Friday, March 1, 2013

Skimmers Take Flight

Florida 2013 continued

As folks strolled or jogged up and down the beach at Sheppard Park, the black skimmers seemed to be particularly disturbed. The other birds, including these royal terns in the foreground, watched as the skimmers took to the air over and over again. For me this was an opportunity to get some shots of these odd birds in the air.

I have remarked on their unusually long and narrow wings but have not read anything specific about why they are built that way. My assumption is it aids in their low-to-the-water flight, perhaps allowing for more lift with a necessarily foreshortened down stroke as they fly just inches above the water.

While the body length of a skimmer averages around 18 inches, its wingspan averages 46 inches, or nearly four feet!

In any case they are nearly as gangly looking in the air as on the beach, but to watch them fly in such close formations mere feet above the ground is a beautiful sight.

Up in the air they'd go, flying down the beach, only to circle around and land pretty much where they'd started.

I didn't mind. I had fun shooting them on the wing, learning to trust the camera to focus on a subject.

I really like this image, with the wave rolling in behind the birds. So much movement and energy.

 Without question, dawn on the beach is one of my favorite things about Florida.

Next: A surprise at the zoo

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