Friday, July 3, 2009

The quail without a topknot

In the little desert valley I live there are scads of Gambel quail. Their topknots wave proudly in the breeze as they make suicidal dashes across the road in front of cars. My daughter wanted to know what the quail are that don't have a topknot? That would be a Bobwhite, I replied, but they only live back east in places like Ohio, where we once lived. Now, at nineteen, this daughter is not a kid and she was determined to show her daddy just what it was she was talking about. The above picture was snapped early one morning just outside our walkout basement. A Chukar! Who would have guessed it?

Chukars live in Nevada, no doubt about it, but the little grey ghosts prefer the rockiest, most-hard-to-get-around in country you could imagine. They sail up and down rocky canyons and run helterskelter through dry washes faster than you can keep up. Our little desert vally is more or less open country, with only a couple of rocky outcroppings way up high. There shouldn't be Chukars here with the quail all around either as they compete for the same food and shelter. But, a picture doesn't lie, and so now I know what the 'quail without a topknot' is!

No comments: