BirdLife Castlemaine District eNews October 2023

Sunday, 1 October 2023

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Dear Supporter,

Welcome to our eNews for October 2023.

This month’s issue is slightly earlier than usual, due to Nature Journaling taking place on 1 October. We’ve also got details of our upcoming October walk at Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, and information on the Aussie Bird Count. As always don’t forget to check out Bird of the Month and test your bird knowledge with the quiz!

October Bird Walk – Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom

We are delighted to announce that our next BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 7 October at the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom. Those that attended either of the walks there last year will know how good a venue it is, and all regular birders know how good water treatment plants can be, particularly for water birds including various species of ducks, herons, egrets, crakes and waders, but also many bush birds.

We will be guided by the Coliban Water staff along with our walk leaders, Damian Kelly and Bob Dawson.

Note there are some restrictions to this outing, the most important one being that we are limited to 40 attendees. At the time of publishing this eNews we still have a number of spots available. Please preferably email your desire to attend to bobadawson@hotmail.com or if unable to email, text to 0417 621 691. Please advise full names of all wishing to attend and a contact number.

The terms of access are below. Coliban Water staff and your walk leaders will be there to greet you and will have parking areas set up. Please follow their instructions at all times.

Your safety is our priority. Therefore, please read the conditions below and contact us immediately if you have any concerns about your ability to participate.

• Meet 15 minutes before the tour starts at Wallenjoe Road carparking space, ready for your site induction.
• There will be a roll call, and participants are asked to confirm names and phone numbers.
• All participants will stay in the meeting area until the tour starts.
• All participants must comply with instructions provided by the tour guide. These instructions are for your safety and enjoyment.
• A maximum of 40 people can take part in the tour.
• Minors must be supervised by an adult. The adult is responsible for adherence to these conditions.
• All sites are to be regarded as industrial sites.
• The tour may include stairs, open grates, and elevated walkways. Participants are required to wear sturdy shoes (no high heels or open sandals) at plants, and any loose items such as mobile phones and wallets must be secured.
• Please wear clothing that is suitable for the conditions. This includes sun protection, closed-toe shoes, a jacket if it is cold and wet.
• The tour will be modified or cancelled if the tour leader considers that circumstances in any way compromise the safety of the group.
• Every effort will be made to facilitate tours. However, operational demands may, in some circumstances, result in the cancellation of tours at short notice.

Where: The walk will begin at the entrance gate to Lagoon 6, accessible from Wallenjoe Road, Epsom. From Castlemaine travel to and through Bendigo on the Calder (M79) then Midland (A79) Highways. Around 7KM past the centre of Bendigo, (just past Bunnings, Epsom) you will come to Howard Street. Turn left, drive around 500 metres along Howard Street then turn right onto Wallenjoe Road. The gate is approx. 1.3KM down Wallenjoe Road.
GPS: -36.69360, 144.30807.

When: Meet at Wallenjoe Road at 8:45am.

Bring: Water, snacks, binoculars, sunscreen, hat, sturdy closed-in shoes. We also recommend that you wear long trousers.

More info: Bob Dawson 0419 621 691.

Please note there are no toilets at the site.

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.

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

Nature Journaling with BirdLife Castlemaine District

October’s nature journaling takes place at Eureka Reef, Chewton.

Eureka Reef is a pretty spot with interesting history, and hopefully some wildflowers. Enjoy sitting in the bush and being creative, draw, paint, photograph, write, or other creative endeavours.

No experience necessary.

Please note there are no toilets at Eureka Reef.

What to bring / wear:

– Wear long sleeve shirt and long trousers, and sturdy shoes; the reptiles are starting to come out, because so is the sun. However it could still be cold, so prepare for sunshine and cool conditions.

– 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 1 October from 9:30am – 11:30am. Eureka Reef, Dingo Park Road, Chewton. REMINDER: Daylight savings also starts on 1 October, so don’t forget to adjust your alarm clock!

GPS: -37.0970142, 144.2399720

Detail of a Hooded Robin at Bimblebox Art and Science Camp 2023, watercolour by Jane Rusden.

September Walk Wrap-up – Pennyweight Flat Cemetery, Castlemaine

About 35 people gathered on a frosty but brilliantly sunny morning. Huge mostly Grey Box (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) and a few Red Box (E. polyanthemus) dominate the open area. There is very little undergrowth. An extensive range of species were seen or heard, as detailed here.

Thanks to Rosemary and Peter Turner for leading the walk, and also to Bob Dawson for this beautiful photo of a Spotted Pardalote taken at the site.

Aussie Bird Count 16 -22 October

Bird Week takes place from 16 – 22 October, which means it’s time for the Aussie Bird Count.

The Aussie Bird Count is an activity for all ages that involves observing and counting the birds that live near you – whether that’s in your garden, the local park, a beach or even your town centre. By telling BirdLife Australia about the birds you’ve seen within a 20-minute period, you will help develop an understanding of local birds whilst getting to know the wildlife on your doorstep!

It’s easy to get involved and there are some great prizes to be won. For more information, visit the website.

Bird of the Month – Brown Treecreeper

If you recognise this mug shot, this Brown Treecreeper is wanted for questioning over the wilful and brazen theft of exceptionally good home-made pizza.

Read about what Brown Treecreepers should be eating, instead of stealing pizza, and more, here.

Photo by a very hungry 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

From the six species of birds listed below, which is native to Australia and has not been introduced?

1. Song Thrush
2. Common Blackbird
3. Common Starling
4. Bassian Thrush
5. Common Myna
6. House Sparrow

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 (Who am I?)

• I’m a large bird approx. 45 to 55 centimetres in length with an approximate wingspan of 130cm.
• I’m found in every Australian mainland state, and some parts of New Guinea.
• I like to inhabit open plains, farmland, open forests, woodlands, and scrublands.
• I like to feed on smaller birds, marsupials, reptiles, and since European colonisation, rabbits.
• I’m a stocky, powerfully-built bird with a small crest, feathered (trousered) legs and a squared tail.
• I have a prominent pale “M” marking across both my upper and lower wing.
• I have both a pale and a dark colour morph, with plumage that varies from light red brown to dark brown upperparts, with underparts varying from lighter brown through to a buff colour.

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

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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, Strangways

1 July
Bill Sampson
Location: Cave Gully Walk, Guildford

5 August
Tanya Loos
Location: Bald Hill Reserve, Kyneton

2 September
Rosemary and Peter Turner
Location: Pennyweight Flat, Castlemaine7 October
Bob Dawson and Coliban Water staff
Location: Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom27-29 October
Weekend Bird Camp – Lower Glenelg National Park and surrounding area

4 November
Leader: Damian Kelly
Location: Drury Lane, Clydesdale

2 December
Leader: David Hewitt
Location: Crusoe No.7 Park, Big Hill (followed by end-of-year morning tea)

Quiz Answers

Question 1: Bassian Thrush.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Whistling Kite, Little Black Cormorant, Brown Treecreeper, Pacific Black Duck.

Question 3: Little Eagle.

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