Strandline Oystercatcher Skull

Thursday, October 13, 2011 Adam Tilt 9 Comments

I have always been a great fan of walking the strandline of whatever beach I am on as you never quite know what you are going to find. It is often the best way of seeing creatures of the deep that one would not normally get to witness in their natural environment. Just locally I have been treated to washed up jellyfish of various species, a Sea Mouse, Starfish, all sorts of shells and even the odd marine mammal. My house is testament to these exploits as although living things are obviously left in place, I have collected the odd buoy and interesting piece of drift wood as well as relics of ancient shipwrecks and even small parts from a world war two tank.

My best find by far though happened last week during one of our walks around the Machynys peninsula. On my way across the beach to photograph the sunset I spotted something white in the sand and stopped to investigate further. On closer inspection it quickly became apparent that I had found the skull of an Oystercatcher, my favourite bird and one of the most common residents on the Burry. It was complete with the exception of its lower mandible which amazingly I found about twenty metres further along the beach, again in perfect condition. They were far too beautiful and intricate to leave to an uncertain fate so I took them home, cleaned them up and added them to my growing collection of beach paraphernalia.

25166 - Oystercatcher Skull

25164 - Oystercatcher Skull

25165 - Oystercatcher Skull

Having examined the skull closely I'm surprised at just how large the eye sockets are and how small the area for the brain is. I guess the phrase "bird brained" really is founded in reality.


  1. Piece of an Oystercatcher, it is another brilliant photo.

  2. those really are HUGE eye sockets! i have a similar 'fossil' here from a Great Blue Heron that died at our pond and then subsequently was devoured by vultures and coyotes. but the skull remained in good shape and is now on our back porch. :)

  3. Great find, Adam. There is a correlation between brain size and intelligence in animals and humans, so I'm pretty sure my brain case is none-too-big!

  4. A lovely find Adam..I found a scull in Portmadoc in the 1960's and I am sure it's still at my Mums house.
    I will look for it and hopefully identify the species... thanks for the reminder.

  5. How amazing..I would LOVE to find bird skulls for my collection.

  6. Adam what a great post.

    Its an amazingly well preserved skull and would be intresting as a centre piece to look at and talk about. I am sure placed and displayed on your driftwood it would look well in a library type room.


  7. Bob - thanks very much.

    Martha - it was a new one on me!

    TexWisGirl - there's something about skulls that people always find intriguing. I've got a couple of sheep skulls around here somewhere as well.

    Jeremy - oo I'm sure that's not the case.

    Keith - thanks.

    Andrew - no problem at all. Glad I helped.

    Samantha - thanks. I think bird skulls are always going to be a tricky thing to find given their small size and fragility. You never know though.

    Dave - thanks very much. It's now pride of place on my home office bookcase.


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