Gambel’s Quail On A Hot June Morning
You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a full screen image.
This morning I made one of my periodic trips into agricultural country near Tucson in search of photo opportunities. It was quite productive and I’ll be posting photos from the trip, intermixed with other images, over the next week or so.
It definitely pays to be early this time of the year. Things heat up very rapidly here in June: by 9 a.m. temperatures are already approaching 90 degrees and a lot of the wildlife seeks cover. I was in the car before 5 a.m. and was taking photos by 5:45.
One of the birds that I photographed was a male Gambel’s Quail.
Gambel’s Quail are a common Sonoran Desert species and they are ubiquitous in the Tucson area. They would seem to be an easy subject to photograph. They seldom fly. They spend most of their time foraging on the ground. Notwithstanding, I find them to be a difficult subject for photography. They are quite wily and are quick to seek shelter when they are approached.
This bird, however, seemed to be oblivious to my presence. I photographed it from the passenger side window of my car while it nosed around in the dirt at the edge of a large field. I watched and photographed it for more than five minutes and had the feeling that I could have observed it all day long had I wanted to linger.
Male Gambel’s Quail are strikingly colored birds and are very beautiful. Females are much drabber than the males. Both males and females sport a topknot, but the male topknot is much more pronounced. Some males — like this one — have particularly flamboyant topknots. I’ve been told that the male’s topknot is a babe magnet. Females are attracted to the males with the largest and shapeliest ones.
My guess is that this male has no trouble attracting the ladies!
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400DO+1.4 X telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 800, f6.3 @ 1/3200.