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Thread: Skuas

  1. #1

    Default Skuas

    We were in Orkney last week and had an amazing encounter with a bonxie (great skua). Fishing Loch Swannay, and minding our own business, a bonxie homed-in on us from a distance. You could see he was coming our way deliberately. As he arrived at our boat, he hung on the breeze only about 15 ft above us, while he checked us out. We've seen them in action so many times before and know they are the ultimate hard cases. Greater black-backs are bigger than them, but they don't mess. We watched them teaming-up in twos last year to decimate a crèche of greylag goslings on Swannay - each pair picking out a victim, before bludgeoning it to death and ripping it apart...


    Anyroad, this one put the evil eye on Alex and me. He was clearly looking into the boat to see if there was anything he could mug off us... "Youze guys got any ducklings or goslings on that boat, have yez???"

    We wouldn't have tried to argue with him if he had wanted to take anything off us!

    Meanwhile, I got a half-decent shot, albeit a bit distant, of an Arctic skua on the ferry coming back. They are more the aerial pirate, mugging other birds in the air and causing them to cough up their meal, which they then eat - just like frigate birds do in the tropics. It's interesting, the similarity they have in shape to a frigate bird...




    Col
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Skuas

    the one we saw on Hundland took 6 ducklings in less than 30 seconds,and took off with them in its crop,easker1

  3. #3

    Default Re: Skuas

    Just posted on the wild trout thread about the artic skua I saw while fishing tonight. See them quite regular, from May they come inland onto the grouse moor where I stay. A bit more than regurgitation merchants - plenty of young chicks about at this time of year. The curlew saw the bird off tonight; but there's so many un savvy oyster catcher and curlew chicks I can't imagine it has to work too hard at the moment.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Skuas

    Was just out in the garden and heard an un familiar sound overhead. Looked up and saw a sparrowhawk with arctic skua in hot pursuit, the skua was about a foot behind. Sparrowhawk was not carrying anything; maybe skua defending chicks? Battle went on for half a mile that I could see.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Skuas

    Quote Originally Posted by codyarrow View Post
    Was just out in the garden and heard an un familiar sound overhead. Looked up and saw a sparrowhawk with arctic skua in hot pursuit, the skua was about a foot behind. Sparrowhawk was not carrying anything; maybe skua defending chicks? Battle went on for half a mile that I could see.
    Sparrowhawk would be grateful at least it was only an Arctic and not a Bonxie. It would be in bits by now!
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Skuas

    Not sure if Bonxies have got the raw speed. It was an aeriel race, no swooping or darting; flat out flying with a lot of noise. Poor old birds of prey have a hard time when they get it wrong, he might stick to sparrows next time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Skuas

    Quote Originally Posted by codyarrow View Post
    Not sure if Bonxies have got the raw speed.
    I'm sure they haven't - I was just joshing. I'm sure the sparrowhawk will be grateful of that as well.



    You want some, do ya?

    That's not a ring on its leg - it's a knuckle-duster!
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Skuas

    I imagine there's a one eyed 3 fingered RSPB volunteer somewhere.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Skuas

    Quote Originally Posted by codyarrow View Post
    I imagine there's a one eyed 3 fingered RSPB volunteer somewhere.
    He-he ... if he still has one eye...
    Please note that any views expressed in this post may be those of the
    originator and do not necessarily reflect those of the reader.

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