Thursday, July 5, 2012

"The World Is Your Oyster"

Surely this must be the credo of this hooded mollusk-massacring maniac. And just look at this cool bird. With all of his fancy bracelets and leg adornments...this American Oystercatcher is living the American dream. This particular bird's jewelry may also have something to do with the location, as I hear many people in Jersey prefer the larger, louder pieces. Hey, we pay $20 per pound for this sort of seafood and hope it's fresh. He eats it every day and looks good while he's doing it (something I certainly cannot manage). The world may indeed be his oyster.

As successful as they are, Oystercatchers are still pretty funky-looking shorebirds. Their legs are a pale, fleshy tone, while their mollusk-mutillating bills appear downright cumbersome! Their yellow eyes, outlined in orange, are very striking. When they take flight they have a bold white stripe sort of like a Willet, and their black executioner's hood caps it all off. Needless to say I find the birds to be wonderful...

These Oystercatchers demonstrated why birding on the beach is so much fun. There's plenty of light, the shorebirds aren't overly fidgety, there're no obscuring tree branches or shadows, and if you're a photographer, the ocean always provides a nice background. These birds can strike some pretty nice poses too as they scout out the swirling tide-pools and frothing eddies.

My legs and the Oystercatcher's look very similar (minus the anklets), but the bird withstood the chilly Atlantic water better than I did. For that matter, it also had much more luck prying open the various bivalve mollusks than I had. Everyone has different talents...    

It's just as well that they were making all the catches. I don't really enjoy raw clams, muscles, or oysters that much, even with hot sauce. I certainly do enjoy watching Oystercatchers, and maybe capturing a few photos to enjoy a month down the road.