Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Skua Hour

Portland Bill this morning. I was convinced it would be epic - southerly wind, rain on its way. And it was - epically barren. Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet on the land. Gannet, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Razorbill, Guillemot, and Shag on the water. I retreated to the obs, and commented on the lack of birds.

"It's not Skua hour." The theory, as relayed to me by one of the regulars, is that the Skuas spend the night in the western approaches, and leave at dawn. this brings them past the bill between 8:45 and 9:45 am. Needless to say, the theory was met with mirth and derision from other regulars, who no doubt had heard it all before.

We stood around and watched. And watched. And chatted some more.

"Skua!" And there it was. A dark phase Arctic Skua steaming through close in. "And what's the time?" 9:15. Smack in the middle of Skua hour. QED.

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