I was just going to aim my hose spray into the north-facing valley to water the spring planted twinberry and buckeye, when I heard quiet scritching and saw a small covey of California quail (Callipepla californica) - about four adults and 10-15 chicks, feeding.
Here's a female, among the California blackberry vines (Rubus ursinus):
California quail is our state bird, but their typical call is generally given as "Chicago! Chicago!" You'd think we could come up with a California town - how about "Modesto! Modesto!" - Oh well.
Lookit - this is cute: Now you don't see them...
Now you do...
You can see how they scritch little hollows in the soil. Here's a short video I got of those two, and a nearby sentry. One male generally always stands guard, keeping an eye open for threats:
I also got some fun pictures when they later came into the pool area. The picture heading this entry is the male on sentry duty, perched on the fence just above the group below.
I think they must have been eating gritty bits from the concrete. Then one male flew up to the top of the fence,
And all the little birds followed. Then, one by one, they disappeared on the other side.