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Skimmers in flight formation

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Gordon Large, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    These images were taken on the tidal flats on Stone Harbor Point in New Jersey. Among the many species were hundreds and hundreds of Skimmers. Something - a hawk overhead? - spooked them and they took off in chaos. It was beautiful to watch the chaos turn to sychronized flight in just a few seconds. Enjoy!


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  2. Nice series, Gordon! In the 4th one about one-quarter of the way up and two-thirds of the way over from the left I think you can see what spooked them way off in the background. Looks like an eagle possibly.
  3. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    Dig skimmers great birds
    and boy this is a whole bunch and well done.
  4. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Hi Dennis -

    Great catch! I think your eagle guess is probably on the money. That's a big bird and the color pattern is right. Wonder where he went? The Skimmers settled down after a couple of minutes.

  5. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Ben! While I was there they mostly stayed on the beach with the one group explosion and lots of singles or small groups just flying around. But a friend told me that shortly after I left they actually started skimming in a tidal channel. That's when they are really cool. Isn't it typical that I hung around for almost two hours, and they started skimming right after I left? :mad:  But I can't complain about anything - I'll be posting images from that two hours for days! :smile: :smile:

  6. HarryB


    Jan 28, 2005
    Viera, Florida
    Excellent pics Gordon. I've seen this before in the Wetlands. Everytime it happened was because an eagle was flying in.
  7. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Harry! Take a look at the post by Dennis (NIKAM) a few posts up. He thinks - and I agree - that he spotted an eagle way off in the distance.

  8. Hey Gordon! Nice shots.

  9. Great stuff, looks liek you had a productive few hours. Great stuff Gordon
  10. Dang! Seeing a huge flock of those would probably be better than sex! :eek: 

    Well, maybe not exactly, but you know what I mean. Very cool shots, Gordon!!
  11. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Hey Tony! Thanks.
  12. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Mike. Not only productive, but what a great day! Reasonably cool, nice breeze, and a zillion birds. Doesn't get much better than that!

  13. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Kevin. It was a thrill but........ Well, I'll just stop there. :smile:

  14. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    Really neat shots...I've never seen one of these, let alone hundreds of them up in my neck of the woods!
  15. drueter


    Apr 24, 2005
    Southeast Texas
    Nice series, Gordon! I haven't seen a skimmer anywhere but in the photos posted here by you and others. BUT, I'll sure be looking for them based on what I've seen.
  16. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Jim. They are neat birds. Beautiful when the fly like in my shots. Very cool when they skim the water with their lower bill actually in the water scooping up fish. And very approachable on land. Stay tuned on that last one!

  17. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Thanks Don. Don't know where you are in SE Texas, but if you go down to the Gulf you should be able to find them. Per Sibley, you want sheltered bays or inlets with areas of shallow water, and you need low sandbars. Sounds like a lot of places I've seen in bird magazines.

  18. Hi Gordon,

    We are really enjoying your fine Black Skimmer shots. Nan & I see them intermittently during the winter in Pompano Beach FL.
    The next time you see a big flock like this on the ground, please take a close look. We are on the 19th floor in Pompano looking down on the beach. From that perspective, looking down on a flock sitting on the sand, it appears that the flocking instinct is so strong that they sit in a formation. It certainly is not random! This is harder to notice from on the beach, but once you know to look for it, you should be able to notice it.
    I'll try to get some photos of it when we get back down there in November.
    Let us know if you see a pattern.
    Bob & Nan
  19. Gordon Large

    Gordon Large Guest

    Hi Bob & Nan -

    It took me a while to get over my jealousy about you two spending the winter in Pompano, but I've calmed down now. :smile: I'm sure you see the flock formation better from above and I look forward to photos of it, but it is apparent even from the beach. I don't have any images that really show it, but almost every bird is always pointed in the same direction, generally into the wind. Amazing birds and amazing behavior!

  20. Oh my gosh, that is a lot of skimmers. What an amazing sight.
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