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Old Sep 30, 2004, 6:20 PM   #1
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This rather shaky photo is the fastest action from my family holiday in Orkney this summer. It's not a very sharp image, but I was under attack from a Great Skua at the time. Notice that the Stealth Bomber takes its design from a bonxie's nose.

If they actually hit you it hurts a bit. As they arrive they utter what they think is a blood-curdling war-cry, but we hear a rather pathetic "quack".
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Old Oct 1, 2004, 12:57 PM   #2
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LOL - what a great background story! He is coming in for a landing, hunh!??! I love those feet and the angle of the head. :-)Nice stop-action. The exposure could be corrected a little (for my tastes) but I LOVE the subject and the humor in this. It goes to show little things can do big things! :-)
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Old Oct 2, 2004, 12:48 PM   #3
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monkey143 wrote:
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He is coming in for a landing, hunh!??!
Nope, he's coming in for an attack on my head. These are aggressive birds, that defend their nesting areas fiercely, even when they're not nesting (as in this instance). These are Great Skuas, which are *big* birds (the size of large gulls), and it's pretty intimidating when they approach below eye level at zero feet (like the Dambusters of WWII). I have been hit on the head once by one, from behind, without warning, but if you see them coming, waving your arms puts them off.

In contrast, Arctic Skuas, smaller and more beautiful, are like Stuka dive bombers and hit you vertically and hard from a great height. One of these hit me as well years ago, as I stepped out of the door of the hut where we were staying on the Isle of Foula. It hurt, and would probably have drawn blood if I hadn't been wearing a thick woolly hat. We defended my baby daughter from them by attaching a vertical pole to her back-carrier.

The UK has a large proportion of the world's population of these birds, mostly nesting in the Orkney & Shetland Isles north of the Scottish mainland.
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Old Oct 2, 2004, 2:04 PM   #4
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Hey, I love the shot.
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Old Oct 2, 2004, 7:10 PM   #5
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He reminds me of the bird in The Rescuers! :-)
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