Early spring influx of adult Long-tailed Skuas Stercorarius longicaudus in northwestern Europe in March 2021
* Correspondence author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asserlaan 22, 1902DS Castricum, The Netherlands.
The Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus is a trans-equatorial migratory seabird that migrates between wintering areas off southern Africa and South-America to circumpolar, (sub) Arctic breeding grounds (Gilg et al. 2013; van Bemmelen et al. 2017). Long-tailed Skuas usually migrate far from land (Wynne-Edwards 1935; Pollock et al. 2000) and the species is therefore usually only seen in small numbers in northwestern Europe. In some autumns, influxes of exceptional numbers of Long-tailed Skuas occur along European coasts (van der Ham 1989; Dunn & Hirschfeld 1991; Vanloo 1996). Numbers seen during spring migration in Scotland fluctuate greatly depending on westerly and northwesterly winds, with up to three-figure daily counts in some springs (Wynn et al. 2014). However, influxes away from Scotland and in early spring have not been documented before.
In March 2021, a small but remarkably early influx occurred in western Europe, with adult Long-tailed Skuas turning up in France, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands (but not in other northwestern European countries). Here, I describe the spatial and temporal pattern in these records.
Chris Batty kindly helped with recordsfrom the United Kingdom and Peter deVries with information from Germany.
Immature long-tailed skuas Stercorarius longicaudus in Swedish Lapland in 2009. Ornis Svecica 20: 81–86.
Flexibility in otherwise consistent non-breeding movements of a long-distance migratory seabird, the long-tailed skua. Marine Ecology Progress Series 578: 197–211.
Long-tailed Skuas in Britain and Ireland in autumn 1988. British Birds 84: 121–136.
Trans-equatorial migration routes, staging sites and wintering areas of a high-Arctic avian predator: The Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) PLoS ONE 8: e64614.
Influx of Long-tailed Skuas in the Netherlands in autumn 1988. Sula 3: 128–133.
Ecology of the Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus Vieillot, 1819) at Scoresby Sund, East Greenland. Part two: Arrival, site tenacity and departure. Beaufortia 34: 1–14.
title Journal Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Aberdeen.
Influx van de Kleinste Jager Stercorarius longicaudus tijdens het najaar van 1994 aan de Belgische middenkust. Mergus 10: 18–25.
The distribution of seabirds and marine mammals in the Atlantic frontier, north and west of Scotland. vol
Spring migration routes of Long-tailed Skuas around and across the UK - results of observational and tracking data. British Birds 107: 220–228.
On the habits and distribution of birds on the North Atlantic. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History 40: 233–346.