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Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus


A scarce autumn and rare spring passage migrant: c69 records.

Adults seem to pass through earlier in autumn than immatures, being responsible for most, but not all, of the August records. Immatures then predominate in September and October. In autumn, birds follow the main rivers out of the Wash Estuary and southwest high over land towards the Severn Estuary (This phenomenon has been covered in papers in bird reports of the Cambridgeshire Bird Club). Although strong northwesterly winds and bad weather have accounted for the highest numbers at Grafham Water, birds appear in all conditions. Birds appearing in good weather seem to move on quickly.

Monthly totals (including probables) as follows:

Spring Records

Autumn Records

Highest counts

  • 8 on 1 October 1991
  • 6 on 12 September 1976
  • 6 on 3 September 1973


    • Click Here- dark phase juvenile, 31 August 2004. Photo by Jono Leadley.
    • Click Here- dark phase juvenile, 23 September 2002. Photo by Jono Leadley.

    All material copyright Jono Leadley 2006