Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Pardalotes put on a show at Muckleford Station

Posted on 19 September, 2017 by Tanya Loos

The local U3A birdwatching group visited Muckleford Train Station last week, and were entranced by a large flock of Striated Pardalotes displaying and carrying on in very close proximity. Local birdo and photographer Peter Turner captured a stunning series of images, and kindly sent them in so we could share them with you all!

One of the behaviours that intrigued Peter is a display which involves the pardalote bowing slightly, opening both wings and spreading its tail. Many of the pardalotes were displaying in this way, and Peter asked what the behaviour might mean.

Displaying on the train tracks

Here at the office, we have a copy of a large detailed book known as the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB) The entry on Striated Pardalotes details this behaviour.

The Wing-and-tail Display is associated with nesting behaviour. As the Striated Pardalote sexes are very difficult to tell apart, it is not known whether the male or the female or both sexes are displaying. The display may involve quivering the wings, or fanning them by alternately opening and folding them.

 

Three pardalotes watch one pardalote’s display with much interest.

The Wing-and-tail Display is often part of a group display, where several pairs that are nesting in close proximity display to one another.

The Muckleford Station is a Striated Pardalote breeding hotspot – with many nest burrows  excavated in the clay soil near the platform.

Striated Pardalotes also take readily  to nestboxes, in fact previously on this blog, we featured a pardalote nestbox design by Ric Higgins; for details, click  here.

While Spotted Pardalotes are loved by many, these photographs remind us that the Striated Pardalotes are little stunners too. Thanks so much for the photos, Peter!

 

 

 

 

Get to know your local plants: weed and native plant workshops

Posted on 15 September, 2017 by Asha

Learn how to identify plants such as Bridal Creeper at Connecting Country’s “Get to know your local plants” workshop series (photo by Bonnie Humphreys).

Connecting Country and local Landcare groups will be running four plant identification workshops over the next couple of months for community members. These free workshops will include the chance to chat with a botanist, meet members of Landcare groups over a cuppa, and learn identification tips through fun games.

Three of the workshops will be focused on how to identify and manage noxious weeds; the fourth will be focused on both native and invasive plant species. With workshops in Sutton Grange, Maldon, Newstead, and Chewton, there will be a workshop nearby for everyone to learn about the plants and weeds most relevant to their local area. You can also bring along photos or samples of plants (in a ziplock bag) if you’d like help from a botanist to identify them.

Details of the workshops are below, or you can contact Asha Bannon for more information at asha@connectingcountry.org.au or 5472 1594.

Get to know your local weeds – Sutton Grange & surrounds
When: Saturday 23rd September 2017, 10am-12:30pm
Where: Sutton Grange Hall, 921 Faraday-Sutton Grange Rd
RSVP: by Wednesday 20th September for catering purposes

Get to know your local plants – Maldon & surrounds
When: Saturday 7th October 2017, 1pm-3:30pm
Where: Maldon Community Centre, 6 Francis St, Maldon
RSVP: by Wednesday 4th October for catering purposes

Get to know your local weeds – Newstead & surrounds
When: Tuesday 24th October 2017, 6pm-8:30pm
Where: Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons St, Newstead
RSVP: by Thursday 19th October for catering purposes

Get to know your local weeds – Chewton & surrounds
When: Wednesday 15th November 2017, 6pm-8:30pm
Where: Chewton Community Centre, Pyrnees Hwy, Chewton
RSVP: by Friday 10th November for catering purposes

 

Celebration afternoon tea for the bird friends of the region: Sept 29, 2017

Posted on 14 September, 2017 by Tanya Loos

 Birds hold a very special place in the hearts of the Mount Alexander Region community.  Connecting Country has nearly 200 subscribers to the bird survey eNews, over 16 participating households with long term bird monitoring sites on their property, and a regular band of birdwatchers on our bird walks and outings.  Hundreds of bird records have been sent in by our volunteers for addition to our bird survey database.  And now it is time to say “thanks!”.

You are all invited to a lush afternoon tea at the Chewton Town Hall on Friday September 29.  This event will provide an opportunity to thank you all for your participation in the two year Stewards for Woodland Birds project, and most importantly present the results of the last two years of bird monitoring!  

It will also be time an opportunity to talk about the next steps, as we are also moving into a new phase of citizen science bird monitoring.  Therefore, I also hope to officially assign one or more local survey sites to those birdwatchers who are interested in being involved. All of the landholders who have existing bird survey sites on their land are also being invited, and it would be great for birdwatching volunteers and landholders to meet face to face. I also want to hear from YOU – what are your needs and interests for our continued bird monitoring program?

Lastly, we will be joined by Fiona Blandford from BirdLife Australia who will talk to us about the possibility of a new BirdLife Branch in the region – tentatively to be known as BirdLife Goldfields! This is a most exciting development and I would love to see some folks put their hand up to possibly be involved.

Friday September 29, Chewton Town Hall 2- 5pm.  Please RSVP for this event so I can ensure I have the right amount of delicious treats for you all. For further information call me on 5472 1594 or email tanya@connectingcountry.org.au 

 

Two finches – A Diamond Firetail with two Red-browed Finches, in a bird bath in the Nuggetty area – sent in by Nick Schulz. Thanks Nick!