BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch eNews June 2024

Tuesday, 28 May 2024

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Dear Supporter,

Welcome to our June 2024 eNews!

This month’s issue includes details of our upcoming June walk in Greater Bendigo National Park, and June nature journaling. There’s a wrap-up of our two May walks, and the inaugural nature journaling weekend camp. We’ve also got Bird of the Month, and as always, don’t forget to test your bird knowledge with the Quiz! Our walks calendar from June through to October is included, with a very special Wednesday visit to the Western Treatment Plant also in the schedule.

June Bird Walk – Old Distillery Dam, Greater Bendigo National Park, Kamarooka

We are delighted to announce that our next BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 1 June. We are venturing a little further than we normally do for a walk at the Old Distillery Dam area in the Greater Bendigo NP, Kamarooka.

The Kamarooka section of the Park protects a unique tract of mallee vegetation known as the ‘Whipstick scrub’ and some of the best stands of distinctive Box-Ironbark forests of north central Victoria. This means we could see species that we don’t commonly get at our normal walk areas. These may include Shy Heathwren, Inland Thornbill, Red-capped Robin, Restless Flycatcher, Purple-gaped and Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, all of which have been seen recently in the area, along with the usual culprits. We suggest people bring a picnic lunch. After lunch, if people want to stay on, we could look at doing another walk at the Mulga Dam camping area (10mins drive), where there is a loop track.

Our walk leaders will be Euan Moore and Jennifer Rolland.

Please note there are no toilets at the site.

Where: The Old Distillery Dam, Campbell Road, Kamarooka. Travel from Castlemaine to and through Bendigo exiting via the Midland Highway (A300). Once through Bendigo, continue on the Midland Highway, about 7KM past Epsom, turn left toward Lockington, Mitiamo on the Bendigo-Tennyson Road (C338). Drive 11.7KM and turn left onto Campbell Road. The road to the dam is off to the left about 620mtrs along Campbell Road. Allow for at least 1hr 15mins driving time from Castlemaine.

GPS: -36.54743, 144.36831.

When: As we have further to travel than normal, meet at the Old Distillery Dam at 9:30am.

Bring: Water, snacks, binoculars, sunscreen, hat, sturdy closed-in shoes. We also recommend that you wear long trousers as there may be snakes about.

More info: Jane Rusden 0448 900 896, or Bob Dawson 0419 621 691.

To discover more about the greater Bendigo National Park, click here: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/Greater-

Acknowledgment of Country

BirdLife Castlemaine acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we will walk, the Dja Dja Wurrung people, and we pay our respects to their Elders past and present. We recognise and are grateful for the immense contribution of Indigenous people to the knowledge and conservation of Australia’s birds.

Information Regarding Weather

Please note that walks will be cancelled if severe weather warnings are in place, persistent rain is forecast, the temperature is forecast to be 35C or above during the walk period, a Total Fire Ban is declared, or some other safety issue is identified. Please check our Facebook page or email castlemaine@birdlife.org.au the day before the event in case there is a cancellation.

Photo of Old Distillery Dam, by Euan Moore.

Nature Journaling with BirdLife Castlemaine District

June nature journaling takes place at Spring Gully Road, Campbells Creek. A pretty location in varied terrain, in a slightly rocky woodland setting on a ridge, on Spring Gully Road. There is some interesting flora and hopefully mixed flocks of woodland birds will move through the forest canopy. No experience necessary. ALL WELCOME!

What to bring / wear:

– Wear long sleeve shirt and long trousers, sunhat, sturdy shoes for uneven ground, and snake protection. Rug up well and prepare for cold wintery conditions. Please note, we will be on rough tracks and uneven ground.

– A small selection of art materials such as paints, pencils, pens, coloured pencils, pastels, paper, water container if applicable, camera or phone and binoculars if you have them. A bag to put it all in.

– Something to sit on, such as a camp chair or rug.

– Water, hot drink and snacks.

– Your sense of curiosity.

When and where: Sunday 2 June from 9:30am – 11:30am. Spring Gully Road, Campbells Creek. The pull out on the left/north side of Spring Gully Road, about 1.4KM north from Campbells Creek-Fryers Road

GPS: -37.1145753, 144.2272416

Nature journaling sketchbook with bird list, by Jane Rusden.

Report from Inaugural Nature Journaling Campout – Little Desert National Park

In May a group of intrepid nature journaling folk camped on the edge of the Little Desert, with their sketchbooks and art materials in hand. The group was blessed with beautiful sunny weather, very interesting flora and 30 species of birds. Of note were the Purple-crowned Lorikeets, which appeared to be in good numbers, zooming across the sky at tree top height with a flash of their red armpits.

Photo of Kiata Campground in the morning sun, by Jane Rusden.

May Walks Wrap-up

We held two walks during May – our usual Saturday one and our second midweek walk.

Saturday 4 May found us at Campbells Creek led by Jane Rusden. Thirty-two species were seen or heard; the full list is available on Birdata here.

Following the walk, Jane gave a talk to the group. She outlined the activities undertaken by BirdLife Castlemaine District – monthly bird walks, plus every two months a midweek walk, monthly nature journaling, annual birding weekend and nature journal camp, community involvements with other organisations including
Castlemaine Field Naturalists, Connecting Country, CHIRP (Community Health), and Castlemaine Joey Scouts. Jane also mentioned current members of the committee and outlined their roles, and invited anyone who is interested to join the committee. She reminded everyone that communication with our community is via our monthly eNews, Facebook and webpage.

Jane also flagged an exciting festival of events that is being planned later in the year to raise awareness of the threatened status of some of our local woodland birds, including three of the “Feathered Five”. These unfortunately include our emblem the Brown Treecreeper as well as the Hooded Robin and Diamond Firetail. BirdLife Castlemaine District is partnering with Connecting Country and other local
environmental groups to run this festival.

Our second walk in May took place on Wednesday 15 May, along the Campbells Creek Trail in Castlemaine. Midweek walks are a new activity for us in 2024, and it was pleasing to note that we had a much better turnout than at the first midweek walk. A big thank you to Bob Dawson for organising the walk and also to Ian Higgins from Campbells Creek Landcare who showed and spoke about a number of the activities of the group and also some aspects of the walk that are important to the local indigenous people, the Dja Dja Wurrung.

Bird of the Month – Rufous Whistler

The Rufous Whistler is a striking bird with gorgeous colouring and is one of the best, if not the very best, songsters in the bush.

Yet when it wants to disappear, it can be very difficult to pin point, even while singing its heart out. Read more here.

Photo of a male Rufous Whistler, by Damian Kelly.

Know Your Birds Quiz

Test your bird knowledge in this month’s quiz with the questions below, then check the answers at the end of this eNews. Big thanks as always to quizmaster Ash Vigus.

Question 1 (Easy): Multiple Choice

What is the smallest species of Robin from the Petroica genus? Choose from the list of five below.

1. Flame Robin
2. Rose Robin
3. Red-capped Robin
4. Pink Robin
5. Scarlet Robin

Question 2 (Intermediate): Spot the Feathers

All four bird species pictured below are found in the Castlemaine district; what do you think these four birds are?

Question 3 (Advanced): Who Am I?

• I’m a smaller bird, approximately 18 to 22 centimetres in length.
• My preferred habitats are dry woodlands with a shrubby understorey, mulga, acacias, and mallee, as well as scrub along watercourses.
• I’m an incredibly active, and highly social bird often found in noisy chattering groups.
• My diet consists mostly of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. But I will also eat small amphibians, crustaceans, fruits, and seeds. I can often be seen feeding on the ground, among leaf litter or under logs and branches.
• My nest is a large domed stick construction, with a hooded side entrance. I will build both a brood nest and roosting nest.
• I’m a highly social bird, and will form co-operative breeding groups comprising two to four breeding pairs with two to eight non-breeding helpers. Only the breeding female incubates the eggs, though other birds in the group feed her and the young birds.
• I’m a mostly dark brown-grey bird with a prominent white throat and a white tipped tail. My tail is long and graduated, with a rounded tip and is often held raised or fanned.
• I have have a prominent white eyebrow, and a long pointed downward curved bill.

Follow us on Facebook

We have a BirdLife Castlemaine District Facebook page. Follow us for all the latest bird news and events.

Become a Member

Membership of BirdLife Australia is a great way to support a bright future for Australia’s birds – and it would also make a perfect gift for a bird-lover! Learn more about membership or other ways to get involved here.

Kind regards,

The BirdLife Castlemaine Committee

Forward to a friend     

Walks Calendar June – October 2024 (please note this now includes some additional Wednesday walks)

Saturday 1 June
Jenny Rolland and Euan Moore
Location: KamarookaSaturday 6 July
Bob Dawson
Location: Malmsbury Botanic Gardens & Viaduct WalkWednesday 17 July
Bob Dawson
Location: Forest Creek Trail, Happy Valley

Saturday 3 August
Bill Sampson
Location: Cave Gully Walk, Guildford

Saturday 7 September
Jane Rusden
Location: Rise & Shine + Feathered 5 + morning tea

Wednesday 18 September
Bob Dawson
Location: Western Treatment Plant (limited numbers)
Saturday 5 October
Gary and Judy Smith
Location: Castlemaine – Maldon Railway Trail, Walmer18-20 October – Birding Weekend
Location: TBC

Quiz Answers

Question 1: Red-capped Robin.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Superb Fairy-wren, Restless Flycatcher, White-necked Heron, Red-capped Robin.

Question 3: White-browed Babbler.

BirdLife Australia, BirdLife Victoria Group, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, VIC 3053  | castlemaine@birdlife.org.au