Long-tailed Skua (Long-tailed Jaegar) Stercorarius longicaudus

The scarcest of the regularly-occurring skuas in Norfolk with almost all records from the autumn.

Accurate identification of distant skuas requires an extremely large amount of experience and and is often viewed with skepticism by those who don't have that experience. However the best and most experienced seawatchers are able to recognise the different species by subtle jizz and behavioural characteristics. I reckon I'd seen about 50-100 distant Long-tailed Skuas, with the ID of each one talked through with some of the best seawatchers in the country before I was even beginning to be able to identifiy them accurately.

So far I only have photos of one closer juvenile, the plumage most frequently encountered in Norfolk. Even that was too far for decent photos and I don't think it is really identiable from these poor images that appear at the bottom of this page.

Before that are some pics of a most unexpected bird - a full-tailed adult lingering on a beach in July! An exceptional record and an amazing bird, although by the time I got there the light was failing so the photos are taken with high ISO.

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adult Long-tailed Skua, Winterton-on-Sea (Norfolk, UK), 14th July 2014

 

Long-tailed Skua, Sheringham (Norfolk, UK), 13th September 2009