Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still writing skuas

A record of a North Sea Arctic Skua in January is a very rare thing. A quick search of Birdguides indicates just two north of the Wash since 2001. There are no records for February in the same period. With the potential for confusion with Pom high (although north of the Wash that species is also very, very scarce) a great deal of caution should be exercised methinks. However, perhaps folk just don't report these species? Anyone seen a Stercorarius skua in the North Sea, north of the Wash in January or February? I'm interested to know just how uncommon these are - I don't have many old bird reports so if anyone has the time or inclination to search through and let me know, Yorkshire, Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland and any Scottish information would be very gratefully received. TIA


East Ayton Birding said...

Digging through some of my old notes had a skua sp past Whitby on 22.01.2000, in feezing conditions, with gale force northerlies and heavy squalls coming in off the North Sea.

Not a place I'd normally be birding, but it was when the possible 1st winter/juvenile Kumlien's Gull was there (as well as 1st winter/juvenile Iceland Gull & the then regular adult Glaucous Gull).

Never considered submitting the record, especially considering it was only a sp. No more detail in the my notes than that - was with one of the Filey regulars, and he was happy it was with skua sp.

Alastair said...

Thanks for that - Stercorarius skuas appear to be very, very rare in the North Sea, north of the Wash December through February. Pom is the most likely, but only just. I'm very surprised just how rare they are and when i get a moment will try to investigate this in a bit more detail. Thanks for your help.