Black Oystercatchers - A Favorite
The San Juan Islands are the perfect habitat for our raucus black oystercatcher, and our sea kayak tours encounter them on a regular basis. They never stray far from shore, in particular favoring our rocky shorelines. South Beach, Limekiln Lighthouse, Griffin Bay, Yellow Island and Posey Island State Park are common hangouts for this social, noisy and colorful bird. They forage in the intertidal zone, feeding on marine invertebrates, particularly moluscs such as mussels, limpets and chitons. Black oystercatchers will also take crabs, isopods and barnacles. They hunt through the intertidal area, searching for food visually, often so close to the water's edge it has to fly up to avoid crashing surf. They use their strong, bright red bill to dislodge food and pry shells open.