Monday, May 26, 2014

American Oystercatcher surprise on Tybee North Beach

A friend and I went out to the North Beach this evening hoping for shorebirds at the 8.1 foot high tide. We dd find Sanderlings, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers. However the treat of the evening came after we spied an American Oystercatcher standing on the beach.
American Oystercatcher adult
I wondered what it was doing there as I expected most to be on territory with nests and eggs or chicks by now. Then, a boat-tailed grackle landed on the beach, not particularly close to the oystercatcher. It immediately flew over and began harassing the grackle, driving it farther away. This made me think even more seriously that this bird must be on territory and may have a nest nearby.

Then, glancing back toward the dunes, I spied something small that almost blended with the sand.
It was Chick #1!
American Oystercatcher Chick #1

As this bird vanished into the vegetation, I spied Chick # 2 walking towards the log where the
parent bird had been standing.

American Oystercatcher Chick#2

Soon this bird too returned to the dunes. I also saw a second adult join the first and follow the chicks
into the dunes. Later, 3 crows flew over and both adults took to the sky, aggressively calling and bothering the crows to make sure they left the area.

Chasing away the crows!
My friend and I hung out a while and later saw one adult walk out onto the beach where it was joined by one of the chicks.
Adult and juvenile American Oystercatchers.

In the 15 years I have been back in Savannah, this is the first time I have seen a pair of Oystercatchers with chicks on the North End of Tybee.