Black Skimmers From Edwin B. Forsythe NWR

While cleaning up some of my backup Hard Drives I found these images from a previous photo trip to the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville NJ. I never worked on some these before, so I thought I would use them here. These were soon after I got a Canon R and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. I was surprised that this combination worked pretty well on flying Black Skimmers.

Canon R, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm

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.



Wider View of Black Skimmer fishing


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.


Black Skimmers banking to return for another pass


Black Skimmers @ 600mm


Returning Skimmers crossing paths


Black Skimmers changing direction




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.




Black Skimmers FlyBy

A group of Black Skimmers flying by, heading to another area at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville NJ. They were working an area farther out in the water when they changed direction and flew by me. They are fun to photograph when they go back and forth fishing an area, with their lower mandible streaking through the water. But this small group was just moving on to fish further out.





Black Skimmer Misses A Meal

We were photographing Black Skimmers at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. This one was working an area, going back and forth, but did not seem to have much luck catching a meal.


Wider view of above cropped image, 400mm, with 1.4x teleconverter.

Black Skimmers In Flight Panorama

When we were at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge a week ago, I tried some in-flight panoramas of the Black Skimmers. I was wondereing if it was possible to shoot a burst of images and pan at the same time. It works, but helps if you have some details in the background that PhotoShop can align the images to, instead of just Blue sky. It is a little harder if they are coming at you. It also helps, because of panning while shooting, to use a fairly high shutter speed. A panning gimbal head on a tripod would be good also, but I was handholding the camera for this series. The featured image was 5 shots, brought into Photoshop, automatically aligning the 5 shots and blending them. The more panos you try, the better they seem to come out. I could get large flocks of birds with a wide lens, but I like the challenge, plus I do not want a lot of extra background top and bottom. Also I tend to print images quite large. I will probably clone out the water tower and buildings later.

Another panorama from the same day, a different flock of Black Skimmers in the water. (With a few gulls in the background)

Blk Skimmers &Gulls 7sht pano brig 5 17

Black Skimmers and Gulls 6 Shot, overlapping images, panorama, @400mm


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.

Blk Skimmer v5_MG_6494

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.

Black Skimmer v3_brig 2016MG_6473

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