Variable oystercatcher is the party leader species representing all of the adorable oystercatcher species in Aotearoa. Always focused on food, the variable oystercatchers work the beach and mudflats. Opening bivalve shellfish is tough when you are twisting with a bill or hammering a hole in the shell. Watching the adults teach their young this skill provides a constant source of amusement.
Marc Daalder is a political reporter who works for Newsroom.co.nz in Parliament's Press Gallery, covering Covid-19, climate change, energy, technology and the far-right. In his spare time, he spends far too much time at Zealandia and other Wellington birding spots, with either a pair of binoculars or a camera in his hands - or sometimes both.