Showing posts with label california quail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label california quail. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

California quail in song, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Photograph of a quail singing in a bush in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

After spending some quality time photographing this California quail singing from the top of a branch of coyote brush last summer, I took another lap around the Tennessee Valley Trail. I didn’t see much on my traverse, but when I returned, this friendly quail had moved to a different perch even closer to the trail. His new location certainly didn’t tamp down his vigor, so I took advantage of the opportunity to make a few more photographs of him throwing his head back and calling out his lovely song.

View more of my quail photography.

Submitted to Wild Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to check out this week's posts.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quail stare down from fence post in Point Reyes National Seashore
A California quail staring into the camera from his perch in Point Reyes National Seashore

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my followers! I hope you are able to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Quail portrait on a fencepost, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail portrait on a fencepost in Point Reyes National Seashore
A California quail posing on a fencepost near Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes National Seashore

I've been posting a lot of shorebirds lately since I've had some great recent outings in the area, but I still have a backlog of images from my five day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore over the summer. As I always do while in the park, I was constantly scanning for opportunities to photograph California quail. This particular male perched himself on a relatively plain fencepost, but in front of a nicely colored hillside for a backdrop.

View more of my photographs of California quail.


Friday, July 11, 2014

California quail calling out, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

California quail calling out in Golden Gate National Recreation Area
A California quail throws its head back in song along the Tennessee Valley Trail in the GGNRA.

For a long time, an image that was high on my wish list (at least of local opportunities) was a clean shot of a California quail in song. They’re already such interesting and charismatic birds, but it’s taken to another level when they throw their head back and call out toward the sky. During my time in California, I had a few fleeting opportunities to attempt a shot, but none of the images I produced quite met my expectations. On my recent trip to California though, I was finally able to capitalize. On one of my first mornings in Point Reyes, I photographed a female quail calling out from her fence post. She was not quite as exuberant about it as I might have preferred, but it still felt like I was putting a small checkmark on my list. Then, on my lone afternoon spent in the Marin Headlands, I came across this very loud male who was repeatedly calling out from his branch of coyote brush on a hillside above the Tennessee Valley Trail.

Quail singing from a twisted branch of coyote brush
The same quail singing from his perch on an old branch of coyote brush.

This quail was dedicated to making sure the whole valley knew he was there, and this gave me the chance to fire off a lot of frames from a few different compositions. It was exciting to have the chance to mentally score a photo of a quail singing in such a great setting as well. Coyote brush is a bit more appealing than a standard fence post would have been – and the unique twisted branches he selected as a perch really added some great character to the scene.

Browse more of my photographs of California quail.

Submitted to Wild Bird Wednesday -- follow the link for this week's posts!



Friday, July 4, 2014

Curious quail in focus, Point Reyes National Seashore

Curious quail in Point Reyes National Seashore
A California quail casts a curious glance at the photographer in Point Reyes National Seashore.

If you couldn't already guess from the banner on my blog, California quail are one of my favorite subjects to photograph, and Point Reyes National Seashore is a great place to get them in front of your lens. I photographed a bunch of quail on my recent trip there, and this was one of my favorite shots. Quail seem to have such personality, and the way that they turn their head in a curious glance cracks me up. For these shots, I was parked in the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot watching a few quail bouncing around the tops of coyote brush a bit further away, then out of the corner of my eye, I saw this guy pop up between the bushes to get a look at me. After slowing turning my lens toward it, it was exciting to see that it positioned itself behind another bush in a perfect way to provide a smooth out of focus foreground and background. 


Wildlife Photography by Pat Ulrich: Quail &emdash; Quail stare-down
An alternative view of the same quail after it moved higher on the coyote brush.

As he made his way to the top of the bush, the delightful bokeh effect started to disappear, but he posed there for a while providing some clean portrait opportunities too.

View more of my photographs of California quail.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quail for the new year, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail on coyote brush with branches behind in Point Reyes National Seashore

On my first photography outing in 2011, I had a nice encounter with a California quail in Point Reyes National Seashore, and it turned out to be a great year of quail images for me. Since I haven't made it out with my camera yet in 2012, I thought I'd post a few shots of a quail in honor of my unofficial "Year of the Quail" last year.

Quail perched on coyote brush near Abbott's Lagoon

These two shots are of the same bird in the same bush just moments apart, and I couldn't decide between them as to which I liked more. I decided to include both as another example of why its a good idea to rotate the lens when you have a cooperative subject. Each image has its own feel -- to me, the vertical frame is more about the bird and the horizontal is more about the quail as part of its environment -- yet they were taken just moments apart.

View more images of California quail in my Quail Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- Follow the link to check out this week's posts!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quail along the fence, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail on a fencepost with barbed wire

A male California quail perched on top of a fence post in Point Reyes National Seashore. This quail is from the same trip as my previous post of the peeking sparrow, and I found the quail along the road to Drake's Beach. I have often seen quail dotting the fence posts along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on my way to the outer reaches of the Point Reyes Peninsula, but it was fairly uncommon to see them along the short road to Drake's Beach. Perhaps its because there is not as much scrub vegetation out there, as its mostly pastures.

California quail are of my favorite species to photograph -- view more photos of these lovely birds in my Quail Gallery.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quail at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail at sunset - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

A male California quail is kissed by the golden light of sunset as he sits on the old gnarled branches of a coyote bush near Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes National Seashore.

View more images of one of my favorite birds in my Quail Gallery.

Friday, July 1, 2011

California quail on a post, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail in Point Reyes National Seashore - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Another day, another quail posing on a fencepost in Point Reyes National Seashore. I've had great luck with quail this year, often finding many different individuals in nice locations on the same trip. In fact, there have been a few trips I've taken, that quail are basically the only subjects I've seen. But I won't complain about that, since they're one of my favorite birds to photograph. I drove by this one on Pierce Point Road on my way to the Tule Elk Reserve, and he had a nice setting of blooming plants in front and behind him.

Curious quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more photos of these charismatic birds in my Quail Gallery.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Female California Quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Female quail in Point Reyes - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

In wildlife photography, it's so easy to get caught up looking for just the biggest, flashiest male to photograph. Unfortunately, this often means that the females don't get the attention they deserve, unless they have babies in tow. That's a shame though, since females of many species are just as lovely as their male counterparts. While male California quail are definitely showier, the females are quite beautiful, and share many of the same plumage patterns. Unfortunately, the females tend to be much more secretive, and I have rarely seen them out in the open for extended periods of time. This female, however, hopped up on a fence post and stood there for a minute or two in late afternoon light before returning to her more secretive ways in the tall grass at Pierce Point Ranch in Point Reyes National Seashore. I was quite happy to have this fleeting chance to take some photographs of a female quail out in the open.

Female California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

You can view more images of quail in my Quail Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to see this weeks bird-related posts!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

California quail in late light, Point Reyes National Seashore

Male California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

This is the same handsome male quail that I posted some shots of last week as he posed in front of some rattlesnake grass lit by the late afternoon light. For those shots, he strolled along the bottom rail of a fence. As I sat there watching and photographing him, I took note of this fence post, which was in the direct light and had a nice background of a grassy hillside behind. I silently urged him to go up there, and after about 10 minutes or so he actually did.

California quail in late light - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

He surveyed the scene from the top of the post for a few minutes before his lady-friend decided that it was time to move on. As soon as she started wandering away, he hopped down and followed her up the hillside.

Male quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more images of one of my favorite birds in my Quail Gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to view this week's posts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quail and rattlesnake grass, Point Reyes National Seashore

When I was out in Point Reyes National Seashore last weekend, I wasn't seeing very much as I drove through the park. I started out by heading towards the outer peninsula, and I stopped by Drake's Beach, South Beach, and the Estero Trailhead while seeing very little. So I decided to take a drive up to Tomales Point, since I wanted to end up along the Abbott's Lagoon trail for sunset. After reaching Pierce Point Ranch without seeing a single quail or elk, I stopped at the McClure's Beach to eat my PB&J for dinner. As I sat there, I enjoyed my sandwich and was listening to the Giants pregame on KNBR. After I finished my meal and was going to stop at the restroom before leaving, I noticed this handsome quail sitting right in front of the car on a fence railing. Perhaps he was drawn to the melodic cadence of Jon Miller's voice on the radio?

Quail and rattlesnake grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Such a pleasant surprise to show up after I had resigned to a non-photographic outing for the evening. I spent the next 15 minutes shooting this quail first out of my open window, then with the door open (to get slightly closer), then from my tripod set up next to my car door.

Quail against the grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I moved slowly between positions, and while I think he knew I was there, he was fairly indifferent. He was however, quite interested in his lady-friend, who spent most of the time in the tall grass behind the fence. Every now and then though he would get noticeably excited (quick, agitated movements, fluffed feathers) and then she would appear out in the open. Eventually, she had enough of the area and wandered off up the hill -- and he was quick to follow!

Quail along the fence at sunset - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I was excited to be surprised by this handsome quail set against those lovely grasses backlit by the setting sun in the background. For those of you that are curious, the pods are rattlesnake grass (easy to see where it gets its name, no?), which is an invasive species in California.

Quail in the rattlesnake grass - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

More images from this area of the park in my Tomales Point Gallery.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quail on gnarled branches, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail on gnarled branches - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While driving on Pierce Point Road through the northern end of Point Reyes National Seashore, I can't drive by the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot without taking a swing through to look for quail. There always seem to be some around, and even though I was planning to start my day looking for elk near the Pierce Point Ranch on my most recent trip, I swung through the lot to have a peek as I passed.

Much to my delight, there was a large male sitting on a fence right in the parking lot. Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera and tripod out of the car, he had wandered into the bushes with his female, but it didn't take long to locate others. In fact, this was the highest density of quail I've ever seen in the park. They seemed to be everywhere along the trail to Abbott's Lagoon, with couples wandering through the pastures and males occupying high vantage points all throughout the coastal scrub. Some chose nice clean fenceposts, and others selected luxurious green bushes, but this particular quail selected the old gnarled branches of an coyote bush long past its prime.

Quail amidst the branches - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more in my Quail Gallery.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

California quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

California quail are one of my favorite birds to photograph (if you couldn't tell from my blog banner and gallery page icon), and I often take trips this time of year specifically looking for quail opportunities. I was rewarded greatly on my most recent trip to Point Reyes National Seashore with a real abundance of quail throughout the park. The once exception was where I most reliably find them, and that's near the Tomales Point Trailhead at Pierce Point Ranch. Surprisingly, I didn't see a single quail in that area -- although I was nearly attacked by a gopher as I walked around looking for them. (True story! I wouldn't have even noticed it except that it was grunting at me in an aggressive fashion and faking charges at my shoe. After my initial shock wore off I tried to get a quick shot of this behavior, but unfortunately, it scampered off into the grass by the time I was able to get my lens on it.)

Perched on a fencepost - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

In addition to a lot of quail on nice perches, I was treated to some great overcast light throughout the day due to the very late season rain we had this past weekend. These three shots are of a bird I found along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, in the area of the Bull Point Trailhead. I came across three males perched together, each with an empty pole between the closest rival, and each bird gave me an opportunity for a slightly different backdrop.

Male California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more images of our delightful state bird in my Quail Gallery


Submitted to World Bird Wednesday Blog Meme -- follow the link to check out this week's posts!
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Quail on a diagonal fencepost, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail on a diagonal post - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

A male California quail posing on a fencepost along Sir Francis Drake Blvd in Point Reyes National Seashore. This was the only quail we saw on our drive along the length of the road that day. Around this time of year there are usually a bunch hanging out along the fences, but at least this one stayed on the post for a while to let me get a few different compositions.

Quail on a post

Visit my Quail Gallery.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quail on a quiet morning, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quiet morning quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While flipping through my archives in the past few days, I saw this shot that I had originally overlooked as I edited images from this trip last January. I was much more excited about these closer poses at the time. But something about this shot pulled me in today, and while there isn't too much eye-candy in it, it still gives me the quiet feeling of that morning as I watched this quail on a fencepost.

See more images of these lovely birds in my Quail Gallery.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Evening quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail glance - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Here is a series of images of our state bird, the California quail, taken at the Tomales Point Trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sun was just dropping below the horizon as I walked back to the parking lot and found this group of quail. Since the light was mostly gone, I upped the ISO to 1600, locked in the ballhead, and hoped for the best.

Ruffled California quail - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I was quite pleased to have a few images come out pretty sharp under these conditions, especially with that nice warm evening light. It was great to hear him call as well, a sound I haven't heard since last summer. Unfortunately, the conditions just weren't great for a sharp shot of a bird in motion as it vocalized, so I was left with left with a bunch of disappointing images that lacked enough sharpness for my taste. Maybe next time!

Quail song - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

More images of these beautifully marked birds are available in my Quail Gallery.

This post submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to check out the great posts for this week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quail after sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore

Quail after sunset

I just love to watch and photograph California quail. Other than shorebirds, they are quite possibly my favorite subjects. The arrival of spring means that they become a bit less secretive, as the males like to perch on tall objects and call out to let the ladies know they are there. It's wonderful to be serenaded by their song as you walk through the coastal scrub. After taking a late afternoon hike out the Tomales Point Trail to find some elk with velvet antlers, I arrived back at the trailhead right as the sun was dropping below the horizon. Much to my delight, I was greeted by a group of around a dozen quail strolling along the far side of the parking lot. It was getting fairly dark already, so I upped the ISO to 1600 and hoped that the birds would stand fairly still. Thankfully, this male obliged as he stood on a lichen-covered fence post.

See more of the state bird of California in my Quail Gallery.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quail on a Fence Post, Point Reyes National Seashore

Here's a quick break from the steady stream of elephant seals I've been posting lately. This is a handsome California quail perched on a fence post along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Coy California quail -- Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I find these birds to be so strikingly beautiful, with an amazing array of patterns on their body. They're quite common to find along the main road, and I took these shots out of an open car window. I have had success getting out of the car without spooking quail before, but I decided not to try my luck this time. I might have preferred a better backdrop than just the overcast sky, but at least it doesn't distract the eye from the details of their plumage.

Quail standing tall -- Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography