Friday, 21 October 2011

USA Trip Part Nine: Black Skimmers

On our very last evening in America we took a stroll along the beach in Santa Barbara. Approaching a large congreagation of birds i noticed some Godwits and a Snowy Egret feeding along a river, a Pied Billed Grebe was also swimming along the river and plenty of Gulls were bunched up on the beach. A jogger made his way along the shoreline and as he ran i noticed a large flock of birds take to the air, they flew out to sea only to return and settle back down again on the sand. They were tightly packed and looked like Terns, my inital thought was Elegant Tern as i had seen them previously like this on another beach, but as i approached i noticed they were bigger and the black and white colouration seemed odd.

I crawled closer fearing they'd take off again and identified them as Black Skimmers, a bird i knew of but only seen on TV documentaries, didn't think i'd see them on the trip, especially on the last night, it was a real treat! The light was really fading, there was a lovely setting sun on the birds but i knew it was only going to last 10-15 minutes before ducking down behind buildings so had to make the most of it. The birds remained stationary, huddled tightly in their group for 5 minutes or so and i didn't think i was going to get any variety of images then suddenly they all took off, after firing off some flight shots i noticed they were taking to the small river and either bathing or performing their "skimming" behaviour to grab a last drink before settling down for the night.

The light did fade hence my last images which are a little dodgy but overall i had seen a great amount of behaviour in such a short period of time and as said before, i really didn't think i'd get such a great wildlife experience on my last night!


  1. Magnificent action captures Ben of a stunning creature.