Sunday, March 22, 2015

Catching a Glimpse of the Oystercatchers!

     Today my husband and I went on an Adventure, walking over the Gil Hodges Bridge, crossing from Brooklyn into the Rockaways in Queens. Our destination being Fort Tilden, promising my husband the chance to explore and ascend Battery Harris East, which housed a cannon during the world wars. I was looking not too hard for birds, but if I saw anything, I was prepared.
     After climbing and exploring the layout of Brooklyn with binoculars and maps on our phones, we walked a trail across from Battery Harris East that bring you down to the beach. On the beach we found it was low tide and a few birds were down by the shore. I was pretty stoked to see that my favorite shore bird has returned the lovely American Oystercatcher! I enjoyed grabbing a few shots of these guys before heading back to our car in Brooklyn. Oystercatchers in NY do migrate, not too far south, but into the Southern coastal states, learn more about their migration patterns from the American Oystercatcher Working Group here.
     I love these birds, how they look, and how they behave. I also love when they have their chicks in tow, along our beaches in the summer! Enjoy these charismatic carrot beaks:
I saw originally 2 oystercatchers, and I went around, giving them clearance as I didn't want to disturb them. And of course they took off, but they didn't fly away, they joined 5 more birds in flight and landed back down on the beach. That was pretty wonderful. 
This photo makes me start singing Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town" in my head.
Birds are badass, I love them and admire all they do to survive and create a new generation, successfully. And landing with the waves rolling in makes them look even more badass.
The American Oystercatcher is sometimes referred to as a "carrot beak," for obvious reasons. I love the contrasting black and white of their feathers plus their orange beak and ring around their yellow eyes really make them so bold and unmistakeable among other shore birds. 

This little sanderling was foraging on the rock jetty, originally with the first 2 oystercatchers, clearly, he felt left out and ran to join the group of 7. Little birds might look like tiny little floofballs with stick-legs, but they are tough and can roll with the big birds...
I'm a sucker for those yellow eyes! I'm so glad birds are beginning to come back, especially after celebrating the first day of spring here in New York City with 2-3 inches of wet snow.

Did you also know, sanderlings are expert photo bombers... Oystercatcher is clearly not impressed.
But sanderling has what it takes to roll with the big guys on the beach. Glad to see these gorgeous birds on such a gorgeous full spring day!