Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bowness-on-Solway Skuas - 8th May 2007.

Above: The same dark phase Pomerine Skua in all photos.
My first and long overdue visit to Bowness-on-Solway for the Skua passage was a spectacular success with all four species seen within the first 50 minutes!
Our arrival coincided with the first two Skuas of the day in view, a dark phase Pomerine and dark phase Arctic. Not a bad start. Within ten minutes a Bonxie had flown upriver and i was well suited to have three species under the belt so quickly.
Fifty minutes in and a flock of four Skuas appeared in view: 1 dark phase Pomerine, 1 dark phase Arctic and a smaller Skua that got the alarm bells ringing amongst the small number of birders present. We were watching this bird, having collectively concluded we were watching a Long-tailed Skua minus the elongated tail feathers, when the fourth Skua of the group appeared within the same scope view...... a full adult Longtailed Skua complete with fantastically long tail feathers!!!!
My entire focus was now on this bird which i followed as it flew purposefully upriver. What a bird, really Tern like in flight and all plumage features visible including upperwing coverts contrasting with darker flight feathers, dusky belly and pale breast and that fantastic jizz. a real moment of elation amongst those present. Brilliant!
Between 13:50-17:00hrs the following were recorded:
13:50hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine & 1x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
14:00hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
14:04hrs: 1x Bonxie flew east.
14:27hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine Skua flew west.
14:40hrs: 2x Long-tailed Skua, 1x dark phase Pomerine, 1x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
15:30hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
15:44hrs: 1x pale phase Pomerine Skua with no spoons flew east.
16:28hrs: 1x dark phase Pomerine Skua flew west. Closest bird of the day. Photographed above.
16:30hrs: 12x Skua sp distantly on water eventually flew east at 17:00hrs. All Pomerine. A fantastic sight, though distant.
16:35hrs: 2x dark phase Arctic Skua flew east.
Suffice to say this will be the first of a few annual visits to this site!