May 19, 2021
On a late spring morning, an American oystercatcher was foraging along the rocky shoreline searching for food as the tide was coming in. I observed and photographed this American oystercatcher as it was stabbing his brightly colored orange red bill into the water at the edge of the rocks. It would consistently find oysters just under the water’s surface. Using his sharp bill, the oystercatcher would pry open the oyster shell and extract the oyster with his long bill. But instead of eating the oyster, the oystercatcher would grab the oyster in his bill and fly off, carrying the oyster to feed his chick that was nearby at its nesting site. The male oystercatcher would repeatedly go searching and finding oysters and bring them back to feed his chick while the female American oystercatcher watched over their one chick at the oystercatchers nesting site.
American Oystercatchers Nesting Site
I followed the oystercatcher to see where he was taking the oysters, suspecting that he was feeding chicks. I found that the pair of American oystercatchers was feeding one chick on this old marine pier located on the rocky shoreline that sits along Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia on the Hampton Roads.
Usually, American oystercatcher nests are found on the ground near vegetation on barrier beaches within the dunes, mudflats, sandy beaches, marsh islands or on dredge-spoil islands. Some pairs have even nested on gravel rooftops or rocky artificial islands, but this American oystercatcher pair at Fort Monroe found an old marine pier in the wide open along the shore on which to nest and raise their one chick.
American Oystercatcher Feeding Chick
In between the feedings, the male oystercatcher would defend the nesting territory and chick anytime a gull or tern would fly over the old marine pier. These birds are very territorial and will defend their territory especially when nesting or raising chicks. The American oystercatcher chicks rely on their parents for food until the time when the chicks’ bills are strong enough to probe and stab for food and feed themselves.
I found this location of the American oystercatchers raising their one chick to be unusual or non-typical for American oystercatchers. This old marine pier is behind a building that has a parking lot and pier located behind locked gates, so these oystercatchers are pretty safe from the human predators. Although the old pier is situated along the shore and near a marina there are a lot of gulls, terns and even an occasional bald eagle flying over this area. I was quite surprised when I happened on this pair of oystercatchers raising their chick on the old marine pier in the wide open with no vegetation around to add any protection.
Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.
Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!
All the very best,
Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash
- 2023 Wall Calendars Available at My Zazzle Store2023 Wildlife and Nature Wall Calendars by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography, LLC at her Zazzle store are now available for purchase.
- Update on Butterfly Oasis Habitat ProjectButterfly Oasis Habitat Project is a conservation photography project by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography as she has created a habitat oasis for the declining monarch butterfly population as well as for other visiting butterflies.
- My Happiness Hour Presentation on The World of Wildlife Conservation PhotographyThe Happiness Hour presentation of “The World of Wildlife Conservation Photography by Lori A Cash, professional conservation wildlife and nature photographer. Lori’s presentation discusses what conservation photography is, and she provide tips on how to use your wildlife images for conservation purposes.
- Cover Image on American Butterflies MagazineWildlife and Nature Conservation Photographer, Lori A Cash, has the cover image of American Butterflies Magazine Fall 2022 issue with her image of a black swallowtail caterpillar feeding on fennel as she was awarded second place with the 2022 North American Butterfly Association (NBA) Photo Contest.
- Upcoming Conservation Photography Presentation on The Happiness Hour08/11/2022 On August 24, 2022 I will be giving a free Zoom presentation called The World of Wildlife Conservation Photography on Linda Nickell’s The Happiness Hour for photographers at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, These Zoom meetings can be accessed free on Linda Nickell’s Happiness Hour Schedule part of her website. Also, these presentations can be […]
American Bullfrog American Bullfrog Sitting on Pine Needles backyard butterfly garden bird photography birds birds of prey black swallowtail caterpillars bullfrogs butterflies Butterfly conservation photography caterpillars conservation Fort Monroe National Monument Frogs great blue heron Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Virginia insects in the field Lori A Cash milkweed monarch butterflies monarch butterfly monarch conservation NANPA nature nature photography Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey photo exhibit photography raptors red foxes red fox kit sunrise sunrises swallowtail caterpillars tips Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Virginia wildlife Virginia wildlife conservation wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography