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Texas quail


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These pictures (all the same bird) were taken at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge on the western side of the Texas panhandle on May 6.  Scaled Quail and Northern Bobwhites are found here.  While walking around a trail, I saw and photographed several Scaled Quail.  Inevitably, I saw them on the ground maybe 50 feet away and if I walked towards them, they simply ran away. 

However, on several occasions as I hiked, without warning, 1 or 2 quails would suddenly flush from cover.  Maybe 20-30 feet away from me when they flushed.  After the first few simply startled the crap out of me when they flushed, I started hiking with my camera up and ready to shoot.  I finally managed to get a series of pictures of one of these flushing quails.

I am skeptical that the species can be identified from the pictures alone.  It was getting close to dusk, so the lighting was not great.  The face is not showing well and because of lighting, I'm not sure the color is indicative.

However, I'm wondering if the behavior might be a strong clue.  I've read that Scaled Quail are much more likely to run to evade and only flush if cornered.   These birds where never cornered.  Northern Bobwhites on the other hand are known to sit still and then flush if you get too close. 

So, any thoughts on this?  Can the pictures be identified?  Is the flushing behavior sufficient to point to Northern Bobwhite?

Thanks in advance!

 

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