Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So back to our Ft. DeSoto trip. The numbers and variety of shorebirds were intense - especially considering that this was a public beach on a holiday weekend. Posted notices informed visitors that the the cordoned off area was an IBA, and served as a shorebird sanctuary amidst the careless and inane activities of the typical beachgoer. But mostly, people went about their day as if they weren't sharing the sand with some of North America's most spectacular birds. Honestly, I don't understand how a person can pass right by an American Oystercatcher without doing a double-take (or possibly a spit-take, depending on the circumstances).

How is an Oystercatcher anything but an epiphany? It's the kind of bird that grabs you by your bathing suit and makes you drop your floaties. Although, sadly, I'm sure I was just as blind before I finally took notice of birds, a mere two and half years ago. Thankfully, I can at least begin to appreciate what a stunning creature the Oystercatcher is. Look at that bill! Look at those eyes! And those big pink legs!

Our previous encounter (and our first) was along the Florida panhandle, where we found them among the oyster beds, but too far away for a decent look. Now, as we spotted a pair right on the beach, we approached with caution, but also with an eye on an oblivious older couple looking for shells in the water, a dozen or so feet away.

The Oystercatchers were only minimally perturbed by them, though. One of the locals observed that they seemed more approachable/less skittish than a nesting pair that had claimed that same stretch of beach last year. Even though the area lay outside the sanctuary, there were some less disturbed spaces away from the bulk of the ruckus where they might have found enough privacy for breeding purposes. Plenty of other shorebirds in there, too - more on them later!

1 comment:

  1. Great shots! Ive never managed to get that close to them...I have experienced the strange Florida beach bird approachability phenomenon though...if the birds want to use the beach they have to get used to people...which generally sucks, buts makes for good photography.