Wednesday 18 September 2019

Spoon-bearing Menace

I never quite understood why Pomarine Skuas are named after the covering of feathers over their nasal cavity, rather than the whopping great spoon-shaped twisted central tail feathers hanging out of their back end!

Poms are great birds, always a threatening presence, just as likely to kill a bird as steal it's food. This smart pale adult flew past us twice on Monday's boat trip giving us great views and we saw an intermediate phase adult later on. Always a highlight to see one of these spoon-bearing menaces!

This lovely sequence of shots was taken by Hugo Charlton-Jones on Monday's trip - thanks for sending them over Hugo! Note the heavy belly, full dark collar and double white wing flash on the underwing, a feature visible throughout the ages of Pom Skuas thus providing a great identification feature on tricky immatures. The flight of Poms is usually steady and direct, not quite as athletic and falcon-esque as the smaller, lighter Arctic Skua. For more shots of Pomarine Skuas, check out this bird from South Gare last year and these migrating flocks from South Uist a few years ago.

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