I hear quail most years, either locally or somewhere in the UK when on my travels. Until yesterday evening, I had never seen one in this country - most of the local birds I hear are usually miles away in the middle of agricultural fields, and often after dark. So, spurred on by local reports of at least one Quail singing (and apparently even showing) near Ryhall, I decided to go and check it out last night.
I arrived at around 17:45, and spent a fruitless half an hour listening for birds singing up and down the road. Eventually, a male Quail started singing at around 18:15 in the same spot as one was heard and seen on Saturday evening. I rang Will Bowell to let him know, and he soon joined me. Over the next hour or so, two males were heard singing in the near corner of a pea field. Perhaps spurred on by one another, their song became louder and more regular after 19:15 and, eventually, Will picked up one bird sat out in the field edge singing.
Even abroad I have only seen Quail scurrying or flying for cover. It was a truly wonderful experience to be able to watch this bird singing and feeding just 20 metres away along a furrow, and finally appreciate the fantastic intricacy of their subtly-beautiful plumage. I was even fortunate enough to take a few half-decent images:
A really special moment that will stay with me for a long time...