorbills nesting at Cape Mary Bird Ecological Reserve but the vast majority of them are around the corner where we cannot get to. That didn’t matter to me because as I always say when it comes to bird photography, it just take one! Nesting season is in full swing which means lots of activity. The nest you see below is the only nest site we could see, but there were at least three others below our feet tucked in on the cliff we were standing on. We could see them fly in and then vanish below our feet so we knew they were there but we couldn’t see them.

Then one afternoon one blessed us by perching for a very short period on a point of rock right in front of us (the photo above). My dear friend Eric brought back a much better shot than I did of this moment but I was over the moon just seeing a Razorbill so close and intimate. Even though it was for just a few minutes, it’s what keeps me going out in search of species I would love to see and photograph. It’s so well worth the 40 years!

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