Clarkesdale Sanctuary was generously donated to BirdLife Australia, Trust for Nature, and Parks Victoria by conversationalist Gordon Clarke.
Originally, fifty hectares of the 535-hectare Sanctuary was a pine plantation. With thanks to Clarke and a grant from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-ground Action plan, the site was cleared and regenerated with native trees including eucalyptus and wattle.
Now, the Sanctuary is home to over 150 species of woodland and wetland birds including threatened birds like the Powerful Owl, Black-eared Cuckoo and the Diamond Firetail.
Clarkesdale Sanctuary is a great example of just how resilient nature is. Owing to the replanting efforts and the vision of Gordon Clarke, the reserve has resulted in areas of Clarke’s plantings benefiting some species of honeyeaters, such as New Holland honeyeaters and red wattlebirds, to the point where they are much more common there than in native forest.
While the Spring and Summer seasons are the best time to see birds, the Sanctuary has brilliant birding opportunities all year round.
Campers can also enjoy a number of un-powered sites at the Sanctuary, along with facilities such as showers and toilets.
During the Spring and Summer, the Sanctuary is a hive of activity as birds busily breed and nest while migratory birds such as the Common greenshank and Horesfield’s Bronze-Cuckoos make their return.
Over the past couple of years, five species of cuckoos were recorded and Painted Honeyeaters have also made a welcome reappearance at the Sanctuary.
Indigenous Birds recorded at Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary include:
Just under two hours west of Melbourne and about 40 kilometres from Ballarat, Clarkesdale is located on the Linton-Piggoreet Road just out of the township
of Linton on the Glenelg Highway. There is excellent year-round access for all vehicle types.
For the more vigorous visitor, the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail runs for 53 kilometres along the old Ballarat-Skipton Railway line and past Clarkesdale Sanctuary. Extensively upgraded in 2008 with a high-quality gravel surface, new signage, seating and rest huts, the trail is suitable for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders of all levels of experience and is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area.
Campers are welcome at the newly established campground under the trees at the Environment Centre, and there are excellent facilities that cater for ten unpowered sites. Contact the Sanctuary Manager below.
Booking is essential for planned overnight stays and group visits. Get in touch via our contact form.
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