American Oystercatchers in Florida

american-oystercatcher-chick-mia-mcpherson-7865Resting American Oystercatcher juvenile – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

This juvenile American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) belonged to a family that I followed for a few months at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida from the time the chicks were two days old until they left the adults. I’d written about them here.

I like the resting pose and the eye contact I got from the young Oystercatcher and the background of the Spartina marsh. It was a great deal of fun to observe and photograph this Oystercatcher family for three and a half months.

American Oystercatcher adultAmerican Oystercatcher adult – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

I was on on Egmont Key when I photographed this adult American Oystercatcher, I was in a Florida Master Naturalist class at the time and we spent the day there.  The class instructor cut her foot open while jumping off of the boat she came on, I cut my knee open and ruined a brand new pair of hiking pants by kneeling on a broken shell within ten minutes of getting off of the ferry from Fort De Soto and about mid day we saw a boat get swamped by waves on the western shore of the island. Despite all of those mishaps it was a great day to be out there.

I adored the color of the water in the background of this image, a wonderful turquoise blue that reminded me of the Caribbean. Or the water off of the coast of New South Wales.

I don’t get to see or photograph Oystercatchers here in Utah but I still dream about these shorebirds and can hear their calls when I look at the thousands of images I took of them.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Beautiful captures Mia! That photo of the adult is simply mesmerizing!

  2. Wonderful post, Mia, and great images! The more I look at your photos shot with the Nikkor 80-400 VR lens the closer I come to a decision on getting one too.

  3. Wonderful shots! I love that orange eye! Maybe I’ll get to see some when I visit Florida in the spring!!

  4. It’s amazing the difference between the juvenile and the adult. I don’t think I would have been able to tell the difference. Oystercatchers frequent the coasts of solitary beaches in Puerto Rico also.

  5. Something about their eyes. Carol

  6. Great pictures of an Oystercatcher.

  7. Wonderful composition, pose and color contrast on that 2nd image, a pleasure to view.

  8. They’re such goofy but cool looking birds. These are wonderful photos of them. The color of the surf just sets them off. I especially love the cute chick photos on the next page – they’re adorable!

  9. Wonderful photos! Love the eye in the second one!!

  10. I love these birds too. Being out in the prairies here, it’s always a treat to see them when we can get out to the coast. You captured some stunning photos of them!

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