Slicing through the water. That was my first thought when I saw this pair of beautiful black skimmers doing a bit of low-tide fishing in the marsh.
I spotted this hungry duo on a morning camera safari, and managed to shoot a short video, which was fun for a couple of reasons. It was the first trial of the video capabilities of my whizzy new travel zoom camera, and an opportunity to delve into the iMovie app on my Mac.
Black skimmers are interesting because their feeding technique and unusual bill set them apart from all other American birds. As their name perfectly describes, the birds skim calm water hoping to catch small fish. And the other unique characteristic is their large, knife-thin, red and black bill which has a very useful adaptation. The lower part of the bill is considerably longer than the upper part, which increases the likelihood of snatching an unwary fish.
Their technique requires calm water, so they normally feed in inlets, tidal pools, creeks, bays, and obviously, marsh creeks at low tide. They’re skilled and graceful fliers, and catching a pair on video was lots of fun.
P.S. The photo techies may have noticed that the video is shaky in spots, but the camera was hand held and on max zoom. But, having a compact camera in my pocket that can pull this off is very cool.