These birds are on the specially made skua landing
platform (also used by occasional Dominican gulls and sheathbills)
outside the kitchen window of the scientific station on Signy island
in the South Orkneys. There were two pairs of skuas that used
it regularly (never at the same time though), the "Reds" and the
"Blues" they lived respectively to the sides of the platform of
their colours. This is Mr. and Mrs. Blue. Their nest was about 250m
away downhill of this rooftop platform and occasionally when feeling
lazy, they would walk up rather than fly and then glide downhill
If you were out nearby they would sometimes come
to see if they could get any free food (see above) squawking and
hovering above you. If you lent over forwards, then sometimes one
would land on your back and look quizzically sideways at you as
if to say "Now what?". I also had one of them once try to land on
my back-pack as I was walking along. Unfortunately it was a purpose
made back pack that consisted of a frame with two large open top
cans attached. The first I knew what was happening was when Mrs.
Blue fell into one and with much scrabbling and panic managed to
get out of it before settling nearby and giving me a haughty stare.
Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
50mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
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