The squat.....

.....beautiful calm morning down at the estuary where this spotted shag was going about his morning exercise. First the squat, then slowly extending and raising his wings, a gentle flap progressively got faster until all feathers were jostled about, then winding down to a standstill. Strength and fitness training for the Alternative Olympic Games, this spotted shag is in prime condition. But do excuse the expression, it was kind of 'What are you looking at?!'

I left home at 5.45am as dawn was breaking. Soft vibrant shades were mingling with low cloud along the horizon while light fog hovered over the paddocks. Blipper mpp26 and I clambered over the sand dunes wondering what would greet us once on the beach. We weren't disappointed, soft vibrant shades had changed to marshmallow shades through the sky, the beach wide and expansive as the tide was on the turn. Wet sand so smooth while driftwood lay at the foot of the sand dunes, it was pure magic!

We ambled taking photo's as we went. The sun rose and lit the edges of the clouds with it's vibrant golden light. The call of gulls, geese and terns could be heard as they headed out over the waves to feed. It was a cool 10C with a feel of autumn, we both wished we had our gloves with us. 

Once on the estuary side we saw spotted shags, pied shags, pied stilts, godwits, black stilt, spoonbills, dotterels, grey teal ducks, white heron, gulls of various kinds, oystercatches, and a new one for me the lesser knot also known as a red knot. The lesser knot is smaller than a godwit and larger than a dotterel or wrybill but moves just as quickly as a dotterel especially in flight. It has an unusual call, kind of like a whistle.

Time flew by this morning, it was easy just being at the estuary we left at 9.30am and headed to Brick Mill cafe for a much needed cuppa and banana chocolate chip muffin - divine!

Thanks mpp26 for a wonderful morning :)

My extras: Marshmallow shades before sunrise, two of the lesser knot - one with a juvenile pied stilt to give you some idea of size and another on it's own.

Happy Thursday everyone :)

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