[Tweeters] Asotin Mtn Quail question

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 7 15:23:43 PDT 2012

Dear Tweeters,

On April 4, 2012, I saw a bird that I believe was a Mountain Quail. This was in Asotin County, WA, about a mile or less up the Green Gulch Trail, Chief Joseph Wildlife Area (Opperman pages 522f).

Lower down along this trail, in more open, cattle-grazing country, I found a few California Quail, after having seen lots more along Joseph Creek just below. However, after I had hiked for several hundred meters and detected no more California Quail, I heard some cluckish vocalizations which I didn't recognize. I'd been seeing and hearing California Quail many times a day for four days at this point, and don't think that these calls sounded like any of the California Quail calls that I know.

A moment later, a dark-looking quail flew right in front of me, crossing from a steep rocky area on my left to a brushy creekbed to my right. I could not relocate the bird, and heard no more of the vocalizations. The look I had was too brief for me to fix on any field marks, but the bird had to be either a Mountain or a California Quail.

For those who know this area, the bird was right by a very large pine tree. This tree is on the right side of the trail as one goes uphill (i.e. on the south side of the trail), and has an active Red-tailed Hawk nest in it. It's probably the biggest pine along this section of trail, hard to miss. I think it's about a mile up the dirt road/trail, measuring from the Joseph Creek Road--but on a steep trail, one might tend to overestimate distances. A bit beyond this spot, the trail forks, with the right fork going up to a new cattle trough.

I understand that the Mountain Quail was once found here, but that it hasn't been seen here for a while. I found no eBird records for this species in this area. 

Any information on the status of the species in that area would be appreciated.

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

Gary Bletsch Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA garybletsch at yahoo.com "Nun," sagte ich, "wenn ich ein Taugenichts bin, so ist's gut, so will ich in die Welt gehen, und mein Glueck machen." Und eigentlich war mir das recht lieb, denn es war mir kurz vorher selber eingefallen, auf Reisen zu gehen, da ich die Goldammer, welche im Herbst und Winter immer betruebt an unserm Fenster sang: "Bauer, miet' mich, Bauer, miet' mich!" nun in der schoenen Fruehlingszeit wieder ganz stolz und lustig vom Baume rufen hoerte: "Bauer, behalt' deinen Dienst!"

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