Pulling Mussels from a Shell


Purple Sandpiper feeding on mussels, 1/9/14 at Cupsogue Beach County Park
Image captured with an iPhone, Meopix Adapter & Meopta S2 Spotting Scope
I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a Purple Sandpiper feeding away from rocks before? This was no major surprise to me but I am used to seeing them on jetties and rock pilings rather than on sand/mud flats. This was the case this past weekend when I came across this stunning solo Purple Sandpiper feeding on the various exposed mussel beds at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton. This bird selectively probed and extracted the meat out of several mussels during my observation, which was also new to me. Some quick internet research specifically suggests that mussels, along with other mollusks, are a favored food source for Purple Sandpipers. Something I should have known I suppose. Pretty cool and even better to witness the behavior while in the field. Purple Sandpipers are known to be very tame and if you approach in a non-threatening manner you can often go home with some solid photos.

Purple Sandpiper posing for the camera, 1/9/14, at Cupsogue Beach County Park. Image captured with an iPhone, Meopix Adapter & Meopta S2 Spotting Scope


Purple Sandpiper showing off its claws. They sure can use the extra grip while scurrying along algae covered rocks. Image capture with an iPhone and Meopix Adapter taken through a Meostar S2 Spotting Scope



Purple Sandpiper mussel extraction complete. Image captured with an iPhone and Meopix Adapter taken through a Meostar S2 Spotting Scope




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