The Quail Diaries, Tercero. First Evening


It is the first evening…I saw at least 8 pairs of quail and there was certainly one male (or do I assume too much, might it have been a female?) quail “cow” calling from on high.

Today, the quail did as they are wont to do–walked in a field of short green-up, with new grown plants just high enough to conceal the bands. I did see male B/K B with an unbanded female, so that is nice…in its way. I also observed a female’s bands, R on the left, and perhaps K on the right. Maybe she was R K/O but I cannot be sure. And I saw an additional pair of unbanded individuals.


Clearly, I have a lot of work to do.

Oh I shall soone despaire, when I doe see

One problem, as you might gather from the discussion above, is the simple one of collecting observational data on a nonterritorial species that spends time wandering on the ground and hanging in the brush….Today I spent 2 hours watching, saw 8+quail and got one positive id. Granted, 2 hours is nothing (I spent thousands of hours observing quail for my dissertation) but they are difficult to observe, especially on a site as brushy as this one.


And of course, I need to band everyone if possible (it is probably not, but would be nice).

Nice, that is, for me, not for the quail themselves. They would, I am sure, prefer not to.

Oh my blacke Soule! now though art summoned

Lord above I love those little birds.

I cannot tell you the sort of joy it gives me to see a female’s head as she moves through the tall grasses, nibbling on green leaves and flowers.

But who shall give thee that grace to beginne?
Oh make thy selfe with holy

I cannot convince you…it is just there in the transcendence of that little bird and the male with her and the fact that I’ve only touched a piece of their existence–they are outside of me.

as thou art with sinne

Many things were happening while I was taking observations. Rally calls (chi-ca-go) and pits, cow calls (cow!) and squill calls. Birds were talking and following and moving and making decisions and attending to the location of the sun and the temperature and the state of their nests and with whom they traveled. All of this is still so opaque.

let myne amorous soule court thy mild Dove

But more, perhaps, on that later. This is a little peek. I am here until Saturday. We shall see.

You are that Alchimist which alwaies had
Wit, whose one spark could make good things of bad


quotes are, happily enough, by John Donne


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