Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Oystercatcher news

Having got over the initial surprise and excitement, I am now getting used to having an oystercatcher in the garden.  It visits several times every day, usually early morning or in the evening, presumably because there are fewer golfers and dog walkers around.

It usually does a big circuit of the main lawn outside the kitchen window.

It comes so close to the house that I lose sight of it below the window.  The window is open and the bird must be aware of me and the camera.

When it flies off with a worm it can return in less than a minute so I think it must be nesting close by.  Judging by the direction in which it flies, I reckon the most likely place is on the roof of the haulage depot across the road - 150m away as the oystercatcher flies.  Unlike most waders, oystercatchers feed their chicks for some time after hatching.  The chicks are precocial (hatched with eyes open, downy feathers and able to walk and leave the nest within a couple of days) but don't feed themselves. Oystercatchers generally nest on gravel on the coast or by water inland but recently they have been using flat roofs. The advantage is that there are no foxes or similar predators.  The disadvantage is that eventually the chicks have to jump or fly off but as they are fed by the parents they can wait until they are big enough to do that.

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