Saturday, 19 November 2016



Marlo is a small town located where the Snowy River flows into the ocean. It is a popular holiday and fishing spot, and can be quite busy in the holiday season. There is a small tidal estuary with a large area of mudflats, the ideal habitat for waders. The area is well know for birds, with the estuary being home to a number of the endangered Hooded Plovers. There is also a lone Beach Stone Curlew, and having never seen one before, a visit was necessary.

To get to the area of beach that I wanted, you have to drive down the Corringle Rd, towards "The Slips",  and then walk approximately 2 Km along the beach to reach the entrance. The walk to the Marlo Entrance was devoid of any birds, except a Pied Oystercatcher or two.  After arriving at the entrance we set up the spotting scope, using some drift wood as cover.  From there, we had a wide view of the estuary, and we could see many Pied Oystercatchers, Red Capped Plovers and the Little tern colony. The tide was just beginning to come in again, ideal conditions for waders. 

However, there was still no sign of our main target, the Beach Stone Curlew, and after half an hour or so, had given up. Then, I was scoping the Marlo side of the lake, when out of the debris, stepped the Beach Stone Curlew! I was surprised at how large he was, and also how well camouflaged. The dull brown and grey colour blended in perfectly with the surrounding habitat.  He stood perfectly still, while a person and a dog walked past, and stayed in the same spot for the entire 2 hours we were there.  
The Beach Stone Curlew is in front of the debris

We continued looking for birds, but didn't find many.  There were less waders than expected, but we didn’t check French Narrows, so there may have been more in there. The Crested Terns were abundant, as were juvenile Pacific Gulls. All up, we saw twelve species, Checklist

On the walk out, we found a dead Short Tailed Shearwater on the beach, another lifer. Other than that, and an Pied Oystercatcher, not a single bird was seen on the beach between the Marlo Entrance and The Slips.

The Marlow trip was definitely worth it, with three lifers, ( Beach Stone Curlew, Little Tern and Short Tailed Shearwater), and many other birds as well. The weather and tide was perfect, and it was a shame that there was not more waders around. Will definitely have to go back, and perhaps explore the French Narrows are.

Sunset at Marlo

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Hollands Landing

Hollands Landing

 Though technically not in East Gippsland Shire, Hollands Landing is very close, so I have decided to include this post on this blog. Hollands Landing is a small community of houses, a caravan park and a wharf. It is at the north-eastern end of Mclennan straight, a narrow channel of water that connects Lake Wellington with the rest of the Gippsland Lakes.

According to eBird, 119 bird species have been seen at the Hollands Landing hotspot, and no doubt other species have been sighted too. Victoria Lagoon, which is a large lagoon behind Hollands Landing is also abounding with birds.
Hollands Landing as seen from Google Maps

Many birds frequent Hollands Landing and the surrounding area. Black Swan, spoonbills, a variety of terns and waders are common here, particularly at Victoria Lagoon. Occasionally Banded Lapwings are reported, and this was the reason for my visit last week.

I had received a needs alert of a Banded Lapwing at Hollands Landing, from eBird a few days prior to my visit. Having never seen a Banded Lapwing, and knowing that they are uncommon in the area, plans were immediately made for a visit.

Friday 4th November was a warm windy day, not ideal for seeing birds, and I had little hope of sighting the Lapwings. However, two were seen in a paddock, just before Hollands Landing, as were 2 Black Winged Stilts, lots of Australasian Pipits and numerous Australian Shelducks.

Banded Lapwings

The two Banded Lapwings camouflaged extremely well in the brown grass, and had it not been for their white front, they would have evaded notice. They are considerably smaller than the more common Masked Lapwing, and in my opinion, much prettier. 

I then continued on to Hollands Landing, and not finding many birds about turned down a lane that led to Victoria Lagoon. The wind was very strong by this time, and I didn't hold much hope of seeing any waders. However, there were several Red Capped Plovers, a few Red Necked Stints, and four Curlew Sandpipers feeding on a small spit of land approximately 250 metres away. The long distance and shimmer made it impossible for photos, but I managed to get a few of the landscape.

Hollands Landing certainly turned out to be a worthwhile visit, though better weather would certainly make it a lot better. No doubt as the summer comes closer, more waders will congregate on the mudflats of Victoria Lagoon and Hollands Landing, making this a must visit place.