Valle: Gambel's Quail
18 Dec 2013, 3:24 PM,
#1
Valle: Gambel's Quail
On a drive from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff today, 18 December, Chuck LaRue and I checked various stops, including a grand tour of metropolitan Valle. Mountain Bluebirds seemed to inhabit every corner of P-J habitat, a Sage Thrasher was a treat at Cedar Tank Ranch, and we had a nice Bald Eagle near Red Butte.

In Valle we found two sites worth revisiting, one of which had a very surprising covey of 12 GAMBEL's QUAIL: 1) Behind the Grand Canyon Inn there is an extensive manicured lawn, many ornamental plantings, and a nearby open sewage treatment lagoon and weedpatch (drive around the north side of the hotel for access to this area). Today there were few birds (mallards and wigeon on the lagoon, and a few song sparrows), but the spot has appeal as a potential migrant trap. 2) Just south of the airport (west side of Highway 64, look for the big airplanes), accessed by entering the airport and following Airpark Rd first south then west, there is another sewage lagoon, surrounded by irrigated plantings, a nearby ballfield, and also a surprisingly large housing development. This area was birdy today. The best birds were the previously mentioned GAMBEL's QUAIL, and also two Loggerhead Shrikes. I remember Brian reporting one quail this summer near Valle, and noting that they are not shown in the area in the breeding bird atlas. I wonder if they have just gone overlooked or are new to the area?

Fun morning out there!
Jason
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18 Dec 2013, 6:23 PM,
#2
RE: Valle: Gambel's Quail
I recorded GAQU regularly when surveying around Red Lake - just a few miles south of Valle - a few years ago. So maybe not so new? Seems they can make it from one patch of scrub to another despite some quite large open intervals.
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