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Our Bushland School Holiday Program April 10-23 2023

3 April 2023

Hunter Region Landcare Network are pleased to announce a program of events and initiatives aimed to support kids and their families on their birdwatching journey, while also showcasing some of the spectacular bushland sites in the Cessnock Region.

Our Bushland Poster Competition (Entries open now until Sun 21 May)

The Our Bushland Poster Competition is open to students who are attending primary school in the Cessnock region, aged 5 – 12. Schools and families who wish to support students entering the competition have access to a range of educational resources and activities to provide guidance in learning more about the competition topic.

All schools with participating students will go in the draw to win one of 3 ‘Our Bushland’ classroom prize packs, including educational materials and tools valued at over $1000. The winning student entry within each age group category will win their own Our Bushland prize pack including binoculars, books and other fun items. A selection of artworks will also be displayed in a public exhibition.

For more information on the competition, see full details and resources on our website here.

OOSH Vacation Care ‘Woodland Wander’ Excursions

Friday 14 April: Nulkaba OOSH, Dudley Street OOSH

Tuesday 18th April: Bellbird OOSH

Children enrolled in OOSH Vacation Care will be treated to an excursion to Poppet Head Park for a morning spent learning about their precious local bushland and the birds that live there. Enquiries about enrollment in the April school holidays OOSH vacation care program can be made directly through Cessnock Multipurpose Children’s Centre – website here.

Bushland Birding for Beginners (Stanford Merthyr)

Sunday 16 April

Bird-curious children and their families are invited to join our friendly experts for a birding for beginners session and guided bird walk through Stanford Merthyr Crown Reserve (Site #5 on the Hunter Bird Observers Club’s ‘Birding Guide to the Cessnock Woodlands’).

Bookings are essential, and can be made online here.

Our Bushland ‘Birding Backpacks’ Launch Events at Cessnock Libraries

Monday 17 April: Kurri Kurri Library

Wednesday 19th April: Cessnock Library

Our Bushland Birding Backpacks include binoculars, bird ID guides, activity sheets and other information for families to begin their birding journey in the Cessnock region, and will be available for loan from Cessnock libraries.

To celebrate their launch, young children and their families are invited for a reading of the wonderful new picture book “The Forgotten Song: Saving the Regent Honeyeater”, followed by some birding craft activities.

Bookings are essential and can be made through Cessnock Library’s Eventbrite page here.

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Critically endangered species found in backyard

23 March 2023 (ABC News)

The sighting of a critically endangered bird in the Hunter Valley is giving wildlife experts hope the species is surviving and possibly thriving.

Sheree Grant was in her backyard at Martin's Creek near Maitland when she noticed a bird in her birdbath different to any other she had seen before.

"Once I got a better look, I realised it was a regent honeyeater," Ms Grant said.

"I was very exciting to see such a rare bird in my garden. The adrenaline was pumping a little."

It's estimated there are are just 250 to 300 regent honeyeaters left on the east coast of Australia.


Not only was it a rare sighting, the bird also had bands on its legs.

Ms Grant reported the sighting to Birdlife Australia, which has been managing the monitoring of honeyeaters.

She discovered that 50 of the Taronga Zoo-bred birds were released into the Tomalpin Woodlands on land owned by the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council in November 2022.

They were fitted with tiny transmitters for tracking.

"From Sheree's photos, we were able to identify the bird as 'Red Orange, Pink Metal'," Birdlife Australia Woodland manager Mick Roderick said.

The honeyeater got its name from the coloured leg bands placed on it by researchers before it was released into the wild.

Hope for the species

Mr Roderick said what was most exciting about the sighting, was the fact the honeyeater was seen 40 kilometres from where it was released, more than three months after it had last been tracked.

"We had no idea where he had gone," Mr Roderick said.

"He wandered around quite a bit. He had quite a reputation among the tracking team.

"The chances of having a photo sent to us of a lost bird is pretty incredible."

Mr Roderick said the discovery would allow BirdLife Australia and Taronga Zoo to gain the required permits to be able to continue their work in helping save the species.

"It's great to see this bird alive and well," he said.

"Hopefully he has found other regent Honeyeaters to associate with."

Birdlife Australia is asking anyone who sees a regent honeyeater to report it via phone or the Birdlife Australia website or direct to or 1800 621 056


Photo Ms Grant

Regent Honeyeater 2021 Release- Mindaribba LALC- Lachlan Hall credit.webp
Regent Honeyeater 2021 Release- Lachlan Hall credit.webp

50 Regent Honeyeaters Released in third annual release to the Lower Hunter

20 November 2022

The recent release of 50 zoo-bred regent honeyeaters in the Lower Hunter isn’t just a crucial population boost for a species on track to become Australia’s second extinct mainland bird. It’s also bolstering an iconic Australian bush melody essential for the honeyeater’s survival: their love song.

Taronga Zoo has revolutionised the way it raises the critically endangered birds, based on research that shows zoo-bred males sing differently from their wild counterparts, potentially slashing their chances to survive and breed.

“We tutor our birds in their wild song,” Taronga’s manager of conservation programs Andrew Elphinstone said. “We’re trying to develop a really strong New South Wales-style song culture in the birds we’re releasing.

“You can think of it as having regional dialects. Birds in Victoria sound a little bit different to birds in NSW. And our zoo-bred birds sound different again.”

A population viability analysis by Taronga, the Australian National University and BirdLife Australia found focusing on the NSW population was the last chance we have to save the woodland nectarivores.

The restoration project was facilitated by the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council and the honeyeater release, funded by the NSW government’s Saving our Species program, took place on Wonnarua Country.

“This Country, like its people and this wonderful bird, has survived massive change and upheaval over the past 250 years,” the council’s chief executive Tara Dever said.

“While conditions need to be just right, to ensure the birds have enough food and shelter, the deep connection between First Nations People and this land has assisted with the success of the release.”

More Info Here:

Excerpts from Sydney Morning Herald: Angus Dalton 20 November 2022

Photos: Lachlan Hall

Photo 1: Welcome to Country- Tara Dever, CEO Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council

Photo 2: 2021 Released bird and it's chick, Lower Hunter.

OurBushland Festival- Come Along!


1 September 2022

Cessnock families are invited to attend the free friendly ‘Our Bushland’ festival celebrating the unique and important biodiversity of our district on Sunday 11 September 2022!

September is Biodiversity Month, promoting the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity.

The Cessnock district is home to many unique and threatened plants, birds and other animals. It is recognised internationally as a Key Biodiversity Area and includes Werakata National Park, and local private landholdings with expansive bushland.

Did you know the Cessnock area contains more than 65 threatened entities, including 9 ecological communities, 46 animal species and 10 plant species?

The bushland is a significant refuge area for several critically endangered species, including the highly iconic Regent Honeyeater and migratory Swift Parrot. It is an important place for the local Aboriginal community, the Wonnarua people, who have strong spiritual connection to the land and country that is rich with cultural heritage.


Unfortunately, local bushland and cultural heritage is constantly threatened by wildfires, arson, rubbish and weed dumping, illegal firewood collection and other vandalism.


Hunter Local Land Services is working with key organisations and partners to raise awareness and encourage landholders and community to take positive action and protect the local biodiversity.


“Our Bushland aims to empower the community to value and protect some of Australia’s most unique bushland, plants, animals and cultural heritage, right in their own backyard,” says Mick Roderick, NSW Woodland Bird Program Manager.


“We call it ‘Our Bushland’ as we ALL have an important role to take positive actions to protect it now, and conserve it for our future generations”.


Join us at Poppethead Park, Kitchener, from 9am to 3pm on Sunday 11 September.


Highlights will include:

  • Welcome to Country with a Wonnarua Elder

  • Local walking tours focusing on bushland, biodiversity and cultural heritage

  • Get close up with the cutest of Tasmanian Devil joeys with the Aussie Ark (bookings essential)

  • Kids activities, live music, food and artisan market stalls or bring your own picnic

  • Headline artists Ben Leece, Steel City Sue and William Crighton

  • Some of the speakers include: historian Ed Tonks, ecologists George Madani on cute Koalas, Kristy Peters, BirdLife Australia on the, often misunderstood, native mistletoe.

A major drawcard on the day is the festival finale with a performance by internationally renowned musician and passionate environmentalist (also a Cessnock resident) William Crighton.

Bookings are required for walks and tours, and can be made through the Our Bushland website or on the day.

Come along to celebrate Biodiversity Month and the most amazing bushland on the planet!


The festival is being supported by BirdLife Australia with funding and support from Cessnock City Council, Hunter Local Land Services through the Australian Government's National Landcare Program, the Hunter Bird Observers Club, Department of Planning and Environment, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and in collaboration with Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, Hunter Region Landcare Network, University of Newcastle  Conservation Science Research Group, Aussie Ark, Land Eco Consulting, and EnviroComm Connections.


To keep up to date or read more about festival event details, walks bookings and information about 'Our Bushland' values can all be found at or by following @ourbushland on social media (Facebook and Instagram).

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We're on the Project!!

28 March 2022


The Project promoted our efforts for Regent Honeyeaters, featuring our NSW Regent Honeyeater captive release program.

Back in October 2021, we released 58 zoo-bred Regent Honeyeaters into the spotted gum-ironbark of the Tomalpin Woodlands in NSW’s Lower Hunter Valley, on Wonnarua Country – as part of our ongoing work to save this Critically Endangered species from extinction.

To find out more about this release, journalist (and Australian Backyard Bird Count Ambassador) Chris Bath visited the Tomalpin Woodlands, where she met with BirdLife Australia’s Woodland Birds Program Managers Dean Ingwersen and Mick Roderick and CEO of

Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, Tara Dever.

Watch the story below to find out how the birds are doing now, and why these woodlands are so important and must be protected.

Special thanks to Department of Planning and Environment, Taronga Zoo Sydney Conservation Society, Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and other local stakeholders who helped make this release a reality.

Check it out here! The Project Regent Honeyeater video 

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58 Regent Honeyeaters released!!

28 October 2021




Following the release of 58 captive bred Regent Honeyeaters into the Lower Hunter valley earlier this week (see NEWS item below), we are calling for landholders or birdwatchers in the area to keep any eye out!


If you live in the area, help us locate any of these birds, that are likely to be seen feeding in eucalypt blossoms, bottlebrushes or on insects in the canopy in remnant vegetation on your land. Some may even come in for a dunk in your bird bath!


Each bird released  has been tagged distinctive set of colour bands on each leg (for identification). Several are fitted with transmitters, but is not always a guarantee that the experts can locate and track them. While the team are unable to take formal volunteers at this stage, you can still help:


We are calling for landholders to keep an eye out on your property, if you think you have sighted one (or more) of the released birds, or wild birds please:


  • Make a record of the colour bands of each bird (both legs, top to bottom) /number of birds sighted (such as pairs)

  • AND if you can, take a photo

  • Note the specific location you saw them, and any behaviour (such as nesting!)

  • Report it immediately to BirdLife on 1800 621 056 or email


Not sure if it's a Regent Honeyeater?

This excellent identification guide provides all the answers on identification features, other look a like species, colour bands and reporting any sightings (at any time!).


Thank you to several landholders with keen eyes, who have already sighted a number of the released birds, and reported them promptly to BirdLife Australia.


**Please remember to NOT ENTER/TRESPASS on any private property that you do not have permission to access.
Please keep to public places or your own property if you intend to actively look out for them.**​​


#savingourspecies #woodlandbirds @ourbushland for more information on the important habitats in the Hunter.

PICTURED: "Red-Metal / Red-Yellow" is how each bird is identified from their leg bands- this bird is one of the released birds now out and about in the region!
Photo's care of Mick Roderick, and Alex Pike (DPIE) courtesy of Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council.

The NSW Regent Honeyeater Release is delivered by BirdLife Australia, Taronga Zoo Sydney Conservation Society Australia, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. It forms part of the National Regent Honeyeater Recovery Plan implementation.

Several other organisations have also contributed to the conservation of this important threatened species. This includes the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Commonwealth Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Land Services NSW.


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58 Regent Honeyeaters released!!

28 October 2021

58 zoo-bred Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeaters have been released into the Hunter Valley – the LARGEST EVER NSW release!

The Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team have been working alongside the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Taronga Zoo Sydney Conservation Society Australia, Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and other local stakeholders to coordinate this release.


It’s been a huge collaborative effort; months in the making.

All 58 of the birds have been banded, and some have also fitted with tiny, state-of-the-art radio transmitters so that we can track their movements and survival over the coming months. They were released on Wonnarua Country, on ecologically and culturally significant land owned by Mindaribba LALC. This site was carefully chosen for its rich breeding and feeding habitat – and we’re expecting we’ll see one of the best flowering events here in years.

With just a few hundred Regent Honeyeaters left in the wild, captive breeding and release could mean the difference between extinction and survival. Since 2000, the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team have now released 373 zoo-bred birds into the wild across south-eastern Australia.

The NSW Regent Honeyeater Release is delivered by BirdLife Australia, Taronga Zoo Sydney Conservation Society Australia, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. It forms part of the National Regent Honeyeater Recovery Plan implementation.

Several other organisations have also contributed to the conservation of this important threatened species. This includes the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Commonwealth Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Land Services NSW.



27 September 2021

new dates for 2022 announced:

9-10 April 2022!!

Our Bushland Festival

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Biodiversity Month!

1-30 September 2021

It's Biodiversity Month for all of September. 

With Spring in the air, why not get the family involved in the Hunter Local Land Services

Adventures At Your Place 

Biodiversity Blitz Challenge

Check out the Gallery of some of the entries to the "Create and Artwork" challenge


Festival postponed to 2022

6 August 2021

We've unfortunately had to make the call to postpone the Our Bushland Festival for 2021 until 2022 due to ongoing COVID challenges for hosting such an event.

Please keep an eye on our page to follow news stories about Our Bushland and information about a rescheduled date for 2022.


Keep informed by following Our Bushland web page,

and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page!

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New Website
Launched 13 July 2021

Check out the new Our Bushland web page!

and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page!

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Our Bushland Videos -launched April 2021

Check out the series of Our Bushland youtube videos, recently launched along side the Cessnock Birding Route Guide:

 Read the news article


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