It was obvious that today's storm was a quality hooley as I drove down Ainsdale beach this morning in torrential rain and bruising westerlies, to find a very wet Pomarine Skua resting on the beach alongside a few Common Gulls and BHGs.
Bigger than the gulls, this cracking bird took flight twice showing off a rather bedraggled rear end it has to be said (no spoons on this baby), but powerful broad, dark wings, and lovely long pointed primaries as it cut through the gale to rest further up the shore.
Nice pale crescents visible at the base of the primaries on the underwing, but otherwise its plumage appeared dark, with a suggestion of barring on the underwing, and undertail, but these features were by no means obvious - not surprising given the conditions.
It seemed to have a good dark hood coming to beneath a hooked two tone bill, and some paler markings on the chest, but the rain and wind made things difficult.
A big, barrel-chested brute in the air, and quite bulky on the deck too, until the hammering rain almost battered it into the sand.
Hard to age it under the circumstances, but I think it was a second year bird - although other observers thought it may have been an adult.
I managed to get the pic above before the weather engulfed both the bird and myself...
Sadly it didn't stick around and headed out over the raging waves.
Such a good start to the day promised much, but apart from a clear movement of Kittiwakes, and a single Manxie in the afternoon, nothing else came my way.
I was hoping for a Leach's or two, especially as Bazzo scored with one from Formby Point (see comment on previous entry), but I think I'll have to wait till tomorrow for one of them, or maybe even later in the week.
Good to feel a decent hooley on my face again though.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...