Tuesday 28 February 2012

Black Oystercatchers feeding

Feb 27th Afternoon : Tsawwassen Ferry jetty/Delta B.C.

After leaving Reifel I made my way down to see if there was any activity on the Tsawwassen waterfront especially near the ferry. Out in the bay a raft of about one thousand goldeneye (Barrow's or Common) and Surf scoters were feeding in the eel grass where they were diving for crabs and shellfish.

A few California gulls as well as Ring-billed and the very similar Mew gull were feeding on the exposed mudflats. A few Glaucous-winged gulls were also present. Great-blue herons, North-western crows, and several flocks of Dunlin swirled along the lips of the rising flood tide.

At long last I saw my quarry, three pairs of black oyster catchers. It took about thirty minutes to slowly approach them, made difficult because of the sharp and slippery barnacled rocks that made progress slow and dangerous. Finally I was able to fire off a few frames as well as some video of the birds eating clams and crabs. I spent an hour with the one pair that had not flown away and by my estimation the pair ate about a pound or more of clam and crab flesh between them. The birds were very methodical each shell was taken doen to the waters wedge dipped and shaken before being devoured.

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