I actually saw a fifth “lifer” in Bill and Alice’s backyard, but I certainly didn’t realize that while I was taking pictures of them. I just thought I was getting the best pictures of a California Quail I had ever managed to get. Turns out it wasn’t a California Quail at all. It was a Gambel’s Quail, and this shot looks exactly like the drawing in my iBird Ultimate app.
Once Merlin identified the bird for me and I compared it to the California Quail, it was clear that it was a different species. I suspect that if I was more familiar with the California Quail I would have known immediately that it was a new species, but as soon as I see that little topknot on a bird’s head, I assume it’s a California Quail. Turns out not all quail have that topknot and those that have a topknot are not all the same species.
I suspect that this beautiful male was showing off in hopes of attracting a female since it was clearly mating season. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t tell one male from another so this might be the exact same male courting a female.
They seemed to prefer strutting their stuff on the top of the five-foot adobe wall that surrounded the backyard rather than on the ground.
I assumed that this pair hiding behind the shrubs might have been further along in the mating cycle.
Alice said that she loves seeing the quail chicks in the yard later in the year. I would love to see that, but I felt blessed just to see them courting.