Oystercatcher chicks

Posted on 05 January by Carl Vernon in News

Oystercatcher chicks


Pair 15 are the only breeding pair of oystercatcehers between Qinira and Nahoon, all the other are found between Qinira and German Bay.

In early December 2014 Oystercatcher Pair 15 laid two eggs and on the 3rd January 2015, when checked at 06h00, on chick had hatched.   Doug Barbour went back home to fetch his camera, and on return at 07h30 found that the second egg hatched - see pix.

Pair 15 first laid eggs there in December 2002 which were soon lost.  

Although Pair 15 tenanted their site for the intervening breeding seasons, they did not lay eggs again until January 2010.   Those eggs failed to hatch and they relaid a clutch that hatched but one chick soon died and the other only survived for nine days.      On one day, when a person walked by, the adults gave the alarm, the chick took shelter beside an injured seal lying on the beach.    The person assumed that the  oystercatchers where attacking the seal, so he threw things at them.   Then he wrote a letter to the local newspaper relating how the seal had been protected from the oystercatchers.

In the subsequent three breeding seasons, 2011, 2012 and 2013,  Pair 15 also made two breeding attempts, none  of which were successful.

In the 2012 season, Pair 15 raised one chick until it was 36 days old, that is just before a chick can fly at  age of 40 days.   Then one of the adults was found dead with its feet entangled in fishing line.    The chich was subsequent found dead, and judged to have starved, suggesting that the remaining parent could not cope alone.

Pair 15 are one the least successful breeding pairs of oystercatcher at Bonza Bay.   In the seven years up to the 2013 season, they have had eleven nests, laid 20 eggs of which only six have hatched and no chicks have fledged.       It is impossible to determine to what extent this lack of breeding success is due to the ineptitude of Pair 15 or to the passive interference caused by the high density of people and their dogs walking along that beach.  


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