I had a lovely day at the farm today. It was the kind of day that doesn’t come along every day, but when they do, it makes me so thankful for the opportunities to see nature close up that we have at the farm. I was in the garden doing some planting this morning. I had been holding off planting a few things until the latest heat wave passed, so that my transplants wouldn’t get as wilted and sad looking as my chard and spinach did when I planted them right before the last heat wave a couple of weeks ago. We have been hearing quail around the farm for the last few weeks, but they can be somewhat elusive. Other than a quick glimpse of them as they briefly landed in the front pasture before quickly flying off, I had not gotten a good look at them this year until today, my lucky day. I was up in the garden just getting started when I heard a quail calling, and I looked up just in time to see a pair of quail flying low over my head. They landed in some short alder trees right outside the garden fence and continued calling and flitting about in the trees. I fancied myself in a David Attenborough documentary, the one where he is narrating as the bird of paradise male flits around above his head doing his elaborate courtship dance.
A little later, the rufous hummingbirds were at it, two brightly colored red males chasing each other about the yard and garden, dive bombing each other in a dispute over territory no doubt. After I had been up in the garden awhile and gotten most of the planting done, the little banty hens decided to come up and check out my progress. Millie was first on the scene, inspecting the spinach bed and thinking maybe it was time to start sampling the fresh spring greens. I had to eject her from the spinach bed in the interest of saving the still quite small plants. But she got the better of me by spotting the first ripe strawberry of the season and getting a few good pecks in before I saw what she was eating. By the time I got over to her to attempt to steal it away from her, I realized there was not enough left to share so I let her have the rest of it. I am a sucker for a cute face after all. By this time, Salt-n-Pepa had made their way up to the garden and were eager to scratch about in the freshly turned soil that I had just planted the leeks and onions in. I had to eject the ladies from this bed too, because even though they are tiny, they can do a lot of damage with those little feathered feet in a hurry! I grabbed a few kale leaves and coaxed them back down to their coop to eat their treat.
I went back up to the garden in the afternoon, and this time I had my camera with me. Much to my delight I saw the quail pair were back. I watched them as they scurried back and forth under the raspberry and blueberry bushes, and then the male was so kind as to fly up on the fence and pose for some photos. A bit later in the day I saw them again in the driveway, the male appeared to be pecking about in the gravel for tasty treats and then the female would come running over to the male to claim the treat, much in the same way that I’ve seen roosters and hens display this same behavior. I am hoping that the quail pair nest close to the farm and raise up a batch of little ones. That would sure be a nice addition to our feathered friends here at the farm.