Access to Buff-breasted Button-quail site, Mt Molloy

Subject: Access to Buff-breasted Button-quail site, Mt Molloy
From: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2011 09:53:06 +1000
Great work finding a few Buff-breasted Button-quail Peter. I suspect they may have just arrived there. I spent a fair amount of time in that area over a couple of weeks prior to that (mostly following Cicadabirds) but did not see anything which could have been a BBBQ. I would think they will remain there until the wet season starts and when the grass becomes dense, they will probably vacate.

Just a few words of advice for those who are going to try for BBBQ concerning the land and access on which the birds have recently been seen. This land is actually part of Southedge Station owned by George Quaid and company. (These people have been involved in controversies over the years right up through Cape York e.g Starke Station, Daintree land etc. Lake Mitchell on the other side of the road from the inspection pad was built without permission and is actually an illegal body of water!). Nearly all of Southedge Station is to the west of the road - just a small narrow unfenced proportion (almost right back to Mt Molloy) on the east side of the road, which they don't use. Quaid and his people have always flatly refused permission for anyone to enter their properties, even to local people whom they know well. Consequently, it has always been pointless asking for permission. However, they have always turned a blind eye to people entering the land to the east of the road where the BBBQ are (note the "Keep Out" signs to the west of the road). Best idea for anyone wanting to follow the button-quail up is to park at the wide truck inspection pad (with the overhead lights) just south of Big Mitchell Creek and work from there. I have been working from there for many years without incident. There is a small chance that you may be challenged if parking along the road further north - i.e. back towards Mount Molloy. I certainly don't want to deter anyone from an attempt to find the button-quail but as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed!

While on the subject of access, there is a large area of public land nearby (an old watering reserve for cattle being brought down from Cape York in years gone by) and well worth a visit while in the area. It is unfenced on three sides and lies just to the north of the inspection pad (no BBBQ on this but it is an excellent waterbird area. Grey Wagtail has been seen twice over the years). This takes in the area around the bridge over Big Mitchell Creek (White-browed Robin site) and north beyond the wooden gate (about 500 metres towards Mt Molloy from the bridge, on left heading towards MM). The reserve extends west, down across the lake to as far as a white steel gate (locked) at the end of the causeway beyond which is Quaid land. It runs south from Big Mitchell Creek almost to the truck inspection pad. When we realized that this was a public reserve some years ago, Quaid's men tried desperately to stop people entering but eventually realised they had no right to do so and had to remove locks from the wooden gate etc. Anyone can legally enter through the wooden gate and drive down the causeway across the lake to as far as the white gate. (It is tempting to walk around the white gate and along the road to the bush beyond but one would be tresspassing and could be challenged). Cattle and horses are run in the lake paddock so it is very important to shut the wooden gate after entering and when leaving. If challenged make the point that it is public land right to the white gate and you can legally be there (it is officially Big Mitchell Creek Reserve).

Lloyd Nielsen,
Mt Molloy, Nth Qld


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