Skewered by a Skua

I normally only see Great Skuas from behind as they disappear along the cliffs. They have a wonderful habit of cruising up to you unawares.

Not this time, though. We’ve learnt to spot them from far off now, despite them flying fast and low. They really are ‘under-the-radar’ birds. A cry of “Skua!” goes up whenever we see one approach. That’s how I photographed these:

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They are deeply impressive beasts, with massive hooked beaks and talons to match. They are definitely the pirates of the air:

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s one coming in fast and low now:

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Its pointed wings are swift and sleek, yet its body is barrel chested and powerful:

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They swoop over the sea:

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

And power through the air.

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They are magnificent.

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