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Beaches Nature Trail

Oystercatchers in flight

The Oystercatcher is one of our most common waders and can be seen all around the Mayo coastline. Kilcummin, the Moy estuary, and the many beaches of The Mullet peninsula are among my favourite locations in Mayo for watching Oystercacthers.

If you  are lucky enough to visit the Inishkea Islands you will see lots of Oystercatchers.

A good time to spot Oystercatchers is at low tide when you will see the birds foraging for mussels and cockles between the rocks on the seashore.

Sometimes you will also see them feeding on wet grasslands near the coast where they eat earthworms.

Oystercatchers foraging for mussels and cockles between the rocks on the seashore at Kilcummin, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey
Oystercatchers foraging for mussels and cockles between the rocks on the seashore at Kilcummin, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Oystercatchers are easy to identify with their with their long orange-red bill, black head, chest and upperparts, white underparts and reddish-pink legs.

Flying in groups close to the water just off shore, Oystercatchers’ distinctive whistle-like call sounds like ‘plee-ah plee-ah’.

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.