BirdLife Castlemaine District eNews August 2023

Monday, 31 July 2023

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Dear Supporter,

Welcome to our eNews for August 2023.

In this issue we’ve got a wrap-up of our July walk at Guildford Cemetery and Cave Gully, details of our upcoming August walk at Bald Hill Reserve, and more details on the October bird camp trip. As always don’t forget to check out Bird of the Month and test your bird knowledge with the quiz!

July Walk Wrap-up

Despite the cold and drizzly weather, our group had a great walk at Guildford Cemetery and Cave Gully. We were lucky enough to see both Black-faced and White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes, Jacky Winter and a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles, in addition to the birds listed on the survey which can be found here.

Thank you to Bill Sampson for leading an excellent walk and showing us some beautiful country.

August Bird Walk – Bald Hill Reserve, Kyneton

We are delighted to announce that our August BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 5 August 2023 at the Bald Hill Reserve, Kyneton.

Bald Hill Reserve is a unique and beautiful place, with three distinct habitat types, including some truly magnificent woodlands – both granitic and basalt! Last year our walk leader Tanya Loos observed a flock of literally hundreds of both Spotted and Striated Pardalotes in the huge old narrow-leaved peppermints. The Friends group are doing an amazing job encouraging the public to appreciate the Reserve’s natural significance, and they work closely with Macedon Ranges Shire Council on various on-ground management projects. Sightings this year include Varied Sitella, Scarlet and Eastern Yellow Robin, Common Bronzewing, Southern Boobook, Little Eagle and five species of Thornbill, along with the regular Honeyeaters, etc.

To discover more about the Bald Hill Reserve, click here:
http://www.friendsofbaldhillreserve.com.au/home or here:

We may also have some members of the Friends group attend the walk.


Where: Bald Hill Reserve, Mount St Mary’s Lane, Kyneton (Piper’s Creek). From Castlemaine, take the Pyrenees Highway (B180) and Calder Freeway (M79) towards Melbourne. Take the 2nd Kyneton exit and turn left onto Edgecombe Rd (C326), almost immediately (220mtrs) Turn right onto Pipers Creek Rd, drive 3.6KM then turn left onto Mount St Mary’s Lane. The Reserve is about 800mtrs along the lane on the left.

GPS: -37.24057, 144.50116.

When: Meet at Bald Hill Reserve at 9:00am.

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

More info: Jane Rusden, 0448 900 896, Bob Dawson 0419 621 691 or Judy Hopley 0425 768 559.

Please note there are no toilets at the Reserve.

BirdLife Castlemaine acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we will walk, the Taungurung 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.

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 the day before the event in case there is a cancellation.

Nature Journaling with BirdLife Castlemaine District

Due to being tired of cold temperatures, Jane is heading north to warmer climates, so there will be no nature journaling in August.

In the meantime, here is a photo Jane took of Bridget Farmer, soaking up gentle winter sunshine on our last Nature Journaling session.

Update – Proposed Lower Glenelg National Park Weekend Camp

A reminder that we are going to have a campout at Lower Glenelg National Park from Friday 27 – Sunday 29 October. At this stage we have not finalised the camp sites we will mainly use; we are looking at Battersby and / or Forest Camp South, but will confirm via eNews and our Facebook page and by email to those that indicate their intent to attend. Note there is no requirement by Parks Vic currently to pay or book for camp sites – click here for more information.

The Lower Glenelg NP is approx. a four-hour drive from Castlemaine. There are several camping areas and the Park has a diverse range of birds and other flora and fauna. Possible birding highlights for the area are Azure Kingfisher, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Bassian Thrush, Rufous Bristlebird, Forest Raven, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Olive Whistler, Cape Barren Goose, Brolga, Sanderling and Hooded Plover.

We suggest driving there on the Friday to get settled in if you can. There will be no organised walks on the Friday, so people can wander around as they wish. On the Saturday we intend running a morning walk, an afternoon walk and for those still willing, a night spotlighting walk. This means that people who cannot drive up until Saturday morning can still join in some of the organised activities. On Sunday morning we will also have an organised walk and possibly an afternoon walk, but as many will have to leave after lunch that may not go ahead.

For those not wishing to camp, there is limited accommodation in Nelson, which is around a 15-minute drive from the intended camping areas. There is a hotel, a motel, a caravan park with cabins and some cottages and B&Bs. We intend on doing one of our walks at the Nelson Foreshore. There is also plenty of accommodation at Portland and Mt Gambier which are 45 and 40 minutes away respectively.

If you are interested, please advise Bob Dawson, preferably by email to bobadawson@hotmail.com or phone / text if you are unable to email, 0417 621 691.

For more information on Lower Glenelg NP click here.

Gang-gang Edu-Action

Are you gaga about Gang-gangs?

Join BirdLife Australia’s Urban Birds team with their Gang-gang Cockatoo Edu-Action course starting in August. You will get three months free access to the self-guided online course (taking an estimated three hours) that allows you to learn about Gang-gang Cockatoos and develop your own action plan to help the species.

Share and connect with other participants as you contribute to research that will help these amazing birds.

Click here to register your interest to join the August intake now.

Photo of Gang-gang Cockatoo pair by Andrew Silcocks

Bird of the Month – Painted Button-quail

Meet the cutest little cryptic chicken, the Painted Button-quail.

Platelets are unique and more easily found than the bird that makes them. Find out more here.

Photo of of a shy and reluctant portrait sitter, the Painted Button-quail 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 collective noun for a group of Owls?

1. Flock
2. Congregation
3. Parliament
4. Committee
5. Council
6. Camp

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 (Obscure)

Two species of Australian birds have the word “Nankeen” in their common name; the Nankeen Night-heron and the Nankeen Kestrel. The word relates to the buff colour on the breasts of both species. What is the origin of the word Nankeen? Choose from the options below.

1. A buff coloured oil paint commonly used by artists in the 19th century.
2. Nankeen cloth, a type of pale yellowish cloth used in the 19th century.
3. The first Ornithologist to classify both species had the surname Nankeen.
4. The species were both discovered near the locality Nankeen.

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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 2023

1 April
: Jenny Rolland and Euan Moore
Location: Spring Gully, Fryerstown6 May
Cheryl Taylor and Ron Wescott
Location: Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton3 June
Andrew Skeogh
Location: Private Property, Strangways1 July
Bill Sampson
Location: Cave Gully Walk, Guildford5 August
Tanya Loos
Location: Bald Hill Reserve, Kyneton
2 September
Bob Dawson and Coliban Water staff
Location: Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom (TBC)7 October
Rosemary and Peter Turner
Location: Pennyweight Flat, Castlemaine (TBC)27-29 October
Weekend Bird Camp – Lower Glenelg National Park and surrounding area
4 November
Leader: Damian Kelly
Location: Drury Lane, Clydesdale2 December
Leader: David Hewitt
Location: Crusoe No.7 Park, Big Hill (followed by end-of-year morning tea)

Quiz Answers

Question 1: A group of Owls is called a Parliament.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Nankeen Night-heron (Juvenile plumage), Striated Pardalote, Powerful Owl, Flame Robin (Female).

Question 3: Nankeen (also called Nankeen cloth) is a kind of pale yellowish cloth originally made in Nanking (modern Nanjing), China from a yellow variety of cotton.

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