Monday, May 28, 2012

The Brown Wonder: South Polar Skua


A South Polar Skua never fails to get birder adrenaline pumping on a pelagic trip...this is odd, considering it rather closely resembles a juvenile Western Gull, a bird that always fails to get the adrenaline pumping.


Why is this? What's the big deal? Perhaps because they are never a common bird in North American waters. To be able to see one from shore is a cause for much fanfare...most birders who have seen one from land immediately go out and procure themselves a bottle of champagne and a cake.


Or it could be that people are really partial to the color brown. Yeah?


Or maybe their celebrity status is derived from preying on penguin chicks on their southerly breeding grounds.


It's likely that their status as an uberjager wins them much respect. What other bird has the balls to go after a full-grown Western Gull?


Skua don't give a fuck.


Every birder probably has their own reason for their south polar passions.


This aloof South Polar Skua was photographed off the coast of San Diego, CA.

15 comments:

  1. =) Glad SOMEone goes after WEGUs. That skua certainly is a mesomorph! Burly. Lovely shots of the elegant primaries.

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    1. Nothing says "I am going to hurt you and take your food" like white at the base of the primaries!

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  2. Awesome shots.

    I think we can all sympathize with the desire to eat tiny penguins from time to time.

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    1. Laurence, you scare me sometimes.

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    2. I hear you Laurence...I bet they taste somewhere in between chicken and veal.

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  3. During the brief period where I volunteered at the bird lab in the state museum, I got up close and personal with some of the Skua skins and man, they have the biggest, nastiest, talons I've ever seen on anything with webbed feet. Totally badass.

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    1. Skua talons....wow, I've never even considered that, but I'm somehow not surprised.

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  4. Sweet shots! Did he catch the Western Gull?

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    1. Skua tried, but Western Gull choked down its fish chunk before skua could terrorize Western Gull badly enough. I'm sure it succeeded the next time.

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  5. Awesome. Second shot with the gull is pretty damn sweet.

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  6. Awesome shots!!! Came oh so close to seeing my lifer during Hurricane Irene out east on Long Island NY, but dipped.

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    1. Thanks dude! Skuas are pretty rad, but I bet you got some other good hurricane birds...

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  7. you and your sweet flight shots. what a bastard! What??? I tried with the Z-tailed guys recently and that didn't go very well. Nice, Tucker, NICE!

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    1. Thanks pro friend...one of the advantages of NEVER using a tripod.

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