After the recent storms, an out-of-season Pomarine Skua was sighted at Preesall Sands just off Pilling Lane on the saltmarsh. It had obviously been blown onto the shore and stuck about a couple of days to avoid the worse of the weather... it wasn't until I arrived 5 days after the initial sighting to notice that it's wing appeared fractured or broken. The Skua could still fly about but it was obviously suffering which was sad to see.
The locals must've locked on to this certainly a lot quicker than I did as they have put out some carcases for the bird to help it along. Pomarine Skuas are nearly as big as a Herring Gull and can be viewed as a dark or light morph. This bird at Pilling is a first winter dark morph.
|Pomarine Skua - note the under-coverts barring and it's damaged right wing|
Juvenile Skuas can be a nightmare to ID especially on a seawatch and I've had many occasions where the predicament of 'it is or isn't it?' has come in. Juvenile Arctic Skuas are very similar although slightly smaller, thinner necked, thinner billed and has a less bold structure and appearance. A dark morph Pomarine Skua features quite strong barring on the undertail-coverts whereas a dark morph Arctic Skua typically does not. Although it must be noted that a pale phase Arctic Skua would show evidence of barring really making it difficult to ID at distance between the species.
|Mallard and Herring Gull were among the carcases provided for the Skua|
Whereas the Pilling bird looks physically disabled, it still shows strength and I believe it'll stick around for hopefully a few weeks with help from the locals. I can't see it making a full recovery soon but who knows!