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A discerning taste for oysters


I really like oysters—especially those from Cape May north to Maine and Prince Edward Island.

But I don’t think I could live on them. The American oystercatcher lives almost entirely on oysters, clams, and mussels—without mignonette or a glass of Gavi. I admire that. They are skilled at opening large clams and oysters without a knife (or for me a special glove so I don’t stab my hand). Their catch often attracts willets, gulls, and ruddy turnstones intent on stealing dinner.

This one was wandering the surf’s edge in May at the South Cape May Meadows. His mate was another 50 yards down the shore doing the same. They were in their breeding range, so perhaps they were recent arrivals, scoping out a nest site.

I finished this oystercatcher yesterday. The movement of the surf and the frothy ropes of spray are my favorite passages. It was painted on a 10x20-inch birchwood panel.

This American oystercatcher would love to stalk your kitchen, reminding you to enjoy your oysters, and not share them with just anyone.


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