Courting Black Skimmers – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 280mm, natural light
On a hazy, windy day in May of 2008 I was able to sand crawl on my belly close enough to some Black Skimmers to watch and photograph them courting. The strong wind blew the stinging sand onto my skin but the skimmers seemed to ignore it and they also seemed to ignore me, I was mostly hidden by a small sand dune which may have helped to put the skimmers at ease.
Most Black Skimmer copulations occur at night so seeing this pre-copulatory display during the day was a treat. Typically the male brings a fish to the female and then the female crouches to signal to the male that she is receptive. I didn’t see the male bring in a fish to this female but I had been photographing other skimmers that were near by so I may have missed that. Although this female signaled that she was receptive one of the other nearby skimmers interrupted this pair and they did not mate while I photographed them.
Even though I wasn’t able to photograph this pair mating I was happy to have recorded even this much of their courtship display.
Life is good.