A Eurasian oystercatcher among a flock of roosting knots in Snettisham, Norfolk
© Paul Sawer/Minden Picture
A flock of wintering waders. A winter break in the UK
Despite its name, you might be surprised to know that oysters do not form a large part of the oystercatcher's diet. Instead, these wading birds use their strong bills to prise open other shellfish, particularly mussels and cockles, or for finding earthworms. Almost half of Europe's population choose to spend their winter on these shores, where UK birds welcome oystercatchers from Iceland and Scandinavia. You will often hear these noisy waders before you see them due to their loud ‘peep-ing’ call that can be heard over long distances. In our photo, a lone oystercatcher is accompanied by a sea of knots that migrate to the UK in large numbers during this time of year from their Arctic breeding grounds.