Along the Rodborough at Joyce’s Creek, just before you cross the creek itself, you arrive in the Plains country. The transition is marked by a tiny roadside remnant of native grassland – a drift of everlastings, some lomandras and a scattering of one of my favourite plants, the Blue Devil Eryngium ovinum.
I’ve often stopped at this site to have closer look and I’m glad I did again yesterday. A Little Button-quail, a signature species of native grasslands like the Blue Devil, exploded from a small depression near my feet.
I’ve not recorded a Little Button-quail locally before, although I’ve seen them in more distant places over the years – most recently on a trip to Lake Mungo in November. They are much smaller than either Brown or Stubble Quail, two similar species that are often seen (or more likely heard) on the plains. Apart from the size difference a distinctive feature of the Little Button-quail are the white flanks that can be clearly seen when the bird is in flight.
A little earlier I’d been watching a Little Eagle hunting in typical circling pattern. While this lovely raptor hunts mainly rabbits I imagine the odd Little Button-quail falls victim, especially when numbers rise in good seasons.