This Great Skua arrived at dusk yesterday evening. It promptly knocked an adult Lesser Black-backed gull into the water, quickly drowned it and was still feasting by nightfall. Still present this morning it did however look a little odd and appeared to have difficulty flying. Thames Water ranger Mark kindly allowed us the use of a boat, primarily for the purpose of obtaining some photographs. However upon closer inspection it was obvious that the left eye was damaged. It also appeared to be oiled along the flanks, wings and vent. It was a difficult decision to either leave it or intervene but in the event it actually swan towards to the boat as if in a plea to be rescued. Roger netted it with ease and it was delivered to the local vets in Botley.
Like the previous four Great Skuas earlier this month it is also an adult in moult. However unlike those who were happily migrating across country, this is clearly a weakened bird and almost certainly a victim of the recent stormy weather.