14 May 2018 – Roadside Cleanup

From 9am on Monday 14 May, CFNC members and friends are encouraged to support the quarterly roadside clean-up.  This is along an ecologically significant stretch of roadside vegetation adjacent to the Pyrenees Hwy.

Meet at the corner of Pyrenees Hwy, Golf Links Rd and Willy Milly Road (next to Tait Decorative Iron) at 9am Wear sturdy footwear and bring gloves. Garbage bags and reflective vests will be provided. Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to work on the roadside by KBAC rules.  It is usually all finished by 11am.

Many thanks to the organisers, Geoff and Geraldine Harris.


12 May 2018 – Native grasslands excursion

As an accompaniment to the previous night’s guest speaker presentation (click here for details), the May 2018 CFNC excursion will be to visit one or more local urban and peri-urban grassland areas.  It will be an opportunity to investigate their values, threats and management considerations in the context of Zoe’s talk.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.  On Saturday 12 May, the excursion will depart at 1.30pm sharp from the small Octopus/U3A building on Duke St (the old information centre opposite the Castle Motel).  Bring warm clothing, wet weather gear, and food/drink for afternoon tea.  Car-pooling likely to be available.

11 May 2018 – CFNC Guest speaker Zoe Thompson – native grasslands

The guest speaker at the May 2018 CFNC general meeting is Zoe Thompson.  Zoe, a biodiversity officer with the Brimbank City Council, will present on “Native Grasslands in Urban Areas” – a topic of relevance to the local area (e.g., the Montgomery St grasslands in Wesley Hill).  This event will be on Friday 11 May from 7.30pm in the Fellowship Room (located in the hall at the rear of the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine – next door to the Art Gallery).  Member and visitors are all welcome, there is no cost for attendance and tea/coffee/nibbles are available afterwards.  We hope to see you there.

Zoe has let us know that her presentation will cover protecting and managing remnant vegetation (particularly grassy ecosystems) from a local government perspective, and also successes and lessons learnt with our management works and with using the system to protect what’s left 

“As I am a jack of all trades in council in relation to biodiversity, providing advice to statutory planning on development proposals, setting up habitat protection and recreation projects, monitoring works and projects for all our conservation assets, working with other departments to reduce their impact and reinforcing the role of community empowerment and therefore advocacy for their local environment, I’d hope to give a view of where local government staff fit into the protection and management of indigenous flora and fauna.”.
Zoe has also provided us with a summary of her training, qualifications and experience, “I studied Parks Recreation & Cultural Heritage management at Charles Sturt University and Natural Resource Management at Bendigo TAFE (BRIT).

I have works for the past 18 years at Brimbank City Council on Metro Melbourne’s western volcanic plains carrying out 4 different roles, starting as Land Management Coordinator, moving into a Parks Community Liaison Officer role and then becoming Parks Conservation Coordinator.  I have spent the last 8 ½ years as Biodiversity Officer.
Prior to working at Brimbank I worked for Macedon Ranges Shire at Hanging Rock as a Park Ranger and also within several MRSC departments as a casual and also spent some time working at the Insectarium in Woodend which was a brilliant experience and way to spend time for someone trying to get into the permanent work force.

28 April 2018 – Launch of guide to local wattles

The Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests have invited members, friends and supporters of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club to the launch of their new book – Wattles of the Mount Alexander Region – on Saturday 28th April.  They have provided the following information about the book and the event:

Acacia, known in Australia as wattle, is the largest genus of plants in the country — nearly 1000 species! Its brilliant flowers transform winter and spring landscapes. Our sporting teams wear its green and gold colours. Sprigs of wattle flowers adorn our patriotic events. The Golden Wattle is our national floral emblem …

But how many wattle species can the average citizen name and recognise?

A new 112 page guide, Wattles of the Mount Alexander Region, helps the beginner to make a start. In plain language, and generously illustrated, it presents twenty one species which flourish in the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. And a general introduction explains different features of wattles, helping in identification and appreciation of these tenacious and beautiful plants.

The book is published by Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests in association with Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club and Connecting Country. The authors are Bernard Slattery, Ern Perkins and Bronwyn Silver.

George Broadway, President, Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club, will launch the book in the Phee Broadway Theatre Foyer, Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine, on Saturday 28 April 2018 from 11 am.

Everyone is welcome, refreshments will be served and copies of the book will be available for sale. Stoneman’s Bookroom will be stocking it or you can order it through the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests website (fobif.org). Cost is $10.

14 April 2018 – CFNC excursion

To complement Friday night’s presentation on wading waterbirds by David Hollands (click here), Saturday’s excursion will be to the Harcourt Reservoir (also often referred to as the Barker’s Creek Reservoir).  This is consistently one of the best local wetlands for diverse and abundant waterbird sightings.  Some of the highlights in recent years have been Plumed Whistling-ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Great Egrets and Blue-billed Ducks.

The excursion will leave at on Saturday 14 April at 1.30pm sharp from the car park in front of Octopus building on Duke St (opposite the Castle Motel).  Members and visitors all welcome, and there is no cost.  Bring along a drink and snack for the all-important afternoon break!  Also recommended that you bring your binoculars, bird book and spotting scope if you have one.  There will be opportunities for car-pooling.  Hope that you can join us.

13 April 2018 – guest speaker David Hollands

The guest speaker for the April CFNC general meeting is renowned bird photographer and author, David Hollands.  David will be speaking about his latest book – Cranes, Herons and Storks of Australia.

Departing Black-necked Stork. Yellow Waters, Kakadu NP. Photo by David Hollands.

David was born and educated in England and trained in medicine at Birmingham University.  He came with his wife to Australia in 1961.  David has been interested in birds and bird photography for as long as he can remember but, for many years this had to take a back seat to running a medical practice and rearing a family.  Then, in the late 1970s, he decided to write a book on Australian birds of prey and this came to fruition in 1984 with “Eagles Hawks and Falcons of Australia”.  Since then, he has authored and provided the photography for many books on Australian birds, including groups such as kingfishers, owls and waders.

The evening commences as per usual at 7.30pm on the second Friday of the month (13 April) in the Fellowship Room – which located behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine (next door to the Art Gallery).  Members and visitors are all welcome, and there is no cost for entry. Stay after the talk for a light supper.  Feel free to share this amongst your social networks!

Juvenile Little Bittern. Orbost. Photo by David Hollands.

New Walking Track Maps for Taradale-Fryers Ridge Available

We think this will be of interest to local field naturalists and bushwalkers. 

We’ve been made aware that the Taradale Community Forum (TCF) and Cartography Community Mapping (CCM) have published maps of the Taradale-Fryers Ridge area.  (The TCF has also received support from the Taradale and District Walking Group).

One of two TCF maps presents a number of walks around the Taradale township.  The other map provides details about the route of, and access points to, the 13 km Taradale section of the walking track alongside the Coliban Main Channel.  The TCF maps are available at http://www.taradale.vic.au/taradale-walking-tracks/ .

The CCM topographical map covers the Fryers Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve.  In broad terms the reserve is bounded on the east by the Coliban Main Channel and on the west by Fryers Ridge Road.  Between these boundaries is a network of unsealed roads and walking tracks. A reliable source comments “(The reserve) is known locally as being one of the best wildflower areas.  The show starts with August wattles and continues until December.”
The CCM map is available at http://cartography.id.au/fryers_ridge/fryers_ridge.htm .

Happy walking and exploring.  And don’t forget to take your binoculars, as there are many interesting birds to see along the way as well.