Even with the heat still beating down on us, I’m finding the best place to be to keep my mind right is still on the mountain. Most of the time is just driving back roads but Jake, Grady and I get a little taste of what we love with short jaunts. The good news from our walks was for the quail hunters. We bumped two large size covey’s of baby quail that ran into the thick cover while mom and dad flew into it. The quail were the size of jumbo bumble bees. We also saw several large covey of babies scurrying off the dirt roads. As of right now, quail numbers look pretty good.
We also saw this group of huns on the road.
They seemed more concerned about staying in the shade than the truck. We also saw another covey of huns further up the road. They were a little more camera shy but seemed to be about the same size.
Higher up the hill at about 4500 feet I had a pair of chukar run across the road with no little ones in tow. Being paired, they still may have a nest. The water situation is looking pretty dismal. This cattle pond has never been dry this early in the summer and I can usually find chukar tracks in the dusty cattle trails leading to it. Needless to say, there were no tracks this year, nor were there dusty trails.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen water running over these troughs and creating a good water source for the birds. The cows were all that was able to take advantage of this short water supply.
Shortly after this picture I ran into the rancher riding and checking on the cows. He said he’s been seeing birds with chicks but couldn’t give me a comparison to past years. The grasses up higher seem to be a little greener and the hoppers are there for chukar feed.
Thanks to the dogs, I did find some scant water sources that could hold some chukars but came up blank at finding any. My heart tells me they were not too far away.
When I get home I had a couple of voice mails from Steve Schwinn and Tom Olsen. Both are hungry to find some positive news on chukars. Steve, had a covey of young chukars cross the road ahead of him with about 10 young ones. Stopping to observe them he heard another covey talking from further up. Tom said he saw two different covey of young birds, both about one week old, by a local reservoir while fishing. He also heard some talking from high above.
I got out a little earlier today, so that might be why I saw better numbers from the road. By 10 o’clock the temperature was already 90 degrees and animals were deep into the shade. Sitting at home doesn’t fit me right, so I’m sure I’ll be out scouting quite often. Even in this heat. If there is a spot in southwest Idaho you might be interested in, let me know. If I can get any information to you without letting anyone know the area, I’ll sure try.
Meanwhile keep enduring the heat and remember, there’s not a better state than Idaho for upland birds.