Footprints reveal species of oystercatcher

On Saturday we were at Terrace Corner Beach near Eden. We saw many things which were made fascinating by Michael’s explanations. One of the best was the tale of the wandering Oystercatcher.

We first found holes in the sand and were wondering if they might be Ghost Crab burrows, when we noticed that they were associated with the tracks of a bird. When asked what he thought, Michael floored us by saying they were Pied Oystercatcher tracks.

When asked how he could be sure the weren’t a Sooty Oystercatcher’s, he replied that they were typical of a Pied’s and that Sooty’s spent their time along the waveline rather than at the tideline searching in the wrack.

Pied Oystercatcher tracks at Terrace Beach

He also told u

Pied Oystercatcher Photo Liz Allen

s another tale of an observation he made at Point Hicks where he watched a Sooty Oystercatcher repeatedly collecting shells from the edge of the sea and making a pile of them. After a while, when the sun had warmed them up, the hermit crabs that lived in the shells started to crawl away – whereupon the Sooty would eat them as they emerged.

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