Today I got home about 1PM and was greeted at the door by my husband, who said I had to see the Quail. From the kitchen window we saw one, presumably female, quail and 8 or 9 tiny chicks.
She made herself broad and low to the ground and all the chicks found a place under her wings and body. Her shape was like a curling stone with a broad tail added on. Her crest feather was down flat. These birds disappear without going away.
My husband sees Quail from his shop behind the house, more often than I do, and I agree with his conclusion that the male is missing. Normally a foray into the open areas at this end of the yard would include a male to stand watch. I think that may be why the female spent an hour or so sheltering the chicks on their way to forage under the cover of low shrubs.