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Variable Oystercatcher

Variable Oystercatcher
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-04-18
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 10D, Tamron 28-300XR, Hoya UV 62mm
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2005-04-18 4:03
Viewed: 3645
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I know the POV isn't the best as the subject is flying away from me, but I like the way the setting sun has caught the wing and the reflection on the water. I hope you like it too. Thanks for looking

Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor Torea)

The variable oystercatcher, like its name suggests, is variable in colour from completely black to pied. They have a long orangy-red bill and eye, with pink legs. They are slightly larger (48cm) than the pied oystercatcher (46cm). The juvenile is brownish black and the bill is brown/black and starts to colour-up from about 3 months old.

They feed on molluscs, worms, crabs, small invertebrates and even small fish. They use their strong beak to split open bi-valves, (shells that open and are joined by a central point), especially oysters around oyster beds, thus giving them their name.

The oystercatchers call in flight with a loud shrill 'kleep'.

Oystercatchers remain in breeding pairs all year long and often stay within the breeding territory all year. They first breed at the age of 3. They breed on rocky and sandy coasts making their nest, a shallow scrape, on the sandy beaches or rocky ledges. They lay 2 or 3 eggs which are incubated for about 28 days by both sexes. The chicks fledge at 2 days old but stay with the parents to be fed for another 3 weeks. Although they learn to fly at 6-7 weeks old they don't leave the natal territory until about 3 months old. The parents closely guard their young, even being known to fly at and dive bomb humans who venture too close to the natal territory!

Variable oystercatchers breed on Tiritiri Matangi. There are 2 breeding pairs within close proximity of the wharf area, one pair on the rocks to the right of the jetty (walking from the ferry to the island) and the other pair is beyond the rocks at the end of Hobbs Beach. They also breed on the rocky island just off the wharf.

Vital Statistics
Conservation Status: Protected Rare Endemic
Mainland Status: Population c4000 and increasing
Size: 48cm, 725g
Life Span: Oldest recorded: 27 years
Breeding: September - February
Diet: Mainly molluscs, worms, and crabs.

The above obtained from http://www.123.co.nz/tiri/Fauna/VariableOystercatcher.htm

Image Information

Camera: Canon 10D
Time of day: 5:09 p.m.
Date: 18th April 2005
Weather conditions: Clear
Lens: Tamron 28-300mm XR
Filter: Hoya 62mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
F-Stop: F/5.6
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO: 400

red45, cafecrem, Comandante, hummingbird24 has marked this note useful
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To red45: More Reflection Areacoasties 1 04-18 04:29
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Critiques [Translate]

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  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-04-18 4:21]
  • [+]

Nostalgic picture Pam. Very good quality, light is great. I'm not sure about composition - I think more area with reflection on water should be fine. TFS!

Halo Pam!
Superb water and light on it. With this bird it is perfect shot!!!

Wonderful action shot!
Good composition.
Thanks for sharing!

Nice capture, POV is not too bad but then framed too large.
Well done.

Life is about coming and going, Pam, and I think this a quite lovely. Your composition, lighing and detail are all great. Very well done and TFS.

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