At sunset recently we were standing on the Bundeena cliffs when a migrant seldom seen from the coast flew over. A chocolate brown colour, bigger than a raven with beautiful pointed wings…..this was a Brown (Great) Skua. A visitor from the Southern Latitudes. An expert in Skuas told us:
A land-based sighting this clear is rare, typically they stay away from the coastline and don’t come closer than half a km or so, unless in very strong winds. So count yourself lucky you had this encounter, normally you’d have to go out on a boat for this. Other than that there is nothing rare about your sighting. In late autumn Brown Skuas are pretty scarce visitors along the NSW coast, but increasing in frequency towards winter. Especially from mid-winter till early spring they’re fairly common offshore, i.e. they’re going to increase in numbers from now on. This part of the NSW coast is part of their regular wintering range, they breed down at Macquarie Island and the NZ sub-antarctic islands and they migrate northward comes autumn.