Friday, June 20, 2008

STILL WITH THE QUAIL. I've been spending a lot of time watching the quails. A LOT of time. I have many, many families. One seems to be a blended family of 10 or more chicks (started out with over 20) and two single fathers. They are all ages and all sizes. A few days ago I saw five teeny-tinies on the middle porch that might have just hatched. They were somewhere between thimbles and marshmallows in size (with legs). The very fuzzy picture above shows these guys--it gives some idea of how little they are.

The very little ones are the most fun to watch, because they seem to find the world all new and exciting, even though you can tell they don't like the heat. (They huddle in the shade, when they can find it.) But as soon as they arrive in my pond garden, they go zipping up to the pond or the quail block without checking to see if there are other quails or predators around. They seem very excited, like, "Oh, boy! We're back at Disneyland!" The older chicks are more jaded. Or cautious. You would be amazed at how fast those little-bitty quail can run.

Unfortunately, the other morning I found a tiny drowned chick in the pond, but overall this little oasis is probably more helpful to them than not. The second picture is of the pond area from inside my cool, comfortable office on a very hot day.

Two days ago a mother and three very small chicks found their way into the rose garden, a very narrow patio outside our bedroom. It is surrounded by a 6-foot tall brick wall, with a gate at one end. The gate is covered with mesh to keep rabbits out. Anyway, I tried to photograph these guys, but scared them. The mother flew up and over the wall. One of the chicks--somehow--flew to the top of the wall. The remaining chicks ran around frantically, trying to get out. I stepped away and watched as the guy on top of the wall ran back and forth a few times then took the plunge to the other side. The mother flew back into the garden and led the remaining babies to a gap in the gate. Then they, with the father, took off for the desert.

In other news: for two days running I had a beautiful 2-foot long black kingsnake in my shade garden. It evidently got tired of being watered every morning, though, and I haven't seen it recently. The third picture up there is of the shade garden. The extremely leafy plant at the right is a Japanese Fatsia, which I call my sumo plant.

A group of lizards (as many as 3) have been sitting in the cool breeze from our cooler on the ledge of our bedroom window. The cats watch them with great interest and longing. It's the first time I've ever seen lizards gather together. It's been VERY hot.

1 comment:

  1. Catching up. These guys are probably all grown up by now. We are still hot and humid here, so I have no energy for much. Alaska was a bit boring, sort of like, after you've see Paree... I did see a couple of bald eagles, but no other wildlife to speak of. A whale or two at sea and a sea otter at great distance. No photos of any of them. Every lurch of a bus was when I was snapping anything. Clockwork. Look forward to watching these little topknots grow up. Thanks.