Thursday, 27 August 2015

Pirates off Penzance

Skuas provide menace in the supporting cast on pelagic trips with their piratical feeding behaviour, scaring the living shfish out of other seabirds. We saw two species on our mid-August trips out of St Mary's. The most likely to appear, Great Skua (#211), didn't disappoint, and we saw these every day, as they often came in to harass the gulls following in our wake.
Much rarer in our waters is the Pomarine Skua, of which we saw two - a fine, fully-spooned up adult which flew distantly between us and the islands one evening, and a 2nd summer with shorter spoons and stripey underwings which came straight over the top of the boat.
I managed to miss the spring passage of Pom Skuas past Portland despite spending a day there so this was a good one to get back for the photo year list (#213).
Not a skua, obviously, but a final surprise on the day we saw the Fea's Petrel was a diminutive Black Tern following a fishing boat - very well spotted at some distance by Antony Griffiths, it eventually came in close enough for a photo (#214).

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