What a weekend it’s been. Long Billed Dowitcher, Curlew Sandpipers, incredible weather, and that’s just for starters. I’ll begin at the end however with a brilliant encounter this evening involving a Great Skua and Swansea Pier. The Skuas presence was first spotted yesterday and it was still around this morning, so with a couple of hours spare late afternoon it seemed like a match made in heaven. Initial reports had indicated that the bird was confiding but believe me when I say the word really doesn’t do its behaviour justice. We found it sat at the far end of the pier being passed by walkers and fishermen only a few feet away. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

P1090864 - Great Skua, Swansea
P1090862 - Great Skua, Swansea
P1090857 - Great Skua, Swansea
P1090866 - Great Skua, Swansea

For a species normally seen at distance during sea watches this level of access is almost unheard of. Personally my only views of Great Skuas have been on the Isle of Mull so this was something rather special and to be savoured. Even a drunken Ukrainian sailor couldn’t disturb the bird for long. If you are in the Swansea area I highly recommend a visit as chances are the Skua will still be around tomorrow. It seems particularly fond of the fish scraps that are to be found on the pier, and I imagine that the smell there is pretty enticing as well!


J · October 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Think you got better shots of it than I did when I arrived just before dusk. Cracking pictures.

Bob Bushell · October 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

You were so lucky, to catch it was a blessing. Great post and the photos, they are fantastic.

theconstantwalker · October 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Fantastic images of a beautiful bird…

TexWisGirl · October 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

what a marvelous bird! and very self-assured!

Adam Tilt · October 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks all for your comments. Much appreciated.

Dave · October 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Hi Adam

These a truly brilliant images of a stunning bird. A real chance in a lifetime take


Adam Tilt · October 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks Dave. It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was fortunate to get some great lighting as well.

Caroline Gill · October 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Extraordinary, Adam … and brilliant photos. Yes, my thoughts immediately turned to Scotland's west coast (where we have seen them on the way to the Summer Isles and off Skye). Any idea how often they 'land' in Swansea like this?

Forgive me if I mentioned this, but we moved last week to Suffolk … so are enjoying our first glimpses of Avocets … and wonderful Starling roosts above the reed beds.

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