I’m walking the wild west coast of Westray again.
It’s magnificent. For a few months each year it’s inhabited by Arctic Skuas, or Parasitic Jaegers, as they’re known elsewhere. When I first saw them I found it difficult to accept the differences in their colouration. Some are the deepest brown and others have the palest whitish underbellies.
Here’s the dark form:
There’s just the merest hint of a light collar.
And here’s a lighter form, with a strong brown chest band:
As yet, it seems that scientists have been unable to identify any reason for the difference. They’ve put forward hypotheses about hunting success under different conditions but all the observational data has shown no change in the outcomes of their hunts.
I’m looking forward to doing some more reading about them.
Their hunts are spectacular:
Here’s an adult Arctic Skua with a juvenile close behind.
I’m delighted that they are breeding here. I look forward to more encounters with them when they return next year.
I’m looking forward to joining them.