BirdLife Castlemaine District eNews May 2023

Monday, 1 May 2023

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Welcome to our eNews for May 2023.

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

April Walk Wrap-up

Over thirty bird watchers enjoyed our April walk along the Spring Gully Track at Fryerstown. Forty species of birds were seen or heard including a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles being harassed by Ravens.  The full list of birds can be found here.

Many thanks to Jenny and Euan for leading the walk in this lovely area.

May Bird Walk – Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton

We are delighted to announce that our May BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 6 May 2023 at Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton.

We will walk along Base Track (in an anticlockwise direction) around Black Hill. The track is flat, relatively wide and in good condition. There are picnic tables where we start the walk, but no toilets. The nearest toilets are in Piper St, Kyneton.

Birds that have been seen here in recent times include Varied Sitella, White-browed Babbler, Musk Lorikeet, White-necked Heron, and five different species each of Thornbills and Honeyeaters. Historic sightings include Square-tailed Kite, Noisy Friarbird, Eastern Shrike-tit, Little Eagle, Speckled Warbler, Flame and Rose Robin.

Our walk leaders will be Cheryl Taylor and Ron Wescott.

Where: Black Hill Reserve, Kyneton. From the Castlemaine centre take the Pyrenees Hwy (B180) and Calder Freeway (M79) towards Melbourne. Once on the freeway, drive approx. 14KM then take the Malmsbury exit and turn left here onto the Malmsbury East Rd, drive 2KM to the T-intersection then turn right on the Kyneton-Metcalfe Rd. Drive 1.5KM and turn left onto Redhill Rd, drive 2.5KM (note after about 800 mtrs this takes a 90-degree RH turn), and turn left onto Redesdale Rd. After 2.4KM you will come to the Heathcote-Kyneton Rd/Edgecombe Rd (C326). Cross this road onto Ennis Rd and after approx. 750 mtrs you will see the Black Hill Reserve car park.

An alternative route from Castlemaine direction is to take the second Kyneton exit, turn left onto Edgecombe Rd (towards Heathcote) then drive 6.5KM and turn right onto Ennis Rd (as per the directions from Melbourne below).

For those coming from the Melbourne direction, take the second Kyneton exit, turn right at the roundabout onto Edgecombe Rd, drive 6.5KM along the Heathcote Rd and turn right onto Ennis Rd.

GPS -37.18631, 144.48368.

When: Meet at Black Hill Reserve carpark 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 are still snakes about.

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

This month’s nature journaling takes place at Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Zumpes Rd (runs west off Hepburn Newstead Road).

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.

When and where: Sunday 7 May from 9:30am – 11:30am. Meet at the small car park at the track junction of Zumpes Rd and Drury Lane, Clydesdale.

GPS:-37.1670910, 144.0800731

Please note there are no toilets or shops available nearby.

Nature journaling sketch book, the bush in Campbells Creek, watercolour and ink drawing by Jane Rusden

Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s Recreational Native Bird Hunting Arrangements – Submissions Due 8 May

BirdLife has launched the Act for Birds tool to enable lodgement of public submissions on recreational native bird hunting to the Parliamentary Inquiry currently underway.

Submissions close on 8 May 2023 and the Act for Birds tool can be found here. It includes the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, useful background information and suggestions on how to make comment.

New Book on the Birds of BirdLife Castlemaine District

To commemorate the launch of BirdLife Castlemaine five years ago, Chris Timewell has written an annotated guide to the 215 bird species documented during the 2018 calendar year from throughout the area covered by the branch. Bird records have been compiled from Birdata, eBird, Natural Newstead and other sources.

Coming in at 100 pages, the book summarises relevant information for each species detected during 2018 including patterns of distribution and seasonality, maximum flock sizes, breeding records, interactions with other species, feeding behaviour and other points of note – all tailored to the area covered by the BirdLife Castlemaine branch. It also has a checklist of all birds known to occur in the local area – including those species not detected during 2018. Wonderful images from local bird photographer Kerrie Jennings are interspersed throughout.

It is offered here to local BirdLife members at a cost recovery price of $20, with an extra $4 for postage if required. To order your copy, contact Chris at c_timewell@hotmail.com for details on payment and delivery.

New Film Celebrating Migratory Shorebirds Flying Into Cinemas Soon

If you are in search of a way to celebrate Migratory Shorebird Day (aren’t we all?!), here is your answer! Randall Wood’s beautiful documentary, four years in the making, follows three main migratory shorebirds – the Eastern Curlew, the Bar-tailed Godwit, and the Red Knot – in their magical journeys north via ancient migration routes.

The film was shot in Australia (in Moreton bay and Toondah Harbour), Africa, China, Chile, Alaska, and Siberia – let this trailer take you there.

‘FLYWAYS – The Untold Journey of Migratory Shorebirds’ features three teams and the charismatic scientists who lead them — Dr. Richard Fuller (Fuller Lab, QLD, Australia), Nathan Senner and Jennifer Linscott (Senner Lab, USA & Chile) and Dr. Jan van Gils (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). Using nanotechnology and global tracking from the International Space Station, the film follows the world’s greatest endurance athletes as they travel the ancient flyways of our planet.

See below a list of cinemas showing the film in May, and it will also be broadcast on the ABC in July.

FRI MAY 12 – Melbourne Premiere / Q&A with Randall Wood @ Nova Carlton.

SAT MAY 13 – WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY – Melbourne Screening / Q&A with Randall Wood @ Cameo Belgrave.

SUN MAY 14 – MOTHER’S DAY – Melbourne Screening /Q&A with Randall Wood @ Lido Cinema Hawthorn.

WED MAY 17 – Pivotonian Cinema Geelong – Q&A to feature BirdLife Australia’s Marta Ferenczi.

Photo of White-fronted Chat male by Jane Rusden

Bird of the Month – White-fronted Chat

The White-fronted Chat is a handsome looking, adaptable species, although not a common bird in the BirdLife Castlemaine District area, so it’s always exciting to see them.  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 (Beginner): Multiple Choice

Which species of Albatross has the largest wingspan? Choose from the five species listed below.

1. Sooty Albatross
2. Shy Albatross
3. Wandering Albatross
4. Black-browed Albatross
5. Grey-headed Albatross

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): Multiple Choice

From the four species of Chat listed below, which species is not a resident or migratory visitor to the state of Victoria?

1. Crimson Chat
2. White-fronted Chat
3. Yellow Chat
4. Orange Chat

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: The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird, with some individuals having wingspans measured up to 3.5 meters.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – White-faced Heron, White-browed Babbler, White-fronted Chat, New Holland Honeyeater.

Question 3: The Yellow Chat is only found in the arid regions of the states of Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and South Australia.