BirdLife Castlemaine District eNews June 2023

Thursday, 1 June 2023

  • Estimated reading time Ten minutes

Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Welcome to our eNews for June 2023.

In this issue we’ve got a wrap-up of our May walk at Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton, details of our upcoming June walk at Strangways, and June Nature Journaling. And don’t forget to check out Bird of the Month and test your bird knowledge with the quiz!

May Walk Wrap-up

Plenty of birds were seen and heard on May’s walk at Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton. The trees around the car park were teeming with Honeyeaters, Crimson Rosellas, White-throated Treecreeper and White-winged Choughs foraging on the ground. The full list of birds can be found here.

Many thanks to Cheryl Taylor and Ron Wescott for leading the walk in this lovely area.  The full list of birds can be found here.

Photo of White-throated Treecreeper, by Mike Robinson

June Bird Walk – Andrew Skeoch Private Property, Strangways

We are delighted to announce that our June BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 3 June 2023 at the private property of Andrew Skeoch.

We return to Andrew’s property following the great walk we had there last year. As previously mentioned, private properties can often offer special experiences due to them being shielded from the general public and Andrew gave us a new and interesting perspective on birding last year, highlighting the sounds of the birds and bush. Andrew, the owner and our walk leader, describes the experience:

“The land that looks after us is around 115 acres of ridgetop box woodlands. Whilst there has been evidence of past clearing, regrowth has been extensive. There are many elder trees; red box, grey box and yellow gum, with a rich understory of native grasses, wattles, mosses and herbs.

Birdlife comprises a diversity of the usual woodland suspects, including Brown Treecreepers, White-eared Honeyeaters, Sitellas, White-naped Honeyeaters, Painted Button-quail, Golden Whistlers and recently Speckled Warblers have taken up residence. I encounter our Black Wallabies and Kangaroos most days, and we also have Koalas, Echidnas, Possums and Antechinus.

The bush is open and undemanding to walk through, mostly flat to moderately undulating with a few short uphill gradients. I envisage walking off track to interesting habitat points. There is a defined walking track that leads from the house for around 1km to the south end of the block, and individuals can access this to return. Having a particular interest in listening, I’m happy to discuss vocalisations, identifying species and behaviours by ear. If we wished, we could begin with a short listening attunement and silent walk, which is always enjoyable.”


Where: Andrew’s property is at 121 Walkers Lane, Strangways / Sandon. From Castlemaine take the Pyrenees Hwy (B180) toward Newstead. Pass through Newstead and turn left onto Daylesford-Newstead Road (C285). Drive 3.4KM then turn right, over the railway line, and continuing on Daylesford-Newstead Road. Drive 1.6KM and turn right onto Walkers Lane. You will then see the driveway on the left after about 1.2KM. Cars can be parked along the entrance drive, with Walkers Lane as overflow.

GPS -37.14630, 144.06321.

When: Meet at Andrew’s property 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 or Judy Hopley 0425 768 559.

Toilets are available.

BirdLife Castlemaine acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we are holding our 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.

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

This month’s nature journaling takes place at Spring Gully, Fryerstown.

Be prepared to sit quietly in the bush, to observe the comings and goings of nature, and draw, paint, photograph, write about your experiences. No experience necessary, but you will need to be self-sufficient. Also be prepared for damp, rough ground.

What to bring:

– Sunhat, long sleeves and long trousers, sturdy footwear suitable for uneven ground, warm clothes.

– Sunscreen, water and snacks.

– 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.

– Your sense of curiosity.

Contact Jane Rusden on 0448 900 896 with any questions.

When and where: Sunday 4 June from 9:30am – 11:30am. Meet in the car park at Old Coach Rd, Spring Gully, Fryerstown

GPS: -37.1166326, 144.2409631

Please note there are no toilets or shops available nearby.

Musk Lorikeet doodle in loose watercolour, by Jane Rusden

Guide for Submissions to the Nature Repair Market Bill

You may have seen that a new federal law called the Nature Repair Market Bill is being drafted, with the stated aim of encouraging private sector investment in nature conservation and restoration.

While there are some opportunities associated with this initiative, in its current form it includes the opportunity for companies and developers to buy ‘offsets’ to counter the damage they do to nature. BirdLife Australia is putting in a submission that will urge Labor to rule out allowing offsets under the Nature Repair Market.

Our colleagues at the Australian Conservation Foundation have prepared a fantastic guide to help nature lovers also put in a submission to this process.

If you would like to compose your own submission, check out the quick and easy submission process available on ACF’s website, which also provides some key points if you would like some guidance.

Please note the closing date for submissions is 1 June 2023.

Photo of of a Black-tailed Native Hen, by Damian Kelly

Bird of the Month – Black-tailed Native Hen

Black-tailed Native Hens are a very adaptable species, responding to wetlands when and where they form or fill.

Find out more here.


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

From the five species of Finch or Firetail listed below, which has recently had its conservation status upgraded to vulnerable?

1. Red-browed Finch
2. Diamond Firetail
3. Zebra Finch
4. Beautiful Firetail
5. Double-barred Finch

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): Who am I?

– I’m a small bird approximately 12 to 14 centimetres in length.

– I’m a year-round resident of Castlemaine and its surrounding district.

– I can be found in a variety of habitats including open woodland, parks and gardens, farmland, and roadside verges.

– I’m found in all mainland Australian states and Territories, and in Papua New Guinea.

– My nest is a tiny cup of grass, spider webs, moss and lichen.

– I’m a sit and search predator, and I can often be seen perching on fence posts or low stumps.

– My colours are mostly grey-brown, with a white breast and a slight white eyebrow. I also have a prominent black-brown tail with conspicuous white outer feathers.

– My call is a high pitched peter-peter-peter, and is also reflected in my name.

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


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: Diamond Firetail.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Painted Button-quail, Diamond Firetail (Immature), Hooded Robin (male), Brown Treecreeper. (Thank you to Damian Kelly for providing the Painted Button-quail and Hooded Robin images.)

Question 3: Jacky Winter.