Monday, July 6, 2009

I think we've got a hatch this year in California

I was in the south Sierras over the weekend and saw three young coveys, one about a week old and the other two perhaps two weeks old. Very encouraging - last year we had basically zero reproduction due to lack of rain. I also spent Sunday morning shooting clays with a new friend who is a DFG biologist and he reported that the reproduction in the coastal ranges looks good - liekly double clutches. This could be a good season in California. I keep hoping anyway.


Dick said...

That sounds great! I wish the quail would make a come back here.

Andrew Campbell said...

Pete: that is reassuring news. With The State of the Birds national report coming out this spring telling most of us what we already knew -- that loss of habitat on a national level especially has negatively impacted a significant number of species, it's reassuring to know that there's proof of what look like local success stories.

Up here in the northeast, I feel as though we have seen a lot more woodcock this spring than in previous years. Hopefully that's part of a trend, too.


Peter Houser said...

It seems to me that upland game habitat issues in California are different than many other states. We have a lot of national forest & BLM lands that have great potential for quail but they need to burn. Best quail hunts I've ever had were in 2005-2006 in San Diego, following a big burn and a wet year. Our state's meager sage grouse population faces the same problem - junipers grow into the meadows, eliminating the grouse. Of course development is also a major problem - one of my favorite dove spots has closed because of that - but more fire would be a big help.

Waterfowl of course is an entirely different issue. California has eliminated virtually all of its wetlands in order to capture water for human use.

roy said...

We have had the best hatch of Gambel's quail in the last 5 years, at least where I live in Arizona. As you may know, Gambel's quail can and do have enormous clutches when winter conditions are right. Of the broods that I see regularly, the champs are a pair that hatched 31 around the 1st of June. All of that brood has survived so far. Most of the broods that I see are in the 14-16 range and age varies from juveniles that are already adult size to just hatched bumble bee size chicks. We had a very cool June rearing period here, with temperatures the 2nd coolest on record (only June 1913 was cooler). Right now, though, it is hot, 103F on my shaded porch. Roy

Peter Houser said...

Roy, have you read Starker Leopold's book on Valley Quail? He includes some great plots of quail reproduction as function of winter rains. I suspect that Gambel's are similar? Anything from no reproduction to huge double clutches seems to be possible. Glad to hear that you are in a good year.