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
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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