Seashore Wildlife and "Haste makes Waste"

By Dave Hanks

We were in Newport, Oregon and parked by the boat harbor. My wife went to look over the pier and came rushing back – “Oh hurry, hurry, hurry! There’s a seal right here – just over the edge of the pier. Oh, hurry!” I had also noticed a kingfisher perched on the railing close by – a bird that’s so hard to get near. Well, I did hurry. But you’ve heard that old adage “Haste makes Waste.” That was certainly true in this instance. In my hurry, I did not get the camera fastened securely to the tripod, and it fell on the concrete of the parking area. The flash and camera were broken. Luckily, the flash took most of the impact and our big lens was not damaged. However, without a camera, our trip was over. It was back to Idaho. We have been back several times and have had encounters with the animals along the shore – seals and sea lions included.

One of the species found in the Newport area is the always intriguing Black Oystercatcher. It is the Pacific variety. The Atlantic variety has a white underside and is called the American. The Black Oystercatcher is totally black. It has a long, very heavy, orange beak, prominent yellow eyes, pinkish legs and feet. They are found upon the rocks within the tidal zones. Their heavy beak is ideal for probing for mussels, limpets, and other forms of marine organisms.

They are 17 to 19 inches long and because of their size are quite noticeable. The sexes look alike and the female will lay 2 to 3 eggs in a scrape in the grass or in a depression in the rocks. Most noticeable are the “wheeps” they emit as they go about their business.

It’s somewhat of a challenge to avoid slipping on the wet, jagged rocks and to also avoid the incoming waves in order to get close enough for photos.

(A Black Oystercatcher at home on the rocks)