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Thread: Islay Skua ID help

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Islay Skua ID help

    Im new to the forums, and could do with some help on skua identification.

    From the ferry coming back from Islay in the Western Isles, about a quarter of a mile out, there was a skua sat on the sea fairly close to the boat, which proceeded take off when we approached.

    It was flying very close to the waves, and appeared to be chocolate brown all over (including the head), with no visible white on the wings (if so it will have been very faint). Its wings were long and pointed, and it had a pointed tail, though not too long.

    It was Herring gull sized, though slender looking, too slender for a Great Skua. Im thinking it was either an Arctic or Pomarine in dark form, most likely in passage as it was 18th May. Does anybody know which species is the more frequent in the Western Isles?


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Welcome to the forum!

    Pointed tail makes it Arctic; Pomarine would have rounded 'spoony' tail extension.

    The white wing flash can be quite inconspicuous.

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