Oystercatcher Alert!

The other day, “06880” reported on the return of oysters to Sherwood Mill Pond.

Yesterday, an alert “06880” reader sent along this photo, from Compo Beach:



It’s an oystercatcher. The woman who spotted it has lived here for 19 years. This is the first one she’s ever seen.

She went to eBirdof course! — and found there has never been a reported sighting in Fairfield County.

AllAboutBirds says:

A large, boldly patterned bird, the American Oystercatcher is conspicuous along ocean shores and salt marshes. True to its name, it is specialized in feeding on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) and uses its brightly colored bill to get at them.

The woman who spotted it adds: “It’s really beautiful, with an unusual high- pitched loud tweet.”

Here’s a better photo (from Wikipedia, not Compo!):

Oystercatcher 2

If you see one, tell us.

Better yet, tell Jeff Northrop, over at Hummock Island Oysters on the Mill Pond.

9 responses to “Oystercatcher Alert!

  1. Tony Eason

    Very cool looking bird-almost cartoon like. Very vocal -often seen/heard chasing each other around, However, fairly to very common, especially in last 10 years. Often rocky shorelines. All over Cockenoe and Norwalk Islands,

  2. I spotted two of these last week on Compo Beach (bbq side) and I suspect this egg was theirs. I doubt it would be hatched given the # of people walking there and it was camouflaged. Another follow up re the trees planted at Stop n Shop, this was taken today and was not the only tree that looked half planted. Don’t they need mulch on a 85 degree day and water? Looks like a half finished job.

    Leigh Gage

  3. Jill Turner Odice

    Hope it doesn’t bring along it’s family and friends to eat Jeff’s oysters!

  4. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Black Oystercatchers are what we see on the West coast, not as pretty as yours! They’re more like a crow with the same long red nose, as if they were smoking a carrot! Quite comical! I prefer the sandpipers, though.

    • Nancy Hunter Wilson

      p.s. funny that they prefer mussels, not oysters (the latter being too arduous to break open!).

  5. Bill Whitbeck

    Yes, the west coast variety is quite comical, but not to be confused with the wonderful Oystercatcher Restaurant in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, WA! http://www.oystercatcherwhidbey.com
    Worth a trip if you’re ever in the area!

    • Nancy Hunter Wilson

      Good to know! There’s also the Oystercatcher Seafood on a neighbor island across the border (I hate borders!), Salt Spring. Must try both!

  6. I just asked Milan Bull, ornithologist with CT Audubon, who said that they are very common nesters along the CT coast.

  7. Hello. This is Patrick Comins from Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society. Though American Oystercatchers are somewhat common along the coast of Connecticut, they are listed as a Threatened species under the Connecticut Endangered Species act, because of poor productivity rates. We work with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) and other partners to improve habitat and nesting success for oystercatchers and other coastal birds through the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds.

    You can find out more about our work here: http://ctwaterbirds.blogspot.com/
    or here: https://www.facebook.com/AudubonAlliance/

    It is unfortunate that the cones were placed so close to the nest (and the stones around the nest.) Even going that close to a nest will leave clues to predators about the presence of a camouflaged nest and the birds almost surely abandoned the nest after the rocks and cones were placed there. If another nest is discovered there, please contact us at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com and we will work to properly protect the nest through string fencing (at a safe distance) and signage.

    We also have a brochure about American Oystercatchers in Connecticut, which can be found here: http://rtpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/American-Oyster-Catcher-Brochure.pdf

    Thank you!

    Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation pcomins@audubon.org