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Arctic Skua

Arctic Skua
Photo Information
Copyright: Harry Eggens (Proframe) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 549 W: 183 N: 1069] (4096)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-06-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200 with MB-200, AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 ED, Nikon L37c UV filter
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-18 9:25
Viewed: 6072
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 112
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
First of all I would like to thank each and everyone for taken a look at and comments wrote to my previous uploads. Much appreciated.

Shot of this Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus), taken while traveling on board a small boat through the fjords of the Province of Nord Trondelag in Norway.

This time no image of a colorful bird or eagle, but one of wich it is'nt to easy to get a good shot of.
These birds are very fast moving and one really has to do some work to hold it in to the viewfinder.
While my 70-200mm VR broke down, electrical problem, during the trip to Norway last year, I had to do this shot with the Nikon 105mm VR Nano macro.
Not a lens one normally does use for this kind of shots, but I was very happy to had it with me.


From Wikipedia

The Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus, known as the Parasitic Jaeger in North America, is a seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae.

This species breeds in the north of Eurasia and North America, with significant populations as far south as northern Scotland. It nests on dry tundra, higher fells and islands, laying up to four olive-brown eggs. It is usually silent except for newing and wailing notes while on the breeding grounds. Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or fox approaching its nest. Although it cannot inflict serious damage, it is a frightening and painful experience. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the tropics and southern oceans.

In the British Isles, they breed in Shetland and Orkney, the Outer Hebrides, Sutherland, Caithness, and some islands in Argyll.

This bird will feed on lemmings and other rodents on the breeding grounds, but also robs gulls and terns of their catches. Like the larger skua species, it continues this piratical behaviour throughout the year, showing great agility as it harasses its victims.

Identification of this skua is complicated by its similarities to Long-tailed Skua and Pomarine Skua, and the existence of three colour phases. This is one of the smaller skuas at about 41 cm length, excluding the pointed central tail feathers of the summer adult, which can add another 7 cm or so. Light phase adults have a brown back, mainly white underparts and dark primary wing feathers with a white "flash". The head and neck are yellowish-white with a black cap and there is a pointed central tail projection. Dark phase adults are dark brown, and intermediate phase birds are dark with somewhat paler underparts, head and neck. All phases have the white wing flash.

Juveniles are even more problematic, and are difficult to separate from Long-tailed Skua over the sea. They are bulkier, shorter-winged and less tern-like than that species, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. The flight is more falcon-like. However, they are usually warmer toned than Long-tailed, with browner shades, rather than grey.

Thanks in advance for viewing and comments are most welcome.

Have a nice evening and Sunday,


earthtraveler, Necipp, gracious, falke, jmirah, jaycee, K9madtex, CeltickRanger, Kathleen, Jamesp, Matt-Bird, anel, Argus, vanderschelden, nainnain, angybone, uleko, smitha, mirceax, JORAPAVI, go2stones, red45, snowfalken, LordPotty, goutham_ramesh, star74, elefantino, SelenE, cicindela, rcrick, CatStevens has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

I like how you captured the beautiful wing lines on this Skua Harry. Lovely point of view shows the feather detail. Nicely composed as well.

Hi Harry
I took quite a few pictures of Arctic Skua in Iceland but this one is far better than my best due to: 1. outstanding BG giving a great idea of natural habitat, 2. perfect sharpness all over the body, 3. very nice pose of the skua's head.

Hello Harry very nice contrast with the background, details and colours looks great, perfect diag composition and nice pose with good warm light on the bird rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2007-08-18 9:44]

hi harry,
this is an amazing shot.I had never seen a bird in flight like this picture its fantastic...
the picture looks like as if some artist has done a painting.wonderful picture.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-08-18 9:48]

Hello Harry ! I'm so jealous of your birds ! :-)) I like 'in flight' shots of birds. You managed it perfectly. I love the background too. Thanks !


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  • falke Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 153 W: 18 N: 479] (1863)
  • [2007-08-18 9:55]

Well Harry, here you have fullpointer! This is a absolutely amazing photo of this Skua in flight! Great pose and a beautiful BG. You even got a small glimpse in the eye.

It is almost technically perfect and I just love the subtle colours and the careful treatment from you. Great note as well.

This will be a favourite of mine!
Best regards/Bengt

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  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-08-18 10:13]

Nice capture! I like it.

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  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2007-08-18 10:56]

Ha harry,

Schitterende opname van deze "jager". De crop en de compositie zijn geweldig. Mooie diagonale lijnen en een vogel die voor je lijkt te poseren. Wat wil je nog meer?


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  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-08-18 13:00]

Hi Harry,
Just marking this post and will be back with a proper critique later.

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  • jmirah Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
  • [2007-08-18 13:15]

Hi Harry,
uaoooooo!! Beautiful capture. Excellent color and detail against a great scenic BG. Very well done.


Hello Harry,
still another exceptional photograph with your credit, it is really superb

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-08-18 13:50]

Hi Harry,

Your in-flight shots are always a joy to see. I love the diagonal position of the Skua giving a fantastic view of the wings. The position of his head is also wonderful. Superb colors and details and a magnificent setting.


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  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2007-08-18 13:54]

Bonjour Harry
Très belle prise, excellente attitude du sujet et gestion de l'exposition,Bravo

Amicalement Robi

Even though you could not use your lens of choice, the photo turned out very fine. The focus and color is great, as well as DOF. TFS

Hi Harry,

The light was fantastic, difficult shot handled perfectly, super picture, well done.


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  • krall Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 190 W: 0 N: 47] (1286)
  • [2007-08-18 14:18]

Beautiful capture

bonjour Harry

une autre de tes superbes photos d'oiseau au vol,
j'aime beaucoup l'angle parlaquelle la phot est prise

superbe netteté et détails des plumes des oiseaux



Hi Harry.
Perfect timing with superb lighting, sharpness and colour. The detail is wonderful having him stand out against his background environment nicely out of focus but with detail.


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  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-08-18 23:01]

Hi Harry

Once again a stunning action shot with wonderful detail. The colours and lighting are great too. The diagonal composition is excellent.


Hi Harry.
Great detail and POV. I like how it looks like the Skua has turned its head slightly to look at the camera. Beautiful presentation. Its hard to make comments on your photos because they are usually quite good.

Hello Harry,
Excellent composition of the Skua in flight with such a beautiful pov!
Perfect exposure and focus, sharpness, rich colour and details!
well done and thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-08-19 1:51]

Hello harry,
Excellent framing and good light to show us this interesting bird. Perfect attitude of the Arctic Skua. Its way to look reminds me srangely of a dove. Beautiful diagonal composition.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-08-19 2:30]

Hello Harry,
You did well to get such a fine in-flight capture of this dark phase Arctic Skua using a macro lens!
The lighting, colours, sharpness and composition are all first class and an extra bonus is a blurred view of the natural surroundings in the BG. It would be interesting to know what sort of a BG this would have been using a 300 mm.
Thanks for sharing this one,
best wishes, Ivan

A superb in flight...
Never saw this one let alone in flight...
Truly a winner...
Congrats and TFS

j' adore cet oiseau en vol, excellente posture, sur un bon bg flou, voici du bon travail deta part , félicitations et merci

Perfect focus and clarity in the face. WOW!
WOnderful composition. All around great shot!

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-08-19 10:14]

Hello Harry,
I can't recall seeing many pictures of this bird in flight! This is a masterpiece! It's amazing how you got him to turn his head at the right moment to get the profile as well! Very fine sharp capture in beautiful light. Beautiful colours too in this excellent composition!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

Che dire ? Di un altra tua splendida immagine,
farti complimenti? Ma tu gia' sai quale e' la risposta.
Un saluto Pierdamiano

Wow... Very good action shot under difficult conditions. Beautful POV, lots of detail in the plumage for an action shot. DOF perfect. Truly amazing, shows how well your in control of your matierial. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Dan.

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  • smitha Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 348 W: 73 N: 1165] (4409)
  • [2007-08-19 20:21]

Hello Harry,
Excellent in flight shot. I never imagined you can take in flight shots of birds with Nikkor 105 mm. Sharpness and details are excellent. The background looks lovely.The diagonal composition is fantastic. I also liked the colours and light.
Thanks a lot for sharing it.

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-08-19 21:33]

Hello Harry

The POV and DOF are excellent.The diagonal composition is superb.The focus is excellent with a beautiful OOF BG.Lovely colours.TFS


Stunning shot Harry, I especially like the blurred land in the background. It adds depth to the shot. Great POV. Excellent sharpness and tones. Good eye contact.


Hi Harry
This is really good catch of Arctic Skua in action. Well saturated and sharp, and you used only 105mm lens... I am impressed. I think I am going to tray to do same with my Canon 100mm F/2.8 but Canon don't have VR or IS version. My congratulations

Hello Harry,
This is an interesting specie that I didn't know about. It has this so special color... You did well by capturing this fast flying bird. I like its pose a lot, beautiful composition and framing. The blurred BG is lovely too. I guess that it should have been a difficult shot. I enjoyed reading your notes. Thanks,

Still an excellent capture Harry..
Even with the short reach lens :)
Sometimes opportunity knocks and we do the very best we can with what we have, as seen here.
The POV can't be topped, and the composition sublime :)
The attitude and pose of the bird makes the shot very special..
Very well done!

Hi Harry,
A great capture of this Arctic Skua, I like very much the diagonal composition and the Bg.


Hola Harry,
Otro magnífico regalo para la vista, preciosa y elegante composición, dejando entreveer el paisaje al fondo, excelente luz y nitidez, TFS. Saludos
José Ramón

Super shot with the water and mountains in the BG. He really has his eye on us. Well done.


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  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-08-21 5:09]

Hi Harry!

Two pictures in one :-) Not only fantastic shot of bird in flight, but also very interesting landscape on BG. Pose, moment, composition - superb. Very interesting story, congratulations for discovering new target for macro lenses :-)

Hello Harry,

This is a very good picture in spite of the fact that it is a difficult to shoot bird. It seems you're doing quite a lot of travelling as your pictures are from all over the world.


The diagonal composition is very pleasant to look at! I like the eye-contact and the perfect silhouette of the bird against the blurred background. Also, you have my whole admiration for the way you framed the background using the rules of thirds. It is great to have a clue about what this bird's environment looks like. Very well done!


The cool and warm color tones balance each other very well! They are well saturated and look natural.


The distribution of contrast between foreground and background is just great. It is an additional way to isolate the subject.


I guess exposing this scene correctly was a multiple challenge. First you had to correctly measure the light and than take in account the difficulty of this subject and the fact that you were shooting from a moving boat. The fast shutter speed was mandatory for the success of this shot. The results are speaking from themselves. Perfectly exposed details in both highlights and shadows. Outstanding job!


Focus was also tricky with such moving subjects. Did you use any continuous focusing functions of your camera to track the bird? Whatever the method, the results are outstanding.

You proved your skills in taking such a difficult photo and succeeded. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

Hi Harry,
Tack sharp capture of this speedy Skua.
Until recently I thought just about every dark coloured gull was a Skua but now I realise how many different gulls there really are. Most of what I called Skua were probably juvenile Black Backed Gulls.
You've done a great job with this one.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • puciu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 16] (2631)
  • [2007-08-21 12:33]

cześć. Co tu pisać , poprostu świetnie. 105mm ?
Pozdrawiam Robert.

salut harry
excellent diagonal made by the bird spread wings, super clearness of the photo well done

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  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2007-08-21 23:58]

Hi Harry

Well it may not have been the lens of choice, but you did a very good job with it.
I was up in Scotland last month (in the Orkney islands) and know how fast skuas can fly... We were warned off my a couple of Great Skua's and they came in at knee height... We were not aware that they were nesting close by and had been admiring the view...

With photos like yours, it is often the background that makes such a differnce and I really think that is the case here... the 'rural' BG with the rocky area and the sea/fjord helps put the bird in an area.

great capture... did you use flash?


The diagonal position of the wings, superb lighting, perfect exposure , wonderful BG, sharpness and your skill make this is masterpiece recipe The catch light is like a wine to go with it :-)

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  • Bufo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 404 W: 69 N: 951] (4247)
  • [2007-08-24 4:05]

Dag Harry,
ik was afgelopen drie weken op spitsbergen en heb heel wat van deze kleine jagers gezien, waaronder de donkere vorm. Toch is het me zeker niet gelukt om zo'n fraaie plaat te maken van een vogel hoewel ze absoluut niet schuw zijn. Wel apart om met een macro deze foto te maken, maar dat is hier wel heel goed gelukt.
De belichting in combinatie met de ongewone vliegbeeld opname maken het een bijzondere foto.


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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-08-25 8:21]

Hallo Harry,
Deze was me nog even ontgaan vanwege vakantie. Weer een perfecte opname. Heel bijzonder vind ik de diagonale compositie in verhouding met de kop van de vogel. Of hij zo je camera in vliegt. Ook de achtergrond is bijzonder mooi.

Hi Harry,
Excellent capture of this bird.
Perfect timing
Nice clear details and sharpness.
Well done

Hello Harry, great shot with an amazing sharpness and good natural colors.
I like the way you frozen it.


Hi Harry,
Excellent full frame of this skua and all with the perfect aperature. I think the 105 micro nikkor worked out fine in this case. I've actually used that lens for portrait shots and turns out nice results. Your shot here proves the lens is pretty versatile and the creativeness has little constraint, I take the lenses out of the 105 on the weekend and use it for a beer stein. :)

Hi Harry
Is a very nice portrait, light, colors, bacground.... is very good, congratulations

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  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-09-20 0:53]

Hi Harry,
Lovely in-flight photo of this Arctic Skua . POV, eye contact, focus, colors, composition and light are very good. Well done and TFS
Best wishes,

Hello again!
Sharp, detailed, colourful, great composed... I can continue for a long time. This picture is really great! And for me also brings some memories from the time when I was on Spitsbergen :)
What can I say more? I like this picture a lot :)
Best regards,

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  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2007-10-15 0:40]

amazing in-flight shot! great timing. tfs

Hi Harry
Many thanks for the kind words and the feedback, its very much appreciated, its the first time I've seen your work on TN and mate its amazing, these aerial shots are just stunning, you have an incredible gallery of image's and I look forward to seeing some more, all the best, Happy Easter, Cheers Rick.

Hi Harry,
Fantastic shot. Focus spot on.
Simply stunning!

perfecct :)

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