Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Skimmer sleuthing

Black Skimmer
Photo by Cal Vornberger

Bob Levy, the author of Club George: The Diary of a Central Park Birdwatcher [St. Martin's Press], posted the following report on the birding newsletter ebirds

Location: Central Park
Date: July 9, 2006
Location: Central Park
Reporter: Bob Levy

Sightings of the Black Skimmer at Turtle Pond in Central Park have been fewer and sporadic. Widely held speculation is that the recent accumulation of Duckweed on the pond's surface has discouraged the skimmers from skimming there. I have myself noticed that the skimmers do not come or remain briefly if the duckweed covers a large portion of the pond. This made me wonder if I would profit by looking for them elsewhere.

On Sunday evening I went to Bow Bridge and at about 8:45PM I saw one Black Skimmer. A few minutes later there was a second. While the light held out I and others watched the two skimmers go back and forth under Bow Bridge. It was especially nice to be able to look straight down and see the birds glide directly below us.

It got too dark to see them so I gave Turtle Pond another try. There, at about 9:30 PM a very vocal Black Skimmer arrived. It only worked the areas that were relatively free of Duckweed but remained only about ten minutes. I hope you get to see them too but of course bring a friend or two or more if you are going to stay after dark.