Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finally found some skimmers!

Finally, some skimmers!

I've been fascinated by these birds ever since I first saw them in a nature documentary (perhaps the fabulous "Life of Birds" with David Attenborough), and have been itching to get them in front of my lens ever since I started getting into bird photography. Their range is supposed to be just in Southern California, but for a long time I had seen posts of the colony of these guys that live down in Redwood City at the Radio Road Ponds. Unfortunately, it took me a few years to finally take a trip there.

This is a fantastic location for all kinds of water birds (more about the species I saw in future posts), and you could get close enough to do some nice photography too. While the fading light was nice while I was watching other birds, it just happened to stay foggy while I was near the skimmers -- but regardless, it was still a lot of fun to have them in front of the lens. They were mostly interested in napping and a little bit of preening, so a good reason to go back for more in the future.

You've gotta love those bright bills with that oversized underbite.


  1. Oh man! It looks like their heads are screwed on backwards...whatever could they need such a odd beak for?

    Looking forward to more pictures of these guys!

  2. Thanks, Laura! These guys are called skimmers for a reason, and its all about that big underbite. The way they feed is by flying low over the water and with their lower mandible cutting (skimming) through the surface. As soon as it touches something, they'll quick close their beak and pull up the unlucky fish.