This weekend I drove up to UC Santa Cruz to support my friends who participated in the graduation ceremonies. Congrats, Class of 2015!
While I was up North, I had the opportunity to work with Daniel, the EFTA intern at Monterey Bay. We planned for a Black Oystercatcher training along the Monterey Peninsula where we covered seven sites that we had access to. I’ve observed Black Oystercatchers before at my shore bird survey sites, but I had never studied them as much as I did at this training.
Black Oystercatchers are territorial so each site we visited had one nesting pair. While one incubates the nests, the other forages for food. At some point of the day the pair switch roles and while one incubates, sometimes they stand for a little stretch. These are cues for the observers, us, to check the egg/s with the scope. While one of the Black Oystercatchers incubated, we observed for 20-30 minutes and looked for any nesting behavior including the stretch which makes their eggs visible to us. It wasn’t until the last site that I got to see an egg in their nest. It was exciting as Black Oystercatchers’ nests in previous sites weren’t as visible-only their heads were. I thought it was interesting that this last nest was in a cliff while others were in rocks along the shore. I wondered about the differences in disturbances because this cliff seem unclimbable for people unlike the rocks in the shore. Fortunately, there are signs about nesting season that people do respect so props to them!
Daniel told me that one of the sites already had chicks, but it was one that we did not have access to; however, I am looking foward to reading the end of season report on successful fledglings. There were many nesting pairs and it seemed like they don’t have as many predators as the California Least Terns back at Venice Beach. In addition, Daniel brought up an idea to conduct a Black Oystercatcher monitoring in Los Angeles. Great idea, Daniel! 🙂
At this time I will research on any ongoing Black Osyercatcher monitoring in the Los Angeles area, and see how I can participate. If there is not a project in LA, maybe I can monitor Black Oystercatcher nesting behavior, if any, at the Ballona Creek or monitor multiple beaches in Los Angeles. The possibilities are endless!
I’d like to thank Daniel again for the great training he hosted. I learned a lot about Black Oystercatchers and it was great to experience the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula.