Stercorarius longicaudus     

Long-tailed skua is a rare vagrant in Berkshire - this bird being only the third. The previously most recent bird, at QMR on 17th August 2003, did not stay long enough to be added to many county birders' lists and caused a lot of ill-feeling in the county for a variety of reasons. Everyone was relieved that a juvenile, found at the same site, stayed long enough for everyone to tick it

They are the smallest of the skuas and are not as piratical as their cousins; mostly picking food off the surface of the sea on their wintering grounds, off the coast of south America. This is what this September bird did on the calmer waters of Queen Mum

Worrying for its health, I tried to get it to take cut up sardines and although it seemed very confiding and allowed a close approach it showed no interest in the fish. I planned to try meal worms and white mice (it eats lemmings on its breeding ground) the next day but there wasn't anyone able to take me out to it!

Its plumage had become pretty water-logged in places and many feared for its survival; it did appear to be able to fly well when last seen and its dead body wasn't found around the edge of the reservoir so it can be hoped that it did manage to get out of the county alive!
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