Out to the boardwalk at Mai Po Nature Reserve, and my pre-dawn optimism about bright conditions came face-to-face with the reality of the newly risen sun hidden by ominous-looking clouds.
The tide was forecast to be "2.7m at 09:27". (The tide tables issued by the Hong Kong Observatory are really that precise, even if mother nature doesn't always behave as expected.)
So there was a lot of mud to look at as the egrets congregated on the tideline with Shenzhen's high rise in the background. And the sun tried, briefly, to come out.
Yet another barge laden with sand headed upriver to Shenzhen. Chinese construction boom over ? Not there, not yet.
The bigger tides come in quickly, and I didn't have long to wait in the already sauna-like hide before some migrating waders came close enough to get their pictures taken.
A Whimbrel posed nicely in front of some of the new summer grass.
And a young Greater Sand Plover (one of twenty-or-so) chased crabs half-heartedly.
The year's highest numbers of Common Redshank usually occur in August, here is one of them.
And the prize for the most obliging wader goes to....... this Terek Sandpiper. It wasn't in front of the hide for long, but at least it was close !
The water moved past the outermost new hide, and the light - what there was - began to fade. I moved to the inner hides for a second chance at the waders.
An unusual Grey-headed Lapwing hid resolutely behind some grass tufts, and most of the waders left the tideline while it was still fifty metres from the inner hides.
Only a lone Great Knot stayed behind. I got back to the car as the rain started to fall.
Still, it beats a day at the office !