This post is about California Quail!
I saw my first California Quail when we visited Mount Shasta in March. A male quail ran/scuttled across the road ahead of my car while we were driving through town, and I was very excited (quail!) and pulled over to look at it. Unfortunately, I stopped in front of a house, and dogs started barking, and a lady in a robe came out to see if everything was OK and also to tell me: "you're upsetting everybody." I really don't like to upset people (let alone everybody!) so of course I apologized and we went on our way. (I'm not trying to be snarky; I really should've been more aware of my surroundings.)
But then this past Thursday afternoon, I got my second chance to see quail! Paul and I were driving on the very end of the peninsula on the north side of Humboldt Bay, coming back from the dunes there, and we saw a group of small pudgy birds feeding in the grass near the side of the road. Ahh, quail!
And with no other people around or other cars on the road, I could sit and admire these awesome birds to my heart's content! The males were super fancy, with stripes, masks, and bobbing head-ornaments:
And the females were beautiful as well:
I love the wash of pale feathers on the male's forehead:
And the white line from his beak to his eye that seems to give him a goofy grin:
And I'm entranced by the intricate pattern of feathers around the back of both the male's and female's necks:
What incredibly fancy birds! Here's a video of these two foraging, with the male's feathery ornament bobbing all over the place:
I'm so glad I got to see California Quail -- the state bird -- to help round out my California experience.
And while I'm already sharing fancy birds at the dunes, here's a lovely White-crowned Sparrow who was hanging out in a nearby Yellow Bush Lupine: