I have a bit of poison oak, again.
I must say, the location is odd–a few lesions on the inside of my right knee. Why there and nowhere else I cannot say. It is not nearly as bad as the last time (for which I still have scars)–so that is good.
I had barely any time to work with the quail–but I do believe that the clump of brush pictured above is the location of at least one nest. This is the area with the nettles that I mentioned before, where the male quail with a blue band had been sitting up high–this male I suspect of being B/K B, a male I banded in August as a juvenile.
9 am on the day we left I trudged down to check the area after noting only a cow calling male near the traps, whose band combination I was unable, yet again, to determine. There, after climbing the white fence, clambering around the concertina wire and avoiding the bees buzzing around a water pipe, I encountered the soft alarm notes of quail that are unlikely (unwilling?) to flush…but appear rather to want to hunker down and wait.
I did not dig around–it is too thick and what purpose would it serve to make the place more available to predators? At this point I have not banded or observed enough to warrant digging around for nests. When I go up this summer I will hopefully see a blue banded male with some young and can suspect that this is the result of the nesting attempt. I can even extrapolate based on moulting patterns the hatch date of the young and count back to determine whether it is possible that those juveniles came from the supposed nest.
Of course, none of this will make it into any study as any sort of data point. It is just a filling in of a picture for me, so that I have that sense that is necessary for doing field work.
Where all of this is going I cannot say. It is a constant push to make working with the quail happen–I cannot catch hold of time…it runs and every little piece of my life seems to pass into a different place without my touching any of it the way I want to –my kids especially, but the field work as well–and the other thing, The Quail Diaries, whatever they are, are still struggling desperately to take shape.