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Environment

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Vegetation

The park contains a diverse range of habitats, including some of the largest stands of White Mangrove and saltmarsh areas in Victoria. The saltmarshes are dominated by Beaded and Shrubby Glassworts, while the upper margins are frequently covered in pigface, which produce a spectacular show of pink flowers in spring.

Seaward of the mangroves are extensive areas of intertidal mud and sand flats. An immense range of marine plants and invertebrates can be found here which in turn provide food for the thousands of migratory wading birds that arrive each summer from their northern hemisphere breeding grounds.

Fringing the saltmarshes and mangroves on the mainland and the islands are stands of Swamp Paperbark and Coastal Tea-tree which give way to a rich hinterland of Coast Banksia and Coastal Manna Gum woodlands. Wildflowers, including orchids, are abundant in these heathy woodlands.

Animals

Thirty-two species of migratory waders have been recorded, including the largest concentrations of Bar-tailed Godwit and Great Knot in south eastern Australia. At low tide these birds can be seen spread out in groups feeding over the mudflats. Each species has a different bill designed to catch certain types of food which minimises competition between them. At high tide, huge flocks of waders congregate on the sand spits at the ends of the barrier islands.

In summer the ocean beaches and sand spits in Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park are nesting sites for shore birds like the Pied oystercatcher, Crested Tern, Caspian Tern, Fairy Tern and the endangered Hooded Plover and Little Tern. Other notable bird species include the White-bellied Sea Eagle, the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot and the rare Ground Parrot, which lives in coastal heaths.

The woodlands are a home for a variety of animals such as Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, koalas and many species of birds. Other species include the New Holland Mouse and Swamp Antechinus.

Hog Deer, an introduced species, are found on some islands and mainland areas, particularly Gellions Run and Snake Island.

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