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|