Tuesday 10 September 2013

Long-tailed Skua!!

I was working in Alnmouth today, a stressful day, cooped up indoors. When I left Alnmouth there was stiff northerly wind, so I decided an hours seawatching at Druridge would be worth a go.

I got down there for ten-past-five and it was really quiet. Other than long strings of gannets on the horizon and few groups of kittiwakes, I had eight pale-bellied brents north, a flock of wigeon, a red-throated diver and a handful of fulmar......that was it. I checked my phone for the time and twitter updates and decided to call it a day, but I had a quick scan south, just in case I had missed anything and got onto a really close skua heading north, so close it was a bins job as it went by. It was a stunning juvenile long-tailed skua in amazing light. 

A pale bird, with a good attenuated, dark,  rear end. It was among the breakers as it flew north, the jizz of these birds is quite different from our other skuas.Of course, I had no camera with me (well I did, in the car, with 17-55mm lens on for my work event), it would have been close enough for a record shot at least with the 400mm lens.

I've not seen a long-tailed skua on the patch since before 2008, at least. It made a brilliant end to an otherwise disappointing seawatch.

145 brent goose
146 long-tailed skua


Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

I run a blog for Smestow Valley LNR. I have started a nature network to protect our patches and coordinate wildlife surveys. Please could you email me at smestowsightings@gmail.com and I can send you more information. Regards, Chris Millward.

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