Tag Archives: Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

I love watching Black Skimmers doing what their name implies. Their flying skills are extraordinary, including not needing to watch where they are going when they plunge their heads into the water.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Very agile, a slight tip of the wings is all they need to change direction or speed.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

I didn’t see a fish, but sometimes they pull up just a bit to swallow something they’ve caught before continuing to skim the water.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, July 15, 2018.

Black Skimmer Through the Spoonies

Doing their own thing to get breakfast, a Black Skimmer and a flock of Roseate Spoonbills ignored each other.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

I was focused on the Skimmer and didn’t expect him to pass that close to the Spoonbills.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

The Skimmer made a second pass, probably realizing that the concentrated efforts of the other birds meant that they were on to something.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

The Spoonbills continued sifting the water, not at all disturbed by the Skimmer.

Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills
Black Skimmer Passing Roseate Spoonbills

Black Skimmer Skimming

This Black Skimmer gave me a good show with the early morning sun highlighting his black and orange beak, in contrast to last week’s pair that I photographed in poor light.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight, wings low to the water

I had a great view and was able to track his path as he crossed the pond with his lower jaw in the water.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

He finally lifted, before making a big turn for another pass.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

Click on any image for a closer view.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, 7/1/2018.

Black Skimmer Pair

These Black Skimmers chose to do their skimming in the pond between me and the sun, rather than the prettier marsh on the other side of the dike where the light was beautiful.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

The light here doesn’t do justice to their gorgeous orange beaks, but you can see how elegantly Skimmers fly and hunt. When in pairs the almost always fly with their wing beats synchronized.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair with fish jumping

Swooping around a small island the pair pulled tight together before turning for another long run.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

Then they disappeared down an inlet, not to return while I was in the area.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, SC, 6/27/2018.

Shore Birds Standing in the Surf

I got another opportunity to photograph Black Skimmers last week when a small group along with some Terns visited the same sand bar where I saw them two weeks ago. This Royal Tern had a few things to say.

Black Skimmers and Terns
Black Skimmers and Terns

When I first spotted them there were some Pelicans in the mix but they didn’t hang around. The tide was nearly out and this group of smaller birds seemed content to let the water lap around their legs. I didn’t see any of them feeding.

Black Skimmers and Terns
Black Skimmers and Terns

After the tide turned they shifted as a group a few times, going into the air, doing a few loops and settling just a couple dozen feet from where they started. It was only when a couple of bicyclists and a family with a baby carriage came along that they left.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

Click on any photo for a larger view.

Black Skimmers Coming In

Black Skimmers by the hundreds flew down the beach and landed on a sand bar exposed by the low tide.

Black Skimmer Flock
Black Skimmer Flock – a few Gulls and Terns joined in

There were so many birds it was hard to chose where to photograph.

Black Skimmer Flock
Black Skimmer Flock

As the tide covered their original landing place they lifted off in groups and circled around to another appealing spot.

Black Skimmer Flock
Black Skimmer Flock Coming at me.

We had the good fortune to watch this for over an hour until we were driven out by the incoming tide.

Black Skimmer Flock
Black Skimmer Flock Going away from me

Black Skimmer: You Are In My Space

A huge flock of Black Skimmers came in to the edge of the beach at low tide. These few had separated from the group and appeared to want to rest but just couldn’t leave each other alone.

Black Skimmers
Black Skimmers

“Akkk, I’ve been goosed!”

Black Skimmers
Black Skimmers

Indignant, he moved off without looking back.

Black Skimmers
Black Skimmers

You can see the Skimmers’ unique bill clearly in this photo: the lower mandible is longer than the upper. They feed by skimming over the water dragging the lower bill in the water picking up fish.

Black Skimmers
Black Skimmers

Click on any photo for larger view.