Sunday, January 31, 2010


I've been stalking quails for a few weeks now, hoping to take some photos. They were first reported in the Wolli Valley over Christmas, while I was out of town and I was keen to get photographic evidence.

The trouble with quails, though, is that they are very camouflage at ground level and they stay hidden till the last possible minute and then shoot into the air with a flurry of wings. By the time the photographer has realised what's happened and lifted their camera, the quails are well hidden in the thick grass some distance away.

On one occasion I was fast enough to get the flying quail in shot, but alas, not in focus!

On the weekend I received an email describing a sighting at the pond at 4pm. I visited Turrella at about 5:45. This time four quails flew from dense grass on the path side of the pond over the reeds into the thickly planted area. A fifth emerged about a minute later, following the same flight path. It nearly gave me a heart attack!

Figuring they were now well concealed in the undergrowth I let myself become distracted by a Clamorous Reed Warbler.

But after a time I heard what might have been quails and I crept closer and discovered them sneaking back towards the "front" of the pond.

There are foxes in the Valley which could be problematic for this ground-dwelling sepcies. However, if the quails are half as good avoiding foxes as they are avoiding my camera, I'd say they have a pretty good chance of survival!