02 November 2008

Ecological Day - Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers are usually seen in pairs but may gather in flocks of up to 40 birds from October to March. I have been coming to the Maitland River Mouth for the past 35 years and I do not recollect seeing oyster caters gathering there in such large numbers in the past.



To me this is an indication of an environment that is conducive to ensuring a growth in their numbers.
There are apparently less than 5 000 of birds left in the world and is the only oystercatcher that breeds in Africa.
It is the encroachment of man in their habitat that is making their continued existence so vulnerable.
Oystercatchers mate for life and may live for up to 35 years. They do not breed until they are three years old.



Its nest is a scrape in the dune. Two eggs are usually laid during summer, at the height of the holiday seasons. The eggs and nest are not easily visible to the untrained eye and eggs can easily be trampled on, which makes them very vulnerable.
The birds eat limpets and mussels and not oysters. The birds can only feed at low tide and do so at day and night. Because of their highly selective feeding area they are much more susceptible to human activity than most shore birds



This brings me to my question, “Why mess up their habitat with another big development. The Cape coast has already been spoilt by the developers, which is why I agree with the sentiments expressed in this sign. What impact will this have on the oystercatcher’s habitat? It will undoubtedly spoil one of our last wide open beaches – a place where you can come and enjoy nature, peace and solitude.
Let’s retain some unspoilt wide open spaces for posterity.
For more ecological day posts, visit Sonia at Leaves of Grass.

19 comments:

Paz said...

Wonderful post.

Happy Ecological Day!

Paz

sonia a. mascaro said...

Great post with gorgeous and stunning photos, Max! I guess I have never seeing an oystercatcher before and I am sorry they are vulnerable.
I appreciate so much your participation on Ecological Day!
Have a nice Sunday!

Maria Augusta said...

Wonderful post!
Happy Ecological Day!

Firefly said...

The thirsd picture of the two Oystercatchers is beautiful, but the last picture is awesome. I love the colours of the sky going from light and orange to dark and gloomy.

Heather said...

as always some gorgeous pictures and an informative post..thanks Max

Jeanne said...

HEAR HEAR!! Progress is fine, but does it have to be at the expense of our natural heritage? I have always said that if I win the UK lottery I woudl buy up as much of the property along RObberg beach (particularly Solar Beach near the nature reserve), knock down the hosues and let the lad return to its natural state. Every beautiful place will NOT benefit from a hotel, apartments and shopping complex!!

I love these oystercatchers - we always watch them at Plett. The fact that they are always in pairs and standing around always gives me the feeling that thye are observing us and hatching a plan - very Far Side creatures :)

Anna said...

Max-e these are beautiful photos, except the 2nd last one, lol, people just have not respect! Thanks for sharing Anna :)

Max-e said...

Thanks Paz

Max-e said...

Sonia, glad you liked the photos. This is really a beautiful place, looking out over St Francis Bay

Max-e said...

Maria Augusta, thanks for the visit and your comments

Max-e said...

Firefly, thanks for your comments and glad you liked the photos. Somehow, the pictures taked at Maitland are always good

Max-e said...

Heather, glad you liked the photos. I always have such a problem choosing. I shoot of "hundreds" and then look for the one that "talks" to me.

Max-e said...

Jeanne, the systematic "rape" of the Cape coast is a tragedy and unacceptable. We cannot avoid development, but it must be controlled and not at the "expense of our natural heritage".
Thanks for the comments.

Max-e said...

Anna, thanks for the comments. I debated the wisdom of putting in the second last photo and then thought, "Why not!"
Aside from the destruction of a sign, it is a statement against a development that will mess up a beautiful area forever.

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

Ah... fantastic post! I'm glad you included all the photos! Well done!
~Michele~
Mountain Retreat- Canada

Max-e said...

Hi Michele, thanks for comments. We have had enough of the developers who come in do their damage, collect their money and leave.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Great post. I really, really love that last picture. It's simply beautiful!

Kay said...

I am totally blown away by your photos Max-E. What beautiful country you live in!

Suz Broughton said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures. That last one is breathtaking!
They have already developed on the wetlands of my hometown and it is so sad to see it now. They kept a smidgen of it, but the "feeling" along with some of the birds is gone.