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South Polar skua        Images © Mark A. Chappell

These cuddly little hatchlings give little indication that they will grow up into powerful, aggressive predators.   While I was taking these pictures, I was repeatedly struck in the back of my head by the dive-bombing parents.  They were initially relentless even though the nests were quite close to a well-traveled path near Palmer Station, Antarctica.   Eventually one pair acclimated to people enough to tolerate some closeups while incubating or guarding.
       In the non-breeding season, skuas make epic migrations, getting far up into the Northern Hemisphere.   They are frequently seen off the coast of California in local summer.

  • Nikon F2 or F3, Vivitar Series One 90mm macro lens or Nikon 400 mm f5.6 EDIF lens, Kodachrome 64 (1987, 1990)