The American Oystercatcher is probably the easiest Texas coastal shorebird to identify. Its bright red thin bill can be used to pry open oysters and clams and the easiest places to find them are on the oyster bars in Rollover Bay and Bolivar Flats. They do sometimes spend time on the beach eating odds and ends that are washed up on the shore and roosting at high tide.
Oystercatchers nest on the ground on small islands in Galveston Bay and are very vulnerable to human disturbances as well as storms. You may see oystercatcher families hanging around together this time of year, the young birds are the same size as their parents but the outer half of their bill is dark, it gets progressively redder as they mature.
Photographs by Greg Lavaty
(via: Houston Audubon)