Though I hear them daily in spring and summer, the shy little birds are typically out of view. I was thoroughly enjoying the serene and seldom seen picture of one of God's precious creatures, when all of a sudden he darted as though startled.
A few feet to the right, he stopped suddenly and began to cock his little black and white striped head and walk in a circle. I was certain he had spotted a wiggly morsel. In short order, my eyes spied what he had already seen -- a black snake considerably larger than any old earthworm. As he pondered the size of his prey, he continued his circulating intimidation. And I winced and shuttered and worried, just knowing I was about to see that beautiful little bird become the dinner instead of the diner. They eyed one another in an exchange of power and fear, with the quail's head ever tilting and the snake's coiled body arching higher from the grass with his every pass.
Then, the dangerous dance ended.
The snake hastily flattened and took his rapid leave, with Mr. Bob White in hot pursuit. First I cheered... then I jeered... for Bob was chasing the black snake right toward me! Of course there was wood and concrete and glass and insulation and well, you know, a house to protect me! Still, I didn't like the idea of that snake finding refuge somewhere near my domicile.
Enter, hero #2 -- Mr. Black just happened to walk into the room about the time I began shooting photos through my window. At my prompting, he went back outside and interrupted the snake's planned route.
Bob took flight, safe and sound, and I heard him continue to call, letting me know he's not far and has become my new watch dog. As long as I hear him singing, I'll feel secure. And when he grows silent, I know I'll be thinking he's cornered another varmint.