#364 Sun, Spoonbills and sandpipers. What a great morning!

The pressure was on today to find an image suitable for the penultimate image of my 2014 blog.  I took a gamble as headed off for Holes Bay with the mighty camera – this was not a day for  simple snap!  It paid off. The result is not just one image for today, but multiple images.

All seemed in favour of a good day, as the sun burst through early on. The hoar frost stood out fantastically well in the bright light as I walked through Upton Country park.

It looks chilly.. It was chilly!

It looks chilly.. It was chilly!

My destination was the outflow at Holes Bay. A confiding spoonbill had given some great views there yesterday and I hoped that it might turn up again today – a worthy image of any day!

A quick scan of the feeding waders and duck on the flats revealed no spoonbills. Darn!  Ah well, it was good place to stand and wait…so I did just that.  I was soon joined by a friend (Ian) and started having a good natter about all manner of things. I took another scan of the birds while Ian was chatting and was amazed to see no less than 21 spoonbill had appeared.  So much for my quick scan earlier!

We willed them to come towards us, and despite a few setbacks due to disturbance from dogs, large groups of walkers etc, our patience was rewarded when 6 or so of the group came to feed near the outfall.  It was such a great experience, to witness these amazing birds feeding so close to us!

Spoonbill image one. The first of a few..

Spoonbill image one. The first of a few..

Two of 'em!

Two of ’em!

Now three........

Now three……..

Sorry, I didn't get all of them in one shot as they were on opposite sides of the outfall.

Sorry, I didn’t get all of them in one shot as they were on opposite sides of the outfall.

It wasn’t just spoonbill on show. A typically showy Little egret would have attracted far more attention if it weren’t for those pesky ‘bills!

What an outstanding bird!  Such elegance.

What an outstanding bird! Such elegance.

There were also two Common sandpipers around.  Classed as a summer visitor, there are occasionally a few that choose to overwinter. Holes Bay often holds a couple of them each winter. Ian and I had great views of one of the birds, and another flew in just as I was leaving.

Common sandpiper. Small,but with big character!

Common sandpiper. Small,but with big character!

They might be dinky (about the sizeof a blackbird), but they have bags of character!  Always on the go, and forever bobbing that tail. I managed to get a short video of it in action:

The final highlight of the morning was the flight of avocet, as they took to the air having been nudged by the incoming tide. Such a graceful bird, and stunning too see flying in a large flock formation:

Avocet on the wing. Enough said!

Avocet on the wing. Enough said!

I took loads of images, and it’s been really difficult to cut down to just these few.  I think they are all well worthy of being included in the blog for Day 364 of the Year.

It’s the last day of the 2014 blog tomorrow.  It might be an epic one! 😉

 

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