Any tips for Kamarooka and Greater Bendigo NP

Hi fellow birders, I’m popping up to Bendigo over the weekend and am hoping to do some birding in the Kamarooka and Greater Bendigo NP. It will be our first time in the park and I have the maps from Chris Tzaros’ book Wildlife of the Box-Ironbark Country. Has anyone been there recently and could give me some pointers on a couple of places to go in the NP? I’d love to see the Shy Heathwren and Tawny-crowned HE. Is the Shy Heathwren a hard bird to spot? Regards, Patrick Scully ===============================

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2 comments to Any tips for Kamarooka and Greater Bendigo NP

  • paul

    Hi Patrick,

    First, go to Keith Stockwell’s excellent web site and download the guide to Kamarooka birding:

    This pamphlet will give you some excellent tips, advice and notes on good birding spots.

    When Ruth and I go to Kamarooka these days, we tend to follow a tried-and-tested route. From Bendigo, follow the Bendigo-Tennyson Road until you get to the Campbell Road intersection. We usually turn RIGHT here, into Burnside Road – be careful, this track gets rough quite quickly. The bird you’re looking for here is Purple-gaped Honeyeater – drive a kilometre or so along this road, looking for the birds. There is also a chance for Tawny-crowned Honeyeater in this area. Turn around and head back to the Bendigo-Tennyson Road, crossing this road into Campbell Road. Drive along this road about a kilometre, then turn LEFT towards Distillery Dam.

    In the stretch from Bendigo-Tennyson Road to the Distillery Dam turnoff, look for Variegated Fairy-wrens. Also, in recent times, Purple-gaped Honeyeaters have been pretty reliable in this stretch. As you drive into Distillery Dam, look for Brush Bronzewing. There are at least two resident pairs here, and they will often flush as you drive along the track. Find a convenient spot to park near the old rusty eucalyptus still. Walk between the two dams towards the mallee behind them. You’re looking for the Thornbills here – Inland and Chestnut-rumped. Keep your eye (and ears) out for the honeyeaters – Yellow-faced, White-eared, Yellow-plumed, White-naped, Black-chinned and Brown-headed can all be found in this area, as well as Fuscous occasionally. Back out in the open near the still, there are often Red-capped Robins.

    Once you’re done with that spot, head back to Campbell Road and turn left (west) towards Millwood Road. About half-way to Millwood Road, Campbell Road heads uphill. At about the “top” of this hill, there is a clearing with a bit of a track to the left (south). Pull in here. This is often a reliable spot for White-fronted Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater (summer only), and Shy Heathwren. We’ve also had both Variegated and Superb Fairy-wren on opposite sides of Campbell Road at this spot.

    Head west towards Millwood Road. As you head along Campbell Road, the habitat changes from mallee to box-ironbark, which really gives Kamarooka its diversity. If you turn left at the end of Campbell Road and head south for about a kilometre, you’ll reach a patch of open box-ironbark forest where you can sometimes find Noisy and Little Friarbirds. Now head back north along Millwood Road until you almost reach Camp Road. There is a small dam immediately on your right, just to the south of Camp Road. This dam is good for Fuscous Honeyeater and we’ve often seen Diamond Firetail here. Other honeyeaters in this area include the ubiquitous Red Wattlebird, Yellow-faced, Yellow-tufted and White-plumed. Keep your eyes open for parrots – Lorikeets and Budgies (as the weather gets warmer). Common Bronzewings can often be seen here. In this open box-ironbark habitat, Painted Button-quails can sometimes be found making their platelets in the leaf litter. We generally hear Crested Bell-bird at this spot too. Keep a look out for Peaceful Doves, as they can be quite easy to see in the northern part of the park.

    Turn right into Camp Road and follow this. You will come across Mulga Dam, which is a good spot for honeyeaters and parrots. Also Restless Flycatchers are quite common here. It is worth continuing along Camp Road, crossing the Bendigo-Tennyson Road, and exploring the Camp Road area to the east of Bendigo-Tennyson Road. Be careful – Camp Road appears to END at Bendigo-Tennyson road – it isn’t a crossroads like many maps show. You will need to turn left (north) for a hundred metres or so, before turning right (east) into what looks like a driveway to a farm gate. Camp Road continues to the left here. This area is good for the bushland birds – robins, including Hooded Robin and Jacky Winter. Restless Flycatchers and Brown Treecreepers are common here.

    Once you’re done, head back to Bendigo-Tennyson Road and head home!

    This should take you the best part of a day to explore.

    When you get some more time, try exploring the Whipstick, further to the south as well.

    Paul Dodd Docklands, Victoria

  • "Bob Cook"

    Hi Patrick

    Check out the Parks Victoria website for Great Bendigo NP and download the map for the Kamarooka section. On that map you will see Campbell Rd that runs between Bendigo-Tennyson Rd and Millwood Rd. About halfway along that road, or maybe closer to Millwood Rd, there is a “clearing” on the North of the road and a more open “clayish” area on the South. On the South side there were recently (early Sept) a couple of small pools of water that were attracting many honeyeater species, including Tawny-crowned. These were also in the trees around the more open area to the North.

    We located Shy Heathwren at the edge of the road about 200 metres East of that same spot. Yes, they are hard to locate and are aptly named! They lurk very low in the dense dry vegetation. Going back to the same spot about 1 hour later, we brought one bird back out with a brief playing of its call.

    Note that Millwood Rd is likely to have some pretty large “puddles”, so be careful if you are in 2WD.

    Bob Cook