When preparing this post I was astounded to discover that this is my first post on the Oystercatcher. I know we do not see them that frequently but even so I had assumed I had posted a few photographs. However the closest I have got to a post was when they led me to discover a man catching octopi! Still better late than never I suppose.
Most waders are difficult to identify in the winter months but not the Oystercatcher. It stands out on the shoreline thanks to its bright reddish orange beak and legs, and large black and white body. It also has a distinctive alarm call.
Their scientific name is Haematopus ostralegus and their Portuguese name is Ostraceiro. They are not that common in Portugal and to date we have only observed them in a few places.
It is therefore concerning that one area where we would always see them, the sewage ponds to the west of Olhão, are dry and empty. The sewage system has been upgraded but we had understood the ponds were going to be transformed into a nature reserve. Sadly this does not seem to be the case, at least not yet, and we fear for the impact this is having on all the waders that used to roost and overwinter here. We’ll keep you posted. In the meanwhile here’s a rather lovely shot of a very disgruntled Oystercatcher.