Tag Archives: Black Skimmer

Black Skimmers Buzzing the Beach

The noise of a flock of birds reached my brain as I was concentrating on some Willets in the beach surf. Ah, Skimmers!

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

I diverted my attention and dropped down to my knees, hoping the flock would show off their skimming skills right in front of me.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

Alas, they had other ideas.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

And soon disappeared from my sight.

Black Skimmers in Flight
Black Skimmers in Flight

Skimmers at the Beach

A flock of mostly Black Skimmers with a few terns, gulls and Oyster Catchers mixed in were occupying a sand bar at the edge of the ocean near where the Kiawah River runs into the Atlantic.

Black Skimmers Taking Off
Black Skimmers Taking Off

As I’ve seen before some signal is received by the birds and they all take off and relocate at once.

Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf
Black Skimmers Over Ocean Surf

This was just past low tide and their real estate was shrinking quickly with the incoming tide. They settled down on the next available spot, dislocating a few pipers.

Black Skimmers Landing at Beach
Black Skimmers Landing at Beach

The terns were more inclined to stay put, not minding the surf lapping at their legs.

Black Skimmers Over Surf
Black Skimmers Over Surf

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah, SC 9/24/2019

Black Skimmers in Flight

Black Skimmers sometimes do a U-turn over the water and skim back the way the came. Other times they lift up and go back where they started or pick a new place to feed.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight

It seems reasonable that wind direction and food availability figure in their decisions.

Black Skimmer in Flight
Black Skimmer in Flight, Grass Caught in His Jaw

Whatever the cause they are as beautiful in full flight as they are when they are skimming.

Black Skimmer Pair in Flight
Black Skimmer Synchronized Pair in Flight

Black Skimmer Pair

One of the challenges in wildlife photography is choosing where to stand. Should I stay put or go to the next opening for a better view? Will the bird stay on the same path or veer to the left? Are there any Alligators nearby?

I saw this pair of Black Skimmers coming towards me along the edge of the pond.  My view was obstructed of their approach by the reeds.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

I got lucky and they stayed together and moved into the center of the open water. I stayed put and got an aerial show.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

I love to watch these birds fly and wonder when they are in pairs how they stay synchronized.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair

Their fishing is done by touch and when the Skimmer feels a fish in the water their heads snap down as they lift the prey.

Black Skimmer Pair
Black Skimmer Pair and Gallinule

Black Skimmer Threading a Canal

I had seen a Black Skimmer head down this canal and was ready when he made a u-turn and flew back towards me.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Impressive with their flight skills, this one made a sharp turn.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

I was standing at a trunk on the canal which obscured my view for a few seconds as he passed by.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

I was able to pick him up on the other side.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

I’m not sure if they lift up off the water to check their course, but in just two seconds he was back to water level.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

He dropped his beak into the water then my sight was obscured by reeds.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

Skimming In The Surf

Previously I have seen Black Skimmers skimming on calm ponds. On this day I saw a few from this crowd doing it in the ocean.

Black Skimmers at Surf's Edge
Black Skimmers at Surf’s Edge

As you can see above the Atlantic Ocean surf was not particularly rough, but it sure is a different challenge for a Skimmer.

Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern
Black Skimmer Skimming past Tern

This one hugged the surf line, ignoring other birds along the way.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf, Sand Piper in Foreground

With the surf in constant motion he had to also alter his path. I did not see him catch anything, although they can gulp it down on the fly and keep on moving.

Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf
Black Skimmer Skimming in Ocean Surf

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.