Gulf Shore Black Skimmer Skimming

Gulf shore Black Skimmer foragingGulf shore Black Skimmer foraging – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/750, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Well today is the first full day of summer and here out west the temps have been sizzling, we were over 100 here in Salt Lake City yesterday but further south temps were more extreme. There are three big fires burning in Utah including one up near Promontory Point that has burned over 2100 acres. The fire season here worries me because of the wet spring that produced lush growth that has now turned tinder dry.

So this morning I wanted to post something that looked refreshing, that had water and a bird in it. It will be a scorcher here today and I felt like I needed that visually.

Then I thought of this photo. Black Skimmers forage by skimming their bills in the waves just off shore and snap up fish when their sensitive bills locate them. It was a late June morning when I photographed this Black Skimmer skimming in a sea fog as I sat in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. It was refreshing and the waves felt marvelous as they washed over my legs.


Life is good.


Black Skimmer Facts:

  • Black Skimmers are large, black and white waterbirds with short red legs, red and black bills with the top being shorter and have long pointed wings.
  • Some Black Skimmer populations are nonmigratory and some are migratory.
  • Black Skimmers are coastal and prefer sandy or gravel beaches, estuaries, bays and salt marshes.
  • Black Skimmers eat fish and shrimp that are near the surface of the water and when their bills touch the prey their bills snap shut quickly.
  • Black Skimmers lay 4 to 5 eggs which hatch in 21 to 23 days. Both sexes incubate and they are monogamous colonial nesters.
  • A group of skimmers can be called a “scoop” of skimmers.



  1. Pepe Forte June 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    What a cool pic and I love your narrative! Until today I had never heard of a black skimmer. Fascinating. In addition to your marvelous images I [along with many others] learn so much from your posts. Thanks Mia.

  2. Patty Chadwick June 21, 2017 at 11:11 am

    There’s something serene and soothing about this image…can almost smell the salt water and feel a cooling off-shore breeze…calling them a “scoop” of skimmers is perfect… Hope wild fires aren’t too fierce this summer…lots of rain,, lush growth, then drying out, followed by fires is a very scary combination! There are so many wildfires reported each year in the west and midwest, you wonder that there’s any wilderness or wildlife left…SAD!!!

  3. April Olson June 21, 2017 at 7:38 am

    A beautiful Bird I know very little about. I have seen them in Mexico and was amazed at their fishing abilities just by skimming.

  4. Bob Mcpherson June 21, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Beautiful photo, Mia

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