There was high cloud around which thickened quite quickly until the bright colors were dulled. (There are lots of birds just visible on the far side. Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
There were lots of Bar-tailed Godwits but grey and brown birds against a brown background are not really interesting. Finally I drifted in close enough to see that some of the Godwits were getting their bright breeding colors. There are always some birds that get color before the others.
A little further around the roost there were Eastern Curlews standing close to Godwits. The size difference is quite striking when they are standing close like this.
Although Curlews don't get bright colors for breeding, the browns and blacks darken and their patterning is more distinctive. Curlews must be the flightiest of all the shorebirds that visit down here. It is nearly impossible to get close to them without some - at least - flying up. These ones gave a good view of the beautiful under-wing feather patterns.
Smaller birds were massed right at the top of the bay. When I got closer I could see mainly Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints.
There is only a narrow sand spit which separates this shallow roost site from the main bay and on a very high tide like this there is a very short distance from one side to the other. The tide comes in under the trees and right up to the bollards. The top of one bollard is just visible on the lower left of this photo.
Just a few meters away is the main bay and it was just beginning to get a chop on the water.