Wild Harris


Oystercatcher 2 CReddick.jpgOystercatcher    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The oystercatcher is the most brightly coloured wading bird you can see on the machair. It is much larger than the other waders and has long, pink legs and a bright orange beak. Someone once mistook it for a puffin with a carrot in its mouth!

Oystercatcher 5 CReddick.jpgOystercatchers    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

Its black and white plumage it even more obvious when it flies – you can see the white stripes on its wings.

Oystercatcher 4 CReddick.jpgOystercatcher    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The long orange beak is the perfect thing to stab into the mud looking for shellfish to eat. They will also just wander around the machair picking up insects.

Oystercatcher 1 CReddick.jpgOystercatcher Nest    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

It lays its eggs in a camouflaged nest, and if you by mistake wander near the nest they will fly up and call loudly ‘pik, pik, pik’. The chicks can walk soon after they hatch. They follow the adults around the machair looking for food.

by Alison Tyler