View from bird hide across grass-clogged Abattoir Swamp
If you like watching grass grow, Abattoir Swamp is the place. Photo: ©Tony Neilson

Abattoir bird hide view butchered

When we chose the hide at Abattoir Swamp near Julatten in Far North Queensland as our ‘worst bird hide ever’, it is fair to say we copped a bit of stick.

Nobody expressed their views through this website but we got the message by various other means.

‘The whole place has just had a facelift and it’s looking lovely now. So why would you want to knock it?’ is representative of the comments.

So we went back to take some pictures of the improvements. No question, the raised ‘boardwalk’ (with some sort of plastic composite on top) is looking good (and safe), and the hide itself it sporting a fresh coat of green.

Exterior of green-painted Abattoir Swamp bird hide
The hide and access walkway have been beautifully restored. Photo: ©Tony Neilson

Wonderful! Except, as our image (above) shows, when you look through the viewing slits, all you can see of the ‘swamp’ is an impenetrable mass of grass – olive hymenachne to be precise.

Maybe there is a cunning plan to get rid of the stuff but as things stand, Abattoir Swamp remains a damp squib in our eyes.

How to enter our ‘blind tasting’ competition

Bird hides come in all shapes, sizes and states of usefulness. If you are any kind of birder or photographer, you have been in more than a few.

So we thought it a good idea to ask you to tell us about your best and worst hide experiences – from anywhere around the world. Supporting pics are welcomed.

Please use the reply form below or email Tony Neilson:


©2018 TONY NEILSON All Rights Reserved. All images are protected by Australian copyright law and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without my permission. Please contact me.



  • Keith & Lindsay Fisher February 9, 2017 at 3:56 PM Reply

    There are things happening regarding Abattoir Swamp. Hopefully some funding for a consultants report through the Mitchell River Catchment Group so there is a future plan and more funding can be sought.

    • Tony Neilson February 15, 2017 at 10:32 AM Reply

      Thank you both for the update – it is such a lovely hide and a real shame the grass has taken over.

  • Jean Ffrench August 7, 2018 at 9:43 AM Reply

    Take a lesson from Fogg Dam, NT – build a second storey, which would overlook the grass!

  • Kev Webb August 8, 2018 at 9:32 PM Reply

    At the Berrinba Wetlands, opened in 2008 a bird hide was built. I think it was built in the worst place possible to start with. And not only is it useless, but completly blocked out by two trees that have actually grown in front of the slits, such is the wonderful work practices of the local council. I have asked the council twice to kindly cut the trees down. Why is there no consultation with the people who actually use them, or try to. Why do we have to put up with inferior bird hides that may look the part, but are completly useless. It bugs me no end.

    • Tony Neilson August 9, 2018 at 4:34 PM Reply

      I certainly share your frustrations with local authorities, Kev. On the positive side, local birding interests here in Cairns are getting good results from the regional council at Cattana Wetland, and hopefully on the Esplanade.

  • Carol Iles August 9, 2018 at 9:46 AM Reply

    The boardwalk was fixed with composite plastic/timber made from recycled plastic bottles. The work was done by Jobfind workers after the organisers, staying at Kingfisher Park, had mentioned to us their disappointment at not finding a local project. We suggested the boardwalk, and were delighte 2 months later when they wrote to say work would start. I, among others, had protested to Mareeba Shire Council that it was, indeed, a boardwalk to nowhere. At the time Council had no money (due to de-amalgamation) so JAMARR (local residents association) began the process of grant applications. These are still ongoing. A small area of grass was cleared by Council in October, but then we had unprecedented floods in that month which stopped everything. We believe things will get better so do not despair!

    • Tony Neilson August 9, 2018 at 4:28 PM Reply

      Thanks for the update, Carol. I called in at Abattoir the other day and there was quite a bit of action in the car park area but almost nothing down along the lovely plastic ‘boardwalk’ and at the hide. Ironic.

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