Saturday, July 23, 2011

Black Skimmers

.I will never forget the first time I saw Black Skimmers. It was seven years ago at Galveston State Park. Two of them were fishing and they repeatedly flew just inches above the water with their large lower mandibles cutting through its surface.

I was amazed by the surgical precision of their fishing technique and I watched them for ages. Since then I have seen Skimmers on many of our visits to the Texas coast. They still fascinate me although oddly enough I am very rarely lucky enough to see them fishing. Most often they are standing around on the sand - sometimes just a handful of them and sometimes hundreds.

This makes it easy to see the large lower mandible that makes it possible for them to fish they way they do.

They don't always stand on the sand. They often lie down on it, too, like the one in the foreground of this photo.

Sometimes they paddle around in the shallows.

Last week at Bolivar I watched some flying up and down the water's edge but unfortunately I never got to see them fishing.

However, two of them put on an impressive display of synchronised flying as they wheeled and soared overhead.


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