These birds are fairly shy and spend time where we can rarely get any decent photographs. However, here both Ellen and I did get to a good spot because a boat is usually not considered a threat.
There are multiple subspecies of Oystercatchers, these are the American variation.
Living up to their name these birds were nesting on a big Oyster mound. They do eat other things, but Oysters are the main diet.
Colorful is a conservative description. Look at all that orange and red.
In order to eat an Oyster they have that unique bill, which can be slipped inside a shell when the Oyster separates enough to feed or get air. All they need is a little opening.
Below a female is sitting on a nest, a small ‘divot’ in the shell bed.
About 30% of all American Oystercatchers live and breed along the Lowcountry. Having any population of the birds is an important sign the waters are clean and safe. Naturalist consider them a bell weather for the health of the local environment.
Kiawah / Stono River, South Carolina.