Pied Oystercatchers are making whoopee on Tallow Beach and they don’t care who sees them.
Byron photographer Tricia Griffin was in search of Rainbow Bee Eaters on Tallow Beach when she happened to see the pair of ‘love birds’.
‘I was sitting up on the walking track at the entrance to Tallow Beach, near the inlet to the tea tree lake,’ she says. ‘The birds were enjoying their environment on both the beach and the lake and while watching them I was lucky enough to observe them quite clearly enjoying their breeding season activities!’
Tricia, who pretty much takes her camera everywhere, went to Tallow as a friend told her she’d find the Bee Eater near the sand dunes. ‘I was lucky enough to see two Bee Eaters as soon as I arrived then I found the Oystercatchers by chance as I was sitting observing the area and the birds.
‘The pair were adorable and didn’t move far from each other’s side.’
The photos were shot with a Canon 7D Mark II with a 70–200 lens and a 2x extender.
The name ‘oystercatcher’ is something of a misnomer – oysters are rarely on the menu as the species likes to hang out on sandy coastlines rather than rocky ones. They do however use that long beak to get into other shelled critters.
Pied Oystercatchers nest in open areas near the shore and produce 2–3 eggs. Each couple protects its nesting area and often uses the same area year after year.
Tricia says she also observed three adult humans walking from the beach up to the walking track who showed very little respect for the birds and walked straight through the area where they were. ‘It was upsetting to see them walk through the area and skim stones on the lake while laughing at the birds being disturbed.’
Tricia says she will keep and ye on the pair to se if the coupling bears fruit. ’I’ve been back once since that date, and they were there in the beach area again. I will go back regularly to check on them and see if I can capture some more beautiful images – hopefully of some chicks!’
NOTE: One of the birds was banded, possibly the male
Banding details via the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS)
The band that you found was placed on a: Pied Oystercatcher
or scientific name: Haematopus longirostris
at: MARSHALLS CREEK BRUNSWICK HEADS NSW
Latitude: 28deg 32min 3sec S; Longitude: 153deg 32min 54sec E;
The bird was age code: NESTLING, sex code: UNKNOWN
It was banded by: DR GP CLANCY
The time between banding and recovery is 5 years 7 months 18 days.
The bird had moved a distance of: 15 km with a bearing of 148 degrees.