Oystercatcher (AMOY) nest #1 now has two eggs, which is good news. The bad news is that only one adult seems to be hanging around at the nest. Where is the second bird? It's been several days since I've seen them both. I did notice today that this single-parent bird is sitting on the eggs, so that's good. I'll check again tomorrow and hopefully all will be well, a third egg will appear, and our Family Unit will be preserved.
There was another problem today: Merlins. Three of them. Hunting in a pack along the dunes and on the beach. I saw the first one sitting on a snag a hundred feet from AMOY nest one. Then two more appeared and they began their "attack campaign." They would fly as a group offshore for a hundred yards, then turn and come screaming at low altitude back toward the beach. The AMOY seemed a little nervous, but they have a size advantage over the Merlin so they are probably OK. At least as long as there is smaller prey available, like Sanderlings and, gulp, Piping Plovers. Is it just a coincidence that I have not seen a Plover in two days? I think not, but I have no evidence one way or the other.
Life on the beach is no picnic, for the birds at least.
The two AMOY's in the photo above were hanging out down near the jetty, looking nestish. There was a lot of leading and following, head dipping, slow walking and sitting, some scraping here and there, some whistling, billing and cooing. Then, in plain sight of adults and children alike, he is on top of her, in broad daylight (well, it was pretty foggy, but come on folks, you're on the beach. get a room! I'm taking this as a sure sign that they're a couple and will soon produce a real nest and an egg to show for their efforts.