Four Central Coast Champions (Alan
Morris, Craig Arms, Robert Quinan & Robin Benson), made the trip to
Marlo on Friday 8th March, departing Chittaway Bay at 600 hrs and travelling via
The Harbour Bridge, Southern Cross Drive, the new M5, the M5 and via the
Hume & Federal Highways to Cooma, Bombala and Cann River arriving at
the inlet at Marlo at 1500 hrs. We crossed the inlet at low tide (how AKM, the
shortest member of the group would have crossed at high tide remains to be seen
as he even had to take off his shorts at low tide to get across?). The
instructions about how to find the site are now a bit out of date because the
white sign and the fencing to protect the Little Tern colony were no longer
there. But on cue as we arrived on the beach, the Ringed Plover, in beautiful
colour was quickly found. It was with a loose flock of Double-banded &
Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints feeding on exposed sandbanks inside the
inlet. The narrow, prominent black throat band, which extended part-way around
the back of the neck, white underparts and the prominent white
lores were obvious identification points. The supercilium, although white up to
the eye was only buff-coloured beyond the eye. A great bird and unlike the
Kentish Plover, was very active.
For us coasties it was great to see
at least 8 Hooded Plovers on the beach, 78 Pied Oystercatchers ( we only have
them in isolated pairs up here), a number of Pacific Gulls and about 30
Double-banded Plovers, and a Peregrine amongst the birds present in the Inlet.
Heavy rain drove us off the beach and appeared to be set in so we decided to try
our luck with the Red-necked Phalarope at Hospital Swamp, Lake Connemarra, which
had not been seen for at least 10 days.
We arrived at Hospital Swamp at 900
hrs, signed the information board at the house and went looking for the
Phalarope. After scoping all the birds on the wetland for over 2 hours we had to
admit defeat. There were plenty of Red-necked Stints, Curlew, Marsh and
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, even 3 Lathams Snipe, 1 Double-banded & 1
Red-capped Plover but alas no Phalaropes. We checked out the adjoining Lake
Connemarra Game Reserve and had good close views of an Australasian Bittern, a
Wedge-tailed Eagle and many Shovelers but saw nothing else special. We retired
to Barwon Heads for a fish & chips lunch, had good views of Singing &
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters in the coastal scrub, and went back to Hospital Swamp
but drew a blank once again. So headed back to the Central Coast. In our 44
hours we saw over 104 species and all added the Ringer Plover to our life lists.
Craig added 4 species as Hooded Plover, Paficic Gull and Black-faced Cormorant
were all new species for him.
Thank you for those birders who
notified the rarities and who provided the information on where and how to find
the birds. We may have dipped on one of the species but we did have good birding
at both sites.