Ground parrot & black breasted button quail

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Ground parrot & black breasted button quail
From: john hammond <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 21:09:22 +1030
Hi all... I found this thread interesting because i am guilty of walking 
through the heath at cooloola. I was up there the week after christmas wanting 
to see ground parrot and southern emu wren and was amazed at how easy the 
ground parrots were to find. The grass on the side of the track  was seeding at 
the time and as i drove in and down to the site a least four parrots flushed 
off the side of the track. I stopped at the culvert and started to walk through 
the heath as i thought this was what needed to be done to see the birds. Call 
me naive if you please but i soon learnt this was not the correct tactic to use 
on the day i chose to go to cooloola. After an hour of flushing nothing i 
walked out and just before i exited the heath a ground parrot flushed, flew ten 
or so metres and then dropped back down into the grass on the track. With heart 
racing i crept in closer and scored sensational views of the parrot feeding in 
the grass. At one stage the bird was within five metres and all up i must have 
watched it for about fifteen minutes before it moved off and i moved on. By 
changing tactics and walking very slowly along the side of the track i was able 
to view a number of other ground parrots sometimes quite close. Next up was the 
emu wren and after a few hours i hadn't seen any so i set off across the heath 
with (dare i say it) the ipod in hand. I walked around four clicks from the 
track before i finally viewed my first southern emu wren. I found a number of 
what appeared to be pairs and by using short bursts of call playback got them 
up out of the heath for some great views. All up i spent about eight hours 
searching cooloola and did not flush a single ground parrot from out of the 
heath, so i tend to agree with Andrew in saying they probably run rather than 
fly unless they have to. I see both sides of the stomping through heath 
argument as valid but i really didn't feel like my little size twelves made any 
real impact on such a huge stretch of country. I mean how many birders would 
actually walk through that place in any given year? Its not something i would 
do often, as walking through that stuff is hard yakka but i was glad i did on 
the day as the emu wrens were way out from the track.   Happy birding 
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