Skimmers, then more skimmers.

by Lanny McDowell on August 8, 2010

DSCN6341The TTOR shorebird techs had been waiting to see what would hatch from under the Black Skimmer pair out at Norton Point at Katama Bay inside the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard.  The birds had laid one egg, annexed two Least Tern eggs into their nest and laid a second of their own.  According to observers, one or two of the tern eggs hatched but did not make it for long.  One of the skimmer eggs hatched into a healthy chick, which we saw today.  We were told a second pair had arrived and laid eggs – it turned out to be three of them.  Four of us, including Martin, the Swedish Phd candidate taking a three week intensive on molecular biology over in Woods Hole at the Marine Biology Lab, then discovered a third pair of skimmers in residence.   All very exciting.  The skimmers are incredible on the wing!

The beginning:


Three adults are a little tight, but not so bad:




The casual ease of flight:



Albatross wannabe:



This is for the guys who went out with me today:


Best shot – a trio of grace on the wing:


Birds are cool!  Lanny

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volinda 08.08.10 at 7:18 pm

your skimmer photos are sublime volinda va


Lanny McDowell 08.08.10 at 7:41 pm

Thanks. It’s quite breathtaking when they fly right at or by you, but hard to get the shot that close.


spa 08.09.10 at 10:46 am

really cool birds Lanny. Thanks for sharing, Spa


Gordon Massingham 08.09.10 at 11:12 am

Lanny -

Great stuff. Add me to your list. Also, great article in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine.


Page Rogers 08.23.10 at 9:30 am

Wonderful news about the Skimmers nesting and the successful fledging of the chicks. Wow. I’ve seen them in and off for years as I clam Katama. But the eggs and chicks – now THAT is something! That baby chick is a joy to behold.


Lanny McDowell 08.23.10 at 9:49 am

Did I say fledge? Sorry to say that laying & hatching an egg (or three) are still a long way from fledging. And, sorrier to say, the Norton Point eggs and baby did not make I found out recently, as is the case, as far as I know, at the 5-pair colony over at Chatham/Monomoy, the nearest skimmer nesters. I would love to be reporting otherwise. Skunks or harriers are the usual suspects. Hopefully they will give it another shot next, inside the enclosures and with the nocturnal quadripeds under restraint.


skip 08.27.10 at 8:37 pm

Great skimmer shots Lan, I got a few also I’ll send some your way…

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