Thursday, March 15, 2012
Black skimmers at Bunche Beach
The three bird species that I most wanted to photograph on my trip to Florida were roseate spoonbills, black skimmers, and wood storks. Before my trip I had heard about the large flocks of skimmers that roost on the beaches around Fort Myers and Sanibel, and I was definitely hoping to be able to find them. I'm fascinated by these beautiful and interesting birds, and I had seen them only a few times in northern California (and always at quite a distance). For my first morning of the trip, I headed to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, and a large flock of skimmers was hanging out on a sand bar out on the tidal flats. They were mostly quiet, with a few going through a morning routine of preening at the edge of the water, but anytime some new birds would approach to land, a loud ruckus broke out. Here in this shot, a skimmer that is out of the frame approached too close to this particular bird's stretch of beach, which gave me a great chance to capture the beauty of its beak.
As for the wood storks, I had a chance to see a pair at Ding Darling NWR, but the conditions only allowed for documentary photographs of them. Unexpectedly, my best look at wood storks came as we were driving back to the airport before I flew out. There were a few of them right along the road, and it was really cool to briefly see them up close as we drove by.