Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Arctic Skuas

We see a few Arctic Skuas around the island during the late  summer  months. These birds breed from North Scotland to deep within the Arctic circle. These birds will chase all the seabirds from Puffins to Gannets to try to steal fish from them. At the moment it is fairly easy to see this bird offshore. There are great feeding frenzies of birds catching sprats offshore and these birds certainly don't want to miss out on this food.

A typical view of an Arctic Skua belting past the South Ness

This pair were ambushing other seabirds, working as a team

This Arctic Tern flew right over my head while I was stood on the South Ness. Fantastic to get such close views. See the tiny pointed tail.

We're also spotting Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoises and plenty of Manx Shearwaters offshore.


  1. Sounds like quite a lot of action. We saw a couple of Arctic Skuas just off the coast in Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne, Australia a couple of months ago so they certainly travel. They were harassing Crested Terns when we saw them.

  2. Hi, I've emailed you but not had a reply, so I thought I'd try this method. Can you please tell me if there are any Puffins still on the Isle of May, and if so, how much longer they might be around? Thanks, Martyn (08/08/13)

  3. Hi Martyn. There have been a few puffins about this week. We can sometimes get great post breeding gatherings around the island but numbers vary a lot day by day. It is pot luck. To improve your chances of seeing greater numbers I recommend an early sailing when the weather is poor. Puffins feel safer if there is a bit of wind so they can get lift off the cliffs.

    Good luck.