Low tide at Island Bay beach and an oystercatcher's catch

Low tide at Island Bay and the rocks were exposed, the seaweeds on them looking gorgeous.

Then my attention was caught by another favourite of mine - one of the beach's resident variable oystercatchers (toreapango, or Haematopus unicolor).  I love their bright orange beaks and eyes and their confident busy-ness.

This one had been peep peep peeping at some gulls, as if asserting its space on the rocks, then it went off foraging.  On rocks a little way out it had its beak down in the seaweed.  Then I saw it on the sand.

Success!  An oystercatcher with an oyster.


And off to find more goodies. 

They eat a lot as revealed in this interview -  http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/interviews-about-new-zealand-birds/oystercatcher/  and of course despite their name they eat a lot of tasty morsels, not just oysters.

Oystercatchers are wading birds found in coastal regions world-wide, and the different species are very alike.  The variable oystercatcher is endemic to New Zealand - it is just found here.  Although the population has increased since it was estimated to be around 3,500 in 1994, it is still rare.  This bird is one of a pair who live on this part of the beach.  They will be nesting now.  Each year a chick is produced.  It grows up and departs but the parents stay, and we get to enjoy them.