Sooty Oystercatchers

I visit Bastion Point each year to try and find the elusive Reef Egret. It has eluded me on 5 visits to Mallacoota. Many other birders seem to find and photograph the egret but I just keep missing it. I loop around the usual coastal spots where it likes to hunt in the rocks pools at the change of tides. While I miss the Egret I do quite often come across the Sooty Oystercatcher, a nice sized wader with all black plumage, bright orange/red eyes and bill and thick pink legs. The Pied Oystercatcher seems much more common than the Sooty and Bastion Point is a good location to find and photograph it (while waiting for my hoodoo bird to turn up)

While the Pied hunts across inlets, bays and waterways and is often seen in large numbers, the Sooty Oystercatcher prefers ocean facing rocky outcrops where it pries off molluscs from the rocks and catches small crustaceans wading in shallow rock pools. I often find them in pairs even in non-breeding season. I am always keen to try and find and photograph the Sooty.

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 17 Dec 2016

The ocean beach side of Bastion Point, Mallacoota

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher feeling for prey in a rock pool

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers

Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastian Point, Mallacoota, 20 Dec 2016

Sooty Oystercatcher

Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Vic, 18 Dec 2016

Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota

 

2 responses to “Sooty Oystercatchers

  1. I see why it has that name. Sooty or not, it’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree Steve, I like trying to photograph this species. Using decent stalking skills you can get close for photos. It seems quite smart and able asses real threats unlike other waders and shorebirds that just flush when a certain distance is broached.

    Like

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