Two Mile Beach Oystercatchers

Our first afternoon field trip of  Cape May Spring (birding) Festival was at Two Mile Beach. The part of the beach that is part of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is closed from mid-April to mid-October; the leader for the trip (a US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist) took us on the dune trail to the part of the beach that is owned by the US Coast Guard. That part of the beach has nesting birds too! The first one we saw was an American Oystercatcher on a nest. These birds are hard to miss. They are large…with a bright red bill and red rimmed yellow eye. The nest is on the ground…with very little material involved. The grasses provided a minimal curtain.

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Both the male and female take turns at the nest. We say second bird moving on the sand – meandering toward the nest. We stayed well back and watched. Note that the bird has been banded.

Eventually the bird decided we were too close and we retreated out of the range of my zoom lens to give the birds the confidence to make the nest duty swap.