More on button-quail possibilities at Mt Molloy

Subject: More on button-quail possibilities at Mt Molloy
From: John Weigel <>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 07:06:00 +1100
Although I reported previously of an apparent absence of quail and button-quail 
at the Big Mitchell Creek area south of Mt Molloy - where Buff-breasted 
Button-quail was reported a year ago, I continued to look in surrounding areas 
for a couple of days. It is worth reporting, in case anyone is contemplating a 
trip in search of 'the big one' in the coming weeks, that I did get onto a spot 
nearby that may be in better condition for BBBQ than above-mentioned site.  
About 200m south of Little Mitchell Ck crossing, which is north of the Big 
Mitchell crossing, there is a service track that heads east from the highway 
for a short distance to the huge powerlines.  I parked under the powerlines and 
walked along the 'toes'  of the hills.  Patches of varying density of grasses 
include quite a bit of quite open areas. In the denser areas I flushed no fewer 
than 20 brown quail within a kilometre or so heading south.  Also a covey of 
about 8 red-chested button-quail, and several several ind
 ividual birds that I think were also red-chesteds.  I flushed two additional 
birds that I couldn't ID, and was unfortunately too slow on the draw with the 
camera.  Both were of similar dorsal coloration, though one was a fair bit 
smaller than the other, which was probably about the right size for BBBQ.  
Unfortunately the dorsal colouration was more of an ashy-grey than tan (the 
'big one'), with the most noticeable characteristic for me being a very smooth 
colouration with no discernable pattern. IE they certainly were not stubble 
quail.  But I am not a talented button-quailer, and I was unable to get enough 
from the flushed birds to talk about bill shape and undercarriage colouration. 
Also taking away from likelyhood of being BBBQ was that they didn't flush 
radically upwards then travel far, but were of a more normal trajectory for BQ, 
and travelled only 40m or so before landing in denser grass locations than 
where flushed from more open conditions, whereafter I couldn't fin
 d them.

As I said, I'm posting this observation to provide anyone searching for BBBQ in 
the next month or so with another possible site to investigate. The fact that 
there were a fair few quail and BQ indicates that at least there is currently a 
supply of tucker. I've decided to end my 'Big Year'  in the area to continue 
looking for this elusive devil-bird. If anyone wants to align their trip to 
combine stomping forces, I think improved chances are likely.  Contact me off 
line at   I'm thinking 28-30 December.

Thanks everyone who gave me info about Guineafowl - several suggested the old 
Chewko Rd population, which I successfully chased up.  Yesterday's Brisbane 
pelagic didn't produce any new birds for me, but Tahiti Petrels by the 
wheel-barrow were quite a sight. Trying for white-throated nightjar tonight, 
which is the last 'common'  mainland bird for me, before Xmas Island.


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