Monday, December 23, 2013

Black Skimmers at Mission Bay

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer at Mission Bay, California on December 22, 2013. Photos by Greg Gillson.
Skimmers are odd gull-like birds with long lower mandibles that they drag (skim) like a knife through the shallow waters, snagging fish. Black Skimmers are found year round in San Diego County, though they are more common in summer. They first arrived in California in the 1960's and have been increasing ever since. They first nested in the San Diego area and the Salton Sea in 1976.

Black Skimmer


Though large numbers of these gregarious birds can be found, they are rather local at favored sandy beaches in shallow lagoons. I found 121 of these birds with a big flock of Black-bellied Plovers and other shorebirds at Crown Point on the north shore of Mission Bay.