Yesterday morning I was awakened by the distinctive call of the California Quail. It sounded like it was practically in my room, but that was just because I had the windows open. I peeked out the window and there they were, the cutest quail couple sitting on the top of the garden fence.
Then I heard a rustling and saw another one poking around on the ground in the excavation for the patio area, and then another appeared. Pretty soon I realized there were about 10 quail out there in the backyard. My goodness, a covey! I can't remember ever having quail running around in the fenced-in backyard, usually they hang out in the uncleared brushy area next to our property and occasionally come out on the hillside where we can see them. But not in our backyard! So I grabbed my camera and started shooting some pictures from the deck. The sun was exactly wrong though, so I knew I needed to try and sneak out in the backyard to get a better view without disturbing them. Can you see the five quail here?
They were all in a group except for the two on the fence who must have been outpost lookout sentries. As soon as I came out the back door they began squawking frantically. None of their cool calls of "Chicago", just an all out *watch out danger coming* kind of noise. They all flew up to the top of the bunny hutch and looked at me very warily, topknots a-bobbing, then I moved a teeny bit closer and poof they all took off up into the trees in all different directions, all squawking down at me. I was really surprised to see them fly off like this, as usually they stick so close to the ground, but I guess I got too far into their comfort zone.
Sorry quail, come back again sometime.