Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finally! Mountain Quail

I'm quickly running out of breeding birds to photograph in the western Great Basin. Two species have been tough for me to find and photograph. Mountain Quail are notoriously tough to see, but we hear (or heard) them all the time, especially early in the season. Prairie Falcon is another bird I have yet to photograph out here. For that one, I have no excuse...

Mountain Quail can be found more easily once they have young. Late summer/fall seems to be a good time to try to get a look at this bird when family groups can be found along mountain roadways. I kept a mental note of what canyons we have heard Mountain Quail in so that I could track them down later if need be. Recently, I've been hiking a lot after work hoping eventually I would run across this bird. Yesterday (7/15) it finally happened. As I was hiking along some prime mountain chaparral some young quail started freaking out and scattered down the mountain. The adult quail gave me a dirty look and flew to a downed tree. I was able to snap a few pictures off before they moved further down the slope. It took a lot of extra effort, but it felt great finally getting a look at this bird.

Mountain Quail
I have three more days of butterfly surveys, then another three day weekend. I'll be heading to Half Moon Bay and surrounding areas. A pelagic out of Half Moon Bay on 7/21 should provide some more photo opportunities. Pelagic birding is a favorite of mine, so I'm very excited about this coming weekend!

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