Phoenix Desert Garden
May 23, 2011
One of the most delightful surprises of our morning walk through the wildflower loop was the discovery of a quail family with a dozen or so chicks. Here mama quail is escorting a couple of her offspring.
I saw the family of quail briefly two or three times before this time and knew that they were not greatly afraid. When I encountered them this third time, I just stood still and they just foraged in the bushes, ignoring me.
Papa quail was helping to watch over the brood. The pair stayed in the bushes most of the time, but one time three or four of the little ones ran out onto the path where I stood and almost up to my feet.
In the composite image above, the pair of quail are in the background image with four of the little ones. Upper right is the sharpest shot I got of one of the baby quail. They were tiny, and zipping about, so I shot probably two dozen frames to get that one sharp one. Bottom right, the mama quail was scratching in the dirt and clucking to the babies to come over.
I was fortunate to be able to get a couple of shots of one of the woodpeckers on a saguaro cactus bloom. At right above, he just plunges his head into the saguaro bloom - we have seen this several times.
These woodpeckers use the flowers and fruit of the saguaro and drill holes in them for their homes.