Sep 23: Low platelet count. Diagnosis: dip
 

I spent the full morning at Mill Road, Pullenvale, one of the few locations in Brisbane where Black-breasted Button-quail has been regularly seen. This is one of the few remaining “resident” species in Brisbane that I still need for the year list. Yet in some ways I might as well be searching for bigfoot. Black-breasted Button-quail is a rare resident of eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. It inhabits semi-evergreen vine thicket and littoral scrub, both habitats that have undergone substantial loss and degradation. The species is vanishingly rare in Brisbane, but sightings have continued over the years, so one has to assume they are extant and resident in the LGA. Gold Creek Reservoir has the most records, and there is photographic evidence by Benjamin Harms), but regulars there believe the birds to have either disappeared or moved to an unbirded section. There have been no eBird records in Brisbane since May 2016. Mat Gilfedder had one at Moggill Conservation Park in 2005, and I understand that one of the possible locations for birds is the dry rainforest near the end of Mill Rd, Pullenvale.

I left the house at 0400, stopped randomly to listen for owls on the way, and then parked by the tracks where Pullen Creek crosses Mill Rd. I explored the dry rainforest on either side of the road, disturbing a Southern Boobook from its roost, and noting a Black-faced Monarch and a flock of Topknot Pigeons but nothing else spectacular. The habitat in the area looks very good, with dense forest but an open forest floor with deep leaf litter. I covered 4 km in just under 5 hours, but there was simply no sign of any buttonquails. All the skulking birds rustling in the leaf litter ended up being Eastern Whipbirds or Russet-tailed Thrush. I did find what might possibly have been some very old platelets, but definitely nothing fresh. I’m unsure whether to persist trying for this species, but with the breeding season for it pretty much upon us (October – December), I thought the next few weeks might be a good time. Perhaps if I don’t find one in September, I’ll try again in early December – adults with young might be a bigger and noisier target.

With no year ticks today, my year list remained on 298 species. I spent 5 hours 16 minutes birding, walked 4.239 km and drove 73.8 km. My chronological year list is here.