Tracks – January 24, 2017

24 Jan

This story begins not at my house, but in the neighbor’s blue spruce tree and the sagebrush about 30 feet away from my back fence. These two locations are the homes for many birds, many which dine at my house several times a day. (Don’t forget to click on the photo to enlarge it)

If you follow Buzzard Notes, you have seen this spruce many times in pictures of the mountains. It’s on the corner of my tiny cul de sac.

If you follow Buzzard Notes, you have seen this spruce many times in pictures of the mountains. It’s on the corner of my tiny cul de sac.

It is the nightly home for many, many quail and I don’t know how many other birds. You can see they don’t have to go far to my house, the one with the dark red trim.

There is a large juniper under that large covering of snow. Many cottontail rabbits live here and perhaps some birds as well. But I think they like to be in trees at night to avoid coyotes and other hunters.

There is a large juniper under that large covering of snow. Many cottontail rabbits live here and perhaps some birds as well. But I think they like to be in trees at night to avoid coyotes and other hunters.

When the time is right in the morning, the head quail says, “Let’s go,” and they begin their trek to my place. They run from their tree to bushes and then other trees along the way. These birds usually go by the south side of my house and from my kitchen window; I have counted a steady stream of more than 40 on several occasions. It’s very interesting to watch.

These are quail tracks that were made in about 24 hours. At first I thought the rumbled effect was from snow falling from the trees. But that is not the case. There are so many that they rumpled the snow. (Can snow be rumpled?)

These are quail tracks that were made in about 24 hours. At first I thought the rumpled effect was from snow falling from the trees. But that is not the case. There are so many quail that they rumpled the snow. (Can snow be rumpled?)

I call this the gauntlet because the quail must run about 30 feet from the sagebrush to the fence. This is when a hawk can zoom down and catch one. You can see on the right, a trail that seems to stop. The bird might have become alarmed and turned around or taken flight to relative safety in my yard.

I call this the gauntlet because the quail must run about 30 feet from the sagebrush to the fence. This is prime time for a hawk to zoom down and catch one. You can see on the right, a trail that seems to stop. The bird might have become alarmed and turned around or taken flight to relative safety in my yard.

More tracks from the fence to the feeding area. That dark lump a short way from the fence is a seed block. It’s about 12 pounds of compressed seed that the birds, squirrels and rabbits like. Most of the birds like the loose seed to pick up at the feeders or on the ground.

More tracks from the fence to the feeding area. That dark lump a short way from the fence is a seed block. It’s about 12 pounds of compressed seed that the birds, squirrels and rabbits like. Most of the birds like the loose seed to pick up at the feeders or on the ground.

After the spruce tree quail come in the morning and feed, they tend to spend the rest of the day out in the sagebrush. I guess they like to spend time with their sagebrush cousins. Everyone comes en mass just before dusk to get enough to tide them over to morning. Then, just at the right shade of darkness, someone says, “Let’s go,” and they all fly over the house back to their tree. The sagebrush quail go back to their respective homes.

Cottontail rabbit tracks. No he didn’t have three legs. That’s just part of their gait.

Cottontail rabbit tracks. No, he didn’t have three legs. That’s just part of their gait.

Sparrow tracks. I think they like to spend time in the juniper in the background. They like to eat at the feeders and also spend a lot of time of the ground, eating what has been spilled from the feeders.

Sparrow tracks. I think they like to spend time in the juniper in the background. They like to eat at the feeders and also spend a lot of time of the ground, eating what has been spilled from the feeders.

Taken about 8:30 yesterday morning. The sun is trying to shine through the clouds after the storm from the night before. It was so pretty to see.

Taken about 8:30 yesterday morning. We had a storm the night before and the sun was trying to shine its way through the clouds. It was so pretty to see.

There are some goldfinches on the seed sacks and sparrows on the ground. If you look closely toward the sagebrush, there are no tracks coming across the snow. The quail slept in yesterday until it warmed up a bit. They were late this morning also. I don’t blame them. It was 18º when I filled the feeders this morning.

There are some goldfinches on the seed sacks and sparrows on the ground. If you look closely toward the sagebrush, there are no tracks coming across the snow. The quail slept in yesterday until it warmed up a bit. They were late this morning also. I don’t blame them. It was 18º when I filled the feeders this morning.

 

 

One Response to “Tracks – January 24, 2017”

  1. Jolee Tristao January 24, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    Love the pictures. I am fascinated by how many quail are around here.

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