Oystercatcher

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Oystercatcher!

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A large, boldly patterned bird, the American Oystercatcher is conspicuous along ocean shores and salt marshes. True to its name, it is specialized in feeding on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) and uses its brightly colored bill to get at them.

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I was walking over the bridge between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island Tuesday evening with my husband and dog. Down below, we saw herons and egrets and then one solitary oystercatcher… which is now Blogged Bird #173 (see the sidebar of my Photo Life List). And didn’t have to say, “I wish I had my bird camera!”

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On eBird I noticed that oystercatchers are sometimes sighted around here, but I have never seen one in Florida… until now.

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When I was a teenager, I rowed a small rowboat from my grandparents’ house on a lagoon in Ocean City, New Jersey out into the bay to a large marshy island where I went for a walk, feeling like an intrepid explorer, and saw a large flock of funny looking black-and-white shorebirds with orange beaks. I always remembered them as a special discovery, although I didn’t know what they were, living their half-secret lives away from places I usually went. What other creatures live close to us that we never see or notice, I wondered.

Years later I saw them again on Cape Cod and discovered, via the internet which now existed, that they were American Oystercatchers.

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