How to Catch an Oyster

Be an Oystercatcher, of course!  This conspicuous looking fellow is the Black Oystercatcher.

BLOY peeping - watermark

Canon 60D, Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm

1/320 sec @ f/8.0, ISO 100

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I was greeted by this noisy friend one day while doing some breeding surveys of Pelagic and Brant’s Cormorants on Santa Cruz Island.  As I was looking through my spotting scope writing down how many chicks each nest had I heard the characteristic loud peep of the Black Oystercatcher.  By no means a rarity on the island I normally wouldn’t have given it a second thought but this particular peep was way louder than the average.  I looked up and this Oystercatcher decided to stop by and have a chat.  I couldn’t help but pull out the camera and snap a few shots.  After successfully yelling at me for about 5 minutes he thought it was time to move on.  Good luck you orange-billed weirdo.

BLOY sitting nicely - watermark

Canon 60D, Sigma 50-500mm @ 417mm

1/320 sec @ f/8.0, ISO 100

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And just for fun here is a picture of a Black Oystercatcher with an American Oystercatcher which was also seen on Santa Cruz Island.  The American Oystercatcher is significantly more of an unusual visitor to this area of the country.  You will often get hybrid American x Black but rarely do you see the pure American like this one.

Black & American Hangin Out

Canon 60D, Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm

1/160 sec @ f/11, ISO 200

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Much respect goes out to the phenomenal birder Seagull Steve over at Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds who was the one who originally found this pure American and was able to so eloquently describe the difference between a pure and a hybrid.  He has a good article about it here.

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