This afternoon a pair of black skimmers showed up and started to work the salt marsh, zipping in and around the oyster beds and reed grass. The fast flying skimmer is one of the only birds whose lower portion of their mouth is longer then the upper portion. They drag their long, low bill in the water as they ‘skim’ for fish. The black skimmers are amazing birds to watch and photograph and they never fail to entertain as you can often hear them calling to each other with a yapping sound that sounds just like barking puppies! 

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

49 thoughts on “Skimmers

  1. It’s so hard to get these guys so that one can see their black eyes hidden in the black mask on the face. You managed to get good clear details and tack sharp eyes. Thanks for sharing. Marta Hicks (one of your loyal followers).

    • Thank you Marta and you are correct, photographing these B&W birds presents a particular challenge. Trying to get some detail in their black heads and hopefully seeing the bird’s eye while at the same time retaining some detail in the white is a tough situation. I’m very glad you liked these skimmer pics!

  2. Such strange looking birds. At least, strange to us. They seem perfectly well adapted to catching their food! I would really love to visit your marsh some day. So many great photographic opportunities on a continual basis!

    This year has been great for Cherry Creek…but I think it won’t last. We had a rough year last year, drained the reservoir. Once it fills up again, and it looks like it may…the shores and mud flats will be gone…and the plethora of shore birds won’t have anywhere to feed.

  3. Terrific detail in these shots, Phil! I’m amazed that dragging their bills through the water doesn’t slow them them down but it doesn’t seem to. How big are they?

    • Thanks very much Maggie I’m really happy you enjoyed these skimmer photos. What I can’t believe is how when flying that fast and dragging that large lower bill in the water, they don’t get continually snagged on an oyster bed which would be just barely covered with water.
      They are good size birds, as big or bigger then a large gull.

  4. I’m learning about birds everyday from you blog. Thank you so much for the beautiful shots and the information, Phil! The last one is amazing.

    • I’m not sure that they are endangered. The wood storks used to be but I think they recently lost their protected status.
      Thanks Em, glad you enjoyed these skimmer shots!

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