Black Skimmer  LbNA # 16855

Placed DateJul 23 2005
LocationQuintana, TX
Found By Lil' Adventurer
Last Found Dec 5 2007
Hike Distance?

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer Letterbox

Placed By: Birds of a Feather - Change _at_ to @ for valid email
Placement Date: 07/23/2005
Nearest Town: Quintana, TX
County: Brazoria
Difficulty Rating: 1 - What does this mean?
Terrain Rating: 1 - What does this mean?
Recommended Ink: black and orange
Status: Alive on 02/25/2007

The world's three skimmer species are the only birds whose lower mandibles are longer than the upper. The skimmer gets its name from its special feeding technique of flying above the surface of the water and "skimming" fish from the water with its extended lower bill.

Of these three species, only the Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) is found in the Americas. The black skimmer is a fish eating bird similar to gulls and terns that has a black and white tuxedo-pattern appearance. Black skimmers nest together in groups known as colonies. The largest colony on the Texas coast is located inside the industrial complex of Dow Texas Operations in Freeport. The skimmers have taken over a parking lot within the complex since 1967. Approximately 1200 skimmers and terns nest here from April through August. Unfortunately, Dow only allows the public to view the site one Saturday a year (in June or July).

This letterbox is more accessible. It can be found south of Freeport in the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary.

The Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary is a small grove of salt cedars providing a critical migrant stopover on the Upper Gulf Coast. It is part of the San Bernard Loop described on the Upper Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail map. Many uncommon birds have been seen here, including Yellow-green Vireos and King Eider.

Directions to the Letterbox:
From Houston, take TX 288 south about 50 miles, through Lake Jackson, to FM 1495. Turn right and go 1.7 miles to CR 723, then turn left and go 2.1 miles to the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary. Park on the left.
Enjoy the trails and the birds in this small sanctuary. When you are ready to look for the letterbox, go far side of the sanctuary on Burnett Road. Find the green sign for the sanctuary and the warning sign for the stop sign. Walk seven steps towards the stop sign. Turn to the right and walk to the tree line and look behind the small trunks for the camouflaged Black Skimmer Letterbox.

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Also always take adequate precautions (such as checking with a stick and/or wearing gloves) before reaching into dark crevasses and holes in the wild.

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Last updated on 04/16/2007