Monday, August 11, 2014

"Yip" "Yip" "Yip"eee for August

August is a weird month for birders. It's weird because most of the northern hemisphere considers August the epitome of summer. Everyone is thinking about days on the beach. One of my favorite birds nests on the beach. They fly close to the water and "Yip, yip yip" like puppies. They nest in colonies along the beach which are roped off to protect them from beach going vacationers like us. Here is one of the happy couples.

Black Skimmers
 This one has an itch. Check out the schnoz on this guy.

Scratch that itch
Here is another happy couple with their little fluff ball of joy.

Black Skimmers with Baby
The babies are the color of sand. They even have spots that look like shells and stones. Here are 2 little play pals on the beach.

When Mom and Dad are out fishing, the chicks find little divots to hide in. They are perfectly camouflaged - except for that schnoz!
Skimmer Chick - camouflaged
Skimmers' beaks are so big that they can't sleep like other birds with their beaks tucked under their wings. No, they just flop their heads down on the sand.

Napping on the beach
Like mother, like daughter - the chicks flop their heads on the sand to sleep even though their beaks aren't big enough to get in the way yet.

Lullaby Time
Here is a close up to show you what that beak is all about. The bottom mandible is longer than the top and shaped like a knife. They drag that through the water's surface while they fly and feel for fish. When they feel one, they snap their beak shut to snare the fish.

Close-up of Skimmer Beak
Skimmers also put on an aerial show in their free time. Even way up there, you can see that schnoz!

Skimmer Antics
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other birds to see in August. Some of them are already done with all of that chick raising stuff and headed back south - in August. More on that later.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Love the Skimmers. HH

Diane Widdop said...

Great photos! It was fun seeing so many skimmers this past weekend, and then finding their nesting grounds. Those babies are cute, in a super-schnoz kind of way.