Heading South

A pile of 87 American Oystercrackers
Panoramic view of a huge pile of 87 American Oyster Crackers yesterday on LBI. Click makes big! Count ’em up!

American Oystercatchers, like many migrating birds, tend to bunch up into big groups this time of year before leaving the Island  for their next adventure. Kind of like Deadheads or something. Probably swapping mixed-tapes for the road and debating the various migration routes recommended by Google Maps. Mixed into the mass were 3 world-famous banded Oystercatchers: “CO”, “HK”, and “Y9”. While it is clear whoever makes those bands lacks creative naming skillz, band resightings are awesome as they give us some super power insight into who these individual animals are and how they spend their glorious lives as Beach Bums.

Thankfully, the incomparable Allison Anholt was kind enough to look them up for us in the secret database she has been keeping to help her choose which Oystercatcher she will eventually capture and keep (as the world’s most awesome pet ever) when she retires from her career taking care of our Beaches for us:

C0 was a breeder! Did not succeed- hatched then lost young chicks, renested too late and didn’t hatch. She was banded in 2005 in the exact same location  as she currently breeds. Pretty cool.

HK was banded in Massachusetts in 2009, breeds in Nantucket. I have memory of having seen this bird before, I think… but it’s not in the database.

Y9 was from Georgia, Little St Simons Island, banded in the winter of 2008.  So far no observations from the breeding season, but it likes LBI – I saw it there in 2011 right around this time of year (Sept 30)

Speaking of Allison’s career, in a huge loss for the Coast Of New Jersey & a phenomenal opportunity for a Gem of Woman, Allison Anholt has just left us to go do important work playing with shorebirds in Mississippi. As an interesting side note, her new position is being bankrolled by BP as part of their effort to make good on their screw up in the Gulf. It’s nice to hear that in addition to just cleaning up the mess, some of the work being done in response to the tragedy by folks like Allison will benefit Shorebirds & Beaches everywhere.

They could not have hired a better a person. Smart, sensible, funny, and kind beach-lovers like Allison Anholt are the hope for the rest of us, and our continued amazing Summers along the coast.

Godspeed Allison. I’m sure these 87 Oystercatcher were bunching up to follow you to Mississippi. They know who loves them!