Oystercatchers and Plovers

by Robin Fuller April. 29, 2020 165 views

Oystercatchers and Plovers are grouped here for convenience rather that any close relationship, other than both being waders of course.

Oystercatchers are large, stocky wading birds. They occur on rocky shores, sandy beaches, on saltmarshes and madflats. The genus is found worldwide. There is only one species in the UK.

Oystercatchers are large, stocky waders of rocky shores, sandy beaches, saltmarshes and mudflats.

Oystercatchers are large, stocky waders of rocky shores, sandy beaches, saltmarshes and mudflats.

Oystercatchers occur in large numbers at Seaton. This is a winter flock on the edge of the Axe estuary mudflats.

Oystercatchers occur in large numbers at Seaton. This is a winter flock on the edge of the Axe estuary mudflats.

The pattern of black and white wing bars in flight is attractive and distinctive.

The pattern of black and white wing bars in flight is attractive and distinctive.

Ostercatchers loafing on the drier areas in the wetland scrape. The three birds heads down, bills agape (left) are doing a courtship display, combined with a loud 'peeping' call, evocative of many coastal habitats. Oystercatchers are able to prise open shellfish like mussels to feed on the flesh.

Ostercatchers loafing on the drier areas in the wetland scrape. The three birds heads down, bills agape (left) are doing a courtship display, combined with a loud 'peeping' call, evocative of many coastal habitats. Oystercatchers are able to prise open shellfish like mussels to feed on the flesh.

The Oystercatcher's combination of orange bill, orange-rimmed red eyes and pink feet and legs is stunning (see also the first photo in this Oystercatcher sequence). Nature rarely produces such a stunning clash of colour.

The Oystercatcher's combination of orange bill, orange-rimmed red eyes and pink feet and legs is stunning (see also the first photo in this Oystercatcher sequence). Nature rarely produces such a stunning clash of colour.

Plovers are relatively small wading birds with straight short bills. The only species I have photographed at Seaton is the Little ringed plover. There are apparently Golden plovers but I aim to show these later in a River Exe blog.

Three Ringed plovers with a Dunlin (facing away) on a tiny island in Seaton's wetland scrape.

Three Ringed plovers with a Dunlin (facing away) on a tiny island in Seaton's wetland scrape.

An adult Ringed plover half hiding behind a resting Dunlin.

An adult Ringed plover half hiding behind a resting Dunlin.

A juvenile Ringed plover - the incomplete collar ring distinguishes the younger bird.

A juvenile Ringed plover - the incomplete collar ring distinguishes the younger bird.

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