Tuesday 28 July 2020

Skuas friends at last

Back down to see the Long Tailed Skua at Dalsetter yesterday just before the weather changed.

 Arctic Skua (Light Phase)

I met Kev Bryant coming down the hill who said he had not seen it in his 1.5 hour visit and went off to Sumburgh.

 LT Skua

Ray Johnston and his wife stayed on and within 15 mins the LT Skua flew in from the west very low and sat on a rock just below the brow of the hill.

Several Gt Skua flew over without a response and three Arctic Skua sat near by.

On previous visits the LT Skua would come down the hill to mount and attack on the Arctic's but this time it flew in and sat with the Arctic's, not what I expected.

There was a bit of calling but no aggression as such. The LT Skua flew around a few times and came in the middle of the others.

It finally flew off east and flew over the cliffs when another pair of Arctic Skua started to chase it and it came back to the three again.

Meanwhile a young Arctic Skua seemed content to sit near a rock and only flew off when an adult called to it. A Pair of Red Throated Diver, Greylag,  Curlew, Dunlin, wheatear ,Rock Dove and a few Arctic tern with fish flew over.

With another 3 LT Skuas on Orkney it makes you wonder if they have had a poor breeding season and are heading south earlier than normal.

Its a class bird and made the trip from a visiting birder worth while.

Present again today, although did spend some time down at Boddam

Monday 27 July 2020

Shetland- the small ones

 Red Mite, apparently not a common species, sizes of a pin head

 Hoverfly Syritta pipiens

 Micromoth Udea lutealis

 musciid fly Neomyia cornicina
 ichneumon wasp

 Eupeodes Lungier -rare in Shetland

Thanks to Mike Pennington and Rebecca Nason for help with the ID

Sunday 26 July 2020

Battle of the skuas

Back down again last Sunday trying to find the LT Skua that had been reported about 5am but no sign  despite an 1.5 hour wait

 Long Tailed Skua

Still plenty to see with other skuas and waders about. On the cliffs lots of Fulmar with young and a few still with eggs. A few nesting Kittiwake and auks as well.

 Arctic Skua

Plenty of activity on Monday & Tuesday as both Arctic and the Long Tailed Skuas clashed. The LT Skua coming out on top, even chasing off a few Gt Skua and GT BB gulls

 Let the battle commence

On Tuesday  I was up on the hill by myself and had plenty of bird activity to keep me occupied. I could see the Long Tailed skua in an aerial battle with a couple of Arctic Skua. The LT doing a lot of calling as it dive bombed the other species

It seemed to be a lot quicker and more agile than the Arctic's

Having done its stint it moved off south out of sight and this seemed to be the pattern for the afternoon. In two hours it came back 4 times for around 10 mins each session. One time it came back with 4 Arctic Skuas chasing it.

Lots of Arctic Terns coming back with Sandeels, a good year for them, Several species of wader flew passed and several young Wheatear popped up to get a view in an old ruined croft. Gt Skua, GTBB and Greylags passed over

 Long Tailed Skua was always the winner

 LT Skua still present today