Also Mussels

Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

There aren’t a lot of oysters in the waters around the park — that’s another story — so the Black Oystercatcher needs to branch out. It’s having very little trouble doing that, given the relative abundance of mussels. The bird’s razor sharp beak managed to pry this mussel off the rock to which it clung for dear life. From there it was just a few well aimed jabs before the bird split the shell and made a meal of the innards. A few moments later the bird showed that its prey needn’t be above the surface. The bird didn’t hesitate to plunge its head underwater to pursue its target. No mussel is safe when this bird is around.

I haven’t seen a Black Oystercatcher here since July. It’s good to see them back. I’ve seen half a dozen in various spots along the eastern and western shores of the park in the past week or two. It’s always a pleasure to see these beautiful creatures.

Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

P.S. Burrowing Owl Update

The Second Owl — the one that was easily visible for weeks — remains missing. It was last seen Feb. 3 with what looked like an injury to one wing. See “Owl Hurt?” Feb. 3 2022. Its absence for a solid week is a very poor sign. There is no easy explanation.

The First Owl, however, remains in its usual place. This morning it stood taller than usual, and park visitors who knew where to stand could see it with little difficulty without optical assistance, although binoculars or zoom lenses certainly yielded more detail.

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