Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Enjoying birds in frosty July – two events to come

Posted on 11 July, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Any bird lover knows that a wintery day is no barrier to birdwatching! The birds go about their business undaunted by the cold; well-wrapped in their feathery coats. If we rug up well, and there is no wind, then winter birding can be a lovely change from huddling by the fire!

This Jacky Winter is well insulated!      Photographed by Peter Turner

There are two events coming up soon for those that are interested in their local birds and their habitats. Both events involve a bird walk followed by a presentation about the birds of the local area.

Sunday July 16, 2017 – Bird walk and Landcare workshop for Guildford area

Bird Walk: Local bird and habitat walk along Casley Lane, near Guildford.  9:15am – 11:00am. Meeting point map sent with your RSVP.

Presentation: Guildford birds and how you can care for them, by Connecting Country’s bird enthusiast, Tanya Loos.  Also hear from Maurie Dynon, Guildford and Upper Loddon Landcare. Morning tea and presentation:  Guildford Hall 11:00am – 12:30pm

Please RSVP (with any dietary requirements) to Tanya Loos on 03 5472 1594 or by email

This section of Campbells Creek has been surveyed for birds since 2010. The birdlife is amazing!

Saturday July 22, 2017 – Feathered Friends of Campbells Creek (part of Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Sustainable Living Workshop series)

Castlemaine and Chewton now have beautifully revegetated waterways thanks to the tireless work of local community groups. This has benefited our local birdlife greatly. Connecting Country has surveyed the birds of Campbells Creek for 7 years – and is keen to present a portrait of the creek’s burgeoning birdlife. Dress warmly for a mid-winter presentation, morning tea and bird walk at nearby Honeycomb Rd if weather permits.

The details: From 10.30am to 12.30pm.  Presented by Tanya Loos from Connecting Country.  In Campbells Creek area (the address/location will be provided to registered attendees closer to the date).  To reserve your place for the Feathered Friends walk contact Council’s Healthy Environments team on 5471 1700 or

These two events are generously supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust. 



14 July 2017 – Talk on ‘the Birds of West Papua’

Posted on 10 July, 2017 by chris

Guest speaker at the July 2017 meeting of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club (CFNC) is Nigel Harland.  A resident of Sutton Grange and immediate past president of the CFNC, Nigel is perhaps best well-known locally for his annual wildlife-watching trips to remote corners of the world.  He has recently visited West Papua and will be speaking about (and displaying photos of) the exotic birds and other sights from this great adventure.  Those of you that have attended previous presentations by Nigel will recall his talent as both a photographer and raconteur, and also conveying a depth of knowledge and interesting facts about the locations that he visits.

The presentation is to be on the evening of Friday 14 July 2017, in the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St in Castlemaine.  The Uniting Church is midway between Barker St and Kennedy St, and next door to the Castlemaine Art Gallery.  The evening commences at 7.30pm.  Entry is free, and both members and visitors are encouraged to come along.




Winter in the Nuggettys – Nature News 4th July 2017

Posted on 6 July, 2017 by chris

For this month’s Nature News (also on page 15 of this week’s Midland Express), Nuggety Ranges Landcarer  Jane Mitchell writes about living on her property ‘Sunnydale’. This Nature News is dedicated to Jane’s recently departed daughter Clara Annie Patterson.

At ‘Sunnydale’ the birds are feeding off the last fruits of the year. Grey Currawong, usually too shy to come close, are attracted to the Persimmon tree near the back door along with groups of Silvereyes. The Pomegranate, planted by our European forebears, is a favourite of the Crimson Rosellas who tear at the split fruit with their strong beaks to reach the jewels inside. Then the smaller birds can follow now access has been granted.

Grey Currawong in Persimmon Tree, Sunnydale. Photographed by Jane Mitchell.

‘Sunnydale’, our home of 32 years, is in the Nuggetty Ranges which lie on the northern side of Maldon. Surrounding our land is Box-Ironbark bushland which provides habitat for over 60 species of birds and counting.

The Hedge Wattles are a favourite safe house for the Blue Wrens. Kookaburras have vantage points in the Grey Box and Yellow Gums to observe for their hunting purposes.

Overhead are Little Eagles, Wedge-tailed Eagles and Brown Falcons. There is a constant background sound-scape from Spotted Pardalotes. New Holland Honeyeaters exert their territorial rights in groups. Family groups of Red-browed Finches share the bird bath in turns returning to and fro their bush hideaway.

Then there are the seasonal visits from the male and female Scarlet Robin and Black-faced Cuckoo- shrikes who have their own particular flight habit. The thornbills twitter and flick through the taller canopy so fast they can barely be discerned.

Crimson Rosellas’ clear ringing call reaches across the valley. My special friend the Grey Shrike-thrush is a warming presence. Now the bronze-wings and Peaceful Doves are looking for any leftover Ruby Salt-bush seeds and are helping themselves to fallen pomegranates in their quiet, purposeful manner.

After the sun sinks the dark brings new visitors. A Southern Boobook call is a low, throaty sound from different vantage points. I hesitate to confirm but on a few evenings in the past the single and duet call from Barking Owls have been heard.

We are so fortunate to have this special place to live and share with our feathered friends. Each day I delight in their presence.

Silvereye in Persimmon Tree at Sunnydale. Photographed by Julie Hough