On the last day of the Cape May Autumn Weekend, a group of bird bloggers came to the birdJam booth and said they were going to go look at skimmers just down the street. I asked if I could come and they welcomed me along. What could be so great about skimmers some of you may be asking?
Is that just a dynamite bill? That's not a mistake, that's the way their bill is supposed to look, extra long on the bottom and they fly over the water and dip the lower mandible down in the water and when something touches it--usually a fish, it snaps shut to get a firm grip on the prey.
There were a couple of large flocks of skimmers on the beach and Jay from birdJam showed Susan Gets Native how to approach birds by crawling--you're not much of a threat to birds if you're on all fours.
We also found some laughing gulls mixed in with the skimmers. Considering that the birds were out of breeding plumage, I was feeling that being able to id these birds is somewhat of a triumph of the human spirit.
With process of elimination, I think this is a royal tern. The bill looks too heavy to be an elegant tern (but I'm open to suggestions). Doesn't look to bad from this angle, even though it's not in breeding plumage. You can see some royalty there.
Away from the flock was a huge great black-backed gull being followed by a tiny sanderling. I love looking at size and species comparisons on the beach and was delighted to see such fun birds right down the street from the convention center for the Autumn Weekend.
It was great to meet some of the bloggers in person. In this photo we have Born Again Birdwatcher, Beginning To Bird, Somewhere in NJ, SGN, and me. Heading out for some end of festival birding was a great way to bring it to a close.