Black Skimmers Feeding

An early morning revelation

I published six fine art prints from this photo session. Click this link for any photograph to visit my new Florida Gallery.

One early morning, just after dawn, Cocoa Beach, Florida, I had a revelation.  My wife and I walk the beach four or more miles each day we are lucky enough to be in Florida for the winter.  Yes, we are “snow birds” who flee the snows of New York for a few weeks, now and then.
Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

We love to catch the sunrise together, have breakfast, pull together a lunch for a long walk.  We catch the passing beach scenery, find a place to enjoy our meal, and return late afternoon.

The Black Skimmer (Scientific Name: Rynchops niger) literally stands out from the gulls.  The individuals gather together in a large group.  If there is a wind, most group members face into it.  They are aloof and dignified, unlike the gulls who grift for food, obnoxious and bothersome if you make the mistake of throwing a gull a morsel.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

Black Skimmers are just as large a gulls.  Slender, tern-like, black and white bodies.  Recognize a Black Skimmer from the colorful red of the base of the bill.  If you view my Fine Art versions, notice the lower mandible is much longer.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

My early morning revelation was how the Black Skimmer feeds, flying just above the surf, the lower mandible extended to fish by feel.  Unless you beach walk early mornings, you will be most familiar with the habit of grouping together, facing into the wind. I captured this individual, a member of a larger group, just after sunrise, on Cocoa Beach. It was just me and the Skimmers.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

Their feeding is successful enough to allow them to longue on the beach most of the day.  I have only seen them feed early mornings.  Here is another part of their feeding behavior.  They feed as a group in long sweeping lengths.  At the end, they turn as a group and head the other way.  Here are three Black Skimmers in a turn.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

One morning, after our sunrise view, I pulled together my photography kit for this successful photo shoot.  Enjoy!!

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

32 thoughts on “Black Skimmers Feeding

  1. Absolutely wonderful pictures. Especially the last one.
    I have walked the beaches just north of where you were – Smyrna Beach – and did the same.
    Early morning walks were the most magic and the bird life fantastic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We spent time in the Canaveral wildlife preserve and are certain to return. Thanks for visiting. The shots on my Fine Art Gallery are even better….closer of the birds and the light is better. Click the link or any blog pic to get there.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful! My husband and I used to live about 20 minutes from Cocoa Beach. I love that place. There was a cafe on the Banana River that played live music on the weekends. I sure do miss that!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh Michael, these are amazing photos! And interesting information on the Black Skimmer. I hadn’t heard of them.

    How lovely that you and your wife winter in Florida and go on long walks together. That sounds beautiful. (My ex-husband and I used to take trips to Boca Raton when I lived in NYC). Blessings to your week, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Black Skimmers are one of my favorite birds to photograph. And you were able to catch the action, nice shots.

    There are places along the coast where the flock by the hundreds. Fun to watch, photograph…a big swirling mass of birds 😀😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fabulous action shots, Michael.
    I googled to see if we have Skimmers here in Australia. Apparently yes we do. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a black one though. Wondrous creatures!
    Weren’t you fortunate to escape the cold for a while. Hope you are both feeling refreshed.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.