By SUSAN B. WHITING
Three southern species which are now seen on the Vineyard are making news this week. As our climate changes and warms, these southern birds are moving north to spend the summers and some to breed. The southern birds of interest to Bird News this week include black skimmers, Wilson’s plover, chuck-wills-widow and great egrets.
Great excitement from Norton’s Point; there are not one, not two, but three pairs of black skimmers nesting in the tern colony. This colony is being monitored by the Trustees of Reservations and they ask beachgoers to stay out of the roped-in area. The black skimmer, a fascinating bird with a lower bill which is shorter than the upper bill, has tried unsuccessfully to nest on the Island before. The reason for their demise — and that was only one pair — was that the spot on the beach they chose to scrape out their nest site was washed over by an early summer storm. Hopefully, all three black skimmer pairs will be successful this year. It will be interesting to see if the black skimmers return next year to breed, as small colonies tend to shift breeding sites frequently, whereas large colonies are faithful to their nesting location.
Read the rest of this article regarding the southern birds here.
I was birding in the Everglades a number of years ago and there were up to a dozen or two Black Skimmers "sun bathing" in the parking lot where we were camping. They were lying on their sides in a group with their wings spread out. When our car passed nearby, they did not even move. I had never seen this many at one time ever, much less "sun bathing." I have had one or two cardinals do this in my yard but seeing the Skimmers was quite a surprise.
Florida Audubon reports Tropical Storm Debbie flooded off shore islands and beaches during the major nesting season for many shore birds including gulls, terns and black skimmers. It is hoped some of these birds will attempt to re-nest but it is unknown at this time.