Victorian Bird Walks

Following on from the success form Castlemaine Bird Walks I have just released

Victorian Bird Walks.

  The aim of this book is to provide different avenues to enjoy the bush around Victoria. It is intended both for those interested in birds and where to find them, as well as providing a guide to a variety of walks for anyone who wants to get out and about in the bush.
Walks vary in difficulty and length, so there should be something for everyone. And for the more adventurous, at most locations suggestions are offered for extensions to the main walk. The book is spiral bound to facilitate having maps open in the field without breaking the book spine.
Those with mobility issues who still want to get out and about are also catered for with a guide to suitable walks in the Accessibility section at the end of the book. Several of the walks are suitable for mobility scooters and children in strollers.
Of course there is always an element of serendipity when looking for birds, but the aim has been to provide a useful guide to what to look for in each area.
The approach is based on my very successful Bird Walks of CastlemaineClearly this book struck a chord with many people and now I am expanding my horizons.

Image: Golden-headed Cisticola


Emerging from my Covid-induced hiatus I thought a few updates would be in order. Although my wanderings in search of birds have been constrained, I have been busy. You may have already seen my recent presentation on Birding For Beginners run by Connecting Country. Video available here.

A surprising number of online participants joined this event and we had fully booked bird walks after the talk. Interesting to meet a lot of new people and hopefully I have inspired a few to get out and about.

The book continues to sell, even during lockdowns – thanks to all who have bought a copy.

Before Covid I was already working on a new book – originally it was to be “Birding by Rail”. About ten sites were fully documented before things locked down.

I have always tried to reduce my impact on the environment – not fashionable in some quarters I know, but that is just me. My birding tends to be fairly local. At times though I wanted to expand my birding experiences. Although I have always driven a small, fuel efficient car I realized that wider travel for birding could be relatively easy via trains. So I set out to see if it was possible.

It is all very well to talk about carbon footprints. But actually doing something requires a change of habits and lifestyle. Hopefully this book will give you ideas as to ways that you can take positive action. It can be a lot of fun to change the way you travel. And with kids it can quickly become an adventure.

Being based in Castlemaine, we started off with a simple hop on the train to Kyneton. Worked a treat and allowed us to explore an area along the Campaspe River we had never noticed. A major test was then decided – why not Bairnsdale? Crazy, hey? In fact it proved to be so easy. A train from Castlemaine to Southern Cross and then a direct link to Bairnsdale. No more hideous Melbourne traffic, the horrible tunnel and all its fumes, nor the sheer waste of time sitting in a car. Instead we sat back and chatted, read, wrote bits of this book and caught up on email. We arrived refreshed and feeling way more productive. So the second and third walks were sorted. And so it went.

However, due to changing circumstances I have now expanded it to “Bird Walks of Victoria” given that some people (me included!) are still a little wary of travelling in confined spaces. It will have the same style and format as Castlemaine Bird Walks, just on a bigger scale, but still with the train travel option. I set myself a target of two years to do it. One year has now vanished, but I am still on course to finish by this time next year.

The aim is not to replicate other bird guides, but to offer a curated selection of good bird walks – both near railway stations and further afield. More information to come as I get out and about much more. I will publish a few teasers of walks on this blog when they have been tested a bit more.

A few recent local photos:

Southern Whiteface – Muckleford Station. A tiny bird that is easy to miss, but is not uncommon around the place.
Eastern Yellow Robin – Rise and Shine. Always one of my favourites – plenty of character and curiosity.
Black Kite – Baringhup. An adaptable species that is becoming more common in the area.