My mom, dad, sister, Hector and I all went to Assateague Island for Labor Day weekend. I love visiting the barrier island. It is most famous for its wild horses, but there are a lot of birds there too. And, of course, going to the beach is always divine. I love to walk on the sand and to swim in the ocean.
My particular birding wish for the weekend was to see an American oystercatcher. As the name implies, American oystercatchers eat oysters (and other shellfish like clams and muscles). One might think one can see these birds on the beach any old time, but they do not hang out by the water 24 hours a day. They come to hunt specifically when the tide is low because that is when shellfish are exposed and therefore harvestable.
As it turned out, my whole family wanted to see American oystercatchers too, so we decided to gather on the beach for low tide in the late afternoon. And guess what? We got lucky! There were a few American oystercatchers foraging in the wet sand, looking for their suppers. It was thrilling!
Did you do anything special for Labor Day weekend?
PS: American oystercatchers and oysters go hand-in-hand, so I figured I’d include a link to a very interesting ten-minute video from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation called The Incredible Oyster Reef. It’s wonderfully informative, covering both the life cycle of oysters themselves and the larger picture of the role they play in the ecosystem. If you have the time, be sure to check it out!