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