Little Egrets, Castlemaine Harbour, 4th April 2014 (MIchael O'Clery)
Little Egrets are worth a second look at this time of year as their plumage is now at its most impressive. The fine 'aigrettes', or plumes, on the breast and mantle can be seen well here (click on the photos for a closer look), and they have two elongated feathers extending from the crown.You can also see here the lores are pink instead of the usual grey, this area flushed with colour for just a few weeks each year when courtship is at its height.
Small, dark Ringed Plovers, possibly of the Arctic race psammodroma, Black Rock, 3rd April 2014 (David O'Connor). There were two individuals present.
The race psammodroma is somewhat contentious. According to HBW, the populations of the race range from from Canada to the Faeroe Islands but have been based on extremely minor differences in average size, and are generally not accepted nowadays.
These darker birds, whatever subspecies they might be, are certainly distinctive in the field.
Little Egret colony, Castlemaine Harbour, 1st April 2014 (Michael O'Clery).
The Grey Herons at this colony are already nesting, probably with eggs not far off hatching. The egrets nest in the same clump of trees but nest much later. They are now just at the nest building and renovating stage.