BirdLife Castlemaine District May eNews

Tuesday, 30 April 2024

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Dear Supporter,

Welcome to our May 2024 eNews!

This month’s issue includes details of our upcoming May walk (followed by our general meeting), and our next midweek walk. There’s details of Nature Journaling and our inaugural Nature Journaling weekend camp, and a wrap up of April’s walk at Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant. We’ve also got Bird of the Month, and as always, don’t forget to test your bird knowledge with the Quiz!

May Bird Walk – Private Properties in Campbells Creek

We are delighted to announce that our next BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 4 May at two private properties in Campbells Creek.

We will walk through the bush and private properties, which are birding hotspots in Box Ironbark Forest. Species such as Scarlet and Eastern Yellow Robins, Fuscous Honeyeaters, White-eared Honeyeaters, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, White-naped Honeyeaters, and the terrorising Brown Goshawk are all residents at this time of year. Other species known in the area, but not easily seen, are Owlet Nightjar, Painted Button-quail and Varied Sittella. Our walk leader will be Jane Rusden.

Where: We meet at Hawkins Road, Campbells Creek. From Castlemaine (cnr Hargreaves and Forest Sts) travel west along Forest Street for 230 mtrs and turn left onto the Midland Hwy (A300). Drive 3.7KM then turn left onto Campbells Creek – Fryers Road, drive 900 mtrs and turn left into Hawkins Road. The parking area is approx. 1.1KM along Hawkins Road, about 270 mtrs past Arthurs Track (see
map below for parking).

GPS -37.10429, 144.22080

When: Meet at Hawkins Road at 9:00am.

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.

General Meeting

Following the May bird walk, the BirdLife Castlemaine District committee invites you to a general meeting where our Convenor, Jane Rusden, will provide a summary of our activities over the past twelve months and outline our plans for the months ahead. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for you to meet committee members, have your say and perhaps consider joining those of us putting together our program. Morning tea will be provided.

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, and / or a Total Fire Ban is declared. Please check our Facebook page or email castlemaine@birdlife.org.au the day before the event in case there is a cancellation.

Parking Map – Hawkins Road, Campbells Creek

Midweek Bird Walk – Wednesday 15 May – Campbells Creek Trail

Birdlife Castlemaine’s second attempted midweek walk is to be held at the Campbells Creek Trail in Castlemaine on Wednesday 15 May.

The Trail runs from the Camp Reserve along Barkers and Campbells Creeks to the Campbells Creek township. The track is mostly flat providing easy walking and is wheelchair accessible. The walk runs partly through some areas of houses and commercial buildings but has good riparian vegetation thanks largely to the Campbells Creek Landcare group. Possible sightings include Pied Currawong, Musk Lorikeet, Silvereye, Grey Fantail, Golden and Rufous Whistler, and various Thornbills and Honeyeaters. Our walk leaders will be Jane Rusden and Bob Dawson.

Where: The walk starts from the beginning of the Trail which is off Forest Street just by the bridge over Barkers Creek, opposite Camp Reserve. From the roundabout at the corner of Hargreaves and Forest Streets, travel west along Forest Street for about 500 mtrs, under the railway bridge and over Barkers Creek then park either in Gaulton or Forest Streets then walk back along the south side of Forest Creek toward the creek. We will be at the start of the Trail.

GPS -37.06648, 144.21305

When: Meet at the Campbells Creek Trail at 9:00am.

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.

Nature Journaling with BirdLife Castlemaine District

May nature journaling takes place at Red White and Blue Mine, Muckleford. Choose a spot in view of the mining heritage poppet head, a couple of dams and surrounded by bush. A hot spot for woodland birds. 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 5 May from 9:30am – 11:30am. Junction of Bells Lane Track and Red White and Blue Track, Muckleford.

GPS: -37.0597434, 144.1077986

Female Crested Shrike-tit, drawn in watercolour pencil, by Jane Rusden.

Inaugural Nature Journaling Campout – Kiata Campground, Little Desert National Park

We’re very excited to confirm details of a new event for our branch, the inaugural Nature Journaling campout from 17-19 May at Kiata Campground, Little Desert National Park. The campground is south of Kiata, which is between Nhill and Dimboola, on the northern edge of the picturesque Little Desert National Park. It’s a fantastic spot for bird watching in glorious desert habitat, and a wonderfully inspirational spot for nature journaling.

The weekend schedule is as follows:

Friday 17 May – Arrive in the afternoon or evening and set up your camp.
Saturday 18 May – We will do a bird walk in the morning, looking at the birds and their habitat. The late morning and afternoon will be spent drawing and writing about the curiosities of the natural world, that we have observed.
Sunday 19 May – Spend the morning doing more nature journaling and drive home Sunday afternoon.

You will need to be fully self-sufficient for camping; long drop toilets being the only facilities available. Bring your own camping gear, food and water, and art materials. Bring binoculars and a camera if you have them. It’s likely to be very cold, so please prepare well for very cold and wintery conditions, and wear sturdy footwear.

Alternative accommodation is available in Nhill or Dimboola.

Please email Jane if you wish to attend at: janerusden@me.com.

‘Gluepot Girls’, painted by the amazing bird artist, Bridget Farmer, on a bird watching and art camping trip to Gluepot Reserve. Look out for her wonderful zine, documenting the trip.

April Walk Wrap-up – Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom

More than thirty bird watchers enjoyed a visit to the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant in Epsom for the April bird walk. It was an action-packed morning with 54 species seen or heard – click here for the list.

A big thank you to the Coliban Water team for facilitating the walk, and to Damian Kelly and Jane Rusden for leading.

Bird of the Month – Laughing Kookaburra

Meet the sausage stealing bird of the month, the Laughing Kookaburra.

Laughing Kookaburras can be the biggest threat around … to your BBQ snags… and it’s no laughing matter. Read more here.

Slightly sopping Laughing Kookaburra post-bath. Photo by Jane Rusden.

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 bird’s booming call is thought to be the inspiration for the Australian Bunyip myth? Choose from the list of six below.

1. Nankeen Night-heron
2. Laughing Kookaburra
3. Emu
4. White-faced Heron
5. Australasian Bittern
6. Brolga

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 larger bird, approximately 55 to 75 centimetres in length, with a wingspan of 1 to 1.3 metres.
• My preferred habitats are freshwater lakes and dams, farmland, and pasture.
• In winter I can be found in isolated pairs often grazing in farmland and open country.
• My diet mostly consists of green grasses, as well as algae, insects, and molluscs.
• My nest is usually in a large tree hollow lined with down, but I will also nest on the ground, on cliff edges and even in rabbit holes.
• During seasonal migrations, I can be seen flying in large V-shaped flocks.
• My upper parts are mainly black tinged with green, while my underparts are dark brown with a cinnamon breast. I have white upper wing coverts which form a white shoulder patch. My wings are black and deep chestnut with a large green patch on my secondaries.
• I have a prominent white neck ring, while the female has a conspicuous white eye ring, and white patch at the base of the bill.

Follow us on Facebook

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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

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

Saturday 3 February
: Tavish and Joel Bloom
Location: Post Office Hill Reserve, Chewton (and Breakfast with the Birds)Saturday 2 March
Damian Kelly
Location: Castlemaine – Maldon Rail Trail and Muckleford 136 Bushland ReserveWednesday 20 March
Bob Dawson
Location: Castlemaine Botanical GardensSaturday 6 April
Coliban Water staff and Bob Dawson
Location: Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, EpsomSaturday 4 May
Jane Rusden
Location: Private properties, Campbells Creek
Wednesday 15 May
Bob Dawson and Jane Rusden
Location: Campbells Creek Track, CastlemaineSaturday 1 June
Jenny Rolland and Euan Moore
Location: Kamarooka

Quiz Answers

Question 1: Australasian Bittern.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Black Kite, Red Wattlebird, White-browed Woodswallow.

Question 3: Australian Shelduck.

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