California quail

Female California quail, October 2021

I normally have a very difficult time getting close enough to photograph the local quail; they’re extremely shy and are usually fleeing long before I even notice their presence. Many times when I do manage to shoot them, they’re hiding in the bushes so I don’t exactly have a clear view. It’s all rather frustrating to me — mostly because as a kid I thought nothing of seeing plenty of quail just outside our kitchen window, scratching the ground all around my mom’s large quince bush.

A veiled quail — Negro Bar SP, October 2021

Two males

So I love going over to Clear Lake and hiking around Anderson Marsh SHP, where the quail, while still wary, are much less shy. They are proud, plump, and rather noisy. In fact, on our most recent trip in March I was surprised to learn that those strange jungle-bird calls I kept hearing were actually coming from these guys. I say “these guys” because even though I actually managed to spot one male, it was plain from all the racket there must have been quite a few more hiding all around me, unseen.

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