Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12th August 2014 Selsey

Long-tailed Skua 1 near-adult


Near-adult Long-tailed Skua at Selsey (lower four JFC)
Olsen and Larsen include short central tail-streamers, a more extensive pale belly (therefore almost reminiscent of adult pallescens), relatively dark upperwings and some limited white barring to the median coverts of the underwings as features of third- or fourth-summer individuals all of which apply to this individual. Its upperwings certainly lack the typically eye-catching contrast between the greyish upperwing coverts and dark trailing edge seen on adults passing the Bridges of Ross at the same time of year. Its upperwings appeared to be matted possibly with oil (JFC speculated a Fulmar might have been responsible) that it seemed to be constantly preening. It stumbled a few times on the beach which added to a sense that all might not be well. That said, it did seem very alert and on seeing a passing Common Tern it was surprising how quickly it covered the ground to pursue it.