A nice catch!

The early bird catches the oyster. And the oystercatcher!

I spotted an American Oystercatcher at the Stuart Causeway, west side, early this morning. I haven’t seen too many of these birds around here – maybe because we are at the edge of their range?

This one appears to be a juvenile. The clue is the dark-tipped bill.

Catch of the day: oystercatchers

Oystercatchers! Go back!” My husband turned the car around and pulled into a parking spot at the Snook Nook.

We were headed north for a walk in the scrub yesterday afternoon, but made a quick detour for a special bird.

Next to the Snook Nook is Fredgie’s World Famous Hot Dogs. The roadside stand lures lots of people to stop for a quick lunch in fresh air at the edge of the Indian River Lagoon in Jensen Beach.

They are famous for the “fredgie” which is a hot dog on a bun topped with chili… and peanut butter. Really.

On the left side of the photo, you can see the dock with the oystercatchers. I spotted them from the road on the right, Indian River Drive.

It was a very windy day, and the surface of the lagoon was pretty rough. The docks and narrow beach here are a popular “hotspot” for birdwatchers to see a variety of gulls and terns.

According to eBird, 78 different species of birds have been spotted at the Snook Nook.

I think this Fredgie’s gull is a juvenile Laughing Gull in the first winter of its life, and already a fearless scavenger of French fries.

The Snook Nook sells everything you need for catching this region’s most popular sport fish, the snook, and more.

I have only seen oystercatchers a couple of times in Martin County, and only photographed one once in May of 2018, at the causeway park under the bridge between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island.

“Bait” for oystercatchers is oysters.

American Oystercatchers dine almost solely on saltwater bivalve mollusks, including many species of clams and several oysters and mussels, and to a lesser degree limpets, jellyfish, starfish, sea urchins, marine worms, and crustaceans such as lady crabs and speckled crabs. Oystercatchers walk slowly through oyster reefs until they see one that is slightly open; they quickly jab the bill inside the shell to snip the strong adductor muscle that closes the two halves of the shell. 

Maybe if we had more healthy oyster beds in this area, as in days of old, we would see more oystercatchers. A wonderful local organization, Florida Oceanographic Society, is working on oyster reef restoration.

Do your part by eating oysters from local restaurants listed at the link!.. FLOOR. Or volunteer to bag oysters and help construct reefs.

More on Martin County’s Oyster Reef Restoration Program, including a reef location map.

Jacana and more

dsc_0073

Oystercatchers on Playa Brasilito.

For the first time on this blog I am using someone else’s photos to share the birds I saw. The four of us old friends vacationing together went for walks on three different beaches two days ago and I didn’t have my camera. David kindly shared some of his great photos with me.

dsc_0074

Such a unique bird.

dsc_0081

Orange-fronted Parakeets nibbling flowers.

dsc_0084

The most numerous parrots on the Pacific Slope of Central America, the Orange-fronted Parakeet is found from Western Mexico south to Costa Rica. Primarily colored a dull green, the Orange-fronted Parakeet has an orange-peach forehead and lores, dull blue mid-crown, olive-brown throat and breast, yellow green belly and blue flight feathers. These parakeets inhabit a variety of habitats including forest edge, deciduous woodland, Pacific swamp forest, savanna, arid thorn scrub and even cow pastures and urban areas. These birds feed primarily on fruits and flowers, but outside of the breeding season, large flocks have been known to cause damage to maize and ripening bananas.

dsc_0085

Yum yum, flowers.

dsc_0088

Hey, new bird!

dsc_0089

I think it’s a Northern Jacana. Two were walking and wading around in a muddy pond just behind Playa Brasilito.

dsc_0091

The northern jacana or northern jaçana (Jacana spinosa) is a wader which is a resident breeder from coastal Mexico to western Panama, and on Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola. It sometimes breeds in Texas, United States, and has also been recorded on several occasions as a vagrant in Arizona. The jacanas are a group of wetland birds, which are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. In Jamaica this bird is also known as the ‘Jesus bird’, as it appears to walk on water.

dsc_0092

Bird #201 for me.

Oystercatcher

IMG_4339-2

Oystercatcher!

IMG_4341-2

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.

IMG_4351-2

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!”

IMG_4352-2

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

IMG_4354-2

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.

IMG_4360-2