A bit it of an introduction is needed to explain how this photo came about. For a couple of months I have been working on "Part 3" of what I call a "documentary" of the building of the Morro Bay State Park Marina Sandspit Boardwalk. The boardwalk is near completion and I wanted to get a few more photos of the men and women of the Calif. Conservation Corps at work.
I had told myself that I did not need binoculars, as I was going to focus my efforts, such as they are, on photography. In the distance I could hear Elegant Terns. Rounding the point I saw, along the edge of the bay, a small flock of terns. Although distant, two of them looked like Black Skimmers. In "Sibley's Guide to Birds," he describes the Black Skimmer as "unmistakeable," definitely my kind of bird. Took a photo, zoomed in, and sure enough they were Black Skimmers. Most every year a few are seen around the bay, but they are usually seen by scope.
(Photo - Black Skimmer, to the left, Elegant Tern)
What makes the Skimmer so unique is their mandible; it is sizable and a bright orange, and the lower mandible extends past the upper mandible. They forage mainly at night, flying over shallow water with the lower mandible skimming the surface. Am I lucky or not?