Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Fun with Phascogales – Jess Lawton’s Talk

Posted on 9 November, 2017 by Asha

 At their recent AGM, Newstead Landcare invited Jess Lawton along to talk about her research on Brush-tailed phascogales (Phascogale tapoatafa). She shared some facts above about this special species, along with some interesting results from her PhD research with Andrew Bennett from La Trobe University. Jess used camera traps and habitat surveys to gather information on the habitat requirements for phascogales across central Victoria. Fifty of these sites were in the Mount Alexander region at some of Connecting Country’s nest box sites.

Brush-tailed Phascogale cartoon by Jess Lawton

Jess set up two cameras at each site, pointing towards the ground where she set up a small bait station. She collected these again after 40 days, and found she had a total of 69,611 photos to go through! These included 488 phascogale records in the Mount Alexander region. One brown treecreeper also had some fun with a camera and took 952 selfies (CLICK HERE for GIF)!

Taking into account site factors such as the amount of native forest in an area, elevation, productivity, predators, tree species, number of large trees, structural complexity, logs, and leaf litter, Jess found that phascogales were present at 82% of sites. Interestingly, she found that the amount of native forest in an area was not a big influence over whether phascogales were present at a site or not. However, this could have been due to the time of year data was collected, when males may have been using sub-optimal habitat during breeding season.

The two biggest habitat factors that Jess found influenced phascogale detection were tree species (box versus gum) and leaf litter. Sites with more box species and/or more leaf litter had more phascogale records. This is probably because these provide habitat for invertebrates, which are a critical food source for phascogales.

Jess finished with some tips for landholders who wish to help with phascogale conservation:

  • Protect existing hollows and put up nest boxes.
  • Keep it messy – leaf litter, logs, and tree stumps and all important for phascogales.
  • Help reduce predator pressure by keeping pets inside at night and walking them on a lead.
  • Care for your local bush by getting involved with your local Landcare or Friends group.

Thank you Jess and Newstead Landcare for an interesting and engaging talk. Here are some pictures Jess provided from her camera traps – well worth a look!

Phascogale Facts!

I am a small nocturnal marsupial.

I am threatened species.

My range in Victoria has contracted.

My home range area is 40-100 hectares (40-50 hectares for females and 100 hectares for males).

I rely on large tree hollows with small entrances for nesting and breeding, and will use several hollows within my range.

Females of my species give birth to eight young each year. Once weaned, the litter will weigh three times the weight of the mother.

I belong to the Dasyurid family and feed mainly on invertebrates, such as insects, spiders and centipedes.



10 Nov 2017 – The Americans are coming! A talk on invasive grasses from the USA

Posted on 6 November, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Ian Higgins is the guest speaker for the November Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club meeting.  Ian is a renowned local botanist, and was recently recognised as the 2017 Victorian Landcarer of the Year for his work with the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare group.

Ian’s talk, titled ‘The Americans are coming’, is an overview of the invasive stipoid needle grasses that are spreading across many parts of Australia, including the local area.   His talk will cover:

Chilean Needle-grass (photo from the NSW DPI website).

What are they? The seven species currently known (or prohibited in the case of Mexican Feather-grass) from Victoria
Where are they? Where they are known to exist in Victoria and in our district
Why are they a problem? Behaviour and the threat posed to natural values
How can I identify them? Identification characteristics, especially how to distinguish them from native grasses
How are they spreading?  Dispersion strategies and human involvement.
How to manage them?  Duration of seed viability in soil, herbicides, etc.

Ian has also offered to help members and visitors to identify different grass species on the night.  If you have a specimen that you suspect is a weed, bring it along (preferably in a sealed plastic bag to prevent the spread of seeds).

When:  7.30pm on the second Friday in November (10th Nov). Members and visitors all welcome.

Where:  Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine – next door to the Art Gallery.  Due to exams being held in hall, this talk will be held in the chapel at the rear of the main church building.

There will be an excursion on the following day (Sat 11th Nov) to view some stipoid grasses in the field with a specialist.

If you have questions, please contact the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club.


Tuan Talk by Jess Lawton – Newstead Landcare AGM

Posted on 17 October, 2017 by Asha

This Thursday evening, 19th October 2017, Newstead Landcare Group is hosting a presentation by PhD candidate Jess Lawton. Jess is studying the Tuan or Brush-tailed Phascogale, a threatened and declining species of the Box-Ironbark country. The presentation will start at 8pm at Newstead Community Centre and all are welcome. A gold coin donation would be appreciated.  Afterwards there will be supper and a brief AGM.

Jess says,

“The Brush-tailed Phascogale is a rare, threatened species, and is declining in Victoria. Our understanding of its conservation biology is limited because it is sparsely distributed, ‘trap-shy’, and has been difficult to survey using traditional techniques. We know that this species has a rapid reproductive cycle, whereby all males die of stress and exhaustion after their first breeding season. We also know that this species often has a large home range of up to 100 ha. Therefore, the current thinking is that it requires large areas of intact forest for a population to persist. However, this species still occurs in modified habitats, such as paddock trees, roadsides, and isolated remnant patches. The aim of my study is to see if the occurrence of the Brush-tailed Phascogale in a modified landscape relates to patch size and patch connectedness.

Connecting Country set 150 nest box sites in 2010 to provide habitat for this species through the Mount Alexander Shire. They have since monitored many of these nest box sites every two years, and now have a number of years of data on this species occurrence in the region. I selected 50 of these 150 sites, stratified according to landscape context (ie. the amount of tree cover surrounding each nest box site). Between April and June 2016, while Connecting Country conducted their nest-box checks, I set two cameras at each of these 50 sites.

In this study, I model the occurrence of Brush-tailed Phascogales in the Mount Alexander Shire with landscape attributes, such as the size of a forest patch, and a number of habitat attributes collected in the field, including forest productivity, forest structure, logs and leaf litter, and tree size and species.

One property near Axe Creek was home to a particularly active population of Brush-tailed Phascogales, and you can watch a video of the sort of footage we detected”


Getting to know plants of Maldon and surrounds

Posted on 12 October, 2017 by Asha

Intern Sarah Edwards has recently commenced her placement with Connecting Country and attended the ‘Get to know your local plants’ workshop in Maldon on Saturday the 7th of October 2017. This is her account of the afternoon:

Out of the 1100 plant species found in beautiful central Victoria, 60% of these are native species. These native plants are separated by their characteristics (flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, bark) and are crucial for the survival of the birds, bugs, marsupials and other native animals that are found here.

This was an invaluable workshop. When attempting to correctly identify plants using reference books, there is often a limited amount of information and pictures able to be displayed, making detailed identification a challenge. The last thing I would want to do is accidentally pull out a native plant that I thought was a weed. One of the values of this workshop was being able to use live plant samples to practise on and have experts (Bonnie Humphreys and Frances Cincotta) on hand to help.

We all undertook a series of activities, the aim of which was to use the brief descriptions and other clues provided to identify what a given plant specimen was called. Each table had different types of plants (eucalypts, wattles, pea flowers, prickly shrubs etc.) that share similar characteristics.

Working in small groups, we touched, inspected, smelt and viewed juveniles and adult plant samples and worked as a team to correctly name them. It was like trying to work out a puzzle. Some species were more difficult to identify than others and at times it was quite tricky (and prickly!) but collaborating with others made this activity very enjoyable.

There are two more plant identification workshops coming up that are focusing on local weeds in Newstead and Chewton. See for the details.


Barkers Creek bush delights in Nature News – October 3rd 2017

Posted on 4 October, 2017 by Tanya Loos

For this month’s Nature News, local landholder and member of Barkers Creek Wildlife Landcare and Wildlife Group, Lois Denham writes about the joys of getting to know the bushland on her block, and how to care for it. This article was featured on page 38 of the Midland Express, October 3rd 2017.

One of the many joys of living in the bush is observing the wildlife. Today we enjoyed watching the male blue wrens chasing females in and out of the golden wattles. Last week we saw scarlet robins, and we have been amused by the querulous, chattering choughs drinking from our bird bath.

Our soundscape includes the faint soprano sounds of the bats at night and the continuous croaking of the many frogs in our dam. We have learnt to identify some birds by their calls, but not many of the frogs!  We are delighted by the kangaroos and the resident wallaby hopping through the bush; the lizard scurrying around or sunbaking on the rocks and then there is the thrill of discovering an echidna or two. No need for pets here!

A tiny Caledenia sp, by Bonnie Humphreys

My husband and I retired to live on eight acres of Box Ironbark bushland block 19 months ago. We had no desire to own much land but this block and its lovely mudbrick house and studio ‘found’ us.  A friend, who is a local and an active Landcare member, informed us it was a good bush block even though it had been turned upside down by miners in the gold rush days.  He also noticed that there weren’t too many weeds we would have to control. With our friend’s encouragement, we bought the property and joined Landcare with the knowledge that there would be help available to manage  and continue the rehabilitation of the land.

We knew we would be on a steep but enjoyable learning curve. With the help of Landcare members, Connecting Country’s Bonnie Humphreys, and some professional assistance we learnt to identify the native plants and weeds. Our newly acquired weed management skills haver resulted in fewer invasive species and more natives on the property than were here when we moved in.

We were fortunate that there was good rain and a bumper wildflower season last spring. This year the wattles have put on a magnificent show, and I am enjoying watching many other wildflowers come into bloom.  I will always remember the joy of discovering the tiny ground orchids as they emerged and I thought I had struck gold when I found our first spider orchid. I wonder how many orchids I will find this spring?


22 October 2017 – Little Habitat Heroes “Tree Caring Day”

Posted on 28 September, 2017 by Tanya Loos

The trees and shrubs planted by an enthusiastic crowd of young and old Habitat Heroes  are thriving – with a 98% survival rate! The Little Habitat Heroes team invite you to come along to their first ‘Tree Caring Day’ on: Sunday 22nd October 2017, 9:30am – 12noon at Mount Alexander Regional Park. 

The Tree Caring day will involve follow-up maintenance including replacing any missing guards and light weeding around the plants.  Morning tea is provided – but please do BYO lunch.

The day will also include a half hour information session from Brendan Barbetti, a local environmental contractor and Little Habitat Heroes dad, about the species planted, the importance of ongoing maintenance, and the significance of biodiversity in your own garden and land.

The planting site in June – it will be great to see the site now!

A few things to note:

  • No toilet on site. The closest is at the Leanganook Campground (aprrox 1km away).
  • Parking: at Leanganook Campground or the Koala Park parking area (a few hundred metres away) and walk down the hill. Please take lots of care when walking on the road.
  • BYO: gloves, sturdy shoes, wet weather gear, warm weather gear, sunhat, sunscreen, pen and paper (if staying for the talk), picnic lunch.
  • Provided: tea, coffee and morning tea snacks.

Donations – If you’d like to donate to our Little Habitat Heroes campaign, please go to Funds will be used for ongoing maintenance of the already planted trees and future plantings to further enhance the site.

Feel free to pass on this invitation to others that might be interested. The more the merrier! So that the team can cater adequately, please RSVP through Eventbrite by 14 October. You can also RSVP and share the invitation at the Facebook event site

For further information, contact the Little Habitat Heroes team:

Meg: 0466 333 419
Jodi: 0410 838 083


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 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


North Central Chat – September edition

Posted on 13 September, 2017 by Tanya Loos

This month’s North Central Chat is a nice companion to Try Out Landcare month, and features an article by Tess grieves answering the oft-asked question “How can Landcare attract new people, and free up more time for our current, overworked members”?

You can download the September North Central Chat by clicking the following link : North-Central-chat-September-2017.



Local groups and volunteers honoured at the Victorian Landcare Awards 2017

Posted on 4 September, 2017 by Connecting Country

Environmental groups from the Mount Alexander Shire dominated the 2017 Victorian Landcare Awards ceremony at Government House last Friday, the 1st September 2017. Connecting Country was awarded the Landcare Network Award, and the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group was awarded the Fairfax Media Landcare Community Groups Award.

Individuals were also recognised for their voluntary work; Ian Higgins, from Friends of Campbells Creek won the Australian Government Individual Landcarer award, and Ian Grenda was Highly Commended in this category.

Around 350 Landcarers from around the state gathered at Government House, with a jubilant group of 16 from the Mount Alexander region. The Landcare Awards are an opportunity to showcase people and projects that are contributing to sustainable agriculture and the protection of Victoria’s environment.

This year’s awards received significant interest from right across the state, with 85 nominations submitted across the 14 categories. Also nominated from this region were Asha Bannon for the Young Landcarer Award; and Chewton Primary and Winters Flat Primary for the Junior Landcare Team Award.

These awards are a strong testament to the energy and enthusiasm of the Mount Alexander Shire community for our natural environment. Mount  Alexander Shire is incredibly fortunate to have such an active network of Landcare groups, schools and individuals working together with passion and a focus on landscape scale restoration. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at the Landcare Awards this year.

CLICK HERE to read all of the winners’ stories from across the state.

Here are a few shots from the exciting day:


Now is the best time to try out Landcare!

Posted on 31 August, 2017 by Asha

Tanya on a walk with some excited ‘nature detectives’ at the 2017 Camp Out on the Mount

Landcare Week is coming up next week: September 4th – 10th 2017. It’s the perfect time to get outside, get your hands dirty, and connect with other community members. We have over 30 groups in the Mount Alexander region alone, so it’s easy to find an event or working bee that’s near you and suits your interests.

Landcare and Friends groups are always looking for extra hands to help and are keen to share their knowledge of our beautiful local plants and animals. During September, there are more than eleven events being run by Landcare groups, including nature walks to learn from experts and soak up the bush, and working bees to develop some hands-on skills and help improve habitat for native species.

CLICK HERE to visit our page with information about all of the Landcare events happening in the Mount Alexander region in September 2017.


20 Million Trees Connects Woodland Bird Habitat

Posted on 30 August, 2017 by Asha

The Green Army helped with planting at Baringhup Landcare’s Loddon River site

Four Landcare groups, six sites, and over 6300 plants! Over the past 18 months Baringhup, Harcourt Valley, Sutton Grange, and McKenzie’s Hill Landcare groups have been working hard on a landscape-scale revegetation project funded through the Federal Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme. With the help of community volunteers, the Green Army team, and local contractors, the Landcare groups have revegetated private and public land across the region creating and connecting important habitat for our threatened woodland birds.

The photopoints below are taken from the same location at one of Baringhup Landcare’s 20 Million Trees sites along the Loddon River. The first was taken before planting in 2016, the second after planting in 2017. As you can see in the second photo, the revegetated plants are thriving at this site! Birds in abundance were already enjoying the new habitat on the sunny day it was taken.

Well done to all the Landcare groups involved in this project and this amazing achievement.

This project was supported by the 20 Million Trees Programme, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.


New Map of Wheel Cactus in Victoria

Posted on 22 August, 2017 by Asha

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) has recently completed a project aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about the noxious weed Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta), funded by Wettenhall Environment Trust. One of the valuable outcomes from this project is the construction a new map showing the distribution of Wheel Cactus infestations in Victoria. 

Our well-known former Landcare Facilitator, Max Schlachter, was employed as project officer by TCCG and has collated 345 recorded sites of Wheel Cactus within our state. These sites covered 105 different localities around Victoria, mostly in a band from the northwest to Melbourne, but including some surprising outliers elsewhere. The majority of the sites (69%) were new records, and the rest were existing records taken from current government maps, such as the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

Some alarming conclusions from this mapping exercise were that within some of these localities, for example ‘Maldon’, there are too many infestations to record, plus there are very likely many infestations that were not able to be captured. The information gathered through this project will help communities and land managers better understand how Wheel Cactus spreads and how best to manage it.

If you want to know more about Wheel Cactus and how to control it,  you can go along to TCCG’s next Community Field Day on Sunday 27th August, CLICK HERE for more details.


Tarrangower Cactus Warriors August 2017 Field Day

Posted on 22 August, 2017 by Connecting Country

Tony Kane from the Tarrengower Cactus Control Group has let us know that their next Community Field Day will be held on Sunday 27th August, starting at 10:30am. They’ll be meeting at a property on Tarrengower School Road, south of South Parkins Reef Road to inject an infestation of Wheel Cactus.  From Maldon the way will be signposted from Parkins Reef Road.  Tony notes that ‘our events are family friendly, but we ask that all children be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.’

Further information is provided in the attached flyer (click here).


Flora of Castlemaine and surrounds – the online guide is launched!

Posted on 9 August, 2017 by Connecting Country

On 1st August 2017, the online edition of the Wild Plants of the Castlemaine District was formally launched.  This comprehensive guide contains details on the identification, locations, preferred habitats and history of hundreds of native and introduced plant species found in Castlemaine and surrounding areas.  It can be viewed at the following stand-alone website location –

In November 2016, local natural historian – Ern Perkins – sadly passed away.  Ern’s passion for the understanding the intricacies of natural environment was matched by his passion for sharing his knowledge with others.  A few months before his passing, he first launched this compendium of local plant species as a freely available resource via USB memory sticks.  Ern had developed this guide based on information that he and others had collected and compiled over more than 40 years.  With the support of Ern’s family since his passing, the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club has worked with a local IT graphics firm to make this guide available as an online resource, allowing it to reach a much wider audience.  Financial contributions and other support towards this important project has also been provided by the Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) and Connecting Country.  Each of these organisations will have a link to this flora guide from their websites.  A permanent link to it has been established from the Connecting Country website here.

It is intended to be a dynamic website, with updates made over time in response to taxonomic changes, new photographs and new findings.  Landholders, Landcarers, students and many other people from the Mount Alexander Shire and beyond will appreciate this valuable and easy-to-use resource.


We All Need A Home – Video by Chewton Primary School

Posted on 31 July, 2017 by Asha

“We All Need A Home” is a short video created by Chewton Primary School students late last year. It explains the importance of caring for our local wildlife by cleaning up rubbish and creating habitat through a very engaging story. It also includes tiles from Chewton Primary School’s reptile and frog monitoring site which students helped Connecting Country set up and monitor.

CLICK HERE or on the picture below to view the full video. There is a link to another interesting video made by students on the same page, plus a copy of the presentation that the “Coastal Ambassadors” gave on local reptile and frog conservation.


Birds thriving in Campbells Creek

Posted on 27 July, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Connecting Country has been carrying out bird monitoring at a site in Campbells Creek since 2010, and so it was with great pleasure that Tanya had an opportunity to lead a walk there on Sunday 22 July 2017, with some of the members of Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare that had a hand in the restoration of  this part of the creek and surrounding land.

Over twenty people attended the Feathered Friends of Campbells Creek event, which was part of Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Sustainable Living workshop series. The workshop started with a bird walk at Campbells Creek, near Honeycomb Rd. We walked down to the Connecting Connecting bird survey site to carry out a twenty minute two hectare survey – the standard bird monitoring method. I was impressed to see nearly everyone had their own binoculars.

We all had great views of New Holland Honeyeaters, and at one point a Wedge-tailed Eagle soared majestically overhead. An abundance of thornbills darted about through the wattles, along with pardalotes, a Grey Fantail, superb fairy-wrens  and a small flock of Red-browed Finches. Towards the end of the walk, we caught a glimpse of a female Scarlet Robin, and this was only the third sighting of this species in 28 surveys! For a copy of the Bird Monitoring results for the Campbells Creek site click here.

It was seven degrees, a bit glary and a bit breezy – not the best conditions for seeing small birds. However it was clear that the wattles, hakeas, native grasses, hop bush and cassinia were providing excellent cover and hiding places for the small birds of the area!

“Hmmm – are they Yellow Thornbills calling and bustling about up there? “

After the bird survey, David King from the Friends gave us an overview of the work of the group over the past thirty years, in particular Ian Higgins. David told us that before the group started their revegetation work, Ian had counted a mere five individual wattles between Castlemaine and this section at which we stood! An incredible transformation. We then walked back up the path to the sign, which had a whole range of information and QR codes so that you could use your smart phone to find out more about the flora and fauna the Friends are such fine custodians of.

David King talked about the sign. Moments later we saw a Swamp Wallaby!! Photo by Jay Smith.

After our walk we returned to the Campbells Creek Community Centre for a short presentation on birds and habitat, where I had the opportunity to emphasise how the restoration work has made the site so perfect for small bush birds such as thornbills, fairy-wrens and pardalotes. The Scarlet Robin is an excellent candidate for a focal or flagship species for the area – and I predict that sightings of the Scarlet Robin may become more frequent in the coming years – thanks to the work of this fantastic group!

Many thanks to David King, and to Jay Smith from Mount Alexander Shire Council for hosting the walk.

As previously posted, the Friends are participating in National Tree day this Sunday:

Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare will be planting in the Honeycomb Bushland Reserve in Campbells Creek. It’s a 10 minute walk from car parking to the site, along an bush trail used by recreational walkers, with interesting features along the way. The planting will be followed by a free BBQ lunch for all, catering for a range of dietary needs.
When: 10am – 1pm, Sunday 30th July 2017 
Meet at the Honeycomb Bushland Reserve, Campbells Creek, where Honeycomb Road meets the gravel trail (CLICK HERE for map).
More information: follow them on Facebook (CLICK HERE), go to their website (CLICK HERE) or contact Shona on 0408 724 699



Dams to Wetlands Workshop – Muckleford Catchment Landcare

Posted on 17 July, 2017 by Asha

Workshop attendees will visit dams like this one in Muckleford (photo by Beth Mellick).

Join Muckleford Landcare to visit two dams and discuss ways in which to improve their function for biodiversity. Everyone is welcome to come along and learn how to turn your dam into a thriving wetland.

The workshop is on this Sunday 23rd July, from 9.30am to 12 noon. Meet at the end of Lyndham Road (off Golf Links Road).  For any questions, contact Beth on 0431 219 980 or


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. 



Fryerstown bird walk and workshop

Posted on 3 July, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Last Sunday, June 25 2017, Fryerstown residents and bird lovers from as far afield as Woodend and Shepherds Flat enjoyed a bird walk and gathering at the old Fryerstown School.  We were pleasantly surprised by the mild weather and yes – even sunshine!
Our group of twenty spotted 18 bird species , with Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters most definitely “bird of the day” as they were present in large numbers feeding on the flowering Yellow Gums.  Another highlight was some very good views of one of our target species, the Brown Treecreeper.  Nina Tsilikas took this lovely photograph of a Brown Treecreeper hopping about on the moss-covered ground. Out of shot is a large group of Long-billed Corellas who were digging for a bulb of some kind – the two species made quite a contrast.  They were foraging on a site known as Blue Duck Mine – soon to be the site of an exciting new project, but more on this later!


They appear to be plain brown – but the Brown Treecreeper is very beautifully patterned when seen at close quarters.

We walked along Turners Road to the Fryerstown Cemetery. Sadly the Eastern Yellow Robins who are usually there were absent, but we did get some lovely views of a male and female Galah. Nina was there again with her trusty camera – and these shots show the subtle difference between the sexes – the male has a dark brown coloured eye, and the female a pinkish red eye.

Male Galah

Female Galah

After the walk we all enjoyed sandwiches, cake and tea and coffee served by the School committee – and I gave a short presentation on woodland birds and how to help them thrive in the Fryerstown area.

Maurie Dynon from Guildford and Upper Loddon Landcare kindly stood up and gave the group an update on an exciting proposed restoration project in the Fryerstown township – the weed removal and revegetation of a patch of land known as the Blue Duck Mine. The funding is yet to be confirmed, but the land managers (Department of Environment Land Water and Planning) are  on board and so is the Fryerstown CFA, whose fire shed abuts the reserve. Fryerstown locals such as Clodagh Norwood, Helen Martin and  Bill Burris are thrilled that the Blue Duck Mine project, auspiced by the landcare group, could set in motion a number of habitat restoration projects locally.

Many thanks to the wonderful residents of Fryerstown for their generosity and enthusiasm – it was a really fun morning!

Finally, Connecting Country is  calling out for landholders who are interested in helping protect and enhance bird habitat on their property – if you are in the Fryerstown, Tarilta, Glenluce area and have remnant vegetation on your land – please fill in an expression of interest form – see Expression-Of-Interest-Form-July-2017-Connecting-Country and get in touch!

This event was generously supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust. 

Watching the Brown Treecreeper




Tarrengower Cactus Field Day – Sunday 25 June 2017

Posted on 19 June, 2017 by Connecting Country

Help the Tarrengower Cactus Control Group treat infestations like this one on Sunday 25th June in Nuggetty.

The next Tarrangower Cactus Control Group community field day is on Sunday 25th June 2017. Attendees will be working at a number of sites in the Nuggetty area. The group will meet in Nuggetty School Road at the site of the old Nuggetty School. The way to the venue will be sign posted along the Shelbourne Road from the Tarrengower Prison corner.

The Nuggetty Landcare group has done a lot of work at the old school site with its historic Peace Cairn. It is well worth a visit and will be a great place to meet and to hold our sausage sizzle.

For more information about the field day please contact Tony Kane from the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group on 0400 495 480.