Photo: The understated elegance of California quail

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One of the many wonderful things about wildlife photography is how it allows us the time to study the details that might otherwise flash by too quickly to admire. In this photo of a male and female California quail (Callipepla californica) taken by Mark Heatherington we get the chance to see just how exquisite these beautiful birds really are, what with those colors, markings and a top-knot crest fit for a glamour girl. Mark writes of taking the shot: "The other day I posted a snap of this pair (fairly sure they are the same ones) walking away. Today they were kind enough to walk towards me. Perhaps they are getting comfortable with that two legged thing making clicking sounds."

The dashing pair were spotted at Emigrant Lake in Jackson County, Oregon.

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