/ Any Birdwatchers on UKC?

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drunken monkey - on 04 Jul 2013
I've just come back from offshore this afternoon. Was out visiting an unmanned satellite Gas Platform in the Southern North Sea.

Pretty sure I saw one of these on the platform. It seemed to have set up home on the helideck. Kept coming back to see us all day.

Just looked on the RSPB website and they are in some kind of Red list.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/a/arcticskua/index.aspx

Red list criteria
Globally threatened
Historical population decline in UK during 18001995
Severe (at least 50%) decline in UK breeding population over last 25 years, or longer-term period (the entire period used for assessments since the first BoCC review, starting in 1969).
Severe (at least 50%) contraction of UK breeding range over last 25 years, or the longer-term period
TOS on 04 Jul 2013 - 80.229.112.255.plusnet.pte-ag2.dyn.plus.net
In reply to drunken monkey:
>
> Kept coming back to see us all day.

That's not quite the phrase I used last time I saw one, more like "dive bombed my head again and again with very real intent to do damage".

Look up 'Skua attack' on likes of YouTube.

Personally I'd give it a wide berth in your shoes.

andymac - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

Coming home from my mountaineering on Sunday I had to drive round a colony of large black necked/headed Geese .

Thought they looked unfamiliar and potentially a new visitor to our shores ,so took a few photos.

Checked on Google and it turns out they were Canada Geese ,and they are as common as mud.

Lovely looking birds up close.
Alyson - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to TOS:

:-) They can be pretty... um... defensive!

But unless it fancied nesting on the gas platform I reckon it wouldn't be interested in divebombing just for the fun of it! Then again...?

drunken monkey - they are a fantastic bird and one I've rarely seen. Very jealous!
drunken monkey - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Alyson: It didnt seem agressive at all. Just casually flew away when we went near the helideck. No sign of a nest anywhere.

I'm no expert, but it was pretty distinctive - Dark grey and white, and had a distinctive long feather in the centre of its tail. Certainly looked like the pictures on the RSPB website. About the same size as a large gull.

I hope it wasnt hoplessly lost.
TOS on 04 Jul 2013 - 80.229.112.255.plusnet.pte-ag2.dyn.plus.net
In reply to drunken monkey:
>
> I'm no expert, but it was pretty distinctive - Dark grey and white, and had a distinctive long feather in the centre of its tail. Certainly looked like the pictures on the RSPB website. About the same size as a large gull.

Certainly sounds like one.

They fly in a very falcon-like way, and would seem like a turbocharged gull in flight.

> I hope it wasnt hoplessly lost.

If it was flying around the SNS, I'm thinking it probably was
Dave Perry - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

That was a good sighting. There is a more common Great Skua, but like the much rarer one you saw, they don't often come close to shore so most of the time they are only seen out to see. Like the common Skua, they generally only feed by chasing other sea birds until they give up their food to the skua.

I spent 3 years working up in the Shetlands where Great Skuas were relatively numerous. But I can only recall every seeing two or three other skua species in all that time.

They only come ashore to breed - there's a few nest in northern Scotland I think, so it was probably only a day or two flight time away from home!
Flashy - on 06 Jul 2013
In reply to drunken monkey: Possibly lost, but they breed as far south as N. Scotland -- I've seen them on Fair Isle.

Pomarine (and to a lesser extent Long Tailed) Skuas can be difficult to distinguish from Arctic Skuas sometimes. They're all beautiful birds.

They feed by stealing from other seabirds e.g. gulls so even if it is a bit out of place it's probably making a living just fine. Not all birds go to their breeding grounds, they often have a to wait a few years until they're mature enough to breed, so plenty of juveniles just hang out at sea somewhere.
craig h - on 07 Jul 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

I'm pretty sure we had one of these flying around our platform last month. I'm not bad on bird ID's, but did have to check what it was when I got home.

Usually only Kittiwakes, Gannets and Lesser Black-backed gulls out here, with the odd (sometimes very odd) migrant passing through.
drunken monkey - on 07 Jul 2013
In reply to craig h: it was sharing home with prob 50 or more kittiwakes and herring gulls, so probably an abundance of food to steal

I couldn't believe how inquisitive the kittiwakes were. They kept coming and sitting right beside me. No aggression whatsoever. Prob lack of human contact maybe? Ive seen similar behaviour in the penguins in the falklands. Guys able to wander within 1 feet of them no problem.

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