Tag Archives: Common Seal

Photographing birds on the Shetland island Foula

SchmarotzerraubmoeweA barely inhabited island, rugged cliffs, changing light moods and unusual species of animals: this is how the Shetland island of Foula presents itself. A terrain made for nature photographers. As long as the wind does not blow the equipment or the showers from the sea put everything under water.

When I visited the Shetland island of Foula in June, this was mainly with the aim of taking photos of the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua). On Foula you will find the world’s largest breeding colony of this species. The Skua is the highwayman of the island. She is also a true flying artist. Nobody – except perhaps the Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), which is found mainly in the south of the island – can take it with her in terms of agility and aggressiveness. It is impressive to see how Skuas keep track of Parasitic Jaegers again and again on its heels. It is amazing to which turning maneuvers both Jaegers are capable. A special feature of the Skua is the attacking of birds, heavily laden with food. Many seabirds return from the sea to their offspring. The victim is pursued by Parasitic Jaeger and Skuas as well and attacked until it vomits the prey. Still in free fall, the vomited prey is seized by the Skua in an artistic dive and brought to its own offspring to the nest.

I was deeply impressed not only by the almost unlimited possibilities to document the interesting behavior of the Great Skuas, but also by the other possibilities for taking pictures. Scenic Foula has a lot to offer. Da Kame is the second highest sea cliff in the UK at about 400 meters. In order to take the many seabirds, plants and the landscape into the viewfinder, I returned to the island at the end of July again. Continue reading Photographing birds on the Shetland island Foula