Birding Trips and other Cool Pictures - A Photo Gallery by Geoff Malosh
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Black Skimmer - November 4, 2012

Black Skimmer at McKees Rocks, Allegheny County, PA
Hurricane Sandy brought many truly mind-bending reports of rare birds to unexpected locations across the state. Probably none was so amazing as a report of a flock of 29 Pomarine Jaegers (!!!) packed into the tiny Greenlick Run Reservoir in Fayette County late in the day of the storm's passage 30 October. I surely envy Mike Fialkovich, the witness of this incredible spectacle, for what really was the most remarkable sighting during a storm jam-packed with remarkable sightings.
Yet running a close second behind Mike's jaegers, for me anyway, was the occurrence of two firsts for Allegheny County, both of which I never dreamed would occur here in the Pittsburgh area: Pomarine Jaeger and Black Skimmer. The former came in the form of a brief but close (and thrilling) flyby at Dashield's Dam early on 30 October, which I was lucky enough to witness but not lucky enough to photograph. The latter did not come until 4 November -- five days after the storm -- when Mark Vass happened onto two juvenile skimmers resting on the boat docks at McKees Rocks (!!!!), within sight of the center of downtown Pittsburgh. Fortunately, these birds stuck around not only long enough for me and many others to see and photograph them that afternoon, but for several more days after that as well. They had probably been there for a few days already when Mark found them.
As a result of a long and boring series of circumstances, I drove directly to the skimmers on the afternoon of the 4th without my camera, to be sure I would at least see them. At that time I was able to see them actually skimming on the Ohio River (!!!!!) but by the time I finally had my camera, they had hunkered down for the evening. I would have dearly loved making a photo of skimmers skimming in Pittsburgh, but, c'est la vie. My schedule did not allow for a second attempt to photograph them before they finally disappared, last reported 8 November. What an amazing record for the Pittsburgh area, and my personal 275th for the county!

Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 2x TC III, 1/160 sec. at f/8 (manual), ISO 1000, tripod

Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 2x TC III, 1/400 sec. at f/8 (manual), ISO 1600, tripod

Unless explicitly indicated otherwise in the photo caption, all photos on this website were taken by and are 2003-2012 by Geoff Malosh. Unauthorized usage of these photographs for any purpose is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in using any photo for publication or if you are interested in purchasing a print, contact me at pomarine -AT- earthlink -DOT- net.