Black Skimmers At Brigantine

More Black Skimmers fishing at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville New Jersey. These were photographed @ 600mm with the Tamron 150 – 600mm lens on a Canon R. They are cropped in a little to concentrate on the Skimmer.

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Wider View of Black Skimmer fishing

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More Black Skimmers From Brigantine

It is fun to watch Black Skimmers working in pairs. While we were at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge we noticed this pair of Black Skimmers working this area along the Wildlife Drive. They kept flying across the main channel of water along the Drive, then turning into a perpendicular channel flying away from us. Then they would return and repeat their flight path, skimming along the water as they flew by. It is fun to photograph them when you have fairly smooth water to see their paths behind them to visually see the arcing paths they take while fishing in tandem.

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Black Skimmers banking to return for another pass

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Black Skimmers @ 600mm

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Returning Skimmers crossing paths

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Black Skimmers changing direction

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Black Skimmers At Brigantine

Black Skimmers are some of my favorite birds to photograph as they are fishing and skimming along the water. This group was working an area in the channel along the Wildlife Drive near the entrance to the Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Brigantine Division. I was shooting @ 600mm, but they were covering a large area, going down one of the channels moving away from me, then turning around coming back to me and going to the right. Then they would repeat their pattern. Time after time fishing the channels and then swinging around to skim along the other direction. There were 2 groups of 2 fishing there. In another post I will show images of the 2 skimming together.

I was using a Canon R with a Tamron 150-600mm lens and was surprised the Canon R tracked them so well. I even tried a few with a 2x teleconverter and still auto-focused well.

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Black Skimmer Fishing

When we were at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ last weekend, the weather did not cooperate with us. It was a very gray day and extremely windy. It was difficult to even open the car doors to get out. There were very few birds flying and those that did were just blown all over. There were Ospreys in all the nests along the Wildlife Drive, but only saw 1 flying very high in the air. There were large groups of Black Skimmers, mostly on the ground, but a few groups took off but were blown all over. I shot a few large groups of Skimmers on the ground also, for a few series of multi-image panoramas. On the way out of the Refuge, I noticed this one lone Black Skimmer fishing close to shore, skimming along. It was still very gray and overcast, but I got a series of shots of the Skimmer as it kept getting closer to us. They show the fishing technique of the Skimmer and how it got its name. When it thinks it has caught something the head bends down and it clamps down on the lower mandible to catch its meal. Many times it is just some debris in the water. It did not catch anything in that pass and it flew off, but it was fun to see.Black_skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4421Black_skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4420Black_skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4419Black_skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4418Black_skimmer_v3_brig_5_17_43G4414Black_Skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4409Black_Skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4407Black_Skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4406Black_Skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4405Black_Skimmer_v2_brig_5_17_43G4404Black_Skimmer_v1_brig_5_17_43G4402

Black Skimmer Skimming Along

This shot is a good example showing how Skimmers feed. Gliding along the surface of the water. When they get something their head & beak tilt down. It is fun to watch a few working an area. Going back and forth, giving you lots of photo opportunities.

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Black Skimmer Skimming Along

We went to the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ. We were hoping to see the usual Herons & Egrets, Ospreys, Hopefully Bald Eagles, Harriers,Oyster Catchers, etc. There are also Black Skimmers but usually they seem to be quite far out when they are skimming along feeding. I was photographing some Great Egrets when 2 Black Skimmers flew by feeding close to shore. They went back and forth a couple of times before moving on. Here are 2 from the series.

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More Black Skimmers From Brigantine

I got a chance to go over more files from our last visit to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Brigantine Division, in Oceanville, NJ. On our last visit we had the opportunity to photograph lots of Black Skimmers, fairly close by.

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Black Skimmers at Brigantine

I was photographing Little Egrets along the drive when 2 Black Skimmers came down the channel. They kept working the area going back and worth and then there were 4 working the area.The 4 kept working the same area for a while and then on the next pass there were 7. They stayed for about 15 minutes giving me a large window of time to photograph Skimmers fishing and close low fly-bys. It was the best chance I have had to photograph Black Skimmers fishing and close fly-bys.

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Black Skimmer Fly By, Pulling Up in a Turn. Canon EOS1 MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/6.3, 1/320 sec, +0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Black Skimmer Fly By. Canon EOS1 MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/6.3, 1/500 sec, +0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Black Skimmer Flying By, Turning, Cutting the Water with Tip of Beak. Canon EOS1 MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/6.3, 1/500 sec, +0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Black Skimmers Coming In. Canon EOS1 MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, +0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

 

 

 

 

Black Skimmers in Rough Surf

Some more photos of Black Skimmers showing them working and fishing in the rough surf. I am used to seeing them fish in fairly calm waters, so these seemed like a treat to see them working in a different environment than I am used to. Some of the waves coming in were quite rough, but they were just out there cutting through the water in-between the waves.

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Black Skimmer “Skimming” in the rough surf. Canon EOS1D MkIV, 400mm f/4 DO IS, Canon 1.4X teleconverter, f/8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400

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Pulling up with the wave

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Looking down

 

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Photo showing Black Skimmer “hitting” something in the water. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies along, hoping to catch fish. The head goes down and back somewhat when it does hit something, but not always a fish.

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Showing how Black Skimmers “Skim” the water for their food.

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In the Foam

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Black Skimmer with beck hitting something or a fish in the water.

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Black Skimmer climbing from the surf to go around again.

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Three Shot Panorama with 400mm & 1.4X Teleconverter to show Waves. Shot as a burst so waves somewhat lined up for the panorama.

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