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Shallow Inlet is a large tidal embayment enclosed from the sea by a sand barrier of complex spits, bars and mobile dunes. This shelters the shoreline on the western side of the inlet which is dominated by a salt marsh terrace.
The park protects a diverse range of vegetation including foredunes of spinifex, heathy woodlands of messmate and Coast Banksia, paperbark swamps and saltmarsh communities. Extensive mudflats and intertidal areas are exposed at low tide. These areas provide important feeding grounds for a range of migratory wading birds. Below the waves are extensive seagrass meadows.
Over 180 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Many wading birds make spectacular migrations, breeding in the arctic during the northern hemisphere summer and migrating southwards to arrive in Australia in late August and September.
Shallow Inlet and the adjacent ocean beaches are significant areas for breeding shorebirds. Pied Oystercatchers and Red Capped Plovers nest in the dunes and on the spit.
A diverse range of mammals including koalas, possums, wombats, Swamp Wallabies and echidnas can be found in the woodlands and heathlands along the shore of Shallow Inlet.