Sanderlings on jetty rocks at the Fort Pierce Inlet.
A little further west along the inlet, we found Black Skimmers resting on a narrow white beach along with some Laughing Gulls and Ruddy Turnstones.
A distinctive-looking bird with short legs and a long bill. It’s hard to see their eyes, positioned as they are in the black-feathered part of their heads.
A long-winged bird with stark black-and-white plumage, the Black Skimmer has a unique grace as it forages in flight. Skimmers feed by opening the bill and dropping the long, narrow lower mandible into the water, skimming along until they feel a fish. Then they relax the neck, quickly closing their jaws and whipping the fish out of the water. Because they feed by essentially by touch, they can even forage at night. The world’s three species of skimmers are the only birds on earth that feed in this manner.
Birds chilling on the beach, Black Skimmers and gulls.
We were exploring the Fort Pierce Inlet and saw these birds near the Museum Pointe Park. From afar I thought they might be skimmers, a bird I don’t see very often, and a bird I haven’t blogged yet.
“Let’s go check it out!”
A wonderfully different bird, with that strange bill.
The strange, uneven bill of the skimmer has a purpose: the bird flies low, with the long lower mandible plowing the water, snapping the bill shut when it contacts a fish. Strictly coastal in most areas of North America, Black Skimmers are often seen resting on sandbars and beaches. Unlike most birds, their eyes have vertical pupils, narrowed to slits to cut the glare of water and white sand. Flocks in flight may turn in unison, with synchronized beats of their long wings. The world’s three species of skimmers are sometimes placed in their own separate family, although they are clearly related to the terns.https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/black-skimmer
Laughing Gulls and Willets were also resting on the white sand beach.
Piercing calls and distinctive wing markings make the otherwise subdued Willet one of our most conspicuous large shorebirds. Whether in mottled brown breeding plumage or gray winter colors, Willets in flight reveal a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. These long-legged, straight-billed shorebirds feed along beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores. Willets are common on most of our coastline—learn to recognize them and they’ll make a useful stepping-stone to identifying other shorebirds.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Willet/overview