Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Skimming along with a Black Skimmer

Black Skimmers are odd birds, as I've noted before, here.

I hadn't had opportunity, though, to photograph them in their eponymous behavior, that is, actually skimming!

But a few weeks ago I found a single Black Skimmer skimmering around in the mouth of the Tijuana River!

To feed, skimmers fly low to the water with wings raised mostly above the horizontal in deep, slow, mechanical wing beats. The head is held down, with the bill knifing through shallow water. When a fish is caught, the head snaps up and the fish swallowed.

Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer, Tijuana River mouth, Imperial Beach, California. July 16, 2017. Greg Gillson.
Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer
Even when not skimming the water the head is held below the body in flight.
Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer

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