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      Nature Report: South Texas Blob

      In western Starr County there are two species of quail and their territories overlap.

      The chunky male bobwhite is rich reddish brown, mottled and flecked with black. He has a bright white throat and facial stripe while the females is buff-colored. The larger scaled or blue quail is so named for the dark edging on its blue gray feathering of the breast and upper back, which gives the bird a scaly appearance.

      They also sport a distinctive whitish crest and are sometimes called cotton tops. Veteran wildlife photographer Steve Bentsen was recently photographing quail on his Starr County ranch when he noticed something he had never seen before|a couple of quail that appear to be half blue quail and half bobwhite|hence the name blob. Steve Bentsen, Wildlife Photographer, "These blobs|are certainly unique, and I have heard about them all my life. Living here in country where blue quail and bobwhites live together, we all keep expecting to see them, but it is pretty unusual I think because I have never seen one." Of course, Steve has only been a serious South Texas wildlife photographer for 40 years. I have been at it nearly as long, and the blob is a first for me as well. Last year we kept seeing a male bobwhite and a female blue quail paired up in the same area and apparently they bred. Bentsen, "From the front they look more like a bobwhite I think. They have a whiter face and the chest pattern of a bobwhite. From the back they look more like a scaled quail, and they have the topnotch but it is brown not white, but they seem to behave more like scaled quail." According to what literature is available, the two species do occasionally hybridize. We just can't wait to see whether they sing like a blue or a bob|but probably they sound like a blob. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore