More from the skimmer colony

After the feeding frenzy early in the morning most of the skimmers settled down for a nap.

They look so cute with those fuzzy butts.

Many of the siblings were fighting. I’m sure the oldest gets fed first. If a stray baby gets too close to another family’s scrape, the parent will shoo him away.

There are so many skimmers nesting in the same area. The area gets roped off by volunteer bird stewards who keep an eye on the area. I guess there is safety in numbers. When a crow or gull flies over the area, looking to grab a stray baby or egg, many of the parents chase them away. That’s why it’s important to keep the parents from flushing and flying away. Those mean birds will sneak right in and grab something. They are hungry too.

This baby is letting his parent know he’s hungry.

The adults take turns going down to the water to take a quick bath and scoop up a fish to bring back to the nest while the other parent guards the babies.

A small portion of the skimmers hanging out along the water (with royal terns behind them). By now most of the babies are all grown up and flying around on their own.

Sushi for your first meal

I missed seeing those little fuzz balls. I had not been over to the beach to catch the baby black skimmers growing up since the summer of 2019. This year I got there right after the sun came up. Black skimmers nest in huge colonies right on the sand on public beaches. The area is roped off with signs to keep people from stepping on the babies since they blend into the sand. These were all taken far away from the rope since I had my 300mm lens and extender on my camera. These are also cropped up. The parents were just starting to feed the babies when I arrived.

The baby ages ranged from 1 day old to a week old. It always amazes me how they get those fish down. Even though they are tiny fish, they seem like they couldn’t fit in the baby’s tummy. There were a few times when a baby tried to swallow and then dropped it because they couldn’t get it down. Usually the parent would pick it up and eat it themselves.

It also amazes me how a parent can fly down to the water and catch a fish and then come back and find their own baby. Sometimes they get chased around by other parents trying to steal the fish or a baby thinking it’s his parent.It’s always chaos during feeding time.

Sometimes the siblings try and get the fish from each other and fighting takes place.

It’s funny to watch when the parent brings back a needlefish. The parent may break up the fish with his beak before giving it to the baby.

Splashing and skimming

June is the time of the year when you can find black skimmers on the beaches in the Tampa bay area. They aren’t spread out across the area like gulls are but tend to congregate in certain spots to nest. Skimmers lay their eggs right on the beach and they do it in large colonies. In late June it was hot and many of the adults were hanging out along the water line taking baths. I was wishing I had brought my swimsuit so I could have joined them. They were also skimming along the line trying to catch fish to take back to the babies. There were lots of babies. More to come.

One last look at the summer baby skimmers

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This little skimmer was just figuring out what those wings and beak were for.



There were still a few babies that hadn’t not made it to the shoreline yet. They were still sticking close to mom.


This skimmer was missing a foot.



A few adults were taking a bath.



This young one was just starting to fly.


Right next to the skimmers, this guy caught this fish.

Now all the baby skimmers are grown up and gone. Off to conquer the world!

What I think the skimmers say


“Don’t come close” says mom skimmer.


“I’ll just lean on this big stick.”


“You’re squishing me mom!”




“When is my brother going to hatch?”


Mom, she’s taking my picture.”


“This fish won’t fit down my throat.”


“I know this isn’t a baby bird, but this ball is so soft to cuddle with.”


“Don’t eat me.” says the fish.


A people eye view of the skimmers nesting on the sand.


The birds are surrounded by ropes and there are signs all over the area to keep people from trampling through the nesting area.

More shots from my visit with the black skimmer colony on the beach back in late June.

One last look at skimmers for the summer


Soon the black skimmers will be hard to find for the winter. These were all taken back in late July at Fort Desoto. They were hanging around the beach near the fishing pier.


They look so graceful when they are skimming.

Scratching an itch.


Taking a bath.


Splashing around.


Drying off.


Showing off for the laughing gull. “My wings are bigger than yours.”


Out on the water trying to scoop up some bait fish.


They were all busy skimming for fish.


I was standing on the pier taking these pictures and a guy asked me what kind of birds these were. I said “They were skimmers.” He said “Why do they call them skimmers.” I politely explained that they skim the top of the water for fish but really, do they need an explanation if you see them in action?

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for