As a photographer chasing Sooty Oystercatchers is great fun, their sooty black colour and the white beaches they inhabit make them a difficult exposure challenge, but it is always fun crawling along a pure white beach on your tummy! Trying to work out what the correct exposure should be, plus a stop for the white sand, minus a stop for the black bird, plus a stop for the sun coming off the ocean and minus another one for the reflection off the sand. Hmmm. And of top of this they are usually pretty nervous, flying off once you’re within 50 metres. And try not to get too much of that fine sand in your $4000 camera and lens!
So a few days on what are arguably Australia’s most beautiful beaches east of Esperance in WA was made all the more enjoyable by the oystercatchers. Well at least that’s what the handbook of Australian and New Zealand Birds says, it says nothing about beetle catching, but when an opportunity arises, down the hatch it goes.
And then there were also the Pied Oystercatchers, but that’s another story.