Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 31 - Pied Oystercatchers.

I know that science is supposed to be a very serious thing - rational, unbiased, rich in data, low in anecdote and so on.   Which is why I would have made a very poor ornithologist.  I am but a humble big watcher, and Pied Oystercatchers are one of my favourite birds.  They always make me smile.  And I suspect that if I had ever had to study them in a serious fashion, enjoyment and bias may have got in the way of objective observation.

The Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) is found all around the coast of Australia, with a greater fondness for sandy beaches that rocky ones.  It's noisy, easy to spot and always busy - its my kind of bird really.

I had some very good views in Tasmania - and managed to get some images of what I take to be family parties of these birds.








You can tell the juveniles in these pictures by the shorter beak and the scalloping on the feathers on the back.

As you can see they do not avoid rocks entirely - and as you may also see, they dont always eat oysters.    One of the beaches where I took these pictures had a healthy population on small soldier crabs - they would cork-screw themselves into the sand as you approached. They were very popular with my kids and equally popular with the oystercatchers.


These (rather over cropped) images show what happens to the crabs when their defences fail!




Now its your turn.

Click on the link below to join WBW.  Visit as many links as you can and dont forget to link back to this page.  (As a gentle reminder, could I ask that you link to a specific post in your blogs, that way its easier for me (and others) to find!)  Cheers  SM




47 comments:

NatureFootstep said...

the Oystercatcher is one of my favourites as well. Especially when they fly.

Thanks for hosting. :)

Brian King said...

Great photos, Stewart! I like the bright eyes and bills in contrast to the dark heads!

Jackie said...

I can certainly understand your fascination with these lovely birds. They are really beautiful!

Happy WBW to all! :-)

Andrea said...

Crab for dinner ... who could not like that? They are awesome looking birds and I am guessing in motion they tend to be comical. I can understand your love of Tasmania. The photo ops seem to be endless and the scenery is to die for. I so enjoy your posts ... and your meme. Thanks, Stewart ...

Andrea @ From The Sol

TexWisGirl said...

really striking birds with their vivid red eyes and beaks and dapper dress code. :)

Kerri said...

Love that colorful beak!

Rajesh said...

Lovely birds.

Martha Z said...

Their bright bills make them easy to spot.

HansHB said...

A great serie of photos of the Pied Oystercatcher.
Interesting reading too!
Well done!

Nette Cecilia said...

Oystercatcher is my favorite to ,i have them tonight too ,from our part of the world .I have never seen them eating here with us so i dont know ,are they eating when they are here?They are leeving us in the middle of july and they are here in the beginning of may .Nice pictures fronm your side ,Nette

i stora drag said...

Very good photos and interesting story. The last one with the crab in its beak....brr. Looks like a big spider. :)
Greetings Pia

Karen said...

Great shots, I love the long red bills. Obviously they don't just dine on oysters!

dancingaspensfarm said...

Beautiful birds! I love the vibrant colors contrasting with their black bodies!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I can see why you're smitten with these birds! Love those bright orange beaks. Thank you for hosting WBW!

Kusum Sanu said...

Such beautiful pictures. These birds have so vibrantly colored beaks and eyes.

Carole M. said...

they are a lovely waterbird, but is it myth that they manage to open oysters up and eat 'oysters' then? That would be quite a feat, surely?

EG CameraGirl said...

Colourful, that's for sure. I'm sure I would enjoy watching them too.

Dave said...

Old carrot beaks, I love them such charasmatic birds. I even have them very close to home where they breed on farm land.

Carletta said...

Wonderful photos Stewart!
I have to say they have the most strikingly colorful beaks I have ever seen.
A really handsome family you captured beautifully!

Mama Zen said...

Awesome shots!

eileeninmd said...

Were there enough crabs for the Oystercatchers to have a feast. Wonderful photos, Stewart. Great sighting. Have a happy week ahead!

DIMI said...

Great photos Stewart!Lovely birds!Interesting post too!!Hope you have a lovely day!
Dimi..

bailey-road.com said...

I love those colorful beaks and eyes!

mick said...

Great photos of the Pied Oycs - especially the one with the crab.

Findlay Wilde said...

I really like Oyster Catchers and crabbing, so a perfect post for me to enjoy. From Findlay

Phil said...

I'll bet those lads and lasses remind you of home too Stewart. Not too dofferent are they but yours have a striking leg colour. Thanks for hosting the gallery again.

Phil said...

Just saw your comment Stewart. I think we overlapped in the ether. Yes, cannon netting is the answer to your question.

Jeevan said...

The photos are fantastic esp. their red beaks are stunning! First time hearing about this bird species.

Pam ;) said...

With all these great images of the Oystercatchers you captured your smile should be a mile wide.

Awesome series of shots, Stewart.

Kristi Bowman said...

Great birds, they look like they would be fun to sit an watch for hours!

Arti said...

Wonderful captures. I especially loved their bright beaks!! Its always good to come around your blog, have a lovely day Stewart :)

Dana said...

What interesting looking birds! I love how bright their beaks are.

Donna Heber said...

Hi Stewart,

What gorgeous birds! Their beaks are such an unique color. Thank you for sharing your photos with us and for hosting.

Gemma Wiseman said...

They are an interesting bird! I love how they line up near one another when the wind is blowing and all face into the wind bent forward! That looks funny!

Cynthia M. said...

What a beautiful bird - I'm familiar with the North American oystercatchers, but yours are brilliant!

I know what you mean about being too passionate to be objective about a species. I try really hard to remain objective when I talk (or teach) about wolves or coyotes, but I'm sure my partiality bleeds through...

Jen said...

They really are beautiful. The beaks and eyes especially.


Nora at Island Rambles said...

those are lovely close ups at the end there, they must let you get up to them a bit...we have solid blacks here, but similar. I love the sound they make.

Marcia said...

Those are some really neat shots. What fun looking birds too.

Gillian Olson said...

Love the oyster catchers, what a beautiful coloured beak. Enjoyed seeing the soldier crabs too.

Wally Jones said...

Stewart, this is a really nice series!
I love seeing these guys on the beach.
Looks like both your family and the Oystercatcher's enjoyed crabbing!

-Regards, Wally

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Full series of pictures are very beautiful...

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Hi Stewart. The Oystercatchers do look like they would be great fun to observe. They are beautiful too! The image of the Soldier Crabs is really neat too. Happy week~

Cindy said...

Beautiful birds. Thanks for the WBW invitation.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

They are really funny to watch (the ones we see in Oregon are much the same). I'll be back next week I hope.

pattisjarrett said...

Interesting little crabs, just the right bite-size for lunch. The Oystercatcher is rather unique!

Marie said...

A fabulous bird! I love the striking colors, black white and orange.

Gowri Saligram said...

Delightful birds! Those red beaks are just spectacular. I have a soft spot for noisy waders too :) Just lie down on the beach and observe them go about their routine. What bliss!