Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beach House Visitors

Sarah and I have spent five of the last six weekends at her parents' beach house. The house has been a great escape from our hectic summer schedules and frequently high temperatures in the Portland area.

Our apartment has been somewhat neglected in the process, so we are staying home this week for a long overdue cleaning and organizing session.

During the last few weeks, some mothers and their offspring have also been visiting the beach house property.

Blacktail does and their spotted fawns stop by daily to nibble small patches of grass and pluck evergreen huckleberries from the shrubs.

Two weeks ago we had quite a surprise. I had flushed small groups of quail in previous weekends. Without getting a good look, I assumed were relatively common California Quail.

One day, however, Sarah glanced out the window and saw a hen with some mid-sized chicks. We quickly realized they were Mountain Quail, which are much rarer and usually found at higher elevations.

Unlike California Quail, that have plumes curling forward, Mountain quail have plumes that stick straight up or sweep slightly backward. This female was protecting four active chicks that did not hold still long enough for a photo. Some Mountain Quail females lay two clutches of eggs, one to be incubated by the female and the by her mate.

Because this is a declining species, it was great to see that they are successfully breeding in Pacific City.


EcoRover said...

What a great place to have as a getaway. Looks like some of that Portland heat is coming our way--it'll be welcome after some days when it didn't get to 60 deg F.

Monika said...

Wow, what an odd place to find mountain quail! Just goes to show you should never make assumptions when viewing wildlife, something I am constantly reminded of.

Mimi said...

That's great that you can do little weekenders like this. Even better for us to see what wildlife you're observing this time.