|American oystercatchers, Haemetopus palliatus.|
They had attracted my attention by moving. One bird got up from where it had been sitting on the ground. The other bird quickly took its place. They had a nest right there! Oystercatchers nest on the ground in a shallow scrape lined with pebbles or shore debris. There were probably eggs there, though I did not see them.
|The bird that had been relieved from nest duty walked a few steps away and then stretched and preened. Click to enlarge.|
Oystercatchers use their unusual bills to forage for bivalves with a special technique. They walk stealthily, looking for partially opened shellfish, then jab with the long bill to sever the shell-closing muscles. They also sometimes pick up closed shellfish, take them to shore, and bang them open on rocks.
They did not seem to mind me watching them, so I took a few quick photos from a distance and then left them to their parenting.