Thursday, 22 October 2009


I had a call from Fiona MacLean to say she'd found a grounded bird, that was unable to fly while out walking the dog yesterday. She'd wrapped it in her coat and taken it to the vet's in Dover. She said she thought it was a Skua. This evening I visited the vets at Burnham House in Castle Street, to see the bird, and hopefully confirm the identity. It was indeed a Bonxie. The path that she found it on was about a half mile inland, so it had come in quite a long way. The vet, who seemed quite knowledgeable about birds, said that it was very thin, with not much fat on it, but that it was eating sprats OK. I took a couple of pictures, but he bird didn't really like company much, so I quickly left it to settle down again. It seems an interesting occurrence as although it was windy it didn't seem to have been that strong a storm to me.

The identification of which Skua was pretty straight forward, (although I'm no expert on close up views of Brown Skuas) it was a Great Skua.

The overall uniform brown plumage, with a rusty tinge makes me think that this is a juvenile bird. An adult would show some streaking on head and neck.

I would have expected a more two toned bill although it is darker at the tip. I hope that this bird makes a full recovery and ends up being released, but there is always the possibility that it has a more fundamental problem. It was obvious that it would get good care there and stand the best chance of recovery under proper supervision.

1 comment:

Ángel Ruiz Elizalde said...


A juvenile bird indeed. Apart from what you've remarked, the white patch on primaries bases is not as conspicuous as in adults. Also note that this bird has no sign of moulting remiges. Right now adult birds are moulting their inner primaries. Great blog and nice photographs, congratulations. Bye.

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