BirdLife Castlemaine District eNews September 2023

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

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Welcome to Castlemaine District eNews!

Dear Supporter,

Welcome to our eNews for September 2023.

In this issue we’ve got details of our upcoming September walk at Pennyweight Flat, advance notice for the October walk at Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, 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!

September Bird Walk – Pennyweight Flat Cemetery and Forest Creek, Moonlight Flat (Castlemaine)

We are delighted to announce that our September BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch bird walk will be held on Saturday 2 September at at the Pennyweight Flat Cemetery and Forest Creek, Moonlight Flat.

The area offers mixed habitat with mature trees along the creek, edge, shrub and grassed areas. Species seen in the area this year include Australian Reed Warbler, Red-browed Finch, Common and Brush Bronzewing, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Spinebill, along with various Honeyeaters, Robins, Thornbills, Pardalotes, etc. Last year there were sightings of Tawny Frogmouth, Square-tailed Kite, Musk Lorikeet and Mistletoe bird.

Our walk leaders are Rosemary and Peter Turner.


Where: Pennyweight Flat Cemetery is located off Colles Road, Moonlight Flat. From the roundabout at the corner of Forest Street (Pyrenees Hwy B180) and Hargraves Street, Castlemaine, drive along Forest Street toward Melbourne for 1.6KM and turn left onto Murphy Street, after 450 metres turn left onto Colles Road, 400 meters along Colles Road on the left you will see the carpark for the Cemetery.

GPS: -37.067447, 144.241550.

When: Meet at Pennyweight Flat Cemetery 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 may be snakes about.

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 and Guest Artist, Ash Vigus

This month’s nature journaling takes place at Gower, with guest facilitator the talented and wonderful Ash Vigus.

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.

What to bring:

– Wear sturdy footwear and plenty of warm clothing. Bring water, snacks and perhaps a thermos.

– 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 – it can be damp.

– Your sense of curiosity.

When and where: Sunday 3 September from 9:30am – 11:30am. Turn north off Castlemaine-Maldon Road, onto Gower Road. Drive past Gower school and take the next right onto Donkey Gully Road. Drive 350 meters and park at the dam on your left.

GPS: -37.0319033, 144.1141305

Please note there are no toilets or shops available nearby.

Pen drawing with watercolour wash, Idalia National Park, by Jane Rusden

Advance Notice of October Bird Walk – Saturday 7 October, Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, Epsom

Our October bird walk has now been confirmed. As there is a restriction of group sizes at the plant of 20, and we can have two groups, we will again need to limit numbers to 40 attendees. Please email your desire to attend to Bob Dawson. Keep an eye on Facebook and our next eNews for updates.

Update – Proposed Lower Glenelg National Park Weekend Camp

A further reminder to all that we are having a campout at Lower Glenelg National Park from Friday 27 – Sunday 29 October. The intention is to base ourselves at Forest South Campground with Battersby Campground as overflow if required. In the previous reminder we noted there was no requirement by Parks Vic currently to pay or book for campsites due to there being a problem with their online booking page, but this has since changed and it is now a requirement to pre-book your site. We suggest those intending on staying at the campsites book as soon as possible – click here to book.

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.

Birdlife Castlemaine acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we will walk, the Gunditjmara 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.

Combined Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club and BirdLife Castlemaine District Annual Presentation

Friday 8 September, 7:30pm, Uniting Church Fellowship Room, Lyttleton St, Castlemaine

Speaker: Jane Rusden “Birding in SA Desert Country”

Going bush, watching and photographing birds and then making art about them is Jane Rusden’s idea of the perfect day. Jane will talk about her time in remote desert landscapes, namely Nature Foundation’s Witchelina Reserve in outback SA, studying and painting birds and their habitats. She will show examples of her beautiful work and explain how she gets to know the birds she paints on watercolour paper.

Zoom option: For this special combined CFNC-BCD meeting, there will also be the option to join by Zoom if you cannot join us at the meeting room. For this, please email Peter Turner to register, and you will then receive the link for joining the meeting by Zoom.

Observations: Members and visitors are invited to share their interesting observations at the meeting. Please email any photos to illustrate your report as JPEG file(s) to Euan Moore by noon on the day of the meeting.

Artwork by Jane Rusden

Bird of the Month – Nankeen Night-Heron

The Nankeen Night-Heron is a beautiful bird with a weird call. Also very good at hiding along waterways – a “Where’s Wally” of the Herons.

Find out more here.

Photo by Damian Kelly

~ BIRDS IN THE BUSH ~ Nature Journaling and Ornithology

A wonderful opportunity to work with JANE RUSDEN, a well-known and respected nature artist. Classes will be held in the field, in the stunning Muckleford Bush, and at the RedShed workshop. Learn how to record birds, plants and perhaps marsupials and reptiles in a useful, meaningful and creative way whilst developing naturalist and art skills. The course is suitable for beginner to intermediate artists, no experience necessary.

Mondays, six-week course, commencing 11 September, 10:00am – 1:00pm.

Course cost: $290. To enrol or find out more, email RedShed Art.

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 Australia’s largest species of Falcon? Choose from the list of six species below.

1. Brown Falcon
2. Peregrine Falcon
3. Nankeen Kestrel
4. Black Falcon
5. Grey Falcon
6. Australian Hobby

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)

Australia has four species of Babbler. From the list below, which species is not found in the state of Victoria?

1. White-browed Babbler
2. Hall’s Babbler
3. Grey-crowned Babbler
4. Chestnut-crowned Babbler

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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, 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: Black Falcon.

Question 2: Clockwise from top left – Crested Pigeon, White-headed Stilt, Australian Hobby, Eastern Yellow Robin.

Question 3: Halls Babbler, a species found only in the inland regions spanning the Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales border.