A family walk this morning rather than a birding trip, but since the destination was Whitesands and Barns Ness it would have been churlish to leave the binos at home. We walked the coastal path and looked for fossils in the rocks - the limestone beds being particularly rich in corals and crinoids. A brief squint out to sea in magnificent light against darker skies revealed a Great Skua scything north against the wind. A nice gingery individual, I wondered whether it was a 1st year bird - either way it was my first sighting of the year. Not a bad haul over the last couple of days with Red-necked Grebe, Barnacle Goose, Ruff, Little Egret, Crossbill and Richard's Pipit all added to the Lothian yearlist already - certainly about time I did some catch-up after a few months without birding time. The best sighting of the day, however, was my lens hood sitting on the Brans Ness shingle where I must have dropped it two days before - what a find!
Here are some Great Skua pics from Orkney 2009. The first is a typical adult, the second a paler cap-less bird harassing a Gannet (three shots of the same bird) and the last a juvenile.