Even after living here twelve years, nature still continues to surprise me



Just when I thought that I've got the rhythms of my backyard wildlife habitat all figured out, Mother Nature decided to surprise me and remind me that I have much to learn and discover.

At "golden hour", I ventured out of my studio and went out on the back deck to check the water level in the pond (with the heat and lots of critters drinking from it, I need to replenish it almost every day). I stepped out toward the railing to lean forward and squint to try and see the water level even though the setting sun was shining in my eyes.

Then I saw some movement under the lemon tree. At first glance my brain said, "Some doves are waddling around looking for food."

But then I realized the two birds weren't doves...

... they were California quail!

I quietly eased myself back into the house so I could go get my camera and hoped my movement hadn't scared them off. I had to switch out lenses to my telephoto lens praying the whole time that they'd still be out there when I got done messing with my camera. I finally crept back out.

Thankfully, they were still there.

I shot from up on the deck so they wouldn't be frightened. The sun wasn't in the best position in relation to the two quail but I got as many shots as I could before they both walked into an area of the garden where my view was obstructed. Even though I snuck down in the deck stairs and went around the opposite side of the pond to try and get a better vantage point, I didn't get any more chances to take shots after those first few.

I did get to watch them sauntering around in the shadows of the workshop. I could tell they'd come into our completely fenced-in garden through a space critters have dug under the back fence we share with a large grassy open lot sometimes used as a car repo yard. We're almost even with the back corner of the lot, so I suspect the quail must have come from the significant open space just over the car lot fence less than 25 feet away. The large amount of land that almost completely surrounds our semi-rural neighborhood serves as a buffer for an oil refinery and its tanks. Despite its industrial purpose, the acreage has lots of wildlife living on its grass-covered hilly terrain. We've spotted wild turkey, pheasant, hawks, owls, egrets, heron, grey foxes, deer and we've heard coyotes. Our garden visitors usually are limited to opossum, skunks, raccoons, and an occasional rabbit or egret. Once we even had a mother mallard duck and her ducklings visit the pond for the ducklings first swim.

Now that they've come over to our garden to pay us a visit, we can officially add Mr. and Mrs. Quail to the list of callers at the gardens of Rosehaven Cottage.


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4 comments:

  1. I love quail. I wish we had some here. They're absolutely delightful. Great capture.

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  2. Quail??? How cool is that! I think the light was perfect for a dreamy, artsy shot of the quail.

    This is one of the reasons I love blogging. What ELSE would you do with a photo of backyard quail, except publish it on your blog? Blogging gives us a place to go to talk about stuff that's cool (in a passing way) and show the world our weird excitement. Know what? I'm excited right along with you. :)

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  3. Gorgeous shot, and to have them out there after you got your camera...ah sigh.

    We have quail around here, they call them Okanagan Chickens...and I truly was enraptured by them when they dropped by our front window this winter.

    The neighbour up the road feeds them, they are so darling.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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