southern beauties

Along the southern coastline of the United States lives a majestic seabird, the Black Skimmer. Its unusual black and bright red bill distinguishes the bird, for the lower mandible is much longer than the upper. Flying just above the water, the lower laterally compressed bill skims through the water in hopes of scooping up small fish. Black above and white below, the bird in flight is a picture of grace and elegance.

Black Skimmers Approaching a Tidal Flat

I found this “scoop” of skimmers on a sandbar in Snake Bight, a bay near Flamingo along Florida Bay’s northern coast. Flock after flock flew in from the south to congregate in this one spot.

Black Skimmers at Rest in Snake Bight

Occasionally one would startle causing the whole gathering to burst into a cacophony of barking cries and take wing. Then, in a concert of aerial ballet they would circle and re-alight in the same place.

Black Skimmers take Wing

Often the skimmers flew in perfect formation wheeling and performing hairpin turns in perfect sync. It truly was a wonder to behold.

Skimmer's Air Show

The skimmers made our visit to Snake Bight pure delight. The bay is large and other groups of birds could be seen in the distance. Hopefully, I’ll be able visit this hidden wonder of water, sky, and birds again before summer heat and mosquitoes descend.

7 thoughts on “southern beauties

  1. Oh my Karen!!! I just love your pics! What a find! Great Job!
    It must have been so hard to leave! My favorite is the Black Skimmers at rest. The colors are so beautiful and the picture is so serene.
    I think I may have to be on the lookout for a used johnboat! Lol… only problem… my Lexus doesn’t have a hitch!

    • I know you’d love Snake Bight. You can rent canoes, but it’s a long paddle, particularly if the wind is contrary. There are also guides with boats for hire. You’d love it there.

  2. I hope to be photographing these later this year when I take a trip to the Atlantic Ocean. I saw them a few years ago but wasn’t able to photograph them at the time. Thank your for the information on these most specialized of hunters.

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