The American Oystercatcher is not a species you expect to find in New England in December! These two birds were photographed on Monday, December 21, as they fed on the shores of Stratford Point near low tide. I was surprised to see them, but it was not astonishing given our continuing extreme warmth. They were flagged in my eBird report, and they will be flagged if they are re-spotted on the Stratford-Milford Christmas Bird Count this upcoming Sunday, December 27.
This focal species of our efforts in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds is usually a late February or more often early March returning bird. Some do stay through the winter in the Mid-Atlantic, but this is a good example of the impact of El Niño and the shifts in distribution that are occurring for hundreds of species due to climate change.