Stumbling across a Great Skua

Great Skuas are one of my favourite birds. They are a constant delight as they patrol the shoreline, flying low and surprising us as they sail effortlessly past.

This time I’ve been lucky and stumbled across one close by on Papa Westray:

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

What a magnificent beast:

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

I manœuvre around to get a plain background, hoping that it won’t fly.

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

I’ve never been this close and not been attacked. I think that’s probably a surprise to us both.

When it does take off it shows its characteristic white wing flashes:

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

And then lands further away to preserve its dignity.

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

What a beautiful encounter.

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