Quails in Altona, Vic

To: <>
Subject: Quails in Altona, Vic
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 09:29:46 +1100
Yesterday, at about 6pm, I came across a group of quails (or
button-quails?) in the vacant land north of Mt St Joseph pond.  The only
time I've seen any before was in roughly the same spot a few years ago,
long before I was into this stuff.  That time I wasn't quite sure if
they were just starlings, but was very suspicious about the way they
landed again almost immediately.

They were about 200m north of the pond, just outside the cyclone wire
fence of the factories, in dry grass about a foot high.  There would
have been about 10.  They kind of exploded up from around me.  One
seemed like it had decided to hide instead, and then flew from right
beside my foot, with a loud "chick, chick" noise.

Not being an experienced quail spotter, I probably didn't notice the
right things for id.  I would describe them as fat and brown, maybe 20cm
long at most.  I couldn't really say what shade of brown they were - I'd
guess darkish, but they flew towards the sun so that might have made
them look darker.

They flew about 20 metres and landed, some flying as high as 2m - I
think one might have flown right over the fence into a factory yard.  I
don't remember them doing any gliding.

I would have followed them for another look, but had no binoculars so I
didn't think it was worth scaring them any further.  I came back an hour
later, but could see no sign of them.

So, any thoughts on what species they could be?  Any tips on trying to
find them again, and what to look for if I do find them?  Does one ever
get a good look at them, or is it generally like I described?

Peter Shute

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