Not only do we offer world class shelling trips on our tours but you can also experience a up close encounter with beautiful shore birds like the Black Skimmer ( Rynchops Niger). It’s strange, uneven bill has a purpose: the bird flies low, often preferring calm water, 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. In the late 19th century, eggs were harvested commercially, and adults were killed for feathers leading to a reduction of the Atlantic populations. Thankfully they have made great recovery but are still.very sensitive to disturbance during beating season. One of the places we take guests to is called Second Chance Reef ( aka: Shell Island) which is a designated/protected nesting site from March 1- Labor Day weekend each year. Due to this we are not allowed to go until all nests are empty and birds have left.Well-known for its skimming habit, furrowing the water with lower mandible, the upper mandible snapping down immediately when contact is made with a fish. Finds food by touch, not by sight; often forages in late evening or at night, when waters may be calmer and more fish may be close to surface. Rarely may forage by wading in very shallow water, scooping up fish.
4-5, sometimes 3, rarely 6-7. Variable in color, whitish to buff to blue-green, marked with dark brown. Incubation is by both sexes (male may do more), 21-23 days. Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Upper and lower mandibles of young are same length at first, so they can pick up food left close to the best and it’s diet is mostly fish.
The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) is a common shorebird here in the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge. In gatherings of gulls and terns, it is usually quite easily identified by its larger size, its distinctive black crest and bright orange bill. Did you know that a group of Royal Terns is known as “highness”?
Next time you visit Marco Island, Naples or Bonita Springs/Estero/FT. Myers Beach come on down and let us show you some of the wildlife abundant here in SW Florida in the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge.