Oystercatchers in their favourite place between mud, sand, rocks and sea. Does it ever open an oyster? I don't know, but it cleverly forces back the valves of mussels and small bivalves. It will knock a limpet from rock with ease. Walking on the Cumbria coast in July they were at their most flighty. Gathering together at the edge of the sea, pic-pic-pic they chatter, but come too close and
away they fly skimming the waves,
Showing off the distinctive V shape feathers. Present all around the British coast it is also increasingly found in the summer inland on the moors. I am always a surprise when I hear a slow call, pleee-ah, plee-ah and see a lone oystercatcher roller-coasting low over the land. Happily when sometimes all one hears are about declining numbers of species the Oystercatcher bucks the trend and numbers have increased in the last fifty years. Where once there were 30,000 breeding pairs there are now estimated to be 98,000 in the summer, (probably why some move inland to breed) but in the winter they all gather around the coast and estuaries
to be joined by visitors from Norway when the numbers swell to about 320,000. Watch out bivalves, they're coming.
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet - this week sojourning at O